Off Writing: Q&A with Jessica Conoley
At The Color Eater debut on August 12th, 2017 we did a mini question and answer session. The crowd at the Uptown Arts Bar had a ton of fantastic questions, and we clearly didn’t have time for me to answer all of them. This post is dedicated to the questions OFF WRITING, check out my upcoming ON WRITING post for more insight to the writing side of my life.
What is the first book you fell in love with?
A Garden for Miss Mouse by Michaela Muntean followed very closely by all of the Berenstain Bears books, particularly Mama’s New Job. When I turned thirty my Mom bought me thirty Berenstain Bears books to replace the ones she threw out when I was younger. (Clearly a lapse of judgment on her part, as I let her know continually for fifteen years. The birthday gift righted the error, and she has officially been forgiven.)
What was the most impactful book of your childhood?
Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt. I wrote an essay about it called, Coming Home, Page by Page. I sent Ms. Voigt my essay, and she wrote me back—one of the best days of my life.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Elysium by Jennifer Marie Brissett. An absolutely mind blowing spiral narrative. (Just Google spiral narrative if you’re curious what that means.) And, no the book is not the same as that crappy Matt Damon movie that came out a couple of years ago.
What are you favorite sources for finding new writers?
Word-of-mouth. I’ll put anything on my library hold list if someone tells me they like it. Also I’m on Goodreads. Goodreads sends me an email once a week or so and tells me what my friends have been reading and what they thought about it. Based on how my friends rate the book I may add it to my To Be Read list. If you’re on Goodreads and we’re not friends yet send me an invite, please!
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
My first salary negotiation. That was the first time I said, “I am worth more.”
Here’s a tip: Always ask for more. If you’ve worked hard, they’ll give it to you. You’re worth keeping around. And if they say no, they aren’t going to take away the money you already have.
What does literary success look like to you?
Positively impacting a person’s life when they read my work. No way to ever know if I’ve done it or not, other than if people tell me. I guess if little girls start dressing up as my characters for Halloween that’s a good start, or people start getting tattoos based upon my novels… those could be indicators I left a pretty big impression.
If you were seated at an event in your honor on your 85th birthday, what would you like to hear them say about your life?
She worked hard, was true to herself, and wrote stories no one else could have imagined.