Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Creative Edge Author Interview – Julie Gianelloni

May 12, 2022
mandyevebarnett


What affect has your extensive travel made to your writing?

. A large part of my adult life has been spent overseas, and that of course informs my writing. Both my books have international settings, and I feel comfortable writing about international affairs.

·      When did you begin your hiking adventures?

I am not a hiker normally, and I didn’t really train to hike the Camino de Santiago. Still, I had no problem doing the long-distance walking; I just didn’t love it. I set off from St. Jean Pied-de-Port in France on May 3, 2016.

·      What made you want to write your book Savoring the Camino de Santiago: It’s the Pilgrimage, Not the Hike?

In my early 20s, I read James Mitchener’s book Iberia. In it, his last chapter is on the Camino de Santiago. So, in about 1972, I put traveling the Camino de Santiago on my “someday” travel list. I just didn’t know that “someday” would take 45 years.

·      Do you have a message within the hiking narrative for your readers?

Yes, I do have a message, and it makes me a heretic as far as many Camino purists are concerned. A culture has grown up around the Camino that if one doesn’t walk every step one is not a “true” pilgrim. I totally disagree with that philosophy, as the subtitle of my book announces. I think the pilgrimage aspects of the book are much more important than how the journey is accomplished. My mother and handicapped sister made a pilgrimage to Lourdes in 1956, and my sister walked essentially no steps, yet that was a true pilgrimage. Some people get spiritual thoughts while walking; I don’t. I have those thoughts in cathedrals and while gazing in amazement at incredible architecture and art.

·      Has the access to nature impacted your life?

Very much so. I grew up in the country and was active in 4-H through my teen years. I rode horses and showed livestock (cattle, sheep, horses) competitively. As an adult, I have been largely divorced from that closeness to animals and nature due to my job. Being on the Camino gave me time to slow down, look at the wild flowers along the way, see the birds twittering in the trees. I loved that part of walking the Camino.

·      How did writing the hiking book differ from your process for your short story collections and the children’s book?

I don’t think my book is a hiking book. It is a pilgrimage book and a book about the history, art, and architecture of the Camino. It is most suited to those who are thinking of journeying on the Camino since it offers suggestions and tips, including a list of questions to help readers determine if walking the Camino is really what they want to do. It also is suited for those who will never walk the Camino but who want to be “armchair travelers” as they read my memoir passages about my experiences along the Camino.

·      Is adoption a subject close to your heart and the reason you wrote your children’s book?

Yes, it is. When I adopted my son back in 1992, I looked for a book I could read to him about being adopted. I couldn’t find anything suitable. During the pandemic, I couldn’t travel and so couldn’t work on my planned next book. More or less on a whim I looked on Amazon to find out what was available for children on adoption. Amazingly to me, there are very few books on the subject for children, and most of those books are limited in what they cover. For example, the books only focus  on the adopting mother and the adopted child, whereas in reality many, many more people are involved in an adoption. So, I decided to write a book that adopting families could use to talk to their child about being adopted.

·      Do you consider yourself a nomad rather than a homebody?

I consider myself not a nomad, but a citizen of the world. To quote St. Augustine, “The world is a book, and those who do  not travel read only one  page.” Having said that, I am an introvert, and I am quite content to be alone and read a book—I just like to read that book while seated at a café in Lisbon or Santiago de Compostela.

·      What are you writing now?

I have two projects underway. One is a second book about the Camino, and the other is a family memoir. My family, for a lot of reasons, is not a typical American family, and I think readers would enjoy learning about our history.

·      Where can readers find you and your books?

