about
THE SHORT STORY:
 
Jillian is known to the online writing community as Authoress, hostess of Miss Snark's First Victim, a blog for aspiring authors.
 
In real life, she holds a degree in Music Education, sings with the Nashville Symphony Chorus, and homeschools her remaining youngster-at-home.
 
She's still crazy in love with her husband of more than thirty years and is happy to be surrounded by family and friends amid the rolling knolls of Middle Tennessee.
THE LONG STORY:

I wrote my first poem at age 6:

 

Spring is the time for you and me,

Look up high, the birds fly free.

Buds are even on the trees,

Look up high, there go three bees!

Such a beautiful sight to see,

Just right for you, just right for me.

 

Probably I got my way with words from my dad, who wrote a poem when I was born, and who continued to write poems for me throughout my childhood.  My love for stories, on the other hand, I attribute to my mom, who read and read and read out loud to me until, by the age of 4, I was teaching myself to read.

 

Thank you, Mom and Dad!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wrote my first poem at age 6:

 

Spring is the time for you and me,

Look up high, the birds fly free.

Buds are even on the trees,

Look up high, there go three bees!

Such a beautiful sight to see,

Just right for you, just right for me.

 

Probably I got my way with words from my dad, who wrote a poem when I was born, and who continued to write poems for me throughout my childhood.  My love for stories, on the other hand, I attribute to my mom, who read and read and read out loud to me until, by the age of 4, I was teaching myself to read.

 

Thank you, Mom and Dad!

A classic "redo" of one of my favorite photos

Though I spent untold hours at the kitchen table writing and illustrating my stories comic-book style, I spent equal time playing the piano, writing music, and putting on magnificent (or not-so-magnificent) productions-with-dolls with my beloved sister.  Our magnum opus?  A full-length production of The Sound of Music, for which I wrote the script (without any understanding of WWII or the Nazis).  Aside from my magnanimity in allowing my sister to play three of the main roles (including Maria), I spent hours sewing costumes, recording piano accompaniment on a cassette player (yes, I’m that old), memorizing my lines, and terrorizing my sister into memorizing hers.  The result?  A fairly amazing performance that our middle school music teacher came to see (on her bike—in a skirt), and raved about afterward.  No matter that the bedsheet theatre curtains fell down at intermission.  It was a quick fix, and it didn’t diminish her amazement.  (Was it because we were brilliant?  Or weird?)

I thought I was Princess Leia.

By the time I graduated from high school, I’d put my time in as marching/concert band section leader (flute/piccolo), band president, choral member, and theatre diva.  Despite the fact that I continued to write (and grab the attention of my English/writing teachers), music eked its way to the forefront, and I ended up securing a Bachelor of Music degree from Susquehanna University, with a piano concentrate.

 

For whatever reason, writing had fallen to the wayside.

 

My life was rich and full, though, as I wholeheartedly pursued my passion for music.  I won several piano scholarships, sang with the University Chamber Singers, and held the position of head accompanist for the University Choir for 3 years.  I was blessed to study piano with Galen Deibler and voice with John Magnus (whose names may not mean much to my readers, but mean the world to me), and to sing Beethoven’s Ninth under the direction of not-famous-yet Hugh Wolff, who pretty much changed my life.  I was known for my love affair with Mozart, my long practice hours, and my affinity to nap pretty much anywhere (on the floor of my practice room, in the musician’s lounge, face-down on Mr. Deibler’s Mason and Hamlin).

Starry-eyed me with Maestro Wolff

I also met my husband there.  Eric was the choir manager, so we share two years of choir grievances and memories.  I didn’t really like him until after he graduated, though, which is when we finally became friends who fell in love.

 

I moved to Nashville, married, and had babies.  In the midst of homeschooling and feeding small people and surviving as a stay-at-home mom with no car (we were a 1-car family for 11 years), I gradually returned to writing.  For a while, I made decent money writing on a site called ThemeStream that paid 10 cents per click.  I actually funded that year’s Christmas with my Themestream articles—imagine!  But it was a web site model doomed to fail, and it soon went under, and along with it my excellent extra income.  That experience helped me hone my essay skills, though, and in 2003 I self-published a collection of stories for stay-at-home moms.

A (very) rare glamorous moment from 2001

I convinced myself that I was an essayist, and that I could never—NEVER—write a novel.  Then one evening, while reading and not enjoying The Little White Horse, I had an intense “I could do better than this” reaction.  

 

So I wrote a novel.  And it was absolutely, positively terrible.

 

But it was the beginning of my journey.  Not only did it start me on the path of my true calling, but also it inspired my daughter Maggie to write. (She is going to be published some day.  You can say you read it here first.)  Maggie is my biggest fan, my constant support.  I cannot imagine my journey without her.

 

It took me 5 years to land a literary agent, another 5 years of not selling anything with him, and almost 2 years with a new agent before landing my first book sale.  Twelve years, folks.  That’s how long this journey has been.  And I can honestly say it’s been worth every hill and vale along the way.  I wrote 10 novels before writing the one that was to be my debut.

 

That’s a lot of words.  And a lot of years.

 

But here I am!  I’m thrilled to be able to share my debut with the world.  And I wouldn’t be here without my fabulous agent, Danielle Burby.

Danielle and me

The rest of my life is filled with homeschooling (4 have graduated, 1 is still plugging along), singing with the Nashville Symphony Chorus, spending time with family (Sunday Suppers at my sister’s home are the highlight of my week), and hanging out with the love of my life. 

 

And I write every day.  Because, in the end, it’s what I do best, and it’s what brings me the greatest satisfaction.  Mine has been a long journey toward publication, fraught with countless moments of “I’m going to quit”.  But I never did.  

 

And neither should you, no matter what your dream is.

My true love and me

© Jillian Boehme 2019