Thank you so much to Jayme H Mansfield for agreeing to join us today with this interview. Having recently read her latest novel, Rush, I’m quite excited to have her with us today.
To kick things off why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and your books for readers who aren’t familiar with your work.
Hey, Paige! Thanks for asking. I’m an author, artist, and educator. The best part is I’m passionate about all three of those areas and am fortunate to really love what I do. Art is a consistant thread throughout my novels—especially visual art and its ability to communicate emotion. Combining a love for history, storytelling, art, and the power of words, writing novels is about the most fun thing for me to do! I live near the base of the Colorado Rockies with my husband, three nearly grown boys, and Bella the Golden Retriever.
With two novels now published, do you have a favorite?
Tough question! Chasing the Butterfly will always have a special place in my heart as my debut and the fact that it was written for me—the opportunity to publish it was an added blessing. As I continue to work on the craft of writing, I believe my writing improved with RUSH (an ongoing goal for my subsequent novels), so it’s a favorite in that regard. Plus, I love the history and the storyline.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers reading this interview?
If you can’t stop thinking about writing, then do it—it’s how you are wired to create and express. Writing books is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, yet it is the one of the most gratifying. Seek and talk with others who write, are encouraging, and those who will be honest about the hard work and dedication needed to write well.
Tell us a little bit about Rush. What inspired you to write this particular book?
I personally really enjoyed it – I find this period in history fascinating! Thank you! I’m amazed how many readers are enamoured by the storyline and history of the era. RUSH is based on my great-great grandmother’s participation in the 1893 Oklahoma Land Rush. I grew up hearing about “Oklahoma Grandma” — the perserving, determined, and faithful woman who staked her claim on her own. After perusing family letters, documents, and photos, I decided it was time to tell her story.
Mary and Daniel’s romance was a bit of a second chance one, with them both dealing with lost loves. What draws you to writing this type of romance?
Imperfections, fear, and loss are realities. I’m drawn to characters who choose to overcome trials and challenges to love authentically and deeply. Love isn’t easy in real life so why should it be in story? Loving and being loved is at the core of our being, and often stories help us embrace and make sense of that reality.
If you could go back to the beginning of your publishing career and give yourself some advice based on what you know now, what would that be?
Ha! I’m still talking with myself about this … but I would write more consistently and push myself to complete my books in a timely manner. Each successive book has been completed in a shorter timeframe, but I have so many stories to tell that I’d better giddy-up and get-going if I want to get as many as possible out to readers. At the beginning of my career, I was so excited about my first book that I didn’t think much beyond it. In hindsight, I knew I had other stories to write, but it took me longer than I wanted to park myself back at the computer.
You own an art studio, correct? Is the gorgeous cover art on both Rush and Chasing the Butterfly yours? Do you have prints available for purchase?
I can hardly believe I’ve had my art studio for 23 years! It’s fondly called Piggy Toes as it began as a children’s hand painted furniture company. Now I teach art classes to kids and adults and enjoy working on my own art. The magnificent cover art for both books are by my close friend and highly acclaimed Colorado artist, Kelly Berger www.kellybergerart.com. This was quite thrill to have her create the covers and they are just as I dreamed—painterly, inviting, and beautiful. Here’s the Etsy link, https://www.etsy.com/shop/piggytoesartstudio to purchase gorgeous sets of notecards of the book cover art and other original art notecards of my personal art.
Back to writing – Do you have any quirky writing habits?
I get completely in the zone. I can start when it’s daylight, look up, and the sun has set. I find myself daydreaming about the storyline and dialogues while driving, walking the dog, and probably while I’m sleeping. I actually believe much of the story comes together in those moments.
Do you outline your books, or do you go with the flow? Somewhere in between?
My natural preference is to go with the flow. I know where my story is headed, but I love the scenic detours and surprising events that occur without planning. For a recent book pitch, I had to write a very detailed synopsis. That made my brain hurt!
Do you prefer silence while writing, or do you need some background noise?
I like to switch it up. Sometimes I prefer silence or I’ll play soft, instrumental music. Song lyrics, however soothing, don’t mix well with my ability to concentrate.
I’m always fascinated with the amount of work that has to go into accurately representing a time period in a fiction novel. Did you do a lot of research writing your books?
Fortunately, I love the research aspect of writing. I like to delve into lots of books, Internet search, visit locations, and whatever else will place me in the proper time and place before I begin to write. However, much of the research happens in stride as the novel progresses. Many scenes and story elements have happened because something interesting and engaging popped up while researching. For Chasing the Butterfly, several past trips to France were key in taking the reader to Paris and Provence. For RUSH, I read all the family letters and documents and then took a fascinating trip to Oklahoma to visit sites and museums. Hey, an author has to do what she has to do, right?
Is there anything else you’d like to tell potential readers of your books?
More than anything, I want to say thank you for sharing the journey. For an extrovert, spending hours upon hours alone at my computer can be a challenge. Knowing that I’m in good company with others who love and appreciate a good book, makes it all worthwhile. I’d be honored and grateful if readers would visit my website, www.jaymehmansfield.com and sign up for my monthly newsletter so we can stay in touch!
About Jayme H. Mansfield
Jayme H. Mansfield is an author, artist, and educator. Her award-winning novel, Chasing the Butterfly, is a book club favorite and Amazon bestseller. RUSH provides a tension-filled, moving tale of a pioneer woman’s determination to survive and is based on the life of Jayme’s great-great grandmother.
Jayme lives in Lakewood, Colorado, where she and her husband have survived raising three hungry, hockey-playing sons. Currently, a very needy Golden Retriever runs the roost. When Jayme isn’t writing, she teaches art to children and adults at her long-time art studio, Piggy Toes.