Jeanne: A Journey from Abandonment and Abuse to Forgiveness and Truth by Sylvia Hornback - Author Interview and Book Spotlight

"A revealing focus of neglect and abuse between a self centered mother and coming of age daughter who tugs at your heart!!"

Synopsis - 

At dawn on a sweltering summer day scrabbling sounds alerted Jeanne of the intruder downstairs. The pull chain rattled against the light bulb in the kitchen. Instantly a sliver of yellow light raced up the stairs and into her bedroom. Someone was moving about inside the house, and had even been bold enough to turn on a light. It wasn’t the first time she’d awakened to the sounds of this intruder.

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Interview - 

Can you share a bit about your journey to becoming a writer/published author?

I have to tell you, being an author is my third career. First an educator, then an entrepreneur and now an author. I became an author when a gauntlet, a challenge after years of stories and “what ifs,” thrust me into writing a novel. My husband, Dick, said we were writing a novel together in front of friends at dinner. I was shocked by the statement but didn’t protest in front of friends. Even though I protested later, I decided to accept the challenge. I was used to writing articles, curriculum, and research papers but had not tackled fiction. Well, except in stories around friends and family members. Those were fiction.

After about a week I was hooked on writing and Dick dropped out of the process all together. I found I loved writing and not only did I write the first book, I jotted down ideas for several others. This process has resulted in me working on three or four projects at the same time. After completing the first book, The Mallard Conspiracy, I found a professional editor. Having a really good editor, with whom you have rapport is a must. Your editor must also be truthful and straightforward about your work if you expect to improve.

Finally, I submitted my work to independent publishers and waited. I heard from Briggs & Schuster, and they were willing to publish my book. I can’t tell you how thrilling it was to go through the process. There were rereads after printings and creating the cover as well as working with the person who recorded the voice over for the audio.

How does the writing process work for you? Do you schedule a time every day, work madly when inspiration hits or ? 

I do schedule time to write every day. I commit to two hours for just writing on the novel I am working on and that always leads to at least four hours of writing. Some days I am really into a story and continue writing for hours and into the night. Sometimes I wake up early with the story on my mind and write in the early morning hours. I think about writing all the time. Ideas come to me and I keep a notebook in my purse to write down what I am thinking. It might be an idea for another book or something I want to add to the story I am working on. I work from an outline when organizing the book, then I transfer the outline to index cards with chapter titles. I have my chapters divided into sections, beginning, middle, end. This helps guide the pace and keep the story flowing.

I devote time in the day for research. Most is devoted to the novel I’m writing, but it can be about another book in the line up. I have completed Jeanne, my second book, and I work on marketing and events for that book for a time in the day. I have also completed the first draft of A Very Dairy Christmas and my editor has done a first draft review. I am in the process of rewrites for that book. I am writing the first draft for the novel Belonging, so as you can see, I do a variety of tasks each day and I love it.

As an author - what do you enjoy most about writing process? What feels like a chore?

I enjoy developing the characters. I find that even though I have a map of the story from the outline, the words have legs and can take you to a different place when the characters stay true to themselves. Writing is never a chore and I know that I have found what I was meant to do.

Where do you find inspiration for your storylines? For the characters you create?

My experiences with people have inspired some of my characters. My younger brother was my inspiration for the character Robby in the book Jeanne. I have ideas pop into my head all the time, but my research often times guides what a character might do in a situation because of the historical circumstances. For instance, water rights and the EPA in The Mallard Conspiracy and WWII in Jeanne.

This is your second book. Was there anything different about the experience the second time around?

Writing The Mallard Conspiracy was fun with the good guys and the very bad guys, but Jeanne was very emotional. It is a very heart rendering story of a girl struggling to understand the terrible actions of her mother, the very person who should love you unconditionally. This is a story that I feel I was called to write. A true story of someone who suffered from abuse and how she conquered her hate, her fear and her resentment through her faith in God. These truths I gleaned from actual interviews with women who shared their stories with me and trusted me to tell their stories.

You have moved from a thriller fiction in your first book to a historical fiction in your second. Any new books in the works and will they fall in one of these categories or will you again head in a different direction?

I have completed a book called A Very Dairy Christmas. It is a sweet story of a family moving to a dairy farm and adjusting to change by Christmas. It includes the antics of the children and shows how they work together to make the move a success. It shows the true meaning of Christmas. I am now working on another book in the same genre as Jeanne called Belonging. This is based on a true story. I have three books planned for this category with others in between. After Belonging I will write a sequel to The Mallard Conspiracy. Many have asked for another book to follow it. The protagonist will be Lynnette who is a character in The Mallard Conspiracy. I have other book that are ideas that I am researching.

What would you most like readers to know about you?

It’s never too late! This is truly my third career. I feel it is a culmination of my experiences throughout my life, but I don’t let age dictate can or can’t. I just move forward and I encourage others to move forward as well. Whether it is from the people I have met to understanding the writing process or knowing how to run a business, all have contributed to becoming an author.
Any advice for authors struggling to finish that first novel?

Write and write some more to get the experience. Always be willing to learn from others. Persevere and don’t give up. Even a little writing every day and you will finish that book.

Meet the Author - 

​Sylvia Hornback received her Doctorate of Education Administration from Texas A&M University. She is the current Chair of the Board of Directors for ENERGY Worldnet, Inc., and served as an educator, principal and school superintendent for over two decades. Among her many accolades, she was recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School Principal by the U.S. Secretary of Education. For the past ten years, she has served as a Bible study teacher at First United Methodist Church near her home in Decatur, Texas. Her first novel, The Mallard Conspiracy, was published last year.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Facebook