BIO: Author Jean Tennant's novels have been published by Warner Books, Kensington and Silhouette. She's acted as ghostwriter and editor for other books, and teaches creative writing throughout the Midwest. She also wrote under the name Jean Simon. Other titles include: Playing House, Darksong, Sweet Revenge, and Wild Card.
Thanks for being here, Jean. It’s a pleasure.
#1- Tell us a little about yourself outside of your writing career…
A- Outside of my writing career… well, I’m an animal lover and advocate, with 2 dogs, a cat (all adopted either from shelters or other people) and the occasional orphaned birds that I raise and release to the wild. I’m married, with 3 children: Shaun, Paul and Toni. My company, Shapato Publishing, is a compilation of their names. I grew up in San Diego, a block and a half from the beach, and moved to the Iowa with my family when I was a junior in high school. It was a shock, but I’ve stuck around because I’ve come to love the Midwest. Over the years I’ve lived in Iowa, Minnesota, and back to Iowa again.
#2- You used to write under the name Jean Simon, and recently switched back to your maiden name. Can you tell us about that, as the reasons are important to you?
A- Jean Simon was my married name when my early books were published. Then I got divorced and went back to my maiden name. I’ve since remarried, but chose to keep my maiden name, which I’m very vocal about encouraging all young women to do.
#3- How do you handle the negative reviews and critiques you receive?
A-Writing is so subjective that I can’t be offended if someone doesn’t like something I’ve written. All I can do is the best I can do, and I know I can’t please everyone.
#4- A lot of your former titles are out of print now. Any plans to rewrite and rerelease some of them?
A-I’ve given it some serious thought, especially for a couple of my favorite. Wild Card is one I’ve thought of re-releasing under the Shapato Publishing imprint, but it would need a major rewrite first. Written in the mid ‘80s, it’s about 3 young women, but there is no mention of computer, the internet, cell phones, IM-ing, and it seems so out of date that I’d need to modernize it first. That in itself is a big job, so I simply haven’t had the time. But it’s definitely an idea I’ve been considering.
#5- Assuming you get any time to read, what authors do you like to read, and were there any books that stand out from your childhood as favorites?
A-I read when I get the chance, which isn’t nearly as often as I’d like, and I listen to a lot of audio books on my MP3 player. This way I can “read” while I’m driving, doing housework (but not vacuuming). Being able to download audio books has been just a wonderful thing for me. I listen to 2 – 3 books a week.
Right now I’ve just finished reading (and I mean reading in the traditional sense) the 3rd book in the Stieg Larsson trilogy, and I really enjoyed them. I also just finished The Passage by Justin Cronin, and though I enjoyed it I didn’t think it lived up to the hype.
My first favorite book as a young reader was Little Women, which made me cry and awakened my young mind to the notion that getting lost in a good story was like stepping into another world. Then of course there’s To Kill a Mockingbird, another favorite, and I also enjoy the works of Alice Hoffman, especially Turtle Moon. And, oh, man, if you haven’t ready We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver I highly recommend it; I couldn’t put it down.
#6- Are there any upcoming releases we would like to know about, and could you give us your web site so readers can check it out?
A-The Shapato Publishing website is: www.shapatopublishing.com; and my author/teacher website is: www.jeantennant.com. The second site is where I put my seminars schedule. Shapato Publishing has several titles coming out this year: Life with my Wife by Roger Stoner, a collection of newspaper columns; Round Trip to Eternity by Norbert Paas, memoir about his Near Death Experience; and Amber Waves of Grain, the 3rd book in a series of anthologies about the Midwest, to name a few.
My own upcoming releases include Cryptograms for Book Loves, a puzzle book, It’s Alive! The MAD Author’s Easy 5-Step Guide to Writing a Novel, nonfiction, and Karaoke Night at the Twilight Lounge, fiction. And I’ve just released a romance novel, Red & the Wolfe, which is a modern take on Red Riding Hood.
#7- This about concludes it. Thank you again for joining us. Is there anything else you would like to share?
A-Just that Shapato Publishing is open to submissions, and I’m also collecting stories about life in North Dakota, for an upcoming anthology.