About the Author
Jessilyn Stewart Peaslee was born into a family of avid readers, music lovers, and movie quoters. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in English. Her debut novel, Ella, was awarded the Silver Quill by the League of Utah Writers. Jessilyn grew up in the beautiful high desert of Southern California and now resides in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains with her handsome husband and five incredible sons. As you read this, she is probably folding laundry . . . or should be.
1-What inspired the idea for Awake at Widmore Manor?
I love bringing fairy tales to life and making them feel like they really happened, or could have happened. I've done Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, but I wanted to try one I hadn't seen done as much. The original Princess and the Pea story is pretty short with very few details, so it was a fun little (huge :)) challenge to bring it to life. I knew it had to have three main elements: a young woman caught in a storm, a sleepless night, and a test that she had to "pass." Beyond that, I got to play and write and rewrite. And rewrite again. :)
2-What did you as an author take away from writing Awake at Widmore Manor?
I was surprised by how much this story touched me personally. It started out as a light-hearted, almost comical story, but as I got deeper into it, I found meaning and depth that I hadn't expected. There were themes such as loyalty to family, growing in trials, selflessness, and perseverance. Mostly, this story ended up being mostly about friendship, the different forms it can take, and the lengths we can go to show love and support for our friends. I found the perfect Shakespeare quote about friendship that really shaped the book. I put it right at the beginning to give the reader a little direction and inspiration before they dive in. :) This story is almost unrecognizable from where it started for me at the beginning, but I really love it. It's a sweet story that helped me want to be a better person, and a better friend.
3-What is your current WIP? What can you tell us about it?
I'm actually taking a teensy break from writing right now. Writing in the summer with everyone home all day is pretty much impossible, which is actually great. It's nice to clear my head every once in a while. In the fall, I'm actually thinking of starting a non-fiction inspirational book. I've thought about it for years, and have done some presentations on the topic. It has to do with choosing to live our own happily ever afters. I just can't stay away from fairy tales!
4-What are the top 5 books currently on your TBR pile?
1)I'm going to cheat and count the first four books in our Once Upon a Regency series as one. :)
2)The Goose Girl (which I've read before, but wanted to read again) by Shannon Hale
3)Bringing up Moral Children by A. Lynn Scoresby
4)The Path Between Seas by David McCullough
5)The Pioneers by David McCullough
5-Now that it's summer, what are some of your favorite activities?
We got a puppy at the end of April, so my goal is to teach that crazy, funny, huge puppy not to tackle us. He sits, stays, and shakes. We're working on rolling over. He's been so much fun! I love taking my kids to water parks, on hikes, and camping. I love quiet morning where I get to read to them and just relax before friends come over and everyone scatters. I also love taking morning walks with my husband before he heads to work. My absolute favorite place to be in the summer, if you ever need me, or my kids can't find me in the house, is sitting on the porch swing, usually eating a popsicle. :) We just hang out there and talk, laugh, and watch for hummingbirds to come to our feeder. It's my favorite thing in the world.
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