Meet the Author: Sweet Jane by Joanne Kukanza Easley

Today we travel to the Texas Hill Country to chat with Joanne Easley about how rescue terriers, swimming, walks to watch the wildlife, 1940’s New York City, Indiana Jones, and NANOWRIMO come together as part of Joanne’s current and past life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a retired Registered Nurse who lives and writes on a small ranch in the Texas Hill Country. My three little rescue terriers enjoy our daily walks to watch the wildlife. I swim three times a week in an indoor pool and rarely miss.

In which genre do you write?

Literary Fiction about complicated women who eventually figure things out.

How many published books do you have?

Sweet Jane was released in March 2020 and Just One Look will be released in June 2021.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

I wanted to be a writer since childhood, but I didn’t start writing in earnest until my twenties. I took a writing workshop and it inspired me. However, I didn’t get serious about getting published until I retired.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I write a fairly clean first draft. Could be I’m a little OCD.

What are you currently reading?

Right now, I’m beta reading a novel for a friend of mine.

Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?

Just One Look was inspired by growing up in a tight-knit southside Chicago neighborhood in the sixties and seventies. I assure my family and friends this is a work of fiction.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I walk my dogs daily and swim laps (a mile and a quarter) three times a week. The pool is 25 miles away from my rural location, but I rarely miss.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I would love to sit down with Pat Conroy and ask him about character development.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do? 

I’d like to walk a mile in Lauren Eaton’s shoes. She’s Sweet Jane’s AA sponsor who never does tell Jane her story, but I’m doing so in my current work-in-progress I’ll Be Seeing You. I’d time travel to 1940 New York City to see the sights and make sure I get the historical details right in my novel.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

I binge-watched Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade because I was feeling nostalgic.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc

I’d go to a lovely restaurant with outdoor service where I’d sit under a live oak in the shade. The weather would be sunny, 82 degrees, with a light northerly breeze. I’d drink hibiscus mint iced tea and order fish tacos.

What are you currently working on?

I’m in the final stages of editing Just One Look. I’m about halfway through the first draft of I’ll Be Seeing You- the Lauren Eaton story. This month, I’m doing NANOWRIMO for the third time. I’ll do a new project tentatively titled A Question Of Temperature, a story about four women of a certain age.

Tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it.

Sweet Jane is a dual narrative novel which starts in 1957 Odessa, Texas when Janie is six years old. The book alternates first person chapters of Jane’s past with third person chapters in 1984 Austin, Texas, and traces the events that made her the woman she is. Jane fled her miserable home in 1967, hitchhiking to California right on time for the Summer of Love. She creates a life that looks perfect from the outside, but when she returns to Odessa for her estranged mother’s funeral, the past and present collide. You’ll have to read the book to see what happens.

It was wonderful to have you on MTA, Joanne. That hibiscus mint iced tea sounds so good and refreshing! Wishing you all the best! – Camilla

Part of review from Diana Donovan of Midwest Book Review: Readers who delve into Sweet Jane will appreciate its candid appraisal of a woman who never gives up, confronting her own family history in an effort to find true love and purpose as she fights for dreams that sometimes seem impossible.

As Jane’s evolution is traced, audiences will appreciate the process of survival, abuse, enabling, and discovery that propel Jane and her readers into new revelations. Sweet Jane’s ability to take a family mystery and follow its roots and wings makes it an outstandingly warm read that is hard to put down and, like its protagonist, easy to love.

Where to find the book:

Available as a paperback at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and as an ebook on Amazon.

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