I am delighted to welcome Jeanna Ellsworth to my blog today! Jeanna is a new author friend, one I am SO pleased to have grown acquainted with this year. Much like me, Jeanna writes Austenesque novels with a positive message and hints of spirituality. I am fortunate to count myself in her circle of friends and on Austen Authors. Join me in welcoming Jeanna, enjoy her humorous interview, and be sure to comment/ask a question of your own for a chance to win her latest novel.
Jeanna Ellsworth is a mother of three daughters, all whom are well versed in Pride and Prejudice; they are her best friends and the inspiration for her writing. She also proudly states she is the eighth of thirteen children. When she isn’t blogging, gardening, cooking, or raising chickens—or more realistically, writing—she is thoroughly ignoring her house for a few hours at a time in order to read yet another romance novel. Somewhere between being a mom, sister, writer, and cook, she squeezes in three 12-hour shifts each week as a Registered Nurse in a Neurological ICU. She finds great joy in her writing and claims she has never been happier.
Jeanna fell in love again with Jane Austen when she was introduced to the incredible world of Jane Austen inspired fiction. She can never adequately thank the fellow authors who mentored her and encouraged her to write her first novel. Through writing, Jeanna has gained something that no one can take away from her: hope for her own Mr. Darcy. More than anything, she hopes to prepare her three best friends to look for their own Mr. Darcy and to settle for nothing less.
Jeanna’s works include: Mr. Darcy’s Promise, Pride and Persistence, To Refine Like Silver, Hope For Mr. Darcy, and Hope For Fitzwilliam. She is eagerly working on her first attempt at an original Regency romance novel: Inspired By Grace.
An Interview with Jeanna Ellsworth ~~
Do you have a “day job” other than writing?
A lot of my readers know that I am a nurse. In fact, when people ask me what I do for a living, I ask them, “Are you talking about my day job or my night job?” At first a few of the newer acquaintances, who don’t know me as the straight arrow that I am, get nervous. Dare I ask what her night job is? Well to set the record straight, and to accurately maintain my reputation, I do not have a clandestine night job as a stripper, unless you take into account that I regularly strip patients of their pride when I bathe them. Yes, I work nights as a nurse in a Neurological ICU. So my day job would be? . . . First and foremost, a mother and then an author, gardener, landlord, and I volunteer in my church––all crammed into my days off. Whew! I am having night-shift flashbacks! I know all too well how the craziness is, Jeanna. Hang in there!
What hobbies or pastimes do you partake in to relax?
Writing has become my Xanax. I was feeling overwhelmed a few months back and I called my sister, Betsy, to vent. She is a structural engineer and owns her own business so one would think she would be very logical but she was blessed with both logic and empathy, hence the reason I called her to vent. She listened for a while and then asked one question of me. She asked, “When was the last time you wrote anything?” I told her it had been 6 weeks since I finished Hope For Fitzwilliam. She gently told me that she thought I needed to write and not to delay it one more day. So I did. Suddenly my problems became solvable and I was no longer stressing about all the things I needed to do in such a short amount of time. I learned that if I take time to write, all the little things fit nicely into the cracks and crevices of what is left over. I adore reading and am known to read 2 books in a day some days. I am somewhat of a binge reader. Once I finish writing a book, I feast on all the other books that came out while I was writing. I call this “research”. I also recently learned to love running. Since I have so much going on in my life, I used to only run because it was the most efficient use of my time (it burned the most calories), but I have really loved it lately and run about 4 miles a couple of times a week. I solve many problems by heading in the right direction and simply putting one foot in front of the other (my most recent life motto). That is excellent advice. I thank you, and Betsy, for it.
Do you have any tattoos? If you had to get a tattoo, what would it be and where would you place it?
So, to answer this question I have to explain that as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we are encouraged not to get tattoos or have more than one set of piercings in the ears and nowhere else. But, I must be pagan at heart because I have considered a tattoo. In fact, once I hit 80, I may get it on my birthday. It would be on my sternum right about the nipple line. It would be three beautiful letters, each pushing up daisies, in decorative calligraphy, “DNR”. For those of you who do not know, that means “Do Not Resuscitate”. I have seen far too many brutal codes as a nurse and it rarely, rarely (did I say rarely?) turns out good. I’m all for giving the patient a fighting chance, and I regularly am the patient advocate for them, but if it was me in that bed, please let me die comfortable and quietly. Talk to almost any nurse and they will tell you the same thing. Indeed, this nurse can concur. Although, in my line of work as a Neonatal ICU RN the outcomes were often better since babies have their lives ahead of them. Still, in some cases the hard choice is the best one.
Share your top pet peeves.
Oh! I have three! I get along with most people, but come at me with arrogance, deceit, or entitlement and you get to see this peacock flare her colors. My worst nights as a nurse are when the patient or family members think that Dr. Google is smarter than me (arrogant) or that my time is theirs to dictate (entitled) or when they say one thing to me and another to someone else. So please do not think the internet knows more than your medical team, say thank you to your nurse, and tell them the truth about what happened to you because the truth shall set you free! We think EXACTLY the same on this! Nothing wrong with getting info, just please realize that the expert medical staff knows all the particulars.
What is your writing environment like?
My favorite time to write is on TRAX commuter train to and from work. It is a solid hour commute and I can just about count on 6 hours a week to write if I do this. I love the people-watching and the melodic woman’s voice that states what stop is next –it is somewhat mind-numbing and I tune everything out. I have been known to come across the need for a new character’s name and I lean over to the stranger next to me and ask them their name. From that moment on, they are immortalized as a character. I usually only do this for minor characters in whom I do not need to keep track of personality traits or physical characteristics. I have probably done this 4-5 times now.
