The girls at WGR are thrilled to welcome multi-published author M. Jean Pike! Jean, thanks so much for agreeing to chat with us today.
1.) I noticed on your Authors Den website that you grew up in a big family in a very small town. Has your upbringing impacted your writing, and if so, how?
I think everyone’s upbringing impacts their adult life to some degree. Growing up in a family of six, you learn a lot of important life lessons very early on, like how to share, how to be a good sport, how to stand up for yourself, and mostly that it’s not always about you. Growing up in a small town, I learned to use my imagination to keep myself entertained. We had our church, our school, and a two-block business district that pretty much rolled up the sidewalks at five o’clock. Books were my favorite source of entertainment and I developed a love of reading and writing at a very young age.
2.) Who is your favorite author of all time, and who has influenced your writing the most?
John Steinbeck and John Steinbeck. No one has ever described their characters more aptly, or turned a phrase more beautifully.
3.) How did you get started as a writer?
I started writing poetry and short stories in high school just for fun. Somewhere around age thirty I realized I wanted more out of my writing than just personal entertainment. I spun my wheels for awhile in a vicious cycle of writing, submitting, and rejection letters. After a couple of years of that, I decided it was “now or never” and took a writing course through Long Ridge Writer’s Group. It was the best investment I ever made in my writing. My instructor showed me how to improve upon my strengths and overcome my weaknesses and my writing finally started to sell. With more than two hundred short stories and inspirational essays in print I decided it was time to move on to novel writing.
4.) What is the best part of the novel writing process?
I’ll be struggling along, inch by inch, page by page, and then suddenly, usually out of the blue, the story turns a corner and my characters start talking to me. I love that! After that point the story usually takes on a life of its own and often takes unexpected twists that surprise even me!
5.) What’s the worst part of the writing process?
That hazy, scary in-between place that begins around Chapter Five. That place where I go from, “I have the greatest idea…” to “Oh, God. I have absolutely no idea!”
6.) Tell us a little bit about your newest novel, Shadow Lake.
I’ve been criticized because some of my books, though love stories, did not contain traditional “happily-ever-after” endings. I tried really hard to do that in Shadow Lake. That’s not to say that the characters don’t have their moments J A contemporary romance, Shadow Lake takes on some very contemporary themes; depression, suicide, divorce. My characters are flawed people facing some very tough struggles, and I think that gives Shadow Lake the quality of realness that I strive for in all my stories.
7.) Say Shadow Lake was going to be made into a major motion picture and you got to choose the actors! Who would play Shane Lucy?
Oh dear! I don’t think anyone watches less movies than me. I’m pretty far out of the loop when it comes to who’s hot and who’s not these days, but the first person that comes to mind is a young Richard Geere (Think An Officer and a Gentleman!)
Who would play Emma?
For Emma I would choose someone whose beauty is the natural, down-to-earth kind. I’m picturing a redheaded Gwyneth Paltro!
8.) What’s next in the Love on the Lake Series?
The second book, Strange Magic, will be a paranormal romance of the ghost variety. I’ve strayed from the paranormal genre in my last two books and I’m so enjoying getting back into all things spooky!
9.) Where can readers go to find out all the latest MJP news?
Readers can visit my website at www.freewebs.com/mjeanpike or my blog at http://mjeanpike.wordpress.com. I also keep a site at Authors Den featuring news, reviews, and a number of my short stories, poems and inspirational essays. http://www.authorsden.com/jeanpike
Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Jean, and best of luck with the Love on the Lake series!