J.M. Levi grew up in the state of Arizona. Her parents’ who avidly read and worked crossword puzzles daily fostered her love of writing; her father encouraged her at an early age to keep a journal. Creating her first love of poetry followed by short stories “Little steps lead to big accomplishments” thus her first novel ‘MoonZeLent’ was created.
VS- I want to thank you J.M. for being my guest here on The Writing Mama today. I know being a parent and writer can be hard and I find myself asking if I giving my three children enough attention throughout the day. I am sure you have been in my shoes from time to time. So to start can you share with us a little bit about your family?
J.M. - Why, certainly, VS. I am the mother of four children – ages 17, 16, 7 and 2. One is potty training and the other starting college.
VS- Wow! And I thought my kids were spaced out (14, 5 and 7 months). You must be pretty buys as a mom. What do you do to help balance your writing life with your family life?
J.M. - Family life comes easy and natural. Everyone gets a piece of me throughout the day in one way or another. Writing, on the other hand, requires careful planning. Some days, writing is like climbing up a hill on roller skates, and then I realize the silence of everyone in the household occupying their own time—that’s my golden time for pen and ink.
VS- You make it sound so simple finding the balance. How long have you been writing?
J.M. - I cannot remember a time that I have not been writing. My father bought me a journal at an early age and my mother gave me the gift of a great imagination.
VS- That’s wonderful your parents instill the love of writing at an early age. What inspired you to write?
J.M. - Well, besides my parents, as mentioned above. I have a very special daughter who is and always has considered herself a writer. I never really thought of my own self as a writer until she pointed me in the right directions.
VS- That is wonderful you have daughter who loves to write as well. I love it was your daughter who started you down the path to writing, such a role reversal. What is a typical writing day like for you?
J.M. - Typical – what’s a typical day? Every day is different—sometimes and often chaos. Though the chaos comes for great scenes and characters in the book. Then, the quite- usually at night comes the writing and organizations. Some days all I can do is jot a note to sort out later.
VS- I totally understand. There are days just like that at my house, too. Is your family supportive of your writing?
J.M. - My family is both demanding and supportive. As a mother yourself, VS, I am sure you can relate to this answer. As mothers, we are all the center that our family members rotate around. Once the family members realize that what I am doing is important, then they rally around me—especially when they’ll see the results coming together.
VS- I wish I could say that is always true at my house. Sometimes my five year old cannot understand why mommy needs a few minutes to write instead of watching her favorite movie for the hundredth time. LOL. Have you had any training to become a writer?
J.M. - The training that I have had to become a writer has come from joining writing.com, taking classes from their writing academy, and several online writing workshops. I have always been a good language arts student and the rest comes from life and reading other authors’ work.
VS- I think a lot of people feel you have to have a college degree in language arts, but that’s not true. I know many authors, like yourself, who took online workshops and courses. J.M. can you share with my readers what type of books you mostly write?
J.M. - My current writings surprised me in their genre—fantasy. My first love of writing came from poetry. I continue writing poems when the creativity strikes me. Also, I am very fond of children’s books and short stories.
VS- I just love that you write where you feel inspired. Can you share with us a little about your book(s)?
J.M. - Right now, I’m finishing up my first novel and first release MoonZeLent. The book revolves around a college campus and a new student who finds some unusual complications in his after school job in a lab. And the girl he’s always secretly desired just became more irresistible.
VS- Sounds very interesting. I will have to get a copy. I’ve been needing to read a book for relaxation and this sounds the book to do just that. What do you find is the most difficult part of writing?
J.M. - The most difficult part of writing for me is to get the words down exactly the way I am seeing the particular scene in my mind. I want the reader to be there with me—right in the very spot that I came from. Sometimes the words have to be edited and re-edited before I can see the scene the reader will.
VS- I’ll agree with you on that. It can be very hard trying to find the right words to describe what you see in your mind’s eye. What is the best writing advice you ever received?
J.M. - The best writing advice I ever received was: “Just do it.”
VS- You can’t get any more simple than that. Do you have any works in progress? Can you share a little about them?
J.M. - I am getting ready to start the second book in the MoonZeLent series, Moon Phases of the Vampire Clan. The story continues… LOL—I am also kicking around a few other ideas for later this year.
VS- You are defiantly keeping the mystery around your book. LOL. Okay, here is a tough question for you J.M. The world of children’s book publishing is extremely competitive, with many authors hesitating between trying their luck with a traditional publisher or self publishing. What advice would you offer writers who are oscillating between these two publishing venues?
J.M. - My best advice in knowing what I have learned is that it doesn’t hurt to try your work with the publishers. Send your work off if you choose. Don’t give up. In self-publishing, you have full control over your work, but you need to do all the work—including marketing. If you self publish make sure you edit and read your proof copy well—because no one else will (except for your readers).
VS- Great advice. Do you do first drafts on a computer or by hand?
J.M. - I do first drafts on a computer and by hand. The computer has many handy editing tools and spell checks to make things go quickly. As a busy mom, sometimes it’s easier to edit in the easy chair holding the little ones with pen and paper.
VS- I do both as well. J.M. what tips can you give writing parents with children at home to help them see publication?
J.M. - Stay focused on your own personal goals. Sometimes little steps get you closer to your goal—so keep making them. Hold your family dear and close, but remember that your successes will also be theirs. Eventually, you will see the rewards of your efforts. Like the time it takes to raise your family, a good book takes time to write.
VS- Very good points indeed. J.M., I thank you for taking the time to share with my readers and me about being a writing mama.
If you would like to know more about J.M. Levi, you can visit her at the following links
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/midnightindigo
Website - http://jmlevi.webs.com
Like to know more about MoonZeLent? Here’s a summary:
Heading off to the University of Arizona, Jared's only goal is a most common one: success. But, he finds something in his after school job to - eh - complicate things. Now he must learn to live with his new found fangs and resist the girl he's always been after.
ISBN - 1451509944
EAN-13 - 9781451509946
MoonZeLent will be available on Amazon.com and http://www.createspace.com/3435281