As a former television news and documentary writer/producer, I've always enjoyed meeting a fellow journalist so I was eager to learn more about the background of today's guest in My Writing Corner, author Jill Ocone.
In addition to writing, she says she loves making memories with her nieces and nephews, seeing new places, laughing with her family and friends, and sharing her Jersey Shore home with her husband. Her new book is Enduring the Waves and it is her debut novel. Let's find out more about Jill.What do you enjoy about being an author?
Painting with words is what makes me come alive. The colors of my soul and the textures of my heart combine with my mind’s words to create unique masterpieces on the blank pages that are my canvases.
What do you find is the most challenging part of being an author?
Finding the time to write consistently. As a full-time high school journalism teacher, I’m coaching young writers all the time, and it’s difficult to write for myself after my school day ends because my energy has been depleted. I try to write every morning at school for 45 minutes before my day begins.
Tell us about your road to publication.
I began writing what was first titled “Finding Shannon” in 2017 and finished it in 2018. I queried it as "Chapter One-A Novel” for a little over four years. The Wild Rose Press offered me a traditional publishing contract in February 2023, and after consulting with my editorial team, we agreed to change its title to "Enduring the Waves."
The wavelike appearance of the triskelion's three spirals and the trials the main character, Kelly Lynch, endures make "Enduring the Waves" the perfect title for her compelling story. The revised title also reflects the novel’s growth into its own identity.
What is your book that you will feature today and how did you come up with the idea to write it?
I traveled to Dublin for the first time during the summer of August 2014, eight months after losing a cherished friend. On three separate occasions, I swear I saw her face in the crowd (twice on Grafton Street and once near Trinity College). She was an avid James Joyce aficionado but had never been to Ireland despite being of Irish descent.
One night in late 2015, I was jolted awake after dreaming about an old woman who said to me, “Once you write CHAPTER ONE, everything will fall into place.” There was a symbol in my dream, one I had never seen before, and I scribbled a very rough replica of it.
Turns out it was a Triskele/Triskelion.
Both the symbol and the phrase "Chapter One" would mysteriously appear in my life countless times from that point forward. The universe used many additional signs to guide me to Dublin three more times in the summers of 2016, 2017, and 2018. I had no idea what the hell I was doing there, but I trusted I was being led to my purpose. On my first trip, I planned to visit the James Joyce Centre and the James Joyce Tower and Museum, but I stumbled into innumerable additional fortuitous experiences and fell in love with Dublin more and more with each visit. My journey inspired me to write Enduring the Waves.
Let’s get a blurb:
As Waterville High School’s newest English teacher, Kelly Lynch befriends fellow educator and James Joyce enthusiast Shannon Moran. While Kelly grapples with deep scars from her past, she struggles to balance her active life as a teacher and her stagnant marriage to shiftless alcoholic Wayne Coopersmith. Shannon’s encouragement resurrects Kelly’s passion for writing, while Kelly inspires Shannon to pursue her lifelong dream of studying in Dublin, Ireland.
After two devastating events fracture Kelly’s life, she searches for meaning in her grief by following a trail of mysterious clues that guide her from the New Jersey shore to Dublin.
Sparks ignite her long-dormant creativity and a raging inferno in her heart while on the Emerald Isle as two unsuspecting Dubliners combine forces to hearten Kelly’s awakening. She returns home to the Jersey Shore having endured the waves spurred by her past, present, and future and ready to pursue her true calling.
How about an excerpt:
I trail that red hair like a bloodhound. Shannon’s doppelganger expertly threads between the vehicular traffic then weaves through the innumerable people on Grafton. I fall in step behind her and panic for a split second when I momentarily lose sight of her, but then the hair darts left onto Duke Street and into a place called Davy Byrnes. I loiter outside the pub with the oddly familiar name.
Well, here goes nothing.
I casually stroll through the mostly empty pub like a detective looking for a missing person. My gaze scours the entire establishment, but I don't spot the mystery woman.
She’s got to be in here,so I will wait it out.
After sitting on a stool where I can see almost every high-traffic area, the bartender asks with a fabulous Irish accent, “What’ll it be, love?”
“What kind of soft drinks do you have?” I absently inquire while combing through my wallet for money.
“For minerals, I have cola, lemon lime, orange, and of course, beer and whiskey if you feel so inclined.”
“As you wish.” He fills a glass with ice and places it in front of me along with an open glass bottle. I hand him three euros, and when his hazel eyes meet mine, he slaps his palm against his forehead. “Go way outta that, weren’t you over by Parnell Square earlier today?”
I am face to face with the chestnut-haired puddle jumper I encountered in front of the Dublin Writers Museum.
What’s your next project or what are you working on now?
I recently finished a nonfiction manuscript telling the stories behind the names and vessels on the local Fisherman’s Memorial statue at the Manasquan Inlet and submitted it to a local publisher for consideration. I also have two novels about half finished and hope to finish one of them by year’s end. I am a senior writer and editor for Jersey Shore Magazine and Jersey Shore Publications, so I’m always working on something for that publisher.
Here are the buy links for Enduring the Waves and social contact information to get in touch with Jill.
Amazon: Enduring the Waves
Barnes and Noble: Enduring the Waves
Apple: Enduring the Waves
Thank you, Jill, for being my guest today. Any questions or comments for Jill?