Saturday, January 26, 2008

Interview with Jacquelyn Cook

I'm so pleased to welcome my friend, Jacquelyn Cook, to my blog today. She will be giving away a copy of her new release, Sunrise, to a lucky reader. So please enter a comment to be entered in the drawing. Either leave your email address or be sure to check back on Monday to see who won.

Interview with Jacquelyn Cook

Missy: I first want to tell the readers that Jacquelyn is the sweetest woman, a true southern lady. I've enjoyed knowing her over the last several years.

Welcome, Jacquelyn! I'm so glad to have you here today. I'm excited about your new release! I know it has been quite a journey for you. Can you tell us a little about the journey to the publication of Sunrise with BelleBooks?

Jacquelyn: Old houses turn me on. I can imagine the people who lived there, and I want to follow their adventures. When I toured a seven-story Italianate palazzo in the midst of Greek-Revival Macon, Georgia, I was intrigued and knew the unique story was the novel I had always wanted to write. There were lots of characters and subplots and twists. The great-grandson of the people who built the house entrusted me with his great-grandmother's journal and letters. Research was fun.

BUT---the journey got bumpy when I tried to sell it. The agent who had handled my romances for Barbour did not want to take time with something that did not fit the niche. Two other agents accepted Sunrise. I explained it was not romance, but they merely sent it out as romance and garnered rejections.

I decided to be like the Little Red Hen and do it myself. I found BelleBooks, a new publisher started by a group of Georgia Romance Writers. The editor understood what I was trying to do and liked my southern sense of place. I love the job BelleBooks has done. Their publishing and marketing plan exactly fits my book.

M: Can you tell us a bit about the story?

J: Sunrise is classed as an epic novel of love, faith, family, and war. It is inspired by the true story of Anne Tracy who married railroad baron William Butler Johnston, who was twice her age, because in 1852 there was no place for a single woman. On their three-year honeymoon in Europe, they collected art and artisans and returned to Macon to build Anne's "fairy palace."

Anne's privileged life was soon tested by tragedy and war. Her journey from bitter heartbreak to renewed faith and forgiveness created a legacy far greater than their money.

Jackie K. Cooper, host on Georgia Public Broadcasting, has been kind enough to say, "In Sunrise, Jacquelyn Cook brilliantly combines history with fiction. This makes for an enchanting love story that will grab readers' attention and win their hearts."

M: I know readers would like to get to know you better. Can you tell us a little about you?

J: My goal has been to write timeless stories of lasting values. I am pleased that books I wrote 20 years ago are still in demand. I began in journalism, moved to Christian romance, and am starting a new phase of my career with novels based on real people.

I majored in voice at Wesleyan College in Macon. The scenes in Sunrise of poet Sidney Lanier courting Mary Day are memories of my husband-to-be courting me there.

The Cook family enjoys life on the ancestral farm in the subtropical region of Southwest Georgia. Three- and-a-half dogs own me, two Shih Tzu lapdogs, an Australian Shepherd guardian, and the half dog, a huge Labrador retriever who belongs to my son's family. The minute they leave home, the sociable lab bounds across the pasture to visit grandmother.

My daughter's family lives in the city. When they visit, I enjoy gathering everyone for big family meals, ending with my homemade cake in the favorite flavor of whomever has a birthday.

M: Do you write each day? Do you have a schedule?

J: Yes, I write first thing in the morning when my mind is clear and fresh with ideas from the night. I have always stayed home to write, but the problem is that on the farm you must have the big meal at noon. Sometimes I wind up with a notebook on the stove with pen in one hand and stirring spoon in the other. That has worked except when I wrote Image In The Looking Glass, a romantic suspense. My son said it worried him a little that I was cooking and growing the poison used in the story in the back yard.

M: What are some of your hobbies? What do you do for fun?

J: I grow flowers year around.You can see a few of them on my website Outdoor work eases the tension from writing. In the middle of the back yard we built a tiny Japanese garden. My husband dug the minute stream and koi pond with a tremendous backhoe. (The Shih Tzu's greatest joy is chasing the fish.) We went to the mountains and collected rocks for the waterfall. None of the garden is manicured or fancy, but our granddaughter wanted to have her wedding reception there and her picture on the arched bridge. Both of us like pink, so house and garden blossomed in rosy hues.

I love old movies. I will weep with you any day of the week over Cary Grant in "An Affair To Remember."

M: What's one thing most people don't know about you?

J: I try to keep my health problems to myself, but since the Faith, Hope, and Love group sustains me with prayers, I'll tell you. I contracted Rheumatic Fever when I was eleven. At that time, the only treatment was three months bed rest. I had been brought up Christian since cradle roll, but now I read the Bible through and accepted that "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" included me. Jesus became my personal savior and daily guide. My mother sat by my bed and read for hours at a time. The two things together brought me to inspirational writing. Though, as you have probably guessed, my family has come first, my career has been completely fulfilling.

M: How can readers buy your book?

J: Direct from and other online sources, in bookstores, especially Barnes and Noble, and libraries. Encourage your librarian to buy because if Sunrise does well, BelleBooks is poised to publish two more of my novels.

M: I appreciate you taking time to visit, Jacquelyn. It's been so fun to learn more about you. I can't wait to read your new book!


Belinda Peterson said...

Jacquelyn and Missy,
What a great interview! I want to win the book. If I don't I'll be ordering today---I've been waiting for this book to come out.

Jacquelyn, I'm thrilled you have been able to tell the story of your heart--the book of your dreams. All of us readers will benefit from your love of history and love. Thank you for your tenacity in getting this book published.
I think of you every time I travel through Eufala. You are a gracious and wonderful lady.
Missy--thank you for interviewing Jacquelyn.
Pick my name--pick my name!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jacquelyn, what a great interview. Now I want to head down south, sip sweet tea and become a GRW for sure...

Except for the long hot summers and bugs the size of Texas.

And gators.

But other than that, I'm Southern to the core, displaced by a directionally challenged angel who dropped me into Western New York.

I'm anxious to read your book and find out what Belle Books is all about. I love Deb Smith's writing and am a closet president of her fan club so I can't imagine their line of books won't make me laugh and cry.

Looking forward to a good read from another author who isn't afraid to cook and grow poison.

God's will and all that.



Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, Missy and Jacquelyn, for this lovely interview -- it's so fun to get a glimpse into this beautiful Southern lady. I'm looking forward to reading this book.


Jess said...

Jacqueline, it's so wonderful to get to know you better. We've been on the FHL site together for years so I had to pop in here to give my congrats. Your book sounds great and I'm thrilled for you.

Missy girl! what a beautiful interview.

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

As a Southerner myself, I love stories like Sunrise. I'm glad you found a publisher for it. Congrats!

Missy Tippens said...

Thanks, everyone, for visiting! I'll be sure to enter your names in the drawing. :)

I'll be taking names through the weekend.

Pam Hillman said...

Jacquelyn, enjoyed learning a bit about you and your family. Sunrise sounds like a wonderful book and I can see how it fits perfectly with the Southern them of BelleBooks. Congratulations on finding a publisher for it.

Missy Tippens said...

I received an email comment that I'm going to forward here so she can be entered in the drawing:

Thanks for sharing, Missy - great interview!

Missy Tippens said...

Okay, I'm going to go eat lunch, then do the drawing for Sunrise. Good luck!!


Missy Tippens said...

Connie is our winner of a copy of Jacquelyn's book, Sunrise!

Congrats, Connie! I'll email you to get your address so I can forward it to Jacquelyn.

Jacquelyn said she really appreciates you all dropping by. She isn't registered on google/blogger and didn't think she could figure out how to post. But she did see all your messages.