Exclusive Interview with
Jane V. Blanchard
When did you start writing?
My 2011 Camino de Santiago experience so profoundly moved me that I wanted to tell everyone about the pilgrimage and the stories of the wonderful women I met along "the Way."
What makes writing your passion?
I was intrinsically changed by the Camino and I wanted to share this experience with others especially those who will never be able to walk the 500 miles across northern Spain.
How long have you been writing?
The Camino awakened a wanderlust within me. As I traveled, I continued to share my experiences with my readers.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
Like most writers, I was elated to see my first book in print. But then came the hard part -- marketing and continuing to publish.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
As a nonfiction writer, my "characters" come from life. So many wonderful people have crossed my path and many of these have made it into my books.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
Reasons out of my control have prevented me from hiking. Since I write about my travel experiences, not being able to wander has dampened my writing career.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I do not have "writer's block." If I want material, I just need to go on a trip.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
Each writer's path is different, but all writers must have something to say. I would advise new authors to find their own voice, write sincerely, and then edit, edit, and edit.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
If I could go back in time and talk to myself, I would stress the importance of developing writing skills by journaling, experiencing the world on food at an earlier age, and hiring professional editors.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
I was crushed by my first one-star review...it was not flattering. Then I realized that this person took the time to write a comment which would never have happened had he not read the book. I have since realized that I cannot please everyone and that unfavorable comments help readers to determine if this is the type of book they would like. Perhaps the "bad" book review prevented other like-minded readers from leaving a similar critique.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
I have been fortunate to get good reviews and awards. My favorites are personal comments from readers who tell me how the book affected them personally.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
As a nonfiction travel writer, all my books are about things that happened to me personally.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
I think the book cover should encapsulate the mood, the genre, and the most significant part of the story. Covers are also important for branding and promoting an author's work. For this reason, I feel it is important to have a professionally developed book cover.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
As part of my book promotions, I often attend book fairs, seminars, and do book readings. I find speaking with readers energizing.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
At first, it was an ego-trip to have someone recognize me for my books. (Who wouldn't enjoy that?) Now, almost a decade later, I am not often recognized in public and I do not mind being incognito.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
I have many favorite authors, depending on the genre. I am an eclectic reader, and when I like an author, I read most of his/her books.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
I might consider updating Camino Tips, How to Get the Most Out of the Way to remove out-dated information and references.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
What would you say to your readers?
I would like to thank my readers and to wish them good adventures, whether in person or via the armchair.
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I am a retired septuagenarian living in Sarasota Florida. I married a fellow adventurer. Together we have two children and three grandchildren.
What is your day job if you have one?
Prior to retirement, I was a technical writer.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
A bicycle accident left with me a loss of balance that prevents biking--one of my past favorite activities. I still walk daily and enjoy cooking, reading and reviewing books, and being with the grandkids.
Did you have a happy childhood?
I grew up in the 50s in Hartford CT. Though we had little money, I had a loving extended family, caring neighbors, and a good education.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
I was so impressed with the Camino de Santiago and the people I met along The Way that I just had to write about it.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
I have one unfinished book about walking the Vermont Long Trail.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
I think today's children need to be taught critical thinking skills and how to decipher all the media influx to find the truth.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
What is your favorite music?
Music by Queen, especially Bohemian Rhapsody.
Share a secret with us 🙂
Five Fun Facts:
1. I have an amateur radio license (KA1FUN)
2. I know how to milk a goat.
3. I've split about 50 cords of wood.
4. While biking in Spain in 2013, I fell and hurt my knee, requiring twenty-four stitches.
5. From April to October 1983, I rode over 10, 000 miles on my BMW 650cc motorcycle.