My books are available on Amazon. Savoring the Camino de Santiago is available in four formats: hardback, paperback, ebook, and audiobook. The Baby with Three Families, Two Countries, and One Promise is also available from Amazon in hardback, paperback, and ebook. Readers can also order my books from my website, Bayou City Press.com, or from their local bookstores. As for me, readers can contact me through either of my websites, BayouCityPress.com or JulieConnorAuthor.com

Bio

Julie Gianelloni Connor is an award-winning author and retired senior Foreign Service Officer. Her first book, Savoring the Camino de Santiago: It’s the Pilgrimage, not the Hike, garnered no. 1 status on Amazon in both the category for new books on hiking and walking and the category for Spain and Portugal. It subsequently went on to win a silver medal in the eLit national competition as well as being selected as a finalist by Self-Publishing Review (SPR). She released her second title, a children’s book, in 2021. It has just won first place in
the children’s book category at the North Texas Book Festival. The Baby with Three Families, Two Countries, and One Promise tells an international adoption story. Her short stories have appeared in four anthologies. Julie is the owner and publisher of Bayou City Press (BCP) in Houston, Texas, which focuses on travel writing, Houston, history, and international affairs. Julie writes a weekly newsletter for BCP updating subscribers about activities. She founded BCP after spending 33 years as a diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service, first with the U.S. Information Agency and later with the U.S. Department of State. She had nine overseas assignments in seven different countries: Israel (twice), Paraguay, Guatemala, Indonesia, Colombia (twice), Malaysia, and Chile. In Washington, DC, Julie worked on a variety of matters, ranging from nuclear non-proliferation to narcotics control
to women’s issues. She has one son, James, and two cats, Halloween and Charles Augustus V. Her books can be ordered from her publishing website (BayouCityPress.com), from her author website (JulieConnorAuthor.com), or from Amazon.com.

Website Bayou City Press: https://bayoucitypress.com

Newsletter Bayou City Press: https://bayoucitypress.com/recent-bcp-newsletters/

Website Julie Connor: https://JulieConnorAuthor.com

Facebook: https://facebook.com/JulieConnorAuthor

Facebook: https://facebook.com/BCPHouston

Instagram: https://instagram.com/JulieConnorAuthor

Instagram: https://instagram.com/bayoucitypress

LinkedIn: https://Linkedin.com/in/JulieConnor

Twitter: https://Twitter.com/@JulConnorAuth

Twitter: https://Twitter.com/@Bayou_CityPress

Out of the Blue – Award…

February 23, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Oh this was heaven sent for today’s word- pun entirely intended! Azure – definition: the blue color of the clear sky. I had begun to write a poem for it : I got this far.

Color of a summer’s day

Bright and beautiful

 Azure you lighten the eye

 Not cyan nor blue

 A whole new hue

But now I have been nominated for the Liebster Award by Cheryl Fassett – http://cherylfassett.wordpress.com/

I will focus on that instead. Firstly a great big thank you to Cheryl for nominating me and now the rules.

1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to the blogger who presented this award to you.
2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself and create 11 questions for your nominees.
3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen. (No tag backs)
4. Copy and Paste the blog award on your blog.

Cheryl’s questions:

liebster2_zpsf850b076

1.Are you a blogger at heart or do you dream of writing novels, plays, poetry? What are your writing goals.

My blog came into being shortly after I joined a writers group and it was suggested I write one! I do write novels, novellas, articles and poems as well. I hope to publish more novels.

2.Where have you traveled? Where do you dream of travelling?

Yes I have traveled from my birth place South Africa, to England and then emigrated to Canada. In between I have traveled to Malta, Majorca, France, Switzerland, Italy, &  USA.

3.What are your greatest pet peeves?

People back stabbing others…if you can’t get on with someone then leave them alone – don’t b***h about them.

4.Do you have pets? If so, names please! If not, do you wish you did?

I sadly lost my darling canine companion, Twinkle in November. Not sure I can get another – it’s so hard to loose them.

Twinkle

5.What super power do you wish you had?

To travel through time.

6.What are your favorite books?

Oh wow – how big do you want this blog post to be? All books by Stephen King, James Long, Maeve Binchy & Kate Morton – to name a few!

7.What are you reading now?

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton.

8.What is your best childhood memory?

I have so many to be honest – I think it is playing with friends in the English countryside during the summer and visits to the seaside.

beach

9.What were you afraid of when you were 10?

