Author Interview & Kindle Fire Giveaway

Welcome to author Suzanne Jenkins

Suzanne Jenkins lives at the west Michigan lakeshore with her husband, two dogs and two sheep.  Her latest books are Pam of Babylon, Don’t You Forget About Me and Dream Lover.

If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
Wow, that’s a whopper to answer right off the bat! I would definitely go back in the past. As I approach old age, I wish I’d handled situations differently. I would only go back if I knew what I know now. I could spend all my questions answering this one thing! I’d change the way I problem solved. I wouldn’t be so selfish.

What is one book everyone should read?
The one book everyone should read it The Good Earth by Pearl Buck. The story is about regrets. If Wang Lung hadn’t given in to greed and lust, I think the outcome would have been much different. That and the fact that the break they got in life came about because his wife stole someone’s jewels.

Please tell us in one sentence why we should read your book.
You should read my books because they will take you to another place and you’ll look at your life with a new appreciation.

Any other books in the works?
The fourth Pam book, Prayers for the Dying, is due out this summer, and I am writing the fifth, Come Back to Me. Also, the first of a new series, The Greeks of Beaubien Street is due for release next month. My goals are to reedit Pam of Babylon; unfortunately she does have some typos which readers are telling me they find distracting. It was my first self-published book and I had no idea how difficult it was to catch every mistake. Also, I have an old manuscript; The Savant of Chelsea which I would love to go back to and rewrite.

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?

The best advice anyone has ever given me was that this is not a dress rehearsal. I was in a situation that I felt there was no solution to without causing hurt feelings and I just had to take the risk and get out of it. The contrast of being in it and out of it was so astonishing I cannot believe I was able to tolerate it for as long as I had! So if you find yourself unhappy for whatever reason, just remember that the time you waste being that way can never be retrieved. Just thinking about how close I came to wasting more of my life gives me the goosebumps.

What is your favorite children’s book?

My favorite books growing up were Box Car Children and Junior Miss. I was intrigued with the idea of self-sufficiency that the Box Car Children had and how they gathered what they needed. I was sort of the odd man out when I was growing up and Junior Miss appealed to that part of me that didn’t measured up, but there was a light at the end of the tunnel in which I might belong.

One piece of advice you would give an aspiring writer?

The one piece of advice I would give an aspiring writer is to just do it. Write. Eventually, you will find your voice. And the biggest surprise is that the more you do it, the better you get.

What is the dream cast for your book?

My favorite dream cast for Pam of Babylon would be Hugh Jackman for Jack, Julianne Moore for Pam, Naomi Watts for Sandra and Scarlett Johansson for Marie.

What is your favorite quote?

My favorite quote is from E.L.Doctorow. “Writing is like driving a car at night. You only see as far as your headlights go, but you can make the whole trip that way.” I can’t imagine having to outline my story before it’s written. 

What is the craziest writing idea you have ever had?
The craziest writing idea I’ve had is probably The Savant of Chelsea. The idea came to me when I went on a business trip to New Orleans with my husband in 1988. I took notes while we were there, but didn’t start to write it until we got home, and once I was out of that environment, it rang false. It started out as a children’s book about a little girl who could talk to the horses who pulled the tourist carriages around the French Quarter, but the dialogue reminded me too much of the Mr. Ed television program of my childhood. So I began to concentrate on the little girl’s circumstances apart from the horses, and they were really horrific. She grew into an intelligent human being and ends up in Manhattan living quite a different life than she had imagined. It’s actually a very sad story with some gallows humor and a tragic ending. I’m not sure I can rewrite it and have it keep the quality it has that I like, but it’s not publishable in its current state. A lotta work ahead!

What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was ‘little’ I wanted to write. I wrote little stories and would give them to my grandmother to read. One summer when I was about seven, she chose one for her father, a famous poet, to read. He had a sarcastic comment about it and I was so embarrassed that I didn’t show anything I wrote again. However, I enjoyed writing letter to my family and friends. I will probably be blackmailed someday for some of the things I have written in fun. I’m glad I’m already sixty-one because I don’t have that much time left to get in trouble. Years ago, maybe forty years or more, I had fun with a friend writing a story a chapter at a time. I would send it to her and she would write a chapter and then send it back to me for my input. It was silly, but fun.

I got sidetracked in my twenties when my sister became deathly ill and was hospitalized. I decided then I wanted to be a nurse. I was intrigued by the stature the nurses seemed to have. I like their professionalism. I started out by being an Operating Room Technician, which I loathed, but I did it for years. Finally, at the age of forty I went to nursing school thinking I would do better in the OR as a registered nurse. Well, what a mistake. It was literally torture. I have so much respect for my nursing buddies. No one understands how difficult that job is. You are at the mercy of the doctors you work with, trying to anticipate their needs, and then do your own job so you don’t kill anyone. I worked as an RN for fourteen years and then thankfully, we went on strike and I opened a yarn shop. That story was another mistake for another time! The only thing I can say about both experiences is that I met the most wonderful people. The best friends I have are women who I worked side by side with, saving lives in the middle of the night, or who came into my shop and bought yarn from me. I still have a textile studio in our current home.

So all those experiences brought me to this time in my life. My husband and I left New Jersey and bought a modest house in the woods near Lake Michigan. He works from home and I have an office which overlooks the pasture my two sheep are in. I have bird feeders out my window and my desk is positioned so the birds are right there watching me. It’s quite wonderful.

How did you know you should become an author? 

I guess I answered that question in the previous answer. Once I did everything I had to do to come to this place, the words have just flowed. I haven’t had ‘writer’s block’ or any malady like that yet. In the past twelve months, I’ve written and published five books and have two more in process. The readers who love my books are waiting for the next one to come out, and that is a source of inspiration in itself.

What is your most rewarding experience since being published?

The most rewarding experience I have had since being published is probably the validation of my readers. I think I was shocked when the reviews started coming out and I discovered that people actually liked the stories. Once I get Pam’s typos cleaned up, I’ll feel much better. It’s such a great story; it deserves to be perfect in every way.

Pam Smith lives a charmed life as a well-to-do Babylon, N.Y., homemaker in a large house by the water. In her 50s with her children grown, Pam is happy with her exemplary husband Jack. After he has a heart attack on the subway, however, she finds out more than she ever wanted to know about Jack. Pam must confront a series of revelations that unmask a life she realizes she only thought she knew, and the losses and disappointments she discovers give color and understanding to a man markedly different than he appeared. Uncovering secrets and betrayals far worse than her most vivid nightmare, Pam retreats to their meticulous Babylon beach house, the one refuge she has to put the pieces of her life together and move toward ultimate forgiveness.

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