Please welcome indie author Jane Blanchard

Author Bio: I am an author, public speaker, and blogger. I was born in Hartford, Connecticut, lived in Hampstead, New Hampshire, twenty-three years before moving to Sarasota, Florida, where I now reside. In Florida, I became active in several organizations benefiting women and hosted a weekly radio talk show, Women Matters.

I love the outdoors. I climbed my first mountain, Mount Washington in New Hampshire, in 1974. Since that initial ascent, I have climbed twenty of the forty 4,000-foot mountains in New England. I started mountain bike racing at age 50; in 2002, I won second place in the Masters Division EFTA (Eastern Fat Tire Association) Championship Series.

In September and October 2011 and at 60 years





Book title: Women of the Way: Embracing the Camino


Brief Synopsis: On July 25, 2012, Jane V. Blanchard released Women of the Way: Embracing the Camino. The book is a heartfelt and personal recounting of Jane's 500-mile pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago. Learn how she prepared for the trek, the daily rituals in long-distance walking, the camaraderie and conversations with women she met along the way, the personal changes, and the beauty and appeal of the most popular of all the pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela, the Camino Francés.


Personal

What do you do to relax when you are not writing?  Living in Florida provides me with year-round opportunities to walk on the beach, snorkel, and enjoy the outdoors. I love swaying in the hammock with a good book. As a family-centric person, I enjoy preparing the weekly family Sunday dinner.


What, or who, inspired you to become a writer? I have always enjoyed writing and worked as a technical writer for more than twenty years. I did not set out to be a technical writer; my career developed from my skills at writing reports and manufacturing instructions. A co-worker, seeing my abilities, encouraged me to try technical writing; as they say, the rest is history


Current work

What or who inspired you to write your current novel? While on the Camino, I was inspired by the women and their stories, and I felt compelled to write them. Until publishing Women of the Way, I called myself a writer; now I use the term author. In my mind, this is a major distinction.


Tell us three interesting facts about your book which are not covered in the synopsis.

1) I recorded the stories of more than thirty women from around the world. Upon returning home, I transcribed the recordings, and then sent them to the women for verification; the stories are truly in their words. In addition, I asked them to tell me what the Camino meant to them, now that they had returned home and to their former lives.

2) The Camino changed me; even today, I am affected by the lessons learned on the Camino. I am not the same person I was before the starting on this pilgrimage.

3) The Camino is very addictive; many modern-day pilgrims returned to the Camino. In 2013, I will do two Caminos. I will bicycle from Barcelona to Santiago doing the later portion on the Camino Francés. I will then walk the Camino Portugués, starting in Lisbon.


What research did you need to do for this book? Walking over 500 miles from the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela was my research. As I wrote about the adventure, I researched information about the area and points of interest mentioned in the book.


Are any elements/characters of your book based on real life experiences or people you’ve met/known? All of the stories and characters in the book are factual.


Tell us a little about your current work-in-progress. I am currently working on two technical books about using styles for writing. I am hoping that the upcoming adventure will provide an idea for another book.


Writing/publication process

What process did you adopt from inception through to the finished book? I started writing the book in third person, past tense; a style so familiar to me as a technical writer. About half way through the book, I changed to first person, present tense; this change made the book more friendly and appealing.


What do you need (or not need) around you whilst writing?  I write in the am. About 10, I am ready for coffee.


What prompted you to self-publish your current book? Two factors: higher royalties with self-publishing, and the fact that since I am in my sixties, I did not want to wait the possible two or three years it can take to find a traditional publisher.


What were the three biggest challenges you faced when writing your book?

1) Making sure I had all the Spanish towns and words spelled correctly

2) Finding my voice, too long suppressed by technical writing

3) Creating the maps and drawings


Every author seems to suffer with writer’s block at some point. How do you overcome it? I was very lucky to have my notes, the recordings, guidebooks, and pilgrim paraphernalia to keep me inspired. Writing the book was a pleasure; through the writing I was, once again, on the Camino.


What single piece of advice would you give to any aspiring writer?  Don't give up. If writing is your passion, carve out an hour a day to write. If you write every day for an hour, you can have a book in a year. Just keep plugging.


Genre  

What genre does your book fall into?  Narrative Non-fiction


How did you get interested in this specific genre? I had the adventure and wrote the book; the genre was a given.


You as a reader

Which three authors have inspired you the most, and why?

1) Stephen King. Interesting to see his writing style and character development improve over the years. Gives me hope that I too can improve—with practice and work.

2) Shirley MacLaine. Without having read Shirley MacLaine's The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit, I would not have been inspired to walk the Camino; consequently, I would not have written the book.

3) Gloria Steinem. Through her writing, I first learned about feminism and what it means to be a feminist. As a result, my motto has been “women matter and women matters are important.”


What was your favourite book as a child? I fell in love with the library at a very early age. To select a favourite book is difficult, especially over a long period of time.  My favourite stories were mysteries, especially those with strong women characters.


What is the best book you’ve read in the last 12 months? Once again, this is hard to say. So much depends on the genre. Since I read the entire In Her Name Series, I would probably pick this series by Michael Hicks.


What was the last book you recommended to a friend, and why did you think it was worthy of recommendation? The Pyramid Legacy by Clive Eaton. I enjoyed the adventure, the puzzles, and the cliff hangers. I liked the characters and the fact that they changed as the story progressed. So often in life, people are not what they first seem to be. It was refreshing to have an author capture that so well.


Kindle (or other e-reader) or paperback, and why? Kindle, for its ability to house so many books; and because I can keep covered while reading in bed, turning the pages with the flick of a button.


Hollywood is calling

You’ve had the call from Hollywood and they want your opinion on who should play the leading roles in the film based upon your book. Who would you choose, and why? I would be thrilled to have Diane Keaton play me, and Nicholas Cage play my husband. It would be wonderful if each of the women could play themselves.

The film of your book is now going to need a soundtrack. Which musician(s) would you want to write and play it? Cellist, Mark Summer or perhaps Zoe Keating. I believe the cello sounds most represent the feel of the Camino.


Favourites

Drink – Coffee with Baileys creamer, Sangria

Meal – Grilled vegetable sandwich

Holiday destination – Snorkelling in the Caribbean

TV programme – Upstairs/Downstairs, Downton Abbey, Sherlock Holmes

Film – Doctor Zhivago

Method of travel – self-propelled: hiking and bicycling

Sport – I don't play sports, but enjoy watching an occasional soccer or ice hockey game.


How can people connect with you?

Website/Blog: janevblanchard.com

                     and womenoftheway2011.com

Twitter: @JaneVBlanchard

Facebook:janevblanchard.author

              and womenoftheway


Where can readers find your book?

Smashwords

For autographed books



old, I took my first long walk—the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile pilgrimage across northern Spain. As I walked, I talked with women from different nations. The book, Women of the Way, weaves these conversations with my journey.

This is my first non-technical book, combining my skills as a technical writer with my passion for women and women matters.

When I married Dennis in 1974, we joked about creating a lifetime of memories to chat about when sitting in our rockers in old age. At 62 years old, I am still creating memories with him, experiencing life as fully as possible, and looking forward to a long future.

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