Jeanne Ray

How did you become a writer? I always wanted to be a writer, but my parents were Depression era folks, and they wanted me to do something I could always get a job doing. Because I am a caretaker type person, it didn’t sound like a bad idea to me, and I became a nurse. I loved nursing, though I continued to write as a hobby. And I read all the time. I never expected to publish, nor did I try. When I was sixty and about to retire, I became highly motivated to write, and I wrote a novel, Julie and Romeo, about two aging persons who fall deeply in love. They are from warring families in a small town, and they must deal with all the anger that erupts from their families. That book was highly successful, and other novels followed. 

Name your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, etc.) My creative writing teachers always loved me, but it was reading that led the way for me. Dickens, Evelyn Waugh, and Graham Greene always, and my daughter, Ann Patchett, now.

When and where do you write? I wrote my first book at night, because I was working days and I didn’t want anyone to know I was writing. Now I write anytime, anywhere. My computer is in the kitchen, because that is still where I feel most comfortable.

What are you working on now? Right now, nothing. Clean up from the last book. 

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? No.

What’s your advice to new writers? Read everything you can, and read critically. Figure out as you go what moves you and what doesn’t, and how the writer created those moods.

Bio: Born San Diego, California. Attended California schools, including St Vincent’s College of Nursing and LA State College. Married and had two daughters. Moved to Nashville, TN when I was thirty-three. Married again, divorced again. Married for the final time in 1991. It was after this that I began writing and really “found” myself. Darrell Ray and my daughters have been my mentors. Books are Julie and Romeo, Step-Ball-Change, Eat Cake, Julie and Romeo Get Lucky, and Calling Invisible Women.