Monday, October 17, 2016

Bookish Confessions of Jenny Jaeckel, author of For the Love of Meat



Jenny Jaeckel grew up in Berkeley and Ukiah of Northern California, has lived in Mexico, Spain and currently lives in British Columbia with her husband and daughter.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from The Evergreen State College, a Master of Arts in Hispanic Literatures from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is a certified interpreter and translator, and has taught Spanish at three universities. She is the author and illustrator of three graphic memoirs. For the Love of Meat is her first book of fiction.

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About the Book:

Title: For the Love of Meat
Author: Jenny Jaekel
Publisher: Raincloud Press
Pages: 162
Genre: Short Stories/Light Romance/Historical

For the Love of Meat combines whimsical and surreal illustrations with engaging, intimate encounters that explore the depths of human experience. Unique and diverse in setting, and with touches of magical-realism, these nine stories will tug at the strings of the wandering, romantic heart, setting it delightfully ablaze.

In Wander the Desert, Sister Aurelia, a nun from the early 20th century, finds herself stranded in the Mexican desert with nothing but a few cobs of corn and a stray horse who becomes her faithful companion. In Stumble and Fall, we meet Dara, a young Londoner hungry for adventure who, unwilling to settle for the safety and comfort of home, travels to Vancouver, city of immigrants, where a handsome stranger entices her to take a leap into the unknown. The Two explores the tender bond between two young growing up in 1940s Philadelphia, who are as inseparable as light and shadow. As one of the girls tragically becomes ill, the impact on the other shows how true connections of heart and spirit are not bound to time and place. And Mémé, set in Haiti in the 1800s, is told from the stunning perspective of a slave who, as a child, witnesses the brutal murder of her mother, and survives through her connection to her brother and the natural world.

Jenny Jaeckel’s compelling storytelling takes us across the world and through the ages, with remarkable insight and soul-moving moments, when paths cross and time unfolds. Her language, imagery and attention to detail plunge the reader into these memorable lives, soaking us in tales of adventure, courage, love, loss, longing and all the hope in between. 

Purchase Information:

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At what age did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I suppose for me it happened in stages. Once I could read I became interested in writing but I was lazy about it, in school I only wrote short things here and there. At the end of my second year of college though, when I was 20, something clicked, during project presentations at the end of a Mexican Studies class. My own project involved creative writing and photography, but when one of my classmates read a short story he had written it lit a kind of fire under me. After that I started taking creative writing classes, and then I would say my writing has slowly evolved in the 25 years since.


Do you take notes when reading or watching a movie?

I occasionally take notes when I read something, to keep track of particularly good words or phrases, something that touched me. Mostly though I re-read my favorite books. There are a number of writers I'm in complete awe of and try to be a student of their works.


Do you have a day job? What do you do?

I have always had a series of day jobs. These days I prefer work I can do at home so my schedule can be flexible and so I don't have to talk to anyone. I'm an introvert and having a family is a very social endeavor, so while my child is at school I need the time to be alone. My partner works a lot, so having that flexibility is really helpful when my child gets sick and all the domestic stuff.

Can you name three writing tips to pass on to aspiring authors?

1) Stephen King says to be a writer you have to be a reader, I really believe that. I think you have to read a ton and do so because you love it. 2) You have to sit down and write. If you keep putting it off it will never happen. Starting can sometimes take some discipline, but even if it's just one paragraph a day you can do it. 3) For me it’s been important to give myself permission to want to do this weird thing called writing. It’s a conversation I have with my own soul, you know? Give yourself permission to do the weird thing. That’s part of the mystery of being alive.

Do you let unimportant things get in the way of your writing?

No. Thankfully I have a kind of built-in anxiety around writing, where I need to get it out as soon as possible, and the anxiety overrides any potential laziness. I recently heard the term “PREcrastinator” which is the opposite of a PROcrastinator. That's me, it will get me going. Once I'm into a story, however, the flow of it takes over and I find myself writing constantly in my head when I'm not writing on paper or on the computer. I have to keep a notebook near me when I'm cooking dinner, to write down sentences here and there.

What hours do you write best?

I tend to do best in the morning, when I have the most energy and focus, but as I mentioned, once I get into a story it starts going around the clock.

How often do you write?

I believe I'm a hundred-yard-dash kind of writer, where I will sprint around the clock for short periods of time. So let's say for a few weeks or a month I will write at all hours, between work and family commitments, reach a finish line, and then collapse. I will wrap myself in tinfoil and lay on the ground for awhile.

Are you an avid reader?

Yes, yes, yes. There are few things I like better than a good book. Reading before bed is my reward at the end of each day, and if I have hours of insomnia, which I often do, reading is my refuge.

What are you reading now?

I read a lot of memoirs since I find true stories almost invariably interesting. Unless it's really good, I have a problem believing in the fiction I read, so I'm often safer with memoirs. I just read Helene Cooper's memoir, The House at Sugar Beach, it absolutely blew my mind. Now I'm reading The Book of Negroes, by Lawrence Hill, which is fiction that is definitely worth reading.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on a novel, House of Rougeaux, about members of one family in generations that range from the late 1700's to 1964, and takes place in the Caribbean, Montreal, New York and Philadelphia. It is historical fiction, which has required a lot of research, but magical too, and the individual stories tie into the larger familial story.


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