Friday, December 18, 2009

I Need Friends Friday: Jean Henry Mead

It's that time of the week:

(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow-author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)

Today's friend is Jean Henry Mead. In her own words, "I'm one of those un-normal writers of historical and mystery/suspense as well as photojournalism. I have four books of interviews with bestselling and well known authors, actors, Hollywood screen writers, politicians, etc. and currently have a blogsite titled Mysterious People, as well as four other sites. I've had 12 books published, including four novels, and magazine articles published domestically as well as abroad . . . Humor is the most important ingredient in my work, nonfiction books included."

Let's meet Jean!

SME: Reasons Why Jean Henry Mead deserves a gold star:
1.Jean first wrote to me to set up an INFF interview ages and ages ago and, being the borderline airhead that I am, I forgot to write back for an entire month.
2. When the day of the actual interview rolled around and various near-disasters prevented us from actually having the interview, Jean very graciously agreed to reschedule.
3. (see #2, but apply to the rescheduled interview)
4. When we finally got an interview scheduled that wasn't subsequently cancelled, the website where I conduct the interviews went completely haywire! Jean, being the understanding lady that she is, agreed to answer the completely random questions I sent her via email.
Gold star, Jean!!!

SME:What's your favorite cookie?

Jean: My favorite cookie used to be chocolate chip but I ate so much chocolate that I'm now allergic to it. My favorite now is cream filled, like an un-chocolated Oreo.

SME: Un-cholocated Oreo? Is that even legal?
Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Jean: Yes, I've wanted to be a writer as long as I could hold a pencil. I wrote my first novel when I was nine and in sixth grade, a chapter a day to entertain classmates. Thank goodness it was never published.

SME: Um... I have a few of those, myself.

Jean: I wrote for my high school newspaper and was editor in chief of my college newspaper while a divorced mother of four young daughters. (I often took m youngest to class with me and she's now teaching middle school in Salt Lake City.)

SME: My oldest went to college classes with me, as well. He was born at midterms of my final semester before earning my Bachelors.

Jean: I was too busy raising kids, coaching and managing girl's softball, working as a news reporter for the local daily and carrying 15 class units at a community college in a neighboring town to even think of writing another novel until the girls were in high school. I then took a Famous Writer's School fiction course and worked on my historical novel for a number of years. It's currently available as a reprint at as Escape, A Wyoming Historical Novel.
I also wrote eight nonfiction books before writing my three mystery novels, the latest Diary of Murder.

SME: So what are you working on right now?

Jean: I'm currently working on the fourth novel in my Logan and Cafferty mystery/suspense series, titled Murder on the Interstate. I just finished my children's novel, The Mystery of Spider Mountain, and I'm putting the finishing touches to my book of interviews with mystery writers, titled Mysterious People, for Poisoned Pen Press. I've also got a historical mystery novel started about single women homesteaders.

SME: In other words, you don't have much going on right now. Sheesh!
So, what's your favorite continent?

Jean: North America, from North Pole, Alaska to Ensenada, although I love Hawaii and its people. I enjoyed practicing my three years of high school Spanish while in Mexico, but was glad to drive back across the border. The poverty in the border towns is depressing and the drug crime is incomprehensible. I served as a border patrol reporter in San Diego in 1977 and was fortunate to be one of the reporters to ride in the border patrol's first helicopter, which had been on order for 23 years. I was shocked by all the trails leading from the border into California.

SME: Wow, what a boring life you've had.
To make things a little more exciting, I have a game! The 3rd Friday in December is "International Underdog Day." In honor of that auspicious recognition, I've invented a game called "Three Cheers For the Underdog." I'll share with you 3 real-life stories of underdogs and you pick which is the actual ending to the story. Get at least 2 right and you will be the INFF Champion for the week!

#1-An 88-year-old widow takes on the system by...
a.) spending 2 years walking across the continental United States, advocating for campaign finance reform and gains the attention of the U.S. Senate
b.) running for a seat in the U.S. senate and winning 33% of the vote
c.) she did both of these things and her efforts were documented in an HBO film entitled "Run Granny Run"

Jean: B.

SME: She did do that, but she also did A and HBO documented it. So, the correct answer is C.

#2-A brand new “theory of the universe” garnered the attention of the physics world last year. Who accomplished this?
a.) a stay-at-home mom who returned to school to earn her degree
b.) a fulltime surfer and snowboarder who also happens to be academically brilliant
c.) a child prodigy who spent her first ten years in the foster program

Jean: A

SME: Oh how I would have enjoyed that being the real answer, being a stay-at-home mom, myself. The correct answer, however, is B! Narly, dude! Hang 10!
Lastly, #3-The Arizona Cardinals, who are essentially synonymous with losing (and I can say that, I'm from AZ), had their own underdog moment this year when...
a.) they made it to the Superbowl and managed, to everyone's surprise, to win!
b.) they made it to the Superbowl and managed, to everyone's surprise, to ALMOST win!
c.) they made it to the Superbowl and everyone simply stared in shock because that team at the Superbowl just doesn't make sense.

Jean: B.

SME: Ding, ding, ding! You are correct. They not only got to the superbowl-an amazing accomplipshment in and of itself, they very nearly won. Who'd've thunk?
Now on to the part of the interview where I draw a portrait of my new friend. You!

(Jean has not actually seen her portrait, we were having email issues. *shakes head at the absurdity of her troubles with arranging all this*)

*drawing, drawing, drawing*

SME: Tuh-duh!

(I am absolutely certain that if Jean were able to comment on this fabulous portrait, she would say something along the lines of...
Wow! That's amazing! How do you do it? Have you considered a career in portrait drawing? 'Cause you have mad skills, girl.)

SME: Why, thank you!

Once again, a big ol' thank you to Jean for being cooperative and understanding and for being my Friday Friend!

SME: *cue exit music* Well, this has been "I Need Friends" Friday. Come back next week when I will make another friend!!

If you'd like to be interviewed for "I Need Friends" Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!

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1 comment:

Jean Henry Mead said...

Thank you, Sarah. I have to admit that this was the most ununsual interview I've ever had but it was fun. And you captured my essense with your stick portrait. I'll cherish it forever. :-)


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