Interview with Jenny Deason Copeland

Why do you write Christmas stories?
As an adult I still love the anticipation, the food and games and traditions that are part of Christmas. As a kid, I remember the music and pageantry that were integral to the celebration. I want that feeling of good will, peace and thoughts of benevolence to all to last all year long. With New Shoes for Elizabeth, there was also a need to capture the wonderful oral history that was passed down to me through my mother and grandmother. Those stories needed to be saved somehow, even as fiction if that was my only vehicle. Their Depression era Christmas of 1939 helped me realize just how good we had it now. As for A MouseKeeper Christmas, I felt a need to reinvent the way small Santa believers anticipate the holiday. It is so hard to make that wait from Thanksgiving to Christmas and so I developed a new tradition to help pass the time. Playing hide and seek with a vacationing North Pole mouse will surely help with that.
What do you read for pleasure?
Mostly I read non-fiction with science and history and cooking the top categories. I do like a really well told story in the realm of fiction also. My favorite recently read novel was All the Light We Can Not See. It is a marvelously crafted tale of France in WWII.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My devices are many and my reading is stopped by sleep, gardening and driving. I complained as a child that there needed to be more to read on a breakfast cereal box as the current wordage didn't last through even one morning's bowl of fare. The Kindle Fire was newly acquired and is a great way to carry many books for little space. Sometimes the iPhone is used and the PC as well. But the best read is with the feel of the physical book in hand. I do look books. My personal library has a few thousand volumes.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
The networking that group book signings offers has been a great way to market my books. But more importantly, Crazy Red Head Publishing gets to see what others are doing to market their books at these types of events. One such event included a radio interview as a bonus. The seasonal nature of a holiday offering is always a challenge. A partnership with the "I Love to Write Day", which just passed, has been a nice bit of exposure to over 30,000 schools. Using the free coloring books to get the news out that these books are now available is a marketing tool that we hope we can use again and again as our new products are released.
Describe your desk
An utter mess. A well compartmentalized brain knows where every bit is and just how deep in the pile to dig for it.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Tiffin, Ohio in the 1950s and 60s was a wonderful place to be born and raised. It is a two college town so my intellectual peers were professor's kids. Everyone needed to take home A's. That fierce competition when paired with a really great local public school system made a wonderful and nurturing environment to let blossoming curiosity grow to each individual's potential. The teachers were the best you could find anywhere. The background for the story, New Shoes for Elizabeth, was the town of Tiffin which is the county seat of Seneca County of Ohio. The story takes place in the vegetable garden of America. Dirt so rich and black you can grow anything. All you needed was a green thumb.
When did you first start writing?
When I first learned to hold a pencil. Words are tools and letters are playthings. I first started writing poetry and moved to screenplays now novels and some non-fiction works are planned as well. Take the stories from my screenplays and make them commercially available in book form first. That is what has already happened for New Shoes for Elizabeth and A MouseKeeper Christmas. Both were screenplays first.
What's the story behind your latest book?
A MouseKeeper Christmas is a Santa story that introduces a new holiday tradition of becoming a Mousekeeper to watch over the North Pole mice from Thanksgiving until Christmas each year. It is a little known fact that the North Pole elves all have a pet mouse. Originally the mice were not just companions but helped to test the toys as well. But as the factory production ha to accelerate to keep up with the ever increasing demand. Santa and the head elves have noticed a good but problematic trend, the Naughty lists are drying up. Year after year the elves need to make more toys and now the tester mice cannot keep up and they end up breaking more toys than they help with. A plucky six year old heroine and self declared geek, recommends that Santa send the mice on a vacation. The rest of the solution is in the book.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Selling a screenplay is like winning the lottery. It felt like all my stories would just die on a desktop and never be shared in any format. I couldn't stand to see all my hard work go without a chance to be successful. Setting up my own publishing house seemed like the best answer for me personally. I get great gratification knowing they have a chance of entertaining someone out there.
What's your next project?
I have two non-fiction works that are outlined and partially written. The first one delves deep into the Vietnam War era. The working title is, Tiananmen West. The book name will maintain that title. The challenge for me is to take a screenplay that did well in a few competitions and rework the data and theories into a non-fiction history book. The research for this effort has covered over two decades and included Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI, CIA and NSA. The second non-fiction book is based on my over four decades of work life in the S.T.E.M. fields. That's Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics for those not initiated to the term. The working title for this work is Why Women don't Stay in S.T.E.M. It is an insider's look ate what it is like for a woman to work in a male dominated profession. This is one work that was not a screenplay first. Then my poetry chap books will be the next offering for young readers. Hoping someday to produce the next Where the Sidewalk Ends. And there are at least four more stories to convert from screenplay to book format. I'll be very busy for a few years.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
To entertain, to make people laugh, to bring a deeper understanding of history and the world we live in to as many other minds as possible. To get the conversations started.
Published 2015-11-16.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

A MouseKeeper Christmas - The Beginning Coloring Book
Price: Free! Words: 540. Language: English. Published: November 18, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Activity Books, Fiction » Children’s books » Holidays & Celebrations / Christmas & Advent
The coloring book version of the A MouseKeeper Christmas picture book for you to color. It is a little known fact about Santa's North Pole establishment, that the elves have pet mice. This is a crucial bit of data for this story about a six year old heroine, Sara, who solved Santa's 's toy production problems and saved Christmas. Enjoy coloring the pictures your way.
New Shoes for Elizabeth - Coloring Book
Price: Free! Words: 550. Language: English. Published: November 15, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Holiday » Christmas, Fiction » Historical » USA
Inspired by true events, this tween age chapter book is a fictional account of a Depression era Christmas on a share croppers farm in the Midwest. The thirteen year old heroine, Elizabeth, and her five brothers were enjoying all the fun of life on the farm when their father lost part of his hand in a farming accident. In spite of this tragedy, Elizabeth made this their best Christmas ever.