Jennifer Jones: Author Interview for The Ram Boutique
Jennifer Jones is the first author selected for The Ram Boutique: Volume 2, set to be published April 2017 by River Ram Press! She was kind enough to participate in an interview with our staff to give us-and you- a chance to get to know her better. Jennifer’s selected work, Guitar Picks and Ghosts shows a true talent for conveying complicated imagery and delving into deep human emotions.
- First of all, who are you as a person: where are you from, what do you do, what are you doing?
Oh, wow! I am so many things. The list could go on forever! Haha. It’s taken me my full forty revolutions around the sun to come to this conclusion. I am a girl trapped in a woman’s body, I am a lover (of God, all people, nature, words, ideas, art, food–just life, in general!), a daughter, a wife, a mother, a friend, a goofball, a major geek, and a dreamer. I am a writer. Most of all, I am blessed…and I try, every day, to be a blessing. I reside in the New River Valley area of Virginia–Christiansburg, precisely–but I grew up in southern West Virginia. My roots are both there and here. I’m like a dandelion. Everywhere that I’ve lived, I’ve taken root and sprouted. I live, I serve, I take care of my family and our home, I write, I work as a sales rep for Milo’s Tea Company, and I share a recent start-up small batch coffee roasting business–Open Road Roastery–with my business partner and husband. (He roasts the coffee, I shake the hands and kiss the babies. Haha.) As far as what I am doing, I am enjoying each and every day and every aspect of this crazy, beautiful thing known as life.
- Can you tell us about your background as a writer?
I’ve written since before I was even able to form words. I would speak my thoughts out loud to my parents, or to myself, as I was a shy kid. I was an early reader, and I was drawn to poetry from the get-go. My mom read to me from Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, and I, in turn, would read to her. I was awestruck by that book! I used to sit my parents down in my playroom area of our basement and improvise poetry. Or I would make up silly songs in my head and draw pictures to accompany them.
I wrote my first short story in first grade–about a hippo losing his snowshoes. I still have it. It rocks. Haha. I was always drawn to literary assignments in elementary school. In fourth grade, my class had to memorize Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken.” I remember all of the other kids were mortified, but I was in heaven! I held onto that poem, and it’s been a huge part of my own journey–so much so, that I included it in my first “adult” self-published book, The Healing Heart.
Later on, my mother enrolled me in summer creative writing workshops in a neighboring town, and it was like the world opened up to me. I was amazed that other people in my area–not just lofty, seemingly untouchable authors–enjoyed writing the way that I did! For seven consecutive summers, I learned so much…so many different styles. Those workshops supported my creativity. They showed me that possessing it was even more of a blessing than I could’ve imagined.
Fast forward many years: after college and jobs and marriage and a daughter and pets and responsibilities, I had stopped writing. The creativity was still there, flowing underneath the rest, but the time simply wasn’t. I hated it. So, in a rebellious moment in 2009, I wrote and vanity press published a children’s book. I wanted my daughter to have words of mine to hold in her hands. For a few years, no pun intended, that was all she wrote, folks! (Ba dum tch!) Only after my father passed away in March of 2012 did reality smack me in the face. Life is truly too short. That April, I began writing The Healing Heart. I haven’t looked back, since. Many publications later, both self-induced and submitted/solicited, and I’m still at it. 🙂
- Where did the idea for this piece come/how do you get inspired to write?
The idea just came to me, as many often do–as a product of randomness. I could see Audrey in my mind, standing in her sundress and combat boots and leaning against a fence surrounding an athletic field behind a sprawling, red brick school. I could see her face just like I knew her…and suddenly, I did know her. (Her face looked like one of my daughter’s acquaintances at school, which, I’ll admit, helped.) Next, I could hear her boyfriend’s (aka: he who shall not be named) voice in my mind. In a snap, I could see him, too, so I stopped what I was doing, and it all just flowed. I love, love, love to write in 1st person narrative, so it was easy. That’s usually how I become inspired to write…I’ll see a character in my mind, or more often, I’ll hear them speak a phrase, and BANG!
- What do you think is your ideal place and time to write?
I have found that my most creative and inspired writing times are when I’m traveling. (Not always ideal, per se, and a bit weird, but I’m weird, so that’s totally okay!) Driving or riding on a road trip, flying in a plane, wherever, whenever–that’s when the juices begin to flow. Perhaps this is because those are the only times that I allow myself to sit still. Life is so crazy busy–and I’m a putterer by nature, to begin with–so I rarely afford myself that luxury. Even when I do, my brain is constantly working. But when I travel, I’m alone with my thoughts. I don’t listen to the radio at length, or if I do, it’s 1920’s-40’s music, which provides a HUGE creative jolt for me! I sync with the beauty that surrounds me, also hugely inspiring. And on planes, I people watch, and voila–characters form.
- Finally, why do you write?
I write because I have no choice. If I didn’t, I would go crazy from all of the characters speaking to me in my head! Haha. Seriously, writing is a part of me–just like my weird toes or my blue eyes. It is not what I do. It is who I am.
Thank you so much to Jennifer for sharing these insights with us! We are so glad to be working with her on The Ram Boutique Literary Journal, and we hope you stay tuned to catch her work -and many others- in our April 2017 publication. If you would like to submit your work to stand alongside Jennifer’s, visit The Ram Boutique’s website for more details! Find more info and ways to read Jennifer’s work at her website www.wowjenwrites.net.
Jennifer Jones is an author, reader, foodie, art lover, and accidental coffee snob who currently resides with her husband, teenage daughter, and Napoleon-esque dog in the New River Valley of Virginia. Her works have been published in The Best of Poetry Project 2014 from Fray’d Tag Publishing, the anthology Silver Lining from Baer Books Press, the poetry compilation Crashing Waves from Swyers Publishing, and will be featured in the upcoming edition of From The Depths from Haunted Waters Press. For more information, as well as links to her various social media platforms, please visit Jennifer’s website: www.wowjenwrites.net.