28 February, 2017

#SpecialFeature :: An #Interview with Merry Jones, #Author of Child's Play

*** Special Feature - February 2017 ***

Quick Recap:
22nd February: A Writer's Life

About the Author:

Merry Jones is the author of some twenty critically acclaimed books, both fiction and nonfiction. Her work has been translated into seven languages. Her previous Elle Harrison novels have been The Trouble with Charlie and Elective Procedures. Jones lives with her husband in Philadelphia.

Contact the Author: 
Website * Facebook * Twitter 

An Interview with the Author:

What do you like best about yourself? Least?
Best: I like my persistence. I stick with things and people and goals through rough and easy times. I demand a lot of myself to finish what I start, not give up.
Least: My depression. I’ve had it for most of my life. Actually, I can’t say I dislike being depressed because I don’t know what life would be like or who I’d be without it. It’s a low rumbling beast, always with me to varying degrees.

What are your most important values?
Hmmm. Devotion to family. Wonderment at life. Love of animals and nature. Curiosity about other people and other times, places, cultures. Respect for others. Empathy. Awe at the size of the universe.

What emotion are you most afraid to experience?
Fear scares me. But dread is worse than fear. Fear is immediate and intense. Dread lasts longer, and it’s full of anticipation. So I fear dread. And dread is why I also fear happiness. 
Happiness makes me feel dread because I know that, by its very nature, happiness is unsustainable and fleeting. So when I feel happiness--or joy or elation, I automatically begin dreading its passing.

What do you care about most in the world?
Family.  And freedom.

What do you carry in your pocketbook?
Hahaha. Too much. Oh man. I carry two wallets, one for money and another for cards—credit cards, driver’s license, etc. Keys. Cell phone. Old lipsticks. Tissues. (Is this interesting? Wake up, the list goes on.) Pictures of family occasions. Bookmarks featuring some of my books. Business cards. Receipts. An epipen (I’m allergic to bee stings). Tylenol. Pens. A notepad. Sometimes my Kindle. Often a snack, like a health bar. Sunglasses. Safety pins. A traveling sewing kit. A mirror.

What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?
Oh my my my. This is SO hard to answer. You want just one embarrassing thing? There are so many.
I guess I’ll go back to high school. The senior prom. I wore a striking formal dress with a long velvet sash in the back. It was my first floor-length dress, so I felt very elegant. My date wore a tuxedo. We were very grown up. Very fancy. 
After a while, I went to the Ladies Room. I visited the toilet, but forgot about the sash. 
When I exited the Ladies Room, the sash was visibly, unmistakably soaking wet. Dripping all over the back of my dress. I went back and hid in the Ladies Room for hours.
Since then, there have been countless other embarrassing moments. But because of my vulnerable and impressionable age at the time, the embarrassment of the sash has stayed with me.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done to someone and why?
I probably don’t know the answer to this one. We are often unaware of the ways our actions affect others. And probably, unwittingly, thoughtlessly and carelessly, I’ve done some really terrible things that I neither intended nor noticed.
An example of something unintended: My late father once told me that I’d caused one of the most painful moments of his life. It was when he returned home from about two months in the hospital, having barely survived a chemical explosion that had burned off most of his skin. I was his youngest child, and he couldn’t wait to see me after such a long separation. But his return home didn’t go as he’d envisioned. 
When he walked in, I screamed in horror and ran away.
He’d endured weeks of unbearable pain and terrible burns only to come home to a child who was terrified of his appearance and refused to look at him. 
In fairness, I was only a small child and someone should have prepared me better for that first encounter. But as an adult thirty-odd years later, picturing the moment and realizing how deeply my rejection of him had hurt him, I felt terrible. 
I’ve no doubt done worse things. Broken a heart or two. Manipulated the truth. But because of how I loved and admired him, I regret that I hurt my father, deliberately or not.

What would you like it to say on your tombstone?
I don’t know. Maybe “She did her best.”

What’s your idea of a good marriage? Do you expect to get one?
I’m fortunate enough to have one. To me a good marriage is one that brings out the best in each other. A relationship in which you both feel you can grow. In which you feel safe to be yourselves, flaws and all. In which you love, trust and respect your partner just as he/she is without changing anything. In which you are willing to give of yourself without expecting to get anything back. In which you listen to each other, strive to understand each other.
My husband is my best friend. His presence creates my “home.” I can tell him anything. We support each other’s goals and have stood by each other through any number of tough times. Together, we have raised two amazing daughters. 
No relationship is perfect, of course. But with the magic combination of love, trust and respect, couples can grow together, survive tough times, and emerge from them closer and stronger than when they went in. 

How do you feel about your life right now? What, if anything, would you like to change?
I’m at a strange time of life, not entirely comfortable with it. 
I’m in my Sixties. A senior citizen. My hair is white. Even so, I still think of myself as a young woman. So, when I look in the mirror, I’m surprised.
My peers say they share this sense of disbelief at their ages. It happened so suddenly, while we were busy with careers or family, while we weren’t looking. 
You young people probably can’t relate to what I’m saying. But I promise, this will happen to you. One day, all of a sudden, you’ll look in the mirror and be surprised, too. 
My kids are grownups now. They have careers and spouses of their own. And when I go out, I notice that people treat me gently. Grocery clerks divide my purchases into two bags because they assume that a white haired lady can’t lift a single heavy one. Young men call me “Ma’am.” Old men sometimes wink.
Bottom line: I’m in the last third, maybe the last quarter of life. My perspective has changed. I see so much as fleeting and precious. Or as foolishness. Or as already gone.
Not that I’m finished living. No way. I’ve got books to write and places to visit. Causes to fight for. I’m healthy and fit and active. But the passage of time, the phase of life I’m in, alters my views.
What would I change? I guess I’d want more success with my writing. More inspiration and ideas. More contracts. More readers. 
Oh. And grandchildren. Lots of grandchildren. Yes. 

Thanks for the interview!

Book Details:
Genre: Thriller, Suspsense
Published By: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: January 3rd 2017
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 1608091910 (ISBN13: 9781608091911)
Series: Elle Harrison Thriller #3 (Each can be read as a Stand Alone Novel)

Since her husband’s murder two years earlier, life hasn’t been easy for Elle Harrison. Now, at the start of a new school year, the second grade teacher is determined to move on. She’s selling her house and delving into new experiences―like learning trapeze.
Just before the first day of school, Elle learns that a former student, Ty Evans, has been released from juvenile detention where he served time for killing his abusive father. Within days of his release, Elle’s school principal, who’d tormented Ty as a child, is brutally murdered. So is a teacher at the school. And Ty’s former girlfriend. All the victims have links to Ty.
Ty’s younger brother, Seth, is in Elle’s class. When Seth shows up at school beaten and bruised, Elle reports the abuse, and authorities remove Seth and his older sister, Katie, from their home. Is Ty the abuser?
Ty seeks Elle out, confiding that she’s the only adult he’s ever trusted. She tries to be open-minded, even wonders if he’s been wrongly condemned. But when she’s assaulted in the night, she suspects that Ty is her attacker. Is he a serial killer? Is she his next intended victim?
Before Elle discovers the truth, she’s caught in a deadly trap that challenges her deepest convictions about guilt and innocence, childhood and family. Pushed to her limits, she’s forced to face her fears and apply new skills in a deadly fight to survive.

Purchase Links: 
Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Goodreads

1 eBook Copy of Child's Play by Merry Jones

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