When my next guest and I meet, we’re definitely the long and short of it! I’m pleased to welcome Jenn J. McLeod, contemporary Australian fiction author, to my blog today.
Welcome Jenn. Do you have a passion other than writing and could you please tell us about it.
I sing with a passion. Is that what you mean? 😉
I am also passionate about dogs. All dogs. Dogs are my muse, my constant companion, my therapy, my way to a long life (hopefully still writing). Dogs (my rescue babies) make me a better person. And I love creating canine characters for my stories. Writing allows me to have so many fictional friends—furry ones included.
But in order to answer the next question, I’d best sick with my passionate singing!
How long have you been involved in your passion?
I grew up surrounded by music and musical people. (My dad was a nightclub muso, and The Don Lewis Jazz Trio was the toast of Sydney’s Trocadero Lounge. Also, my cousins are well known in opera and Broadway circles for their stage work.) In fact, my first writing attempts were poems, which I would turn into songs and sing into my hairbrush and bedroom mirror. My passion for music is the reason I cannot write with songs playing, like some authors can. I would get no writing done at all. I’d be too busy singing or humming along.
Wow, a very musical family! What is it about your singing that brings a sparkle to your eye?
That’s easy: a lonely country road, a great driving song with the volume cranked up and the car windows right down, and my dog singing along, beside me. Bliss.
I do love the ‘angsty’ country ballad that can tell an entire story of heartbreak and betrayal in a single song. (Have you heard the joke: if you play a country song backwards, the guy gets his girl and his job back, finds whatever he’s lost, quits crying and leaves the bar sober!)
Great lyrics are like a great novel. They tell a story and share strong messages: forgiveness, trust, tolerance, etc. Writers are given the opportunity to make a difference. While sometimes my characters might raise a few eyebrows, fiction can be a powerful way to start conversations. Acceptance comes from understanding and it is often through stories that authors can provide readers with a safe place to explore and appreciate social differences. I’m hoping Alice’s story in Season of Shadow and Light achieves that in some small way.
So very true. And I can’t wait to read Season of Shadows and Light! Do you have a funny story about something that’s happened to you while singing?
Ha! Yes. There I was driving into Sawtell (I once owned a café in the small NSW seaside town) and warbling a great song (Six Ribbons from that fabulous 1978 Aussie mini-series that starred Jon English, Against The Wind,) when who should pull up in the lane next to me? Yep! Jon English. Weird? Yes. Embarrassing? It was when he popped into the café and ordered a coffee. I caught up with Jon at a Michael Robothom book launch in Sawtell a while back. I still laugh about that.
*sigh* I love Jon English! Can you share a photo of you indulging in your passion?
LOL No! A windows-down, windswept, warbling Jenn is not a good look (ask Jon!) But I can share a song with you. I am not singing, although I did write the melody and the words.
Why did I write a song? My novel, Simmering Season has an older, wannabe country singer. I wanted to work a song into the story; a kind of ‘tick it off the bucket list’ achievement, I guess. You can listen to it here. (The ‘listen link’ is under my snazzy book trailer.) http://www.jennjmcleod.com/the-simmering-season
About me? Well, I get to warble windswept a lot more since I hit the road in a fifth wheeler caravan. Having run out of friends and family to use in my stories I needed to go in search of more small towns and characters to inspire me. So I sold up and started my travels on August 21 this year. Already there is a new story germinating—set in a secluded seaside town. In the caravan park to be precise! I’m loving it.
But first I have books 3 and 4 my ‘The Seasons Collection’ novels to get out. Releasing April 1, 2015 is Season of Shadow and Light and I am super sparkly about this story and its Mother’s Day catalogue release!
My books and buy links: http://authors.simonandschuster.com.au/Jenn-J-McLeod/404929874
Come home to the country . . .
Come say hello . . .
Thanks so much for being my guest today, Jenn. I can’t wait for your next books!