Meet the Members: Danielle Jaussaud

“Belonging to a community of writers brings confidence and offers a lot of support. “

— Danielle Jaussaud

A member of the Writers’ League since January 2018, Danielle lives in Austin, TX.

Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?

Danielle Jaussaud: Narrative nonfiction.

Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them?

DJ: Janet Walls. I would ask: What prompted you to write your story, and did writing about the difficult moments of your childhood bring healing?

Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?

DJ: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery.

Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?

DJ: Belonging to a community of writers brings confidence and offers a lot of support.

Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?

DJ: I’d like to write about historical and political figures passionate about promoting peace and justice.

Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?

DJ: Riverwoods: Exploring the Wild Neches by Charles Kruvand.

Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion! 

DJ: A long time ago, my high school friends decided that I would one day be either a journalist, or a spy. Funny how close they were, as I have been a little of both in my quest for adventures.

Thank you, Danielle!

If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at member@writersleague.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!

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Meet the Members: Joan Moran

“I had never taken a real writing course in my life, and the Writers’ League classes introduced me to a world I always wanted to enter, but never had the time to do so. “

— Joan Moran

A member of the Writers’ League since 2016, Joan lives in Austin, TX.

Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?

Joan Moran: I usually write non-fiction, memoir, screenplays, and I’m a compulsive blogger. However, I had secret thoughts that to be a real writer, I would have to settle down and write fiction. I wrote my first book of fiction in 1986, Women Obsessed, and that was an afterthought in order to enhance the prospects of selling the screenplay by the same name. It was written in the form of letters exchanged between two women. After writing this work, I scared myself and didn’t tackle fiction again until two years ago.

Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them?

JM: Toni Morrison. I read her book, Beloved, and was captivated by the deep emotional connection she had with her characters, in particular, Beloved — her sorrow, resilience, her ability to love and exist in a world of duality. Since I was a young girl of 11, I invaded my mother’s extensive library of classic literature. My favorite writers were Russian: Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. I devoured their books for years during the summers before high school, then began to read Chekov and Nabokov. When Morrison’s Beloved came out in 1987, I went to the bookstore and bought it immediately. I was curious about her writing, her challenge to the ‘old school’ novelists, which included poetry and the use of creative language in an attempt to restructure the way we think about how fiction is assessed. I’ve seen her interviews throughout the years, and I felt a compelling urge to hug her, perhaps because of her passion and understanding of the deep recesses of human nature. If I could talk to Ms. Morrison, maybe I could breathe in that essence.

Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?

JM: I’m conflicted between two choices: Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. I read both before I entered high school and they both reflected my love for very long books — sagas, if you will — interwoven with multiple characters dealing with life on multiple levels with complicated story lines woven throughout the novel. Colorful sagas go on forever, which I adore. I can tell you exactly the moment I finished Gone with the Wind: the summer before I entered seventh grade, sitting on a diving board stretched out over the pool in my backyard. I finished War and Peace the cold winter of eighth grade huddled in a corner of my living room catching the rays of the sun.

Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?

JM: It’s axiomatic to say that I have learned how to write. I had never taken a real writing course in my life, and the Writers’ League classes introduced me to a world I always wanted to enter, but never had the time to do so. Thanks to retirement and my love for writing and books, I migrated into the positive and energetic world of the community of writers and teachers who have guided me into another level of artistic passion.

Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?

JM: Writing will take me into a future of knowing and learning more about the nuances of how fiction is structured. More classes are ahead of me and a re-reading of Michael Noll’s book on how to write fiction: The Writer’s Field Guide to the Craft of Fiction. After completing my new book, An Accidental Cuban, and managing its launch, I am going back to writing my next book, The Homecoming Queen.

Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?

JM: Empire of the Summer Moon. I believe this terrific book by S. C. Gwynne came out several years ago, but this is my favorite book about how the territory of Texas struggled for almost a hundred years with the Apache Tribes. It was vivid, compulsive reading.

Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion! 

 

JM: Blatant self-promotion:  An Accidental Cuban, now on Amazon and Goodreads. I traveled to Cuba several years ago and discovered the beginnings of a story about a young man I met in Cienfuegos, a Cuban national, who wanted to get off the island and find his freedom in America. The fictionalized story began after our introduction and hours of conversation in the Plaza Marti. Harry, the protagonist, goes to Havana and unwittingly gets embroiled into the Cuban underground economy, controlled by nefarious non-Cuban businessmen. His work for his employers compromises his moral compass. Harry’s journey sends him down a rabbit hole that creates a Faustian bargain that dramatically changes the direction of his life.

Thank you, Joan!

If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at member@writersleague.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!

Meet the Members: Tamara Saviano

“I love the slate of classes presented by the Writers’ League and look forward to taking several classes this year.”

— Tamara Saviano

A member of the Writers’ League since December 2018, Tamara lives in Austin, TX.

Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?

Tamara Saviano: Biography and memoir.

Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them?

TS: Patti Smith. I’d ask her how she gets so much emotion on the page in so few words. Just Kids and M Train are beautiful memoirs.

Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?

TS: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche.

Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?

TS: I wish I would have found you sooner. I love the slate of classes presented by the Writers’ League and look forward to taking several classes this year.

Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?

TS: I love biography and memoir but I may want to tackle fiction someday. It feels daunting to me.

Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?

TS: Lawrence Wright’s God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State. I really couldn’t put it down and read it in one sitting.

Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion! 

TS: I wrote a biography about legendary Texas songwriter Guy Clark (Without Getting Killed or Caught: The Life and Music of Guy Clark, Texas A&M University Press) and then decided to write and produce a documentary based on the book. What was I thinking?  Hoping to bring the documentary out into the light in 2020.

Thank you, Tamara!

If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at member@writersleague.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!

Meet the Members: Julia Aziz

“I see myself being bolder in my writing in the future and starting to incorporate other people’s stories into my blog as well.”

— Julia Aziz

A member of the Writers’ League since September 2018, Julia lives in Austin, TX.

Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?

Julia Aziz: Creative nonfiction, self-help and memoir.

Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them?

JA: I had a hard time with this question because I am pretty fascinated by most people, so I’d be happy to get to know pretty much anyone! Off the top of my head today, I think it would be fun to talk with Clarissa Pinkola Estes about her ideas on reclaiming the wildness within.

Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?

JA: The Tao Te Ching.

Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?

JA: It’s great to see so many resources and ways to connect with other local writers.

Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?

JA: That’s a good question. I think my next step is to take the risk of being more vulnerable and to share my writing more frequently. Working on a book was in some ways easier because I could write for months (and years!) without anyone reading it. I didn’t have to face the self-doubt and self-consciousness until the book was in its final stages of editing. But with the blog I just started, those demons are hanging out all the time. I see myself being bolder in my writing in the future and starting to incorporate other people’s stories into my blog as well. As for book writing, after writing a book about birth, I am now drawn to writing a book about death and dying. I am a former hospice chaplain, and I would love to share some of the beautiful teachings that experience offered me. That book may take a while though, as right now I am focused on working with women struggling with self-care in my private counseling practice, leading integrative wellness groups in the community, and raising three kids!

Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?

JA: I love to read the poetry of Laurie Filipelli. Her latest book is Girl Paper Stone.

Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion! 

JA: I’d love to share my website, where you can find my new blog, my book Lessons of Labor: One Woman’s Self-Discovery Through Birth & Motherhood (MSI Press: 2015) and details about my counseling practice in Austin. The address is www.juliaaziz.com

Thank you, Julia!

If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at member@writersleague.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!

Meet the Members: Michele Genzardi

“I hope to become a full-time author. I want my writing to transport readers to my place and time. “

— Michele Genzardi

A member of the Writers’ League since October 2018, Michele lives in Austin, TX.

Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?

Michele Genzardi: Mystery/thriller.

Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them?

MG: Dean Koontz. I would ask how he came up with his ideas.

Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?

MG: Anything by James Patterson. He’s a great read and helps me forget where I am.

Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?

MG: I’m just getting started, so I haven’t learned that much so far, but I’m looking forward to the classes and conferences.

Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?

MG: I hope to become a full-time author. I want my writing to transport readers to my place and time.

Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?

MG: Into the Black Nowhere By Meg Gardiner.

Visit Michele at her website, http://www.michelegenzardi.com

Thank you, Michele!

If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at member@writersleague.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!

Meet the Members: Patty Sisco

“I live with my husband, son, two grandsons, a dog, and two cats, and I am a passionate advocate for public education in Texas, mental health, and kids with autism.”

— Patty Sisco

A member of the Writers’ League since October 2018, Patty lives in Grand Prairie, TX.

Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?

Patty Sisco: Nonfiction, memoir, and essay.

Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them?

PS.: Isabel Allende. I would ask her, “How did you acquire your relationship with spirits and dreams?”

Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?

PS: Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. It has everything — humor, mystery and suspense, pathos, horror, intense character development, and much more.

Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?

PS: I just joined, so I’m hoping to learn a great deal.

Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?

PS: At my late age, I’ve only published one book. Hopefully my sales will increase and my name as a writer will be respected, and I hope to expand my repertoire.

Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?

PS: I haven’t read a Texas-related book this past year, but I’m interested in reading Thursday Night Lights by Michael Hurd.

Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion! 

