Facing modern problems when her lifelong romance with a Greek artist is closely examined by their children after a child she gave up for adoption dies. The Liberation of Ravenna Morton captures the small-town dynamic of a family’s private secrets being exposed to the world. A poignant look at the melding of two Americanized cultures observed under a microscope.
Today I’m happy to present Suzanne Jenkins, whose book, “The Liberation of Ravenna Morton” I really enjoyed. It is a captivating , well written book. I’ve attached my review at the end of this feature.
But the interview first. Hello Suzanne, welcome to my blog.
Thomas, thank you so much for having me. It’s an honor.
Please tell my readers, how did you come to writing?
I wrote my first story at age 7. My parents were struggling financially and it made such a huge impact on me, I wrote a little story. I remember distinctly writing about my mother’s lament of not having enough food for us. I should say I was a chubby little girl. I showed the story to my grandmother, who in turn showed it to my great grandfather who was a Greek Poet of some renowned. He read it and looked at me and said in Greek, “She doesn’t look like she’s missed a meal.” Lol! So much for his encouragement.
How did you come up with your stories?
They just come to me. I might experience something that inspires me, but the writing itself is never about the actual element.
You have created great characters. Which one is your favourite?
I love Ravenna’s children, but I really love Michael. He’s one of those beautiful men who are too weak for their own good and succumb to substance abuse. Poet James Kavanagh wrote a poem titled There are Men too Gentle to Live Among Wolves and Michael’s character was inspired from it. (very loosely )
Who would you cast to play the characters in a movie?
Ravenna has so many children, I don’t know where to begin with casting. But for her I see someone who hasn’t had plastic surgery. She’s an athletic seventy something Native American woman. Maybe Mary Sternbergen or Debra Winger. For husband Michael, someone like Omar Shariff. You can see my actor and actress knowledge was stalled in about 1980.
Are you like any of the characters (and how so)?
Not that I can see. I’m sure there are elements of me but nothing specific.
Were the plot and subplots completely planned from the start or did they change during the process, and if so, how?
I never know what I’m going to write. I get this idea in my head and it unfolds as I write. I rarely know ahead of time what will happen, so outlining isn’t practical. I might go back and delete huge portions of writing later. I recently read that a writer should never delete anything. Take it out if you must, but save it elsewhere. I have lots of pieces of writing saved on my computer for that reason.
What is your main reason for writing?
I’m simply compelled to tell a story. However, if the stories aren’t read, there’s little satisfaction in it for me.
What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?
Wow, I don’t even know where to start. I guess the best are having a following that look forward to more stories. The worst is having a story or a character misunderstood. That’s really painful.
How do you balance marketing one book and writing the next?
I don’t and I’m paying the consequences even as I write this. Marketing (in my experience,) is a continuous process. I promised myself today I would spend time marketing and having been given the opportunity to be interviewed is my first attempt to do so. Thank you.
What do you do when you don’t write?
I really don’t do anything but write. When I’m forced to take a break by my husband, we visit our children and grandchildren. We have one kid on each coast and go back and forth across the country in an RV. I write the entire trip.
What else would you like us to know about yourself and your books?
They are from my heart. I just write! I don’t scheme or try to get a reaction.
Who are your editors and how do you quality control your books?
That’s a big issue for me right now. I no longer use an editor. Writing six books a year and charging so little, I don’t make enough money to pay for editing. My first six books were professionally edited, one of them several times, and in the negative reviews for those books, editing was mentioned repeatedly so editing is no guarantee for me that it will make the book better. I use a proofreader and beta readers who offer suggestions and opinions.
How have you found the experience of self-publishing? What were your highs and lows?
I love it. I can write as much as I want, have control over every aspect. The lows are knowing there is a point that I can’t take a book any further without an agent or publisher unless I get lucky.
What do you like best about writing? What’s your least favourite thing?
I love everything about it. The only negatives are those things I put on myself, not having the discipline to stay off the internet is a big one.
What is your advice to new indie writers?
Keep writing! That’s key.
Who are your favourite independent writers?
Bill Cronin, Patrick H. Moore, Uvi Poznansky, Joan Donaldson, of course Hugh Howey. I could keep going.
Who are your favourite authors?
James Theroux, Stephen Ambrose, Daphne Du Maurier. PD James, Maeve Binchey, Anita Shreve, Pearl Buck.
What is your favourite book?
The Good Earth
What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?
Funeral for an Owl ebook
What makes you laugh?
Just human beings having honest dialogue. It’s the best.
What (not who) would you like to take to a lonely island?
Paper and pencil
Who would you like to invite for dinner?
Summer or winter? Winter
Ice cream or cake? Ice Cream
What would your friends say are your best and your oddest quality?
Probably my compassion is the best and wanting to be a hermit the oddest.
What would you chose as those qualities?
The same. I’m getting worse in my old age to want isolation.
Tell us about your other books please.
I write Pam of Babylon series and that’s fun because I know the characters so well, by the 13th book they’re like old friends. The Greektown/Detroit Detective Stories are compelling because I get to satisfy my curiosity about police work as I’m researching.
What song would you pick to go with your book?
How do you handle criticism of your work?
Not well. My solution is to not read reviews any longer. That is life changing. I had no idea the power they were having over me.
Suzanne writes page-turning contemporary romance, mystery, and women’s fiction with passionately gripping characters that stay with readers long after they turn the last page. The Detroit Detective Stories, beginning with The Greeks of Beaubien Street are a reflection of American fantasy with historical reality. Pam of Babylon books consistently rank in the Top 100 Best Sellers in American Drama with over 500,000 downloads.
Suzanne’s stand alone novels include Someone Like You, the Family/LGBT themed Alice’s Summertime Adventure, suspenseful The Savant of Chelsea, Slow Dancing, The Liberation of Ravenna Morton and Perfect for Him, her latest romance story. “Bring the tissues,” readers say.
Her books appear in the boxed sets, At Odds with Destiny and A Touch of Passion.
Burn District, Jenkins new sci/fi series, follows an American family as they flee from political insanity to save their lives in the Arizona Desert.
Her short story, Vapor appeared in Willow Review, Spring 2013.
A retired operating room nurse, Jenkins divides her time between the west Michigan lakeshore, the Brandywine River Valley, and the mountains of Southern California
Links to Social Media:
My Website: http://suzannejenkins.net
My Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Suzanne-Jenkins/e/B005CRQC5I/
My Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/suzannejenkinswriter
My Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/suzannejenkins3
My Linkedin Page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/suzanne-jenkins-51402738
My Pinterest Page: https://www.pinterest.com/writerjenkins/
My Instagram Page: https://www.instagram.com/suzannejenkinswriter/
The Liberation of Ravenna Morton, by Suzanne Jenkins, has already garnered one hundred and thirty eight customer reviews on Amazon. That fact alone places this book in the category of extraordinary, when one considers that Amazon has over 5 Million books on offer!
The Editorial Reviews
Poignant and rich, April 13, 2015
An amazing story that gives voice to a complex family drama, set in a beautiful area of Michigan that is loved by countless visitors. I could hear the swish of the reeds, the ripples around the boat traveling down the Kalamazoo River. For those who love Saugatuck Michigan, this is a story to cherish. Joan Donaldson, Award-winning author of the beloved On Viney’s Mountain.
Tear Jerker, April 15, 2015
The heartache and decision one makes effects generation upon generation of family that are so subtle. But getting in touch with oneself as Ravenna did and telling the truth helped her family heal, teaching us that we can still have a chance to change our lives. Tomomi Kido