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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Jesi Lea Ryan -Interview

Yesterday I posted my review of Jesi Lea Ryan's new novel "Four Thousand Miles". Today I have the pleasure of bringing you my interview with Jesi. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


KP: Have you always wanted to be a writer? Was there ever a time when that writing dream was deferred?

Jesi:  I remember wanting to be a writer as a child.  In fact, I published a children's book when I was eight years old called Grump: The Skump Who Ate Liver.  (Don't worry; no one else has heard of it either.)  But as I grew older, I didn't think a career in writing was practical.  I grew up in a poor family, and I thought that limited my options.  I sort of thought the only people who could be writers were those with families who could help support them until they made their way.  I majored in Creative Writing and Literature in college, because I was interested in it, not because I thought it would lead to a career.  After college, I entered the insurance industry and gave up writing for about a decade.  In 2009, my insurance position was downsized, and I suddenly found myself at a crossroads.  After plenty of discussion with my husband, I decided to give writing a shot.

KP: On your website you share that you lost your job in 2009, how did you find the courage to use that seemingly bad situation as a catalyst for your writing career.

Jesi: I think in general, I am a positive person.  Of course I felt bad about losing my job, because I loved it, but rather than dwelling on what I couldn't have, I decided to look ahead to new opportunities.  I treated myself to a one day pity-party.  I took one day off work to cry and throw things and curse the unfairness of it all.  Then, I picked myself up, dusted myself off and made the decision to move on.  I always wanted to try to write a novel, so that is what I set myself on course to do.

KP:  How did the idea for "Four Thousand Miles" come to you? What do you hope readers take away from the book?

Jesi:  Shortly before losing my job, my husband and I went on vacation to England.  I completely fell in love with the place!  Anyway, we were staying at Elvey Farm, a bed & breakfast in Kent (http://elveyfarm.co.uk/), and I began to day dream about how wonderful it would be to abandon my life in the States and stay there permanently.  Again, I'm too practical to actually do that, but I could create a fictional character to runaway to England for me. 

Most readers would see Four Thousand Miles as an escapist read, and it is, but if I were to attach a higher moral lesson to it that I want readers to take away from the book, I'd say that life is not a straight line.  Sometimes it gets off track and sends you into new directions.  Rather than getting depressed and scared about it, look at it as a new opportunity.

KP: What lessons have you learned about life through the writing and publishing of this book? What lessons have you learned about yourself?

Jesi: If someone wants to be a writer, they need to view writing as a reward in itself.  You can't count on getting rich or famous or on the bestseller list, and you have to be okay with that.  What have I learned about myself?  I really like being able to wear pajamas all day.  :)

KP: Why do you think so many people wait so long to change the direction of their lives, even when their current circumstances aren't working?

Jesi: I think most people are scared of change.  They don't have enough self-confidence to take chances.  I guess I understand that, but I can't relate at all.  I've just never been that way.  I see life as a journey.  It's too short to waste in an unhappy marriage, a dead-end job or stuck in your hometown. 

KP:  Do you have any advice for someone who wants to start over, or go after their second chance?

Jesi: Change can be scary and uncomfortable, but really, what is the worst that can happen?  I know that no matter what, I will not starve.  I will not lose the love of the people who matter most to me.  If all else fails, my mother has a room in her basement for me, my husband and my two kitties, so I will never be homeless.  If people just focus on the positive advantages to change rather then all of the "what if's," some really great things might happen.
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You can follow Jesi on twitter @Jesilea.

4 comments:

  1. inspirational interview for those of us with writing ambitions and 'real' jobs and the review seems like a good read for someone who enjoys travel when they can't get away; definitely have to check it out.

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  2. Very good message in there!

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  3. Thanks for having my on your blog!!!

    Jesi

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  4. The pleasure was all mine. Thank you,Jesi!

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