Friday, 19 November 2010

Interview with Jesi Lea Ryan

Happy Friday, everyone! Excited about the weekend? I know, dumb question, right? Well I've got an interview to start up the good times. Help me in welcoming brilliant author Jesi Lea Ryan.

Welcome, Jesi! Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born and raised in the Mississippi River town of Dubuque, Iowa. I moved to Madison, WI after college where I met and married my husband, Steve. Let’s see…I treat my cats as my children, I love Oscar Wilde quotes and I hate to organize anything!

How long have you been writing?

I started writing as a little kid—scribbled stories and such. I was never one for journals though—I would always end up lying to them in order to make my life seem more interesting. I guess you can see why I like to write fiction!

Writing as an adult was difficult. Even though I had majored in Literature and Creative Writing in school, I ended up taking the practical route and taking a job in the insurance industry. I didn’t have the time for writing then, but it was never far from my mind.

When the economy crashed in 2009, I lost my job. It was the best thing that ever happened to me! I was fortunate enough to be able to take time off to write. The result is Four Thousand Miles.

Let's hear about this recently released book. What’s the story about?
"When Natalie Spencer loses both her career and marriage in the same morning, the emotional shock sends her on a spontaneous journey to England. There, she is nearly mugged in a Tube station, but an introverted songwriter named Gavin Ashby scares off her attackers. Recognizing Natalie’s fragile state, Gavin offers help and invites her to recuperate from her trauma at his country home.
As she adjusts to her new role and surroundings, Natalie finds healing by helping others. Gavin and his family begin to accept Natalie into their hearts, leading her to a choice…abandon her old life in the States and trust in a new chance at love, or flee once again?"
Four Thousand Miles is a women’s fiction novel with strong romantic elements. It is almost fantasy in that I think all women dream of running away from their problems now and then.

Sounds intriguing. How did the idea of the story come to you?

I was staying at Elvey Farm in rural Kent (England), which is this 500 year old farm which has been converted into a modern bed & breakfast. This place and Leeds Castle, which is twenty minutes away from Elvey, are two of the most romantic settings I’ve ever been in. I really didn’t want to leave. I started thinking about what it would take to get someone to abandon their life in the US and just stay there permanently.

Both of these settings play important roles in Four Thousand Miles, although I did change the name on the farm. I worked very hard to capture the magical quality that both inspired in me.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Coming up with a title! I could care less what a story is called, as long as people want to read it. I put off titling my work until the very last second, because I hate doing it so badly. I think I just have a hard time summarizing up a whole book into three or four words. I’m a novelist! I need room to move when I write!

I came up with the title Four Thousand Miles, because I mention it in the text as being the exact distance from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Natalie’s journey began, and Pluckey, Kent, where she ended up. I fully expected my editor to hate it and ask me to change it, but she didn’t.

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

Coffee! I don’t drink much or smoke, so coffee is my vice. I don’t know that it is even about the caffeine, really. I can drink it at any time of the day and it doesn’t seem to have an effect on me either way. I just really like the taste of strong, black coffee. It’s comforting.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Teleport. I love to travel, and I want to see so much before I die. If I could just will myself around the globe, that would be really cool!

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: humble, trapeze, and fireplace.

The humble trapeze artist huddled in front of the fireplace in an attempt to thaw his aching joints.

Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

First, thank you for taking the time to interview me! Seriously, it is hard to market a first novel, so anyone who will help me get my name out there is a god-send.

You're welcome! :)

I also want to thank my writing partner, Alexandria Darcy, for her ability to get me out of writer’s block. Thank you to my early readers, Steve Riggles, Victoria Grundle, Noelle Jennings and Jeanne Pluemer. This book wouldn’t have been half as good without their input.

Lastly, a BIG shout out to my Twitter followers! They have done so much to give me moral support and spread the word of my book. I might be biased, but I think I have the best followers on Twitter!

And finally, where can people find you and your book online?

Where to find Four Thousand Miles:

Where to find me:

Twitter -!/Jesilea
Facebook -
Blog -

Stop by and say hi! I love getting to know new people!

Jesi, thank you so much for letting us get to know you. Your book sounds amazing, and I wish you lots of success!


Zoe said...

England fascinates me. What a great interview!

Gina said...

It is often said that blessings come in it seems the opportunity to explore the writerly side of herself was indeed. Definitely agree on the tough time of it all when trying to pick a title...I'm not even an author and my blog posts can be challenging at times. Best of luck on your future endeavors and thanks Dorothy for another great spotlight. ^_^