MFF #11 by Angie Ballard
Now, let's get to the nitty-gritty and find out about the woman who calls herself The Jammie Girl?? Love your blog title. I've been snooping over there, and have to ask. Are YOU a Jammie Girl? Do you hang out in your jammies until noon, like some people I know? (I made it to the shower at 11:40 today!)
My blog title began as an inside joke, because I'd worked for years as a nurse, getting up at 3am every morning and relishing my days off when I actually could wear jammies at long as I liked. I discovered quickly that I wasn't the only person out there who felt they were more productive if they wrote, cleaned, cooked, or whatever all before changing out of pajamas!
Tell us a little about yourself, Angie. What do you do when you're not writing?
I grew up in Lexington, Kentucky and am a graduate of the University of Kentucky. I've been married twenty-five years, and have two sons, ages twenty and thirteen. And, no, we didn't realize at the time that having our children seven years apart would guarantee us a teenager in the house for fourteen straight years. I love to cook, I'm a voracious reader, and I have two large dogs I spoil unashamedly. Right now I'm off work recuperating from my third and fourth cervical spine surgery, so the rest of my hobbies are on hold for a bit.
For those not in the know, I met Angie when I joined Louisville Romance Writers, our local chapter of the Romance Writers of America (RWA). How long have you been a member there, and can you tell us about the benefits of joining a local writers' group?
I have been a member of LRW for two years and I can honestly say I have never met a more supportive group of people, both personally and professionally. If I wasn't active in a writing group it would be too easy to take my writing less seriously because I wouldn't be basking in the literary successes of the other members or being held accountable for whether or not I'm really making an effort to write and be read.
Who and what are some of the authors and books that have inspired you most?
I write Women's Fiction, and some of my favorites are Jennifer Crusie, Mary Kay Andrews, and Dorothea Benton Frank. But I also own everything Stephen King has ever written and would probably buy and enthusiastically read his grocery list given the opportunity.
You've written a cookbook entitled: Tight Budget, Tiny Kitchen, and No Time: How to Eat Well in Your First Apartment. Boy, I wish I had that when we first married and lived in that rinky-dink one bedroom. When did you publish this, and what inspired you to write it?
When my eldest son went off to college two hours from home it was very traumatic (for me - not at all for him). Since I tend to show my affection by feeding people it was so hard to know he wasn't having his favorite home-cooked meals. Of course he was perfectly happy living on pizza and Taco Bell, but I put this book together as a sort of labor of love for use in his first off-campus apartment. The tips and techniques are ones I use myself since being off work an extended period of time quickly renewed my interest in living and cooking frugally.
Let's hear about your novel-in-progress. I have to say, I think the whole group was smitten with that first paragraph you read during our April meeting. I've been hungry for tater tot casserole ever since! What's the title, genre, and gist of the story?
It's called Lordale, which is the name of the little beach town in which most of the story is set. It's Women's Fiction, slanted more toward Commercial Fiction than Literary Fiction. I believe in the reader getting a happy ending :) The main story revolves around Maggie, a middle-aged woman who has finally gotten everything she has worked so hard for, but realizes she may have sacrificed too much along the way. Her young friend and neighbor, Amanda, mirrors Maggie's struggles as she deals with a busy career, the huge responsibility of being her mother's caretaker, and an unexpected romance.
Do you have an excerpt you'd like to share?
The next morning Maggie woke up the same way she usually did: to the tap of toenails on the hardwood floor and the touch of a cold nose on her arm. She pulled on her crumpled shorts and T-shirt from the day before, laced up her running shoes, and grabbed a bottle of water and an old tennis ball. Sam, her plump chocolate lab, was doing the potty dance by the back door by this time. It was barely dawn, but Maggie never minded Sam’s early wake-up calls - she’d always enjoyed the hour or so of solitude waking up before everyone else provided. Sam’s brisk trot set the pace for their warm-up, and Maggie turned back a few minutes later to admire the two sets of footprints - one human, one canine - that were the only ones marring the perfection of the early-morning sand.
Last but not least, everyone gets a random question when they have an interview here. Yours is: Do you have a food that you love, but most people find repulsive? Or alternately, do you hate a food that most people love?
Is there a word for pathological fear of coconut? That would be me. I won't even eat chocolates from a box that's marked just in case someone put a coconut one in the wrong spot by accident. Bleh!
Thanks so much, Angie for sitting in my interrogation chair today. I wish you the best of luck with your writing and everything else!
Angie Ballard is a nurse, mother of sons, and dog-lover who got started writing with her blog, The Jammie Girl, which is part chat with a girlfriend over a glass of sweet tea, part conversation overheard in the grocery store checkout line, and part Thanksgiving dinner with the crazy branch of the family. Although her only published work to date is a frugal cookbook she is currently writing her second novel in the Women's Fiction genre when she's not wasting time on Facebook and Twitter.