Please help me welcome today’s guest, Jeanne Skartsiaris – Is it just me, or are you also intrigued by her book title?
Good morning, Jeanne. Where did you get the idea for Dance Like You Mean It – Years ago my mom was watching a news magazine show. There was a punk rocker being interviewed. This rock star was a single mom who put the kids to bed, then went out and performed. She’d spike her hair, scream into a mic, and put duct tape on her nipples – and she was making millions. Mom, who raised four kids on her own (working two jobs) looked at me and said, “If I knew that was all I had to do to support you kids I would have done it a long time ago.” Ewww mom!
What is the most difficult thing about writing a book? Time. What was the most difficult thing about this one in particular? Learning the craft. The title “Dance Like You Mean It” was taken from an Irish proverb dance like no one is watching. We must learn to embrace life and not get bogged down in expectations and everyday chores. We need to step out of our comfort zones and jump into life. Sometimes we may land on our butts, but we get up, dust off and try again. It’s taken me more than 20 years to finish Dance Like You Mean It. I took a finished manuscript to NYC in 2002 through a writing class. All the agents and editors I met with loved the story but said my writing was awful. I took more classes, wrote a few more books and finally got Dance published this year.
Are there any tricks or habits you use when creating a story? I let the characters move the story forward. Sometimes they take hold of the plot and I can’t get them back to where they need to be. Really annoying! It can take some time to corral them but there was usually a reason they ran off – to make the story better.
What book(s) have you read that you wish you would have written? “The Great Santini” by Pat Conroy, “Me Talk Pretty One Day” by David Sedaris and “The Secret Life of Bees” by Sue Monk Kidd. Simple but powerful writing style.
Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it and how do you like it? I’m a sonogram tech by day – so I look at babies (and other stuff). Prior to that I was a medical photographer for a plaintiff’s law firm. I saw some awful pictures of many different kinds of accidents. It inspired me to write Surviving Life, a YA story about an overprotective mom and her teenage daughter.
What’s the main thing that you could get rid of in your life that would give you more time? Work, of course, though I enjoy it. I’d like to reduce my hours and spend more time writing (and taking beach vacations).
What do you want readers to come away with after they read Dance Like You Mean It? To enjoy life. Appreciate small moments. Even when the dishes and laundry are piling up – hold your babies and love the time you have.
What is your favorite quote? Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. John Lennon
What actors would you like in the main roles if your book were made into a movie? George Clooney just so I could meet him.
Thank you, Jeanne. I enjoyed getting to know you. Now, please tell us about your book…
What if you wrote a sexy bestseller – but couldn’t tell anyone?
What if you wrote a steamy, erotic novel that was so hot bookstores couldn’t keep it on their shelves? What if you couldn’t tell anyone you wrote it? With a mundane life as a nurse, a husband who is grazing other fields, and a daughter of an impressionable age, Cassie checks her horoscope one morning just for kicks and notices an article about romance novels and how profitable publishing could be if one could spin a good tale. She pens Wild Rose under a pseudonym and it flies to the top of the charts, is the talk of the town, and people are clamoring to know who the author is. What would her children think if they knew? Or her own mother, who ‘taught her better’, and worse, her husband who’d thought she’d turned back into a virgin since they’d not had sex in so long. How could she be thrown into the spotlight and still be a good mom. Wild Rose, Cassie’s caldron of prose, is woven through this story. Set it the 70s, it is the story of Rosemary, a beautiful photographer who wants to be recognized for her body of work, not her haunting beauty. Although, a modern woman, she is as adventurous sexually as she is with her camera and beds men like candy…until she falls in love. Both novels parallel each other as Cassie realizes Rosemary is not so different from her.
When not writing Jeanne Skartsiaris works as a Sonographer. Prior to that she was a medical/legal photographer for a plaintiff’s law firm. She attended creative writing courses at Southern Methodist University and is a member of Romance Writers of America’s local chapter, Dallas Area Romance Authors. Author of Surviving Life and Snow Globe, she lives in Dallas, Texas.
Contact links: Facebook: Jeanne Skartsiaris, author, http://www.jeanneskartsiaris.com @jeanneskartsiaris