PS: I published my very first book AFTER I retired from 39 years in education, though I’ve been writing it for years in my journals.  A couple of years ago, I was writing my annual holiday newsletter containing great tidings of joy, when the thought struck me that the people we never see have absolutely no idea of the chaos that has enveloped our family for the past 20 years. Thus the birth of Another Cheesy Family Newsletter by Elizabeth Silva (my pen name). Following each cheesy newsletter is a narrative of what REALLY happened each year. A chronicle of addiction, co-dependence, mental illness, family dysfunction, and the power of love. Currently, I live with my husband, son, two grandsons, a dog, and two cats, and I am a passionate advocate for public education in Texas, mental health, and kids with autism.

Thank you, Patty!

If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at member@writersleague.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!

Meet the Members: Linda Ellis

“Writers’ League has been an amazing resource for me. I’ve met some incredible writers over the years, and I’ve taken classes that helped me hone my craft.”

— Linda Ellis

A member of the Writers’ League since 1999, Linda lives in Lago Vista, TX.

Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?

Linda Ellis: Historical fiction, contemporary women’s fiction, and adventure. As a professional archaeologist and historian for many years, I’ve written numerous technical reports and journal articles. Now I allow my imagination to run free and draw on all the esoteric bits of history and archaeology floating around in my head. I’m currently working on an archaeological adventure novel.

Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them?

LE: Margaret Mitchell. I’d like to ask her how she managed to sustain such consistent and remarkable characters over the 10-year period that it took her to write Gone with the Wind.

Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?

LE: A difficult choice, but if I had to choose one, I think it would be Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I love this book. Plus, if a lone woman could survive going back 200 years in time, it would certainly inspire me to tap into my survival instincts and make the most of a stressful situation. Who knows, maybe a Jamie would show up and rescue me.

Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?

LE: Writers’ League has been an amazing resource for me. I’ve met some incredible writers over the years, and I’ve taken classes that helped me hone my craft. The very first class I took (Novel in Progress) helped me refine my first novel, and the League’s referral service provided me with contacts for editors who helped tidy it up. I’ve attended several Agents and Editors Conferences as well. Each one was a wonderful learning experience that gave me the opportunity to interact with many interesting writers, editors, and agents.

Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?

LEThe New York Times Best Sellers list! As a writer, my hope is that when people read my novels, they will discover something new about themselves and their own stories. I have so many tales to tell, and I can’t wait to get them all on paper.

Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?

LE: A Love Letter to Texas Women by Sarah Bird. It actually came out in 2016, but I only read it this year. I loved it! In true Sarah Bird style, it’s a hilarious tribute to the graciousness and grit that makes Texas women so distinctive. It made me proud to be a fourth-generation Texas woman.

Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion! 

LE: My study of mankind has led me down some amazing paths. It has expanded my mind and challenged me to see the world differently. I have a deep love and appreciation for the rich cultural heritage of the many men and women who have left their enigmatic “footprints” on this planet we call home. However, as a student of the metaphysical, I’ve learned that history isn’t just a series of names, dates, and places. History writ-large is the collective story of generations of people, and ultimately, each of us have our own story to tell and many of us never know when our past and our present intersect. My novels grow out of this perspective.My recently released series Slender Threads delivers a delightful one-two punch in just this fashion. The first book, Slender Threads: Fate, is set in 1830’s Tennessee and Texas. The second book, Slender Threads: Destiny, takes place in Texas in the 1990’s. Together they relate the interwoven tale of two Texas families over a period of more than 150 years.

Slender Threads: Fate, begins with Rachel Edmunds Thompson learning that her beloved John Rollins is not dead after all, having survived the Texas Revolution despite reports to the contrary. However, three years have passed since John left Tennessee, and Rachel has married another man at her father’s urging. What’s more, the union has produced a child, who is the joy of her life. As Rachel and John struggle with the hard choices their situation required in the 1830’s, they embark on an emotional journey of a love that will never end. It simply weaves its way into the DNA of each successive generation and lies in wait for that one moment in the stream of time when its energetic memory is re-created in yet another lifetime.

Slender Threads: Destiny, is the story of the decedents of John and Rachel, Rob Rollins and Sara Thompson Layton. There was an instant connection between the two, but the turmoil and uncertainty in their lives was too much for their fragile relationship to bear. When Rob re-enters Sara’s life seven years later, she is reluctant to risk her heart again and is locked in an emotional struggle until the day she purchases the century-old memoir of early Texas pioneer John Rollins. What Sara discovers within this weathered book unexpectedly opens a window to her own past and a 150 year old bond that shakes the foundation of her logical world, forcing her to reexamine what she believed to be a long-dead relationship. If she accepts the improbable, will Sara find the courage to let go and listen with her heart? Fate may have brought Sara and Rob together, but only they can choose their destiny.

Both books are available in HB, PB, and IBook formats at: http://www.lwellisbooks.com/

To find out more about L.W. Ellis, check out:

https://lwellis.com/

http://www.nurturethemind.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLWEllis/

Thank you, Linda!

If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at member@writersleague.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!