Welcome everyone! This week on the Author Spotlight, I'm so excited to have the amazing and talented Jane George. Like so many other authors spotlighted here, Jane and I met online. I couldn't wait to read and review her book, The Mumbo Jumbo Circus, as admittedly, I've become a little circus obsessed after reading Water for Elephants. My review of Jane's book follows the interview...
Hi Jane, please tell us about your book:
The Mumbo Jumbo Circus series explores themes that are important to me; authenticity, both personal and in a larger sense, belonging, and finding that thing within ourselves that truly reflects who we are and then how we can give that gift back to the world?
What inspired you to write this book?
I was working at a day job, staring mindlessly into the computer screen, and the basic premise floated down around my head like a giant donut. I remember thinking, “A circus setting for teens with nowhere else to go, and the Ringmaster is like a reverse Fagin, beneficent and good-looking. This could work!”
What exciting story are you working on next?
The next book in the Mumbo Jumbo Circus series, The Daring Young Man, will be out in December.
Yay - I can't wait!! When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always made up stories and illustrated them. It wasn’t until I hit middle age—pursued by the hounds of time—that I sat down every day to make the stories in my head come alive and share them with readers. The Mumbo Jumbo Circus is my fourth completed novel. I rewrote my first manuscript nine times to learn the form, and it will most probably stay unpublished forever.
When and how do you find time to write in your daily life?
When I’m deep into a project, it takes over everything else. The trick is to find some type of balance.
Any advice to aspiring writers?
Live, observe, read, live. Speak your truth. Have fun!
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Whenever I get stuck, I watch the film Penelope. That movie resembles the inside of my mind and it gets it going again.
Who is one of your favorite characters that you have written? Please tell us about him/her and what book they are in.
Daffy Dill is an incredible shrinking woman with an amazing power. You meet her in The Mumbo Jumbo Circus.
Yes - I love her too! Are you writing under a pen-name, do you use your own, or is your work out in both ways?
Jane George is my real name. I am also developing a series for adult readers, stories of romantic witchery set in a small Pacific Northwest town. My pen name for those books is Diana DeForrest.
Is there a writer that you would love to co-write a book with?
No. They’d never want to speak to me again.
Do people judge a book by its cover? Who makes yours?
I’m a trained illustrator. Design classes were part of my degree. I make my own covers, but I’m always thinking of ways to improve them.
What is your greatest challenge as an author?
Visibility. So thanks for this chance to be seen!
My pleasure! Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I love to hear from readers who enjoyed living in my circus world for a while.
What is the best advice any one has ever given you?
Learn to accept criticism, and don’t give up!
Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
There’s a facet of myself in each and every character.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A jockey. I wanted to win the Triple Crown on the world’s most amazing horse.
Who is your favorite super-hero and why?
I like Batman. I think it’s the ears.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I love alternative music and go to shows even though I’m a bit long in the tooth. The last concert I went to was Beirut. They rocked the house, tuba and all. I’m a big fan.
Cats or Dogs?
PC or Mac?
Mac. I named her The Mothership.
Coffee or Tea?
Both. Graffeo Coffee rules.
LOL - okay you just passed three of my tests! It's no wonder we get along! What is one thing that you could not live without?
Do you have any hobbies?
I like Steampunk stuff, and I collect Nightmare Before Christmas action figures. I still need the witches and the vampires.
If you could have a superpower what would it be?
Oh, I don’t know. Public relations whiz? Marketing is a deep, dark mystery to me.
If you could be anyone for a day, who would it be and why?
It’s taken me a long time, but I really like myself now. I recommend truly being oneself to everyone. Now, if I could travel next to someone for a day, I’d choose Alan Rickman, poor man.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Ultimately, I have written my circus books for readers to have fun traveling for a while with my little, rag-tag magical circus.
Where can people find you and your books online?
Author Jane George lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family and is a life-long appreciator of the sublime and the absurd. Jane also has a BFA in illustration From the California College of Art and has received honors from the Society of Illustrators in New York and from San Francisco Society of Illustrators. Online she can be found at: www.Jane-George.com And at @Jane_George on twitter.
About The Mumbo Jumbo Circus:
Step right up into the world of mystery and magic that is The Mumbo Jumbo Circus, a rag-tag traveling circus that is also home to a group of throwaway teens. When 15 year old Evan takes up with the circus, she has nowhere else to go. She soon discovers this circus is like no other. The Ringmaster was bequeathed a powerful ju-ju that brings forth a magical talent, or donvrai, in certain individuals. Evan's gift is the ability to read horses' minds. She's terrified of horses, with good reason. Worse, a traitor who wants the ju-ju is convinced Evan will make a success out of Mumbo Jumbo Circus and they will do anything to stop her. Does she have what it takes to be a star in the center ring and save her weird, new-found family?
And finally ... My Review:
The Mumbo Jumbo Circus by Jane George, is the story of Evanja Leane (Evan), a teen trying to get through one day at a time in a failing foster care system. When her foster mom calls her a "freak," little does she know she has spoken the final word in an incantation, which leads Evan into the magical world of The Mumbo Jumbo Circus. Although hesitant at first and in complete denial that she will have to work with the one animal she fears the most, Evan soon begins to feel that The Mumbo Jumbo Circus is where she belongs.
The Mumbo Jumbo Circus is a wonderful novel. I loved how the author put color illustrations throughout the book. The further I got into the story, the more I wanted to be a part of the circus, right alongside the talking elephant, polar bear family, and the woman who is able to turn people into little bottles of nail polish - It's true! Trust me - this is no ordinary circus, but one filled with mystical Ju-Ju, magic, friendship, a smattering of romance, and most importantly, a sense of true family for Evan.
I found this book entertaining, well written, and engaging. I can't wait for the next book in the series!
Thank you Jane!