Monday, September 7, 2009

The Monday Muse: Interview with Jill S. Alexander and Contest!

Today's Muse: Jill S. Alexander
Author of: The Sweetheart of Prosper County (my review here)
Want to win a copy of the book? Keep on reading! ~Contest closed! Thanks for entering!~

Bookworm: Welcome, Jill, and congrats on the release! So, tell us...what was the inspiration for The Sweetheart of Prosper County?
Jill: I journal quite a bit. The starting point is always an image--something real or imagined that I just can't let go of. In The Sweetheart of Prosper County, I really just began journaling about a small town parade with a band and sweethearts. I knew when I wrote the line, "Being a sweetheart must give a girl that kind of confidence," that I not only had a story, I had a feisty narrator who was done with being stuck on the curb.

Bookworm: Have you ever raised a farm animal like Austin did in the book?
Jill: I never had a rooster of my very own, but I did have a registered Hereford bull named Buster. I grew up in a rural area with lots of farmers in the family. My grandfather raised calves, but my great uncle raised fighting roosters. I was always fascinated by the Bantam rooster stories.

Bookworm: What parts of the book were based off of real situations/people you knew or know?
Jill: Although my characters are all composites, Lafitte Boudreaux is based on my grandfather. Also, in high school, I worked for Mason's True Value Hardware store on the downtown square in Mt. Pleasant, Texas. Gray's True Value is my recollection of the interior of that store.
To me, the setting in Sweetheart functions like a character, too. Prosper County is a fictional place made up of real images from small towns all across Texas, but it is an environment with which the characters interact. I love what Eudora Welty said about setting, "Every story would be another story, and unrecognizable if it took up its characters and plot and happened somewhere else." Setting for me is more than just background.

Bookworm: What is your "cover story", or how did your book end up with the cover that it did?
Jill: The art department at Feiwel & Friends rocks. Just sayin'. I don't have one of those cover "drama" stories. Rich Deas and his team designed the cover, sent me the image, and I thought it was amazing. They did a wonderful job of capturing the whimsy surrounding Austin's journey. Charles Dickens looks like a little Napoleon sitting for his formal portrait.
Bookworm: I totally agree--the cover is one of my favorites, it's just so cute!

Bookworm: If you could meet any character from the book, who would you choose?
Jill: That's a tuffy. I feel like I know all of them, but if I had to choose one to come to life and sit down for a chat--I'd probably pick Lewis. I want to ride on the purple chopper.

Bookworm: What's next, writing-wise?
Jill: Feiwel & Friends has acquired my second novel Paradise and His Smokin' Squeezebox. And let me tell you, it's going to be HOT. I'm working to finish it in time for the Fall 2010 list.

Bookworm: What are your favorite things to do when you're not writing?
Jill: Goodness! I love to travel when I have the time. I also enjoy watching my son play sports.

Random Bonus Question: How hot is it in Texas right now? J
Jill: I can't believe I'm writing this, but we are having a cool snap. The temp is in the 80's which is very unusual. It's football season in the land of Friday Night Lights. This is the perfect kickoff weather! Tailgate time! J
Thanks so much, Jill! The Sweetheart of Prosper County was released on September 1st, so congrats on the release!
Check out Jill's super-cool website here
Interested in winning a copy of Jill's book The Sweetheart of Prosper County? I have one signed copy to give away, courtesy of Jill (thanks, Jill!). To enter, here's all you need to do:

a) comment below with your name and email address (no email address, no entry)
b) bonus point for following my blog!

No international entries, please: US and Canada only! This contest will end on October 1st, 2009, so enter, enter, enter!


Debs Desk said...

Great interview. Please include me in your giveaway.

Diana Dang said...

I look forward to reading this one!

I follow!

faked_sugartone at hotmail

Addicted Book Reader said...

Awesome, thanks! I'm a follower : )

Pam said...

I'm a city girl but my grandmother lived on a farm so I recall my brother and I being so upset because my parents wouldn't let us keep a piglet that we'd had to hand feed because he was the runt of the litter.

I'm a follower too.

melacan at hotmail dot com

Katie said...

Enter me! I'm a follower.


trishalynn0708 said...

Please enter me. :)


trishalynn0708 said...

I follow your blog


trishalynn0708 said...

I also blogged about it


Paula said...

The cover is really eye-catching. Liked the interview. Please enter me in giveaway!!!


Holly said...

This one looks terrific. Great interview, too. I'd love to win!


Wanda said...

Please enter my name in your draw. Thanks.

Wanda said...

I just became a follower of your blog.

MJ said...

This sounds great.

I follow.


etirv said...

I would like to be entered!


etirv said...



TheBookworm said...

Please enter me! :D


Linna said...

I would like to read this book. Sounds great. Please enter me. :D

linna.hsu at gmail dot com

Linna said...

I'm a follower.

linna.hsu at gmail dot com

holdenj said...

What a great interview, I've been wanting to read this!


Lauren said...

I would love to enter! And I already follow! :)

~ Lauren

Steph Su said...

The Sweetheart of Prosper County was such a wonderful read; I'm really glad I stumbled across your interview with Jill! Looking forward to her awesomely titled second book next year. :)

Oh, I follow!

stephxsu at gmail dot com

Jenny N. said...

Nice interview. I would like to win a copy. I'm also a follower of yours.


ReggieWrites said...

+1 Follower

This is a great contest! I hope I win! hehe! *crosses fingers*

Reggie :-)

dag888888 said...

I would like to be included, excellent book!


dag888888 said...

I follow!


a flight of minds said...

We'd love to be entered! We follow. :)

Alex & Lauren at aflightofminds(at)hotmail(dot)com

fitz12383 said...

I really want to read this one -please enter me! Thanks.

amanda n.

fitz12383 said...

I also follow.

amanda n.

Luvdaylilies said...

Nice interview=)
I'd love to be entered for your drawing!
+ I'm a follower=)
Luvdaylilies at bellsouth dot net

MD said...

Thanks for the interview.


Paradox said...

This book sounds great! Enter me please!

+1 I'm a follower.

paradoxrevealed (at) aim (dot) com

~The Book Pixie said...

Great interview and giveaway! I'd love to win this.

+1 Follower


MUM said...

This sounds like such a great book. Loved the interview. Count me in.

+1 became follower


katie said...

Great interview and I would love to be entered in the contest!

+1 follower


Nancye said...

+1 I would love to read/win this book! Looks like a good read!

+1 Follower

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net