Car here. I’ve decided to interview another author. For those that don’t know, sometimes I interview authors from all walks of life and genres. Since I only interview inanimate objects, I use the power of booze and lack of sleep to transform my interviewees into assorted objects of their choice.
Today I am going to interview statue of St. Benedict named Jacci Turner. When she isn’t sitting on a shelf, being dusted, or being used to hold open a door for someone who forgot their doorstop, she’s the author of The Retreat: A Tale of Spiritual Awakening.
The Retreat: A Tale of Spiritual Awakening https://www.amazon.com/Retreat-Tale-Spiritual-Awakening-ebook/dp/B01LX5K2IK
Summary: A week at a retreat becomes a transformational journey of spiritual renewal for a young Christian suffering a crisis of the soul in this poignant, illuminating, and spiritually wise teaching novel for fans of Jen Hatmaker, Shauna Niequist, and Brene Brown.
For her entire life, Amy considered her evangelical Christian upbringing the foundation of her life and beliefs. But when she stands up for her gay best friend, Amy is ostracized and banished from the church she loves–resulting in a crisis of the spirit that causes her to doubt her conservative upbringing as she enters her thirties. Seeing Amy’s pain, a caring friend raises the money to send her on a week-long retreat for contemplative activism, hoping that a few days of quiet reflection will help her rekindle her faith.
At the retreat, Amy meets two women her age–teachers who introduce her to new types of prayer–as well as Celeste, a seasoned mentor who takes Amy under her wing and gently shows her new ways to practice her faith. In the course of just a few days, Amy finds an inspiring and more meaningful view of God–and a new beginning full of hope, compassion, and healing.
Jacci lives with her husband in Nevada’s high desert. They spend their mornings hiking through the sagebrush with their big yellow dog, Rocky.
Jacci loves chocolate, babies, and coffee with friends. She’s worn many hats in her lifetime: therapist, school counselor, campus minister, and mom. Her favorite hats are her writer and grandmother hats, which come in wild colors and don’t fit too tightly.
Jacci’s first book geared towards adults, The Retreat: A tale of spiritual awakening, will come out in March with Harper Legend. It is available now on pre-order.
Jacci has written Bending Willow,about Riley and Mia, in search of a father who doesn’t know they exist. It is the first book in The Finding Home Series. It’s been on Amazon’s top 100 Middle Grade Action/Adventure list since it came out and represented Nevada at the National Book Festival in Washington D.C. In addition to sharing her stories about Riley and Mia, Jacci is the author of the Amazon best-selling young adult novel, The Cage, the first book in The Birthright series, and several other books.
What made you start writing? As a statue, I bet your writing was influenced by all the people you met while sitting on various shelves and tables over the years.
Good question Car. Originally, I wanted to be an actor, but as you can imagine, I was kind of stiff. So, I let all my creativity go into writing instead.
How does a statue write? Do you chip off pieces of your stone and sprinkle it onto a paper? Tip over on a keyboard? Or is there another way you are able to put words to paper/screen?
I use my powers of telepathy to move the keys Car, you know, I’ve had decades to perfect this method and frankly, a lot of time on my hands.
Do you hang out with other religious icon statues and if so, what are they like?
St. Francis is my favorite but he does have a bird crap problem. That’s what happens when you’re, you know all, “Brother Sparrow, Sister Wolf.”
Tell us about your inspiration for The Retreat. Did it involve staring into the sun until the afterimages turned into an interesting story? That’s how I come up with interview questions.
No, I generally nap in the sun, but since I live in large Monastery in Nebraska, I get to see all the folks that come on retreat and hear their stories. I’m kind of easy to talk to, ya know, a great listener. So, this book is an amalgamation of the different stories I’ve heard.
What made you choose to write a contemporary novel? I always imagined statues writing gossip columns about celebrity statues such as the Venus de Milo.
Well, Venus and I did have a brief thing in the 70’s but that’s another story. Contrary to popular belief, I’m a modern saint for the modern day. Besides, the stories are better now. The dark ages were really dark Car.
Is it true that statues are as hard as rock and have their life carved out for them?
That is usually true. But, as I said, I started out in theater. I did a stint on “Who’s line is it anyway?” and got to experience being a microphone, a telephone, and baseball bat. So, I’d say I’m more flexible than most.
Is there a special statue in your life? Or are you currently a lone bookend?
Well, I did hang out with the Holy Mother for a while, but it’s hard to compete. People are always bringing her flowers and presents, me, I get nothing but confession, it’s hard to bear up under all the pain, so I usually prefer to be alone.
What else have you written and have you ever been used as a cliché murder weapon prop in an old mystery movie?
I have actually written quite a bit in the young adult and middle grade market, you know never having had kids of my own, it’s as close as I’ll get to parenthood. Besides my TV credit’s I did some mystery dinner theater, you know: “It was Colonel Reginald in the library with a statute,” that sort of thing.
What hobbies do you have? Are you a volunteer paperweight?
It’s been difficult to find my place, everyone at the monastery has to pull their weight, you know. But, try as I might, I failed at gardening and the gnomes were a little territorial. So, most days I keep the outgoing mail from blowing away. I like this post (pun intended) as I get to greet all the new retreatants as they enter.
Do you have any advice for young statues out there who might want to try their hand at writing?
Oh yes, one thing you learn at a monastery is the importance of community. Writers can be a solitary bunch but it is very important to share your work with other writers to be helped and critiqued. It can be hard sometimes and St. Anthony can be a bit of a crank in his feedback, but it still the most important thing I can do for myself as a writer.
Thank you, Car, as you can imagine I don’t get out much. It’s been a pleasure talking to you and anytime you’re in Nebraska, stop by and see me. They have a replica of me there that’s about thirty feet tall and looks out over the lake. I try not to be jealous.