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Monday, 24 December 2007
Getting to Know Jeanette Cezanne
Topic: Author Interview

Jeannette Cézanne the person:

1.  What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

Thoughtful, empathetic, opinionated

2.  How do you think others would describe you?

Probably about the same.

3.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

Making the world a better place. I'm active in the peace and social justice movement and do volunteer work around domestic abuse issues.

4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

I have a lovebird named Robert Johnson (no, he doesn't exactly sing the blues, but he does have blue feathers, hence the name). My cat's name is Becket, and there's a backup cat named Kirsipuu.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

My first date with my husband. I'd arranged for us to go to a jazz club and when he came to pick me up at the bookstore where I worked, I said, "You like jazz, right?" I mean, everybody likes jazz, or so I thought (I'm a city girl). He of course said, "No, not very much," but proceeded to come with me anyway. Walking back to the car we had our first kiss, and two elderly ladies passing us on the sidewalk stopped. One looked shocked, but the other said, "Love is in the air!"

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

Ha. Like I'm going to tell you. I could make something up, of course ...

7.  If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

I'm not good at doing very much else. In some ways I'm a writer by default - it's the only thing I really love to do and can do well. I'm not good at being told what to do or how to do it, which precludes most career choices.

8.      In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

She made a lot of mistakes, but learned from most of them. Through her writing she explored the many different facets of being human. She is survived by her husband, Paul, and stepchildren, Jacob and Anastasia.

Jeannette Cézanne the writer:

9.   Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

Oh, I have a giant writing ego: I always knew it was what I did, and did well. I wrote my first novel when I was fifteen.

10.  What is going on with your writing these days?

My agent is shopping two novels --- my fiction is a little too dark to interest most mainstream publishers, but he believes that they're terrific, so I'll take his word for it. I have two nonfiction books out this year, and that's been both exciting and exhausting. I have some short stories out in a number of literary journals. Oh, and my first play is being produced in January!

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

I'd like to get these more literary novels published and out there - again, I have enough ego to believe that I have something to say in them, and the fellowships and foundations that have been partially supporting me can't all be wrong.

12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

I'm up around six, and spend some time getting into the day - yoga and meditation, then dealing with emails. At seven I walk over to my local "provisions" shop, as they like to call themselves, and buy the daily paper and a coffee and chat a bit with people there. I'm generally at my desk and writing by 7:30 and go through until I'm tired or have reached a good stopping place or don't know what to say next. In between I have a fantastic software application that reminds me to stretch every half-hour, a Very Good Thing! Afternoons are for reading and research and generally by 4:00 I'm out walking around in my community again and pretty much finished for the day. I do some copywriting and search engine optimization to help pay the bills and they're generally confined to two days a week so I can keep to my writing schedule the other days.

13.  Why do you write?

Can't not. When I go for a few days without writing I start feeling sick.

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

Anita Shreve. She makes you feel what her characters are feeling in ways that no other author has ever done for me. I'm also inspired (in other ways) by Mary Stewart, Phil Rickman, and John Gardner.

15.  How do you define your writing?

I don't. I leave that for the reviewers.

Okay, that was too flip. I guess. But "my writing" feels meaningless. Every book is different. I'm a different writer with every story I tell or idea I try to get across. So I honestly don't know the answer.

16.    In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

It made them think.

Jeannette Cézanne the details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

I have several websites (I write under some different names), but let's keep it simple:, and my blog, Beyond the Elements of Style, is there too.

18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

There's contact information on my website, or they can email

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

Well, the two nonfiction titles I'm promoting this year are Open Your Heart with Reading and Open Your Heart with Geocaching - available online, of course, but I urge all readers to go and order them from their local independent booksellers, because they really need the business and it's not something we want to have disappear.

20.    For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

To be challenged rather than comforted.

In conclusion:

21.    Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

I think that there's a lot of darkness in the world and in people, and I also think that people in general try to find what light there is, both within and without. They muddle along and do the best they can; but the reality is that the world and the people in it are complex and difficult to understand, and we do both a disservice when we try and force them into binary absolutes. I write about this. I also have a strong sense of place - my environment is extremely important to me - and I think that in some ways place is as much a character in my books as anyone else.

My nonfiction books are about finding that light, somehow, sometimes against all odds. They are about places where I've found that light and want to share it with others.

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 24 December 2007 1:50 AM EST
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