Interview with Jo Ellen
Author of Then and Now
Where are you from originally and where do you reside now?
I was born in Ohio, grew up in Texas and have lived in Georgia for 50 years.
If you currently reside somewhere besides where you were born, what’s the story that lead from there to here?
When I was a child we moved to follow my father’s jobs, and as an adult we moved to follow my husband’s career.
What made you decide to write and publish your first book?
I was doing volunteer work with homeless people and I thought people should know more of their stories (why they were homeless.)
How would you describe your books to first time readers? All but one of my books have come from personal experiences which made an impression on me. The only book that was purely fiction was not as good as those coming from personal experience.
Who do you feel is most likely to connect with the topics you write about? I feel older people will identify more with the subjects but younger people might be interested in learning about ‘how things, used to be,” especially about the current hot-button issues of family, sex and race.
What unexpected or surprising thing did you learn during the process of writing and publishing? Writing is always therapeutic but publishing is frustrating because I have been retired 20 years and do not know the modern computer programs needed for publicity. I am fine with typing my story in WORD, saving and sending, but using PDF required help from everyone I knew, and typing charts and making my signature online have driven me crazy. (My publishers are very nice; it’s not their fault. That I am a dinosaur.
If you could, what advice would you give to your past self before embarking on this journey?
Hire someone to do all the computer stuff.
How many people would you ideally like to reach with your books?
I only intended this book to be for family and friends, but if others are interested that will be fine.
What has been the biggest challenge and frustration during the process to date?
Keeping up with details in a timely manner. I also am caring for an elderly family member, so making time is an issue.
What’s your biggest strengths when it comes to book a) writing, b) publishing and c) marketing?
I truly enjoy writing, but am not much on publishing. As for marketing, I enjoyed traveling to different cities and local book fairs for book talks and signings, but am no longer able to do that.
What’s your biggest weakness when it comes to book a) writing, b) publishing and c) marketing?
I wish I had added more detail to this book. As for publishing, I have already mentioned frustrations with the computer. As for marketing, I am no longer able to travel very far but could do some appearances locally.
When do you think you will write your next book?
Whenever I get the urge.
Are you self published or did you use a hybrid publisher, or a traditional publisher?
All self published except for my essay in Atlantic Monthly.