Bold Strokes Books author Jaycie Morrison is here. I was thrilled when she agreed to chat. Not only is she a historical fiction author, which is one of my favorite genres, she’s also super nice.
Please welcome Jaycie Morrison.
Before we begin, thanks so much for stopping by today for a chat.
I’m thrilled to be here. Thank you so much for having me.
Your bio states you love Colorado and spend half your time there. Where in the Centennial state do you live? (I lived in Fort Collins for many years.)
My cousin used to live in Fort Collins! It’s a great town. I have a home just outside of Buena Vista, Colorado, which is a small town in the Arkansas River valley, pretty much in the center of Colorado. To the west are the Collegiate Peaks, which include Mt. Columbia, Mt. Harvard, Mt. Princeton, and Mt. Yale (all which are known as “Fourteeners” – mountains above 14,000 ft.) and the San Isabel National Forest, so “wild life” there is a literal experience. Buena Vista has a population of just over 2,500 and only one traffic light, so it’s very different from my other home.
Where’s your other home?
I was born in Dallas, Texas and have spent most of my life living and working there. Dallas is a sprawling city, and if we include Ft. Worth to the west and suburbs to the north, the population there is well over ten million people. As different as it is from Colorado, the noise and traffic and crowds and summer heat seem “normal” to me when I’m there. Sometimes it’s fun to absorb cultural and social opportunities of a big city surrounded by the energy of all those lives, and sometimes it’s really nice to get away to the cool, quiet beauty of the mountains. I’m very grateful to be able to experience both.
Have you always been a storyteller?
Oh yes, especially since I was one of those kids who was always asking “Why?” I think some of the playacting children do is one way of making sense of things around them. Later, I taught high school English for many years and spent a lot of time telling other people’s stories, which was still great, but not nearly as much fun as making up my own.
When did you develop a fondness for history?
I think I first got it from my father. I remember the first time he showed me some balsa wood model planes he’d made as a boy, and how I was more intrigued by the story behind those planes than in the process of making them. As a history buff himself (my mom says their honeymoon was essentially a tour of Civil War battlefields), he supported that interest with lots of anecdotal stories. My mom is an avid reader so she contributed picture books and then the written version of various periods. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate the perspective that history can give us on current events.
Which authors have influenced you the most?
This is a very difficult question to answer, because I’m influenced by different aspects of many authors’ works. I admire the sparseness of Hemmingway’s prose, while the freedom of Walt Whitman’s poetry makes me believe in possibilities. Kurt Vonnegut combines terrible/wonderful observations about humanity with a great writing style, while Emily Dickinson’s intensity takes the top of my head off. Comack McCarthy’s bloody pessimism seems as authentic to me as Maya Angelou’s soaring rhetoric, and I claim long-time membership on the Margaret Atwood bandwagon. In terms of Lesfic, I must tip my hat to Radclyffe, not only for her amazing productivity, but for all she’s done to ensure our slice of the literary pie, and to Sarah Waters whose fantastic work continues to draw mainstream readers. On a personal level, Blackmail, My Love, by Katie Gilmartin – an almost perfect noir mystery set in early 1950’s San Francisco – remains one of my favorites. (Even the audio version never hits a false note.)
Tell us about your historical romance series.
This series begins in the last years of World War II, (what we sometimes think of as the last “good war” though the scale of death and destruction makes that a bit incongruous) at a Women’s Army Corps camp in Ft. Des Moines, Iowa. I wanted to write about a diverse group of characters and the armed forces was one of the few ways that women from different parts of the country, different socio-economic groups, and even different cultures, could meet up during those days. The first book, Basic Training of the Heart, is a slow-burn romance between two women whose circumstances and temperaments are quite dissimilar. There are elements of levity as the recruits learn to make their way in new roles (being called upon to serve their country for the first time in a capacity other than nursing) and of tension, given the forbidden nature of same-sex romance during those days. The second in the series, Heart’s Orders, backtracks a bit to pick up the action from two previous characters’ points of view and then moves forward with both couples. This novel also touches on more challenging issues such as religion and sexual abuse. I have a long series planned, but each book changes drastically from my rough original to a ready-for-publication form, so we’ll see….
Do you have a favorite hiking spot?
There are two in my area I particularly like. One is an easy hike that encompasses many different terrains – dense forests, high open meadows, swampland, rocks – and ends in a small mountain lake with an island in the middle that I’m always tempted to swim out to. I may…someday…but that water’s got to be cold! The other hike takes you to a small forest of Limber pines, some of which are over 1,500 years old. These are not the soaring, majestic types of trees that most would consider beautiful. They’re short and stout and irregularly shaped as they become sculpted by wind and other elements. But they’re amazing survivors, and I find them awesome.
I see you enjoy cooking. What’s your favorite dish to make?
Since digestive issues prompted my doctor to recommend I begin eating gluten free several years ago, I’m always on the lookout for gluten free recipes. When I found a mix that makes fantastic gluten free pancakes, I was in heaven. Other than that, I’m still a meat eater, so just throwing something on the grill along with a salad or some veggies will do it for most dinners. It usually takes company to make me experiment with a fancy dish, so visitors beware!
Have you ever wanted to be a rock star?
I AM a rock star! (Keep in mind, I have a very active imagination.) Seriously though, I do play guitar and sing with my friends at every opportunity. Some of the most wonderful, creative weekends I’ve ever spent have been at Ladies Rock Camp, which gives everyone – musically experienced or not – the chance to be a part of a band, to write an original song, and to perform it before screaming fans. So if that’s not being a rock star, I don’t know what is. (And it’s a fundraiser for Girl’s Rock Camp, which is a tremendously empowering experience for young women. If you’re the least big inclined, I’d highly recommend checking it out. They’re worldwide.)
Thanks so much. It’s been a pleasure to chat with you.
I’d like to add word of sincere appreciation to the readers out there, especially those who participate in groups like this and make encouraging or even constructively critical comments. Speaking strictly for myself (though I suspect most writers would agree) when we send our imaginary friends out into the world, it’s really exciting when they find others who enjoy playing with them. And to those who take on the thankless job of running and promoting these sites that connect and encourage our community – thank you, thank you, thank you!
Release Date: October 17, 2017
Historical / Romance
Can the heart’s orders overrule the chain of command?
September 1944. Private Helen Tucker has two goals—to drive for the Women’s Army Corps motor pool and to convince Tee Owens to be more than best friends. Helen has always done whatever it takes to survive, and she’s not good at waiting for what she wants. But Private Teresa Owens is a good Baptist girl who’s struggling with how her feelings for Helen can be wrong when she can’t bear to be without her.
Sergeant Gale Rains has learned to make her way in both the Sioux and White worlds, but will her love for Bett Smythe put her career in the WAC at risk? Private Elizabeth Smythe hopes Rain will be her future, but is she truly free from her past, including her class-conscious family?
Book Two of the Love and Courage Series.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Jaycie Morrison is a second generation native Dallasite who is also in love with Colorado and now splits her time between the two. She lives with her wife of over two decades and their spoiled dog. A voracious reader, she always wondered what it would be like to write a novel and found that once she started, it was almost impossible to stop. The Love and Courage series – last year’s Basic Training of the Heart and the newly released Heart’s Orders – combines her love of the written word and of history. When she’s not writing, Jaycie may be hiking, experimenting with gluten free cooking, or pretending to be a rock star. Catch up with Jaycie’s latest at www.jayciemorrison.com or reach her at email@example.com
CONNECT WITH JAYCIE MORRISON
Thanks so much Jaycie for stopping by today.
Best of luck to everyone who enters the giveaway.