What is your most embarrassing moment?
I have two. One for each job.
- I almost submitted a book to be reviewed by a publisher with two glaring errors! I said that I write Jane Austin inspired romance novels (instead of Austen). Luckily I caught it or I’d look pretty silly. I don’t think I have ever made that error before. Serves me right for trying to write a cover letter at 3:30 in the morning.
- I once helped silence an IV pump that was beeping in the room on the other side of the nurse’s station. In the ICU, every patent wears hospital a gown. This particular patient with the alarming IV pump was wearing stripped pajamas. I had been having such a calm shift that my mood was a little elevated. The patient smiled at me as I entered the room, which was nice too since he seemed pleasant and so I teased him, (dub in valley-girl voice here) “I love your pajamas! You look like a jailbird! Where did you get those? I gotta get me a pair of them!” It was then that I saw his wife, who was sitting across the room, and that she happened to have a gun on her. It all happened in slow motion then. It dawned on me that she was not a wife, but an officer, his leg was chained to the bed, and the stripped pajamas were actually prison garb. I didn’t have time to process all the information and install my filter before I said, “You are a jailbird!” Ya – I dyed my hair blonde during those years but it wouldn’t have been necessary since the entire floor heard me tell the prisoner that I admired his stripped pajamas and that I really needed to get me a pair just like them. Oh My! I am ROTFLMAO!!!
Do you plot your stories carefully, let the story flow organically as the characters speak to you, or something in between?
I used to plot them carefully; my plot outlines were three pages long. Then I wrote this great spontaneous scene in Mr. Darcy’s Promise that ended up being my favorite of the whole book. I don’t know why I veered away from the outline, but once I did, I found that I really enjoyed going with my muse. My favorite excuse for causing angst in the reader now is “the characters made me do it”. Now my plot outlines are sometimes less than a page because I know where to start, what stops to make along the way, and where I want to end up. After that, it all comes out with the flying fingertips. Sometimes a scene will play out so detailed right before I write that I cannot document it fast enough. This happened once when I was at work. I knew I had a crucial scene to write. It would take a total of about 90 minutes of writing, there was 9 hours left in the shift. I have a general rule that in my down time at work, I allow myself to edit what I have written or rewrite something but I do NOT write at work. (Before and after on TRAX for sure). Nevertheless, the night was very slow and I had two super easy patients that didn’t even need to be in the ICU. The next scene was hammering away in my head. I debated whether to try to write it. And I made the choice to do it, “Surely I can squeeze in a few short stretches of writing!”. It was only going to be about a 2 page scene and I felt like I could do it with the little distractions from alarms or needs of the patient. Unfortunately I got 3 paragraphs into it and I get notified by my computer that the battery was at 5%! The scene was practically writing itself and I was stuck for the next 8 hours without being able to document it! I had to write it down! I was nearly in a panic until I remembered I had an iPad to jot down the scene. Once I finished (it only took an hour total) I sat back and thought, “What would I have done without my iPad?” Then I started giggling . . . I hadn’t once thought in the midst of my panic that I could have used pencil and paper! Yes, I’m one of those writers. Laptop with me all the time. Pathetic, but it is quicker than handwriting!
Do you feel your novels have a “message” or particular point within them? Or do you write more for entertaining fun?
Hopefully I do both. I love to have a metaphor or two that the reader has to figure out along the way. I give clues throughout it to guide them in the right direction. I feel like I have a lot to learn as a writer. I know I am weak in certain areas and I am working on those weaknesses, but I love to have morals to the story and think this is one of my strengths.
Tell us what is next on your writer’s agenda.
I plan to write the next book in the Hope Series. I wrote Hope for Mr. Darcy, Hope for Fitzwilliam, and my next project will be Hope for Georgiana. I have a lot of research to do before I can start writing this book.
Thank you Sharon for having me on your blog! You had some fabulous questions and it was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed myself! I am giving away either an eBook (internationally) or paperback (U.S. only) of To Refine Like Silver, my latest release, to one lucky commenter on the interview. I love to connect with my readers so like my author’s page or the pages for each of the books that have been published.
It has already been a pleasure having you on the blog, Jeanna, and the day is only beginning! Everyone, since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, Jeanna’s post will be open for comments and a chance to win a copy of her book through to next Tuesday, December 2. Jeanna will pop in as she can, as will I, but bear with us as the holiday fun overwhelms!
To Refine Like Silver, released October 4, 2014
If Mr. Darcy had met Elizabeth Bennet in his beloved Derbyshire, would he have recognized her as the love of his life instead of dismissing her as someone “not handsome enough to tempt” him? This alteration of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice adds a little spirit, flirtation, and charm to everyone’s favorite characters.
Early in the summer of 1811, Elizabeth Bennet travels to Derbyshire to help her aunt and uncle settle in as new owners of Saphrinbrooke. Elizabeth is soon introduced to the estate’s nearest neighbors: Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and his sister, Georgiana, who is suffering the results of a fateful trip to Ramsgate. Having endured several life tragedies herself, Elizabeth reaches out to the young lady of Pemberley. Under her radiant influence, both Darcy and Georgiana begin to look for help outside of themselves.
To Refine Like Silver is a romantic and spiritual journey where more than one of our favorite Regency characters must learn to fully rely on God. Their trials bring depth to the beloved story, and Mr. Darcy ultimately learns that our trials do not define us; rather they refine us.