Author Spotlight Interview: Jeanne Felfe
Today’s interview is with author Jeanne Felfe. According to her official bio, Felfe writes character-driven stories from the heart, often defying genre-classification. She shared with us her journey to publication and the challenges she has overcome. It was a pleasure getting to know more about Jeanne’s writing style, and life outside of writing!
HG: How would you describe yourself to somebody who isn’t familiar with your writing yet?
JF: I’m a “life happens” kind of writer. Most everything I write has a real-world feel to it with strong female characters (never damsels in distress) in dramatic situations. While Bridge to Us is technically a romance, it leans toward women’s fiction.
HG: Wonderful. Tell us a bit about your publishing journey. How did you know you were ready to take on the “author” title?
JF: I’ve been an on-and-off-again writer for many years. It wasn’t until my mother passed in 2012 that I got serious. When a personal essay was selected in a writing contest and published, I “owned” the title of author.
HG: What have been the challenges you’ve faced in your publishing career?
JF: Sticking with it. After 5 years on the board of my writer’s guild, 2 years of Covid stress, and an autoimmune diagnosis, I burned out. That was near the end of March 2022. I took a long break, stepping aside from almost all things writing related. As I pen this, it’s mid-January 2023, and the only writing I’ve done is to work on my mother’s memoir. It’s almost ready to publish and I can feel the pull back to my own fiction. I need to come back to it with a joy I lost somewhere along the path.
HG: Thank you for sharing that with us. Is there anything you’d do differently? Advice to aspiring authors?
JF: This relates to the previous answer. What I’d do differently is to focus more on my own writing and less on all the writing-related-but-not-actually-writing things—board roles, freelance editing and book formatting, mentoring. While I still want to do some of those things, they aren’t writing, and during my down time, I’ve focused on what makes my creative brain tick, and have learned that she needs wide-open time without major commitments. My advice to aspiring authors is to be clear about your goals. What is it you are trying to accomplish? Do what you need to do to move toward that and try to block out some of the noise.
HG: Fantastic advice. Tell us a little bit about your actual writing process. Do you have a routine for where and when you write?
JF: I’ve been told I’m a strange duck. Ideas for stories, both long and short usually come to me in a flash. I get the main idea in a rush, usually with the main character, her dilemma, and the ending quickly. After that, I write scenes as they come to me—out of order, upside down, and sideways. My critique partners don’t understand how I make that work, but somehow, I do. As for where and when…I used to write longhand while sitting at the pool or on the couch. I will still do that sometimes when I’m stuck because my brain processes information differently typing on the laptop versus with pen and paper. But mostly, I write at my desk on a laptop whenever I decide to write.
HG: Very nice. Tell us a bit about your books. What can readers expect? What feeling do you hope readers are left with when they finish it?
JF: My published novel, Bridge to Us, is women’s fiction/romance. It’s all about 2nd chances and originally had a happily-ever-after-for-now ending. Readers didn’t like that, so I added a chapter with the HEA ending that totally works. My three published longer short stories are in three different genres. Love at Sea is also a 2nd chances romance, but with an older male character as the lead. It’s all about throwing caution to the wind and following a dream. Summer Song is the story of a young girl forced to start over after tragedy destroys everything she’s ever known. It’s a coming-of-age tale. And Edge of Life is a suspense/thriller—where nature is the villain.
HG: For fun, if Love at Sea were turned into a movie who would you cast?
JF: Tom (who is 55 years old) would be someone like Jeffrey Dean Morgan, George Clooney, or Dermot Mulroney. Suzette would be Emilia Clarke or Natalie Portman, because they are both tiny.
HG: Love all of those choices! What can you tell us about any other projects you have in the works?
JF: I’ve learned that my natural voice and interest is suspense/thrillers, so that’s what I’m working on now. I will publish under a pen name to keep them separate from my lighter fare. Out of the Cold is the first in a trilogy, and features a female FBI agent with a dark past who works cold cases.
HG: Wonderful. Keep us posted! Switching gears, what do you enjoy doing when not writing?
JF: Reading, of course. In season, hanging out at the pool (often reading or writing), travel, playing with my two pups.
HG: What was your last 5-star read?
JF: I just finished reading Lisa Unger’s The Stranger Inside and it is hands-down a 5-star. It’s a mystery with thriller elements and is one of those that grabbed me from page one and didn’t let go.
HG: Great! If you could ask your author idol one question, what would it be?
JF: That’s a tough one since my idols change on a regular basis. I think I’d ask Karin Slaughter if I could come live with her and read over her shoulder as she works.
HG: Great response. For fun, before we wrap up, let’s do a fast five! First one…cookies or cake?
JF: Why limit myself—both!
HG: Movie or book?
JF: A book unless my eyes are tired, and then a movie.
HG: Pool or ocean?
JF: Well, I have a pool, and love that, but I grew up on the Texas gulf coast, so my ultimate love has always been the ocean. I’m particularly fond of the eastern gulf coast.
HG: Introvert or extrovert?
JF: Total introvert, but can force myself to be an extrovert if I have to. It will cost me dearly in peopling points, but as president of my writer’s guild, I had to fake it, then go home and take a long nap.
HG: eBook, print book or audiobook?
JF: I listen to a LOT of audiobooks, so that’s #1. Then I alternate between ebook and print.
HG: For readers that want to find out more about your stories and keep up with you, where should they go to connect or learn more?
JF: My website is the easiest place to find everything. I spend the most time on Facebook and as far as I know, I’m the only Jeanne Felfe on there.
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Great interview! I enjoy memoir, and this sounds like a compelling read.
Great to hear you’re getting back into the writing mode! Can’t wait to read your Mother’s memoir!