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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Author Interview: Jenny Gilliam

The Long and the Short of It is very pleased to have Jenny Gilliam with us this week. Jenny is a self-confessed “slightly deranged, definitely neurotic soccer mom author.” With Jenny having two small kids at home, that sounds like it might be an accurate description.

She’s currently working on the stand-alone sequel to her third novel, The Truth about Roxy which is being released in November. She said, “It’s a continuation of the characters in the town (of Thorton, Georgia), spotlighting a woman who has just discovered she’s adopted, and the road she travels as she finds her way home, in the metaphorical sense.” Along with that, she’s “binge-editing” her fourth novel and seeking a publisher.

Jenny also told me she’s currently in the throes of writer’s block. “I’d love to say that I just push through it all the time,” she told me, “but that would be a lie. I let the story I’m working on percolate at the back of my brain while I do other things—taking care of the kids, working, etc. Eventually, the drive comes back. I do try and write every day, even if I only eek out a paragraph or two. I’m hoping the RWA National Conference I’m attending soon will help amp me up for writing.”

I asked Jenny about her writing space. Her family just moved this past winter into a brand new house in Oregon, “where it rains eight months out of the year.” Because of this, they painted the formal living room, which they converted into her home office, a bright orange. It has, she told me, “pictures of fairies and other mythical creatures gracing the walls.” Her mother-in-law printed copies of Jenny’s novel covers, which are in picture frames on her bookshelf.

She told me the hardest part of writing her book, when she’s in the zone, is not writing it. “I have two small children at home who require all my attention, so finding time to write was something of a difficult enterprise. However, I managed to grab time—if the four novels I wrote in a little over a year are any indication.”

Because of the kids, her writing schedule consists of “when I can... it’s not easy, but I’ll sacrifice a little sleep to get my writing done. I’ll stay up late and write and get up early in the morning. Any time I can get a moment and I feel like writing, I do it.”

One thing she doesn’t do though, is pick up pennies that are tails-up. “Even if they are in my house on the floor,” she confessed. “I’ll make my kids pick ’em before I will. I think it will bring me bad luck. Which, of course, begs the comment: I’m willing to let my kids take on the bad luck? Bad Mommy.”

She also confessed that, not only does she cry during movies, she cries during commercials and previews. “I’m a fairly (understatement of my life) emotional person,” she said. “Even though I know it’s not real, it doesn’t stop the waterworks.”

And, along with the rest of the true confessions, she admitted that yes, she has made a crank phone call before. Then she told me, “What’s really sad is that I still make them. My husband and I used to get bored at night and prank call my parents. Relatively immature, but there it is. ’Course with Caller ID, it’s a lot harder these days. Bummer.” Then she added, with a laugh, “Can I have your number?” Ah... no.

And, finally, the most important question of all...the one everyone has been holding their collective breath waiting for the answer of: can Jenny tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi. “To my way of thinking,” she said, “there are two kinds of people in this world: Pepsi people and Coke people. I’m definitely a Coke girl. Pepsi is sweeter and goes flat faster, whereas Coke has more fizz and a bit more kick. I drink so much of it, I could be the spokesgal for Diet Coke.”

You can keep up with Jenny on her website: http://www.jennygilliam.com

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