When did you first discover that you were a writer?
The first time I found myself in “the zone” was when I knew I had found my passion to write. Hours and hours went unnoticed and turned into full days in front of the computer. Ironically, for being an extravert, I discovered a wonderful place—to be by myself, creating new stories.
What inspired Chasing the Butterfly?
The initial seeds for the story grew out of writing assignments for the Christian Writers Guild and my personal passions for painting and traveling to France numerous times. But after that, I was inspired to persevere and complete the novel as a personal journey and challenge. At some (often many) junctures of our lives, we have to contend with forgiveness. Writing the book was my way of navigating pain, communing with the Lord, and ultimately realizing the freedom and joy that come with forgiving. I promised God I would finish the story, and when I did, I wasn’t sure if it would remain for His eyes and mine only. But His ways are surprising—that’s when the doors began to fly open.
Tell us where do your story and character ideas come from.
My characters come from bits and pieces of family members, friends, and myself. I don’t recall ever concocting all of the characters—instead, they seem to invite themselves into the story because they have something important to say or do. As for the story idea, I am fascinated by strong women who eventually figure out how to survive life’s difficulties, and ultimately find hope in the blessings. I have always been intrigued with history so weaving that with an artistic element motivates me to create story.
You are one of the busiest writers I have met. How do you manage to balance writing time with teaching school and being mom to three active boys?
I suppose I’m one of those people who have never understood the meaning of boredom. I find that I am driven by my passions to create in many forms. Sometimes, I wish I could lay aside a thing or two, but then I feel something’s incomplete. It’s probably a good thing I have three boys and a husband who are active and have so many personal interests. But I admit, there have been many days that I jump on and hold on tight!
Tell us how you came up with the lovely cover of your book.
My long-time friend, Kelly Berger, is an accomplished professional artist in Colorado. When I received word from the publisher that they would consider an original piece of art for the cover, I went straight to Kelly. She read the manuscript and fell in love with the story. I had pulled at least thirty different images and photographs of Provence, laid them out randomly in my art studio, and asked her to take a look. From those and our shared travels to Provence, we envisioned the low vantage point—poppy field with the butterfly in the distance and the sunset backdrop. Off to work she went…when the final painting was unveiled, I was stunned. Truly, it was exactly how I had imagined the cover! Our friendship has been blessed by the opportunity to share in the creation of the novel.
How did you research your setting in France? Do you have any anecdotes or interesting experiences arising from your research which you would like to share with our readers? Have any of these found their way into your book?
I’ve been to France, particulary Paris and Provence, several times. On each visit, hundreds of photographs captured the beauty and history—those images became ingrained in my mind and served as the visual memory when I wrote many of the scenes. I find World War II fascinating to read about, both in other novels and in non-fiction. Eventually, I needed to pull myself away from researching and get on with the story. On a fun sidenote, whenever I mentioned paint colors, I had to make sure the specific names of the paints existed at that time. I had a wonderful time delving into the history of art materials—it’s amazing where those unique names originated—but, that’s another story.
How do you see the importance of Christian fiction?
The presence of Christian fiction is imperative—it’s a venue for biblical truth to be woven into story in an appealing, inspirational, and fresh manner. I can’t tell you how many readers have appreciated enjoying a story without the offenses that are prevalent in much of today’s writing. Whether a reader has been a Christian or not, the discussions that have ensued from the story always contain elements of faith, hope, love, and God.
What are three things that have had the most influence on your writing process?
Belief--I have a story to create that is intended to touch the lives of others.
Gratitude and Humility – this writing journey is not merely about me, and I couldn’t do it by myself.
Challenge – writing is difficult in every way imaginable—but the process, nuances, and craft is exhilarating (even when I’m exhausted!).
Do you plot your stories out ahead of time, or just sit down and write from the seat of your pants?
Give me a horse to ride, and I’m on it! That’s my way of saying, “I love to write seat of the pants!” I get a rush from letting the story take off and run.
What events in your personal life have most impacted your writing, and how?
I write from plenty of emotion. I have discovered that I write scenes and dialogue based largely on what is currently on my mind and what themes are coursing through my heart and soul at the time.
What was the most emotional scene for you to write in your novel?
The scene at the pond ripped my heart out. Each time I reread that portion, I wept. Somewhere hidden in my greatest fears and deepest emotions, the descriptions evolved for those events.
Would you share the opening scenes of your novel with us?
Find Jayme online through the following links:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jayme-H-Mansfield/669237533103946
Other: Instagram : http://instagram.com/jaymemansfield
Art Studio website: www.piggytoes.com
Jayme is offering a copy of Chasing the Butterfly for this week's
drawing. Please leave a comment with your email address to
qualify by next Tuesday. Thank you! We love your comments!
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