My series of author interviews continues! Today my guest is a talented award-winning author Jill Bowers Sayre whom I met at 2014 Readers Favorite Awards Ceremony in Miami few months ago.
- Jill, could you please tell about yourself? Where you grew up, the places you lived, your family and your current place of living?
I was born and raised in Southern California. I received a degree in Art at UCLA, and then my teaching credential from California State, Los Angeles. What I loved most about living there was the weather and the fact that I was a short car ride to the beach, the mountains, and the desert. I love gardening and spent a lot of time outside with my roses and citrus trees. But when my husband and I had the opportunity to move to Dallas for his job, we decided it was going to be a great adventure to live somewhere else. We fell in love with our new home, especially the beautiful Turtle Creek where we take walks with our children and dog all of the time. This creek was the inspiration for my first book.
- What kind of person are you?
I would describe myself as friendly and creative. I enjoy spending time with friends and love to entertain. When I’m not writing, I am a substitute teacher at a local elementary school, or enjoying lunch with friends, or doing some sort of drawing or craft. I am also very involved with co-chairing a local Literary Festival where writers of all genres come to our high school and teach workshops to the entire student body. However, my favorite days are when my calendar shows I have no appointments. On those days you might catch me at my computer, writing in my pajamas, late into the afternoon.
- Could you please tell from where comes your inspiration for writing?
I grew up always thinking about “what if” scenarios. What if that apple could talk? What if there really were supernatural beings in the world? So, for my first book, I explored the possibility of fairies being real. What if fairies live every day outside our door? What would it take to convince someone who didn’t believe in them at all? I am inspired, just as you are, Leyla, in your book “Charm: An Amazing Story of a Little Black Cat”, to expose those little miracles in life to readers. One of my very favorite quotes is by the children’s author Roald Dahl: “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” I believe in everyday magic, especially when I look at nature and create art.
- You recently attended the 2014 Readers Favorite Award Ceremony in Miami. Tell about this!
I am very honored to have been awarded the Silver Medal in the category of Children’s Fiction: Fantasy. It was wonderful to meet so many talented authors and to talk about the writing process with people who truly understand it. I met you and several others who continually motivate me to push forward in my work. It was a wonderful few days in beautiful Miami!
- What your book is about? Why do you write?
My book, “The Fairies of Turtle Creek”, is about a rational eighth grader, Claire, from a suburb of Dallas, who believes science can prove the existence of everything. Her life has changed dramatically ever since her brother went to fight in Iraq. And her world is flipped around even more when her estranged grandmother comes to live with her and begins telling about the family’s history, with twists of the supernatural and whimsical. At first, Claire is skeptical about her seemingly senile grandmother’s tales of mystical happenings down by the creek that she loves to observe and draw. But eventually, Claire is forced to face some truths she never thought possible. Could fairies actually exist? Could believing in magic actually provide her with a sense of hope? To learn more, please go to www.jillksayre.com.
I write to share my unique perspective, just as I love to read to explore someone else’s point of view. As a painter, I have found writing to be an outlet of creative expression by painting with words. I also write to grow as a person. By attending conferences, writing group meetings, and writing classes, I not only get better and better at my craft, but I gain so much new insight into others. It’s wonderful to have a published work, but the journey of getting it there is just as special to me.
- What you are currently working on? Any future plans?
I am currently writing a Young Adult fantasy/romance involving gargoyles. Also, there are plans in the works for the next “Fairies” book which will be about mermaids, sea sprites, and magical Hawaiian beings called “menehunes”. I am also working on some articles for magazines on Hawaiian culture and am outlining a non-fiction book on Art Journaling.
- What are your hobbies?
Outside of writing, I love to cook with friends, take walks, and my three children, two of which are still in high school, keep me pretty busy. I also spend a lot of time with my ‘writing assistants’, my vizsla dog named Bella and my calico-tabby cat named Lemmy-Winx.