Thank you Adela Crandall Durkee for taking the time to interview me. Ms. Durkee is a lively, upbeat educated woman and it was a pleasure talking about writing and positive living with her. I recommend her blog, The Black Tortoise to you. You will enjoy her posts about photography, artists and encouraging stories. She has another blog where she shares her childhood.
Here is my interview.
Have you ever read books like Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson or Zapp the Lightning of Empowerment by William Byham and Jeff Cox? Well, Jena does for retirement what these authors do for corporate leaders. She leads the reader down a fun story that’s meant to enlighten and empower us through our Golden Age.
Even though Jena lives just a boat ride away, I got a chance to interview her via FaceTime. Okay, it’s not just a boat ride. I’d need to navigate Lake Michigan, go under the Mackinaw Bridge, south on Lake Huron and finally arrive at Lake Eerie. I guess it’s kinda like saying our golden years are a walk in the park.
Jena’s written two books about Charli and Pud McAntic. In her first book, The Golden Age of Charli: RSVP, Charli and Pud reconnect with kids, extended family and each other. In The Golden Age of Charli: BMI, you guessed it, Charli and Pud tackle their growing mid-sections. Possibly made worse from too much RSVPing.
Like me, Jena always loved to write, and unlike me, she always wanted write a book. I was quite content to write stories, until a story took over and became a book. Jena started writing in earnest a little over a year ago. He younger son just graduated from college, and “I just decided to do it.” she explained to me.
Like me, Jena did many things on her way to writing her books. She started as a speech therapist. Ten years later she went to law school, got married, and adopted her two sons. She liked the law, in theory, but not in practice. Still, she put her knowledge to use when she started volunteering and working for non-profits.
Hey, wait a minute. Doesn’t Charli volunteer, have two sons, and live near Lake Eerie?
Yes, indeed. Jena’s first book, though fiction, draws heavily on her real-life experiences. Her second book draws less on reality and more on fiction. Still, Jena’s husband fretted a bit when the fictional Charli seemed harsh to her fictional husband, Pud. Aww, ‘come on now, real-life-Jena-hubby, as I see it, that Pud had it coming.
Jena says she’s not as introspective as her character, Charli. “I just keep on going.” Charlie’s experiences are based as much on what she’s observed and what other people tell her, as it is on her own experience.
She originally thought she’d self-publish. Instead she is an Artisanal publisher. That’s what Guy Kawasaki calls it in his book, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book
Jena used a cafeteria-style publishing service that provided a variety of options, including developmental editing, editing, cover design, and marketing. “Getting published was much easier than I thought,” she told me. She started thinking that she’d write a document, because
Just like the two books mentioned in my first paragraph, Jena’s story-lines are easy to follow. At the same time, she wants to make us laugh and give us something to think about. Mission accomplished, Jena.
The next book in her series is The Golden Age of Charli: GPS. I bet you can guess what that’s about. I already know, cuz Jena told me. But I won’t spill the beans.
I am a writer, blogger, book reviewer, and bon vivant and encourager. I have lived my entire life in Tropical Ohio. My goal is to make friends with everyone in the world. I am writing a fiction series, The Golden Age of Charli, that presents the problems and praises, and the love and laughter of family life and retirement.
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