Not much to be honest – I was a real tom-boy and the boys were scared of me. Once I couldn’t find my parents at home and that scared me. My only other scary thing was rhino’s – a recurring dream of being impaled on its horn and it charging through a huge tent. Nope have no idea why – we weren’t living in Africa then.

10.What is your favorite way to spend a day off?

Alone writing – very antisocial.

11.Do you have a day job? What do you do to pay the bills?

Yes I do have a full time job as a credit assistant – not glamorous at all – but I work with some nice people.

Eleven random facts about me:

1. I used to clean gravestones as a kid. 2. I would ‘escape’ the garden with my dog & two cats. 3. My favorite colour is purple. 4. I called my first car “Babe’. 5. My favorite season is autumn. 6. I’m right handed. 7. I love Wall-E. 8. I have a letter from Stephen King on my wall. 9. My favorite animal is a tiger. 10. I always wanted to be a squaw as a child. 11. I’ve seen ghosts.

Now to share the award, please visit these wonderful bloggers.

http://theothersideof55.wordpress.com/

http://ejjudge.wordpress.com/

http://risingwoman.wordpress.com/

http://betweenthestacks.wordpress.com/

http://bookendings.wordpress.com/

http://www.liviaellis.com/

http://thewritersideoflife.wordpress.com/

http://thelongandwritingroad.com/

http://trshaw.wordpress.com/

http://viemagiquesn.wordpress.com/

http://heidiwriter.wordpress.com/

Questions for my nominees:

1. Which season do you love?

2. Do you feel the burn or enjoy a stroll?

3. Dog or cat person?

4. Do you prefer town or country to live in?

5. What is your current favorite TV program?

6. Activity vacation or leisurely beach spot?

7.  Which super hero is your favorite?

8. Which genre(s) do you write?

9. What would you do with $1 million dollars?

10. Given the choice would choose chocolates, flowers or something else for a gift?

11. Gold or silver jewelry?

I hope you have fun with this award.

Memories…

February 12, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Latifundium – definition : a large country estate.

Today’s word had me remembering weekends galore that I spent in England, visiting numerous historical sites and magnificent estates. My friend Deb and I would spend our days off (we were nursing at the time) travelling all over the country. I have dozens of scrap books full of brochures and postcards of every place visited. These are wonderful reminders and very interesting to revisit. England has centuries of a rich and varied history, all evidenced by ancient sites; such as Stonehenge to vast estates purchased and maintained by the National Trust. These wonderful places are kept not only for prosperity but also as a living history.

English: Stonehenge, Wiltshire county, England...

English: Stonehenge, Wiltshire county, England Français : Stonehenge, comté de Wiltshire, Angleterre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many a time Deb and I would hang back from guided tours to really take in the atmosphere and touch objects that were not supposed to. Naughty I know but too tempting not to! My first scrap book has the  very first postcard I purchased on a infant (elementary) school trip to the New Forest– I was five years old. Some of the places have changed hands, been abandoned or become commercialized. It saddens me that Stonehenge is now fenced off from visitors. As a child I climbed on the stones playing king of the castle or hide and seek with my siblings. Some mansions have become private residencies or even hotels, which is good for the building as it will be maintained but maybe not in the way it should be for historical reasons.

Now that I live in Canada I miss the rich history of England as my new home is so young in comparison. When someone tells me now,  ‘Oh, its so old,” I have to bite my lip knowing that at the most it is less than one hundred years old. Compared to a 14th century church it is a newborn.

English: Court Barn near West Pennard, Somerse...

English: Court Barn near West Pennard, Somerset. This barn is in the care of the National Trust. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Also my time as a member of an archaeology group was not only enjoyable but fascinating. Scraping away dried earth to reveal a piece of Roman pottery or a trinket is an awesome feeling. To touch history is so much more exciting than reading it – I know as an author that’s not the thing to say but history comes alive when you actually place your hand on it and make a connection to its owner. Walking along a Roman road or climbing a tor, somehow resonates with your ancient memory.

These experiences give me a wonderful resource for my stories and characters. They are cherished memories.

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