Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today over coffee, Jeanette!
JM: You are so welcome! This is such fun–and an honor to be featured on your blog, Paula Marie.
PM: Have you always known you had the writing bug (and ability)?
JM: Well, as far as the writing bug goes, no. I’ve never been one of those uber-creative, prolific writers who has a steady stream of stories flowing out of her imagination. However, I’ve always had the ability to express myself in writing (even if just writing a letter.) That comes easily and naturally. I have learned I need to snuggle up close to the Creator when it’s time to write fiction. That’s when the magic happens.
PM: What was your most beloved book to read as a child?
JM: Oh, I had so many. I was literally one of those “under the covers” readers–devouring book after book. As a young child, I adored ”The Wizard of Oz.” Later, I discovered historical fiction and fell in love with ”The Bronze Bow” by Elizabeth George Speare. And that genre has been my favorite ever since.
PM: You mention your “second half adventure” in your bio – what are some of your favorite things about your “first half adventure” experiences?
JM: My first-half adventure was a rocky, tumultuous one. But high points: my first trip abroad in my junior year of college (an entire quarter in Europe and the Holy Land.) In my mid-twenties I spent six weeks at L’Abri in Switzerland trying to work through what I believed in. And I can say the births of my two children brought me great joy.
PM: Tell us what you enjoy doing the most when you are not writing or reading?
JM: That’s easy! I love to travel. We are so blessed to own a 5th wheel RV in which we spend the summer fishing in the Eastern Sierra Nevada. And three or four other times during year we find ourselves either in Hawaii or a beach somewhere else, in Arizona watching the Dodgers play Spring Training games, and visiting friends and family in other states. Retirement life is wonderful!
PM: Do you write stories more from your own experiences, or do you spend a lot of time doing research on the type of characters you’re creating?
JM: My inspiration comes from personal experiences–either mine or those of others. My brand is “writing authentic fiction,” a concept that, for me, goes deeper than getting the facts right. My stories have their roots entwined around real people, places, circumstances, struggles, and triumphs. In order to do this, I’m often compelled to probe into tender wounds and painful memories (sometimes my own) to be able to understand the motivations, the mistakes, and the subsequent glory that comprises the authenticity I am looking for and wanting to write about. Therefore, my stories are about heart issues that matter to me.
PM: If we were to open you your refrigerator right now, what would we find in it?
JM: Mostly healthy, low fat, high protein items and fresh fruits and veggies. I’m on a fitness regimen that is actually working. I’m only 3 lbs from my goal–so gotta stick with it!
PM: I know from your bio you have spent a great deal of time in Russia; can you tell us what the biggest draw is for you to keep returning there?
JM: Another easy question! The people! My friends there are so precious to me. I have been ministering in Russia for twenty years now. I’ve watched the children of my friends go from diapers to university. I’ve wept with joy and grief with them. They consider me as family and fill me with their hospitality and love. This coming May I will be making my 21st trip, taking along my debut novel set in the very city where these beautiful souls reside. They (those who speak English) have been waiting for several years for it.
PM: Who was your greatest influence when you decided to become an author?
JM: So hard to choose only one person. I’ve been a fairly regular conferee at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference for the past 15 years. But one year in particular, I was enrolled in a course taught by Bill Myers. His encouragement sparked the belief that I could write something worth reading. I clung to that as I muddled my way through the process of writing a novel–aided by so many others, who also have my eternal gratitude.
PM: How can readers keep up with you and your new releases?
JM: I have an author website: www.jeanette-morris.com My blog is there as well. I am also active on Facebook ( Jeanette Atwood Morris) and Instagram.
I welcome readers with open arms!
PM: Finally, coffee or tea? Cream, sugar?
JM: Coffee (decaf…) black in the morning. Herbal tea in the evening.