My final review of the day is a Meet the Author interview of course! I’m chatting with J. Schlenker about past-life regression, love at first sight, must read books, her most recent book, The Innkeeper on the Edge of Paris and more…
Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I began writing late in life. I was at the retirement point and asked my husband what he thought I should do. We were organizing a bookshelf and came across a notebook of poems I had written in high school. He said, “Why don’t you write?”
I had never even considered writing a book.
Most of my life had been involved in art. Before writing, I was a fiber artist. Now, I weave stories.
Other than writing, I love nature. We live out in the country. The furthest neighbour is ½ mile away. I love that. Lots of peace and quiet for writing.
What inspired you to start writing and where do you get your ideas?
My husband has been my inspiration. At least, he started me on this path. As far as my ideas go, they usually have something to do with my life in some way. A couple of books resulted from past-life regressions. I have actually had past-life readings for ideas. Of course, I alter them greatly. When I’m on a roll, the words flow. Sometimes, I think I’m channelling.
I never thought I would write a fantasy. One day, while walking out in the woods near our house, these animals started talking to me, in particular, a peacock and a lion. As soon as I got back to the house I think I kicked out at least 10,000 words. This book was A Peculiar School.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Months or longer, I seem to average one or two a year.
Which book, out of all the books you have written, is your favourite and why?
That is so hard. That is like saying which child is your favorite. It’s always the one I’m working on at the time. Sally is the most popular, and the one I worked the longest on. It is inspired by the life of Sally Ann Barnes 1858-1969. She was born into slavery. I met her when she was 103 years old and I was eight years old. I spent seven years off and on researching her life. My husband was a great help with that.
A Peculiar School is the only one I want to do sequels to. I have fell in love with the animal characters. On 9/4/20 I finished the first draft of Birds of a Feather and sent it to my beta reader (why I’m getting this in so late to you, sorry… I have barely looked up from writing). In this book, the animal characters are people. And the lead character, Ethel Sharma, who is Ethel Peacock in A Peculiar School begins writing A Peculiar School.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Be an artist
If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go and why? (Backwards or forwards!)
I’ve often thought of that. As far as my personal life goes, I would start over in first grade. I would study, study, study, mostly read, and practice kindness, and do better with relationships. Work on having one of those karma-free lives, if that is possible.
At the moment, though, I would probably go back to my grandmother’s time in my hometown. I’ve started a book concerning her, and I know very little.
Name one book you think everyone should read and tell us why?
Autobiography of a Yogi I love Yogananda. I discovered him twenty years ago and devoured books by him and about him. There are a lot of Indian references in my books. Also, they are of a spiritual nature.
What’s your favourite film of all time and why?
Somewhere in Time I love time travel, especially time-travel love stories. Also, the fact is stars Christopher Reeves doesn’t hurt.
Sorry, can’t stop with one movie. Two really weird ones I like are My Dinner with Andre and The wall (the German movie, not the Pink Floyd one which I haven’t even seen even though that is one of my husband’s favorite groups).
Do you believe in love at first sight?
Yes, happened with my husband.
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
My most recent book is The Innkeeper on the Edge of Paris. It was actually the second book I started but put it aside. My first book was Jessica Lost Her Wobble, published in December 2015. The next was The Color of Cold and Ice, then The Missing Butler and Other Life Mysteries (A Collection of Short Stories), Sally, A Peculiar School, and Alice Black.
final words from chelle…
Thank you so much for coming over and chatting to me. It’s so wonderful that it was love at first sight with your husband, and that he continues to support and inspire you! I think it’s brilliant too that you use write based on past life regressions too – I’d love to have that done. I’ll definitely be sure to check out your wonderful sounding books!
Lovelies, if you have any questions or comments then you know what to do!
Have a wonderful day and I’ll be back tomorrow