Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Interview with Author, Jane Still

Jane Still

1. Did you always know that you were a writer? Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

What really motivated me to start writing my books was jealousy. However, all of my life, I have enjoyed writing whenever inspiration hit. The problem was it usually came out as bad poetry. In high school, I admired people who could write total nonsense but make it sound intelligent.

2. What have you done to develop your craft? Do you take writing classes, or go to seminars on writing? Do you belong to a critique group?

I started my own writers group and invited a few friends including the friend I was jealous of. She had a couple of stories published in different magazines. The next thing I did was to attend LDS StoryMakers.

3. What inspired you to write your first book, Mother’s Daze?

When I started writing, my stories had some natural humor in them, but I had no idea what I would do with them or what my genre would be. My inspiration for my Mother’s Daze Series came out of the blue one evening in the middle of my writers group. The idea just washed over me, title included. I knew it was inspired. I just haven’t figured out the why yet.

4. Is there a message in your writing that you want readers to grasp?

The message from my book would be, ‘isn’t it great to be a mom.’ We need to laugh at ourselves, relax a little and enjoy the wild and crazy ride of motherhood. I find it interesting in the reviews of The Crazy Daze of Motherhood that people take away hope, inspiration, relief, and simply a good old fashioned belly laugh.

5. Are the experiences highlighted in your Mother’s Daze series based on someone you know or events in your own life?

Unfortunately, I have to admit that the experiences highlighted in my series are absolutely based on me. Isn’t it sad? One of my stories, “Nightmare on Elm Street,” also includes a little piece of my friend Chantelle’s life. But, pretty much I write what I live and find that most people can relate. They just have enough dignity not to advertise it.

6. Who designed the beautiful cover of The Crazy Daze of Motherhood?

My publisher, Cedar Fort, designed the cover, but the picture on my first book, Mother’s Daze was taken from an illustration in the book by my illustrator, Matt Kelly. Isn’t he great?

7. Do you read much? What books/and or authors have influenced your life most? What book(s) are you reading now?

I devoured books when I was growing up, but now I am pathetic and don’t read anywhere near the number of books a good writer should read. At the moment, I do happen to be reading, Sorcerers and Seers from Chris Heimerdinger, and 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. I have been reading these for over a month now—which says lots for my time. When reading is high on my priority, I pick books on politics and history or books that expand my spirit. When I need inspiration on my voice, I always pick up Erma Bombeck.

8. What are your current projects?

Are you talking about writing projects? LOL. I am working on quilt blocks, home school projects for my grandchildren, gardening, the class I teach every morning at 6:30 a.m., a class for LDS Story Makers, marketing the Crazy Daze of Motherhood, and writing my third book, Driving Me Crazy.

9. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in writing?

When I started writing, the biggest challenge was to color outside the lines. If it didn’t happen exactly that way, I could not put it in my stories. It took a lot of help from my writers group, and my brother, to realize that my stories could still be based on actual events and thoughts, yet I could put a little creative twist into then, when I needed to.

10. Do you have to travel much to promote your book(s)?

I grew up in Canada, so with my first book, Mother’s Daze, I did go back home to promote my book. I stopped at little shops along the way and sold some books. I also hit the tourist spots at the local beaches. With my second book, I opted to travel virtually with a blog tour. I think the blog tour is more productive and doesn’t cost a dime for gas.

11. What was the hardest part of writing your book(s)?

Funny you would ask. By the time I was finished writing, I felt like my book was lame and absolutely not funny. I turned it in and hoped for the best. It is also hard sometimes to put humor on paper, like it is in my head. Sometimes, it has taken me half an hour to write a story, and sometimes, it has taken months.

12. Have you ever felt like ‘throwing in the towel’?

Absolutely! Life gets so hectic I wonder if I have my priorities right, and if I can really find the time to write. I ask myself how I would feel if I quit? Then I write something that people love to laugh at it, and I know it’s worth it.

13. Do you have any advice for other writers?

My advice might be different than what most writers would say. I agree that you should find your passion and live it. My passions are: loving my family, loving life, and doing whatever uplifts me. Writing is fun, but I don’t have to do it to feel fulfilled. There are so many things to excel at in life. My fulfillment comes from loving whatever I am doing, and knowing that I could give up anything and move on to something else, if I felt called to it. I think that if we can’t give something up then it has too much control over our lives—barring things like family and religion obviously. And there you have it!—my own Crazy Daze philosophy.

To purchase Jane's delightful book go to: