UNWRITER Ron Berry

December 7, 2008

A Village Shattered

Filed under: Uncategorized — unwriter1 @ 10:55 pm
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A Village Shattered  is a most interesting book and I’ll have a review of that tomorrow. This is a bit of my eclectic side coming out but I’ve discovered that these types of questions tend to allow my interviewees to cut loose and have some fun. Along the way we get more of an insight into the mind of Jean Henry Mead. So with that as an almost intro, let’s talk to Jean.
1. I have to ask, I know this is personal but, Henry as a middle name? Let me guess, your parents were big Johnny Cash fans?

Henry is my mother’s maiden name. I use it because my maiden name is Hammond and Henry sounds better between my other names. And no, my parents weren’t Johnny Cash fans. I remember them listening to music on the radio but it was sort of generic music of that era. My father did play the harmonica and mandolin. He also sang, which is probably where I got my musical abilities as well as my writing skills. Dad wrote poetry and short stories but never tried, to my knowledge, to get them published. I also inherited my artistic DNA from him.

2. You’ve published seven non-fiction books. What are they and where may our readers locate them?

Because I began my career as a journalist, I first wrote a book of interviews with celebrities and well-known people. Dick Cheney was one of my first interviews while he was serving in Congress. I also interviewed U.S. senators, governors, artists, writers, actors and ordinary people who accomplished extraordinary things. I then wrote a centennial history of Wyoming titled Casper Country, which is still available on the internet. I had so many research notes left over that I used them to write Escape, a Wyoming Historical Novel, now available at Amazon.com. My other nonfiction books are out of print although Maverick Writers is still available on the web.

3. I love classical music (Ok, I love all music and rap or hip-hop doesn’t count as music). I noticed on your profile you also like classical music. Here’s the scene.
You’ve been kidnapped and are being forced to write a training manual on raising sheep in a city apartment. As if that isn’t bad enough, you’re forced to listen to the one piece of classical music you can’t stand. What is it and why?

I’m resisting the urge to say that’s a baaad scene, Ron. I love music and can honestly say I haven’t listened to any classical piece that I didn’t like. My favorite is “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” which lifts my spirits whenever I’m down. But writing a training manual on raising sheep in a city apartment would require more than the music of Peter Iljitch Tchaikovsky. If I were forced to listen to some very loud rap or hip hop, I’d probably find a way to leave the apartment by the fire escape.

4. Most writers ascribe their words to what their muse tells them. Having said that, what or who, is your muse?

My muse’s name is Ernie and he tries his best not to lead me astray. I often hear words in my left ear when I can’t think of the right word or phrase. I’ve been known to say that I could write in the middle of a traffic jam because of my news reporting background. I don’t think Ernie was around then but if he were, I could not have heard him because of ringing phones and clattering teletype machines.

5. You have read some of what I write and you’ve noticed I’m a little on the strange side. You also made the comment there is not enough laughter in this world. That in and of itself begs the question, what do you do for fun?

For me the greatest fun is writing. I can’t think of anything that brings me more pleasure than to write a good scene or chapter before I turn in for the night. It leaves a glow that I can’t compare to anything else but sex. And humor is something I try to incorporate into all my books, even nonfiction. . . By the way, Ron, I call myself eccentric, not strange. All writers are a little “different” or eccentric.

6. Everybody asks how many pets you have. I’m curious as to how many stuffed kritters you have.

I have a few stuffed “kritters” because I collect teddy bears and give them to visiting children. But I also have a number of real critters like a dozen chickens, two ducks and a dog on our mini ranch. We also have white-tailed deer, antelope, rabbits and a variety of birds that frequent our property that I love to photograph when I’m not writing.

7. You have been given two tickets to Paradise, leaving in two weeks, all expenses paid. You start packing only to have a delivery truck bring you two boxes and a note that you’re only allowed to bring ten pounds of personal items to the Paradise space station. The first box has all the suits and gear you need for the flight. What is in the second box?

A lightweight laptop computer, ebook reader, binoculars and a digital camera. And don’t tell me I have to toss one of them out. Oh, okay, the binoculars have to go.

8. You’ve been assigned a well paying article on words. Your instructions are simple. They want 2,000 words on how and why to avoid the word and. The only other requirement is, that word (and) cannot be in the article anywhere. How would you get around it?

I’d tell them ‘Sorry, I’m busy writing a book’ or I’d write very short sentences, or I would use a lot of semi-colons or “buts.”

9. You’re giving the main address at SPAM, for the CUJO class. (Culinary and Journalism double majors). What is the topic of your speech?

“Abaloney and All the Latest News”

10. Jean

You’re heading towards the 9th hole and as you round the corner you pass
through a strange cloud. As you emerge from this mist you’re at a different time. You know you’ve traveled back in time because as you’re driving, you almost run into the teepee of the medicine man of the Sioux Indians that used to live in the area. How do you explain the golf cart and where you came from?

After I had recovered from shock and, if my blond hair hadn’t been lifted from my head, I’d have to use sign language to offer the medicine man a ride in my cart. I would indicate the mist from which I had come and then motion to the sky and sign that the cart had fallen from the heavens. I would then trade him the cart for my life and walk as fast I could back through the mist, hoping I would return to the golf course on the other side. Because I’ve read extensively about Native Americans for my western historical books, I don’t think I would hang around to smoke a peace pipe with the Sioux. They weren’t too fond of white eyes, with good reason.

11.You step out the front door of your house and oddly, you’ve just stepped back five centuries. You have with you, your cell phone, keys, with the keypad to open your car, clothes for work, a digital watch, and glasses. You see a message on your phone that to return to the present, you have to find two books. What two do you need?

Back to the Future and The Time Machine.

12. Let’s go traveling again. You’re headed to the new housing unit on the moon. You’re the new librarian and are allowed to bring ten books. What are they?

War and Peace, Gone With the Wind, The Great Gadsby, The Orient Express, To Kill a Mockingbird, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone, Escape, and A Village Shattered. 🙂
13. As a writer, you should be a reader. Who are your top five favorite authors and why?

1. Dean Koontz because I like the way he strings his words together, and I learned to write fiction by studying his work.
2. Ernest Hemingway because he changed the face of writing for generations of writers, and I was born on his birthday (how shallow is that?).
3. Agatha Christie because she introduced me to the world of mysteries.
4. John Grisham because I enjoy reading everything he writes.
5. James Patterson, Sue Grafton and Janet Evanovich because I read all three to relax (okay, I fudged).

14. I like challenges. Describe a typical day using at least five song titles.

“Dawn is Breaking, It’s Early Morn” (I know, those are song lyrics), “You Light Up My Life” (my computer), “Temptation” (to let the housework go to write all day),” “Moon River” (when the words really flow),” ” Hard Day’s Night” because I’m exhausted at the end of the day, although exhilarated if the writing has gone well.

15. JP (that’s my muse), said I need to ask you to give me a bit of information about your characters in AVillage Shattered and where our readers may purchase a copy.

Dana Logan and Sarah Cafferty are two 60-year-old widows living in a retirement village where their friends and club members are dying alphabetically. Dana is a mystery novel buff and Sarah a private investigator’s widow who decide to solve the murders themselves when they learn their own names are on the killer’s list. A newly-elected sheriff bungles the investigation and Dana’s beautiful daughter, a journalist, arrives in time to get herself nearly killed.

The book will be released this month (December) in both trade paper from Amazon.com and in multi format from Fictionwise-ePress-Online. my print book is up at both Amazon.com @ http://tinyurl.com/5alkkr and is #1 at Fictionwise-ePress in multi format: http://tinyurl.com/6rdzm5

17. A simple question (from me?). What was your inspiration for A Shattered Village?

The story simply evolved from a vague idea I had when I sat down at my computer. I give my characters free rein and they write the book. I just type as fast as I can to keep up with them. I’m not kidding. That’s the way it actually happens. I rarely revise my work but I do some polishing with the second draft.

18. You have been given one million dollars but instructed that you cannot keep it. You have two weeks to use it for good. What will you do with it?

I don’t think giving people money necessarily helps them if they don’t have goals in mind. I would probably provide scholarships for deserving young people to receive a better education.

19. A writer’s worst possibility has happened. You have writers block! The only way you can get past this is to play a game. What is your game of choice?

I rarely suffer from writers block but a game of Scrabble or five card draw would probably break the log jam.

20. Two colonies have been up and running for sometime and you’ve just won a two-month round trip vacation to either one. Which would you prefer, Mars, or Venus?

Venus is much too hot and inhospitable for human habitation, so I’d choose Mars and hope I could stay warm enough to survive.

Ok, I’ve tortured you enough. It’s time to turn the tables and give you free rein to say whatever you would like. Take as much space as you need.

Thank you, Ron, for the unusual, thought-provoking questions as well as hosting two days of my blog book tour. It’s been fun and I look forward to your book review tomorrow, as do my novel characters who have also been interviewed on various blog sites. In fact, two more character interviews are coming up Thursday the 11th and Saturday the 13th.. The remainder of my schedule is up at: http://myblogtour.blogspot.com/.

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13 Comments »

  1. […] Village Posted in December 7th, 2008 by in Uncategorized Shattered Village They weren’t too fond of white eyes, with good reason. 11.You step out the front door of your […]

    Pingback by » Shattered Village White House On Best Political Blogs: News And Info On White House — December 7, 2008 @ 11:18 pm | Reply

  2. The above comment from the “White House on Best Political Blogs and Info on the White House” is pretty spooky (quoting a portion of this blog interview on their site), don’t you think? S’pose I’ve been reported for being politically incorrect?

    Comment by Jean Henry Mead — December 8, 2008 @ 12:56 am | Reply

  3. Jean and Ron,

    Looks like Ron’s blog with Jean’s interview has the distinction of being linked on a splog (spam blog). You’re getting famous when you’re part of the world of spam. 🙂

    Ron,
    As usual you’ve come up with questions no one else would ever think of.

    Jean,
    You did a great job of answering those “eccentric” questions. Looking forward to seeing you and Micki on my blog on Dec. 11th.

    Comment by lillieammann — December 8, 2008 @ 1:34 am | Reply

  4. well thats why everybody say writing is an art.

    Comment by Acai Berry — December 8, 2008 @ 3:43 am | Reply

  5. Well I learn something new every day on this tour about Jean. What a well-rounded and many talented person! I’m an old Hippie Rock & Roller but I also was trained in classical music in my High School and college days and still love classical music as well. Stravinsky and Debussy are my favorites, and my all time favorite symphony is “The Right of Spring.”

    Comment by Marvin D Wilson — December 8, 2008 @ 5:39 am | Reply

  6. Lillie, now I know how politicians and other celebrities feel when they’re quoted out of context. Do you think Washitonians will now wonder what Village Shattered is and to go to Amazon.com to order a copy? LOL. . . I’m also looking forward to my visit with you and my novel character Micki Lagundos on Dec. 11.

    Thank you, Marvin. I like 60’s rhythm and blues and I play Mozart’s concerto for strings while I write. I played violin in elementary and high school and sang in a capella choir, so music was big part of my life growing up. I’m learning a lot about myself on this blog tour. 🙂

    Comment by Jean Henry Mead — December 8, 2008 @ 8:18 am | Reply

  7. Unique questions, for sure! And great answers, Jean.

    Personally and from personal experience, I think the worst thing that can happen to an author is not writer’s block, but the screaming sound of a hard drive dying and taking your book(s) with it. aaagg!

    Comment by Helen Ginger — December 8, 2008 @ 10:34 am | Reply

  8. I agree, Helen. That’s a writer’s worst nightmare. It happened to me with my first computer, before I knew about backups. I always print them now and record them on a jump drive or CD. I have a feeling it happened to you too.

    Comment by Jean Henry Mead — December 8, 2008 @ 11:35 am | Reply

  9. Jean, Tell Ernie ‘Hi’ for me.

    Ron, 20 questions! I loved them all.

    char

    Comment by Charlotte — December 8, 2008 @ 7:08 pm | Reply

  10. Thanks, Charlotte. Ron does come up with some great questions that really make you think. Ernie says to tell you hi!

    Comment by Jean Henry Mead — December 8, 2008 @ 8:59 pm | Reply

  11. Very unusual interview but interesting.

    Comment by Gwyn Ramsey — December 8, 2008 @ 11:33 pm | Reply

  12. What a fun interview! Ron, you have quite a creative mind! Jean, I’m looking forward to reading this book. I think senior sleuths are awesome!

    Comment by Heidi Thomas — December 9, 2008 @ 2:27 pm | Reply

  13. Thanks, Gwyn and Heidi, for coming over from WWW. It’s good to hear from you both!

    Comment by Jean Henry Mead — December 9, 2008 @ 2:41 pm | Reply


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