Today's guest is debut novelist Jean Mckie-Sutton to tell us a little about her novel The Fruits Of Our Sins.
Jean Mckie-Sutton rose through the ranks of the insurance industry before heeding her own heart and pursuing her passion for writing. She grew up listening to the stories that elders recounted about the women in her family, and it is from these dominant, yet richly flawed matriarchs that she draws inspiration for her writing.
In addition to her debut novel, The Fruits Of Our Sins, Jean has published two short stories, “Stella’s Silent World”, and “When The Bough Breaks”. She is also a featured author in “Sister To Sister: Black Women Speak To Young Black Girls.”
Jean lives in a suburb of Philadelphia with her husband and three children.
Welcome, Jean. Please tell us about your current release.
This novel tells the story of two young women, Madeline and Sybil, who experience abandonment and betrayal within their own families at a very young age. Their lives soon become intertwined in heated confrontation by the birth of a child - a child that each claims to have a right to. For one woman, possession of the child represents redemption; for the other, the repetition of generational sin.
The Fruits Of Our Sins chronicles the deeply flawed relationships these women have with their parents, the impact of those relationships on the direction of their lives and ultimately the lives of their children as they attempt to flee from, yet reconcile, the abandonment and betrayals of their youth.
What inspired you to write this book?
I’d have to say I was inspired by my family. Although this novel is not at all biographical, developing the story lines of the characters helped me reconcile and understand some of the troubling, life-changing decisions made by the matriarchs in my own family.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m glad you asked! I love talking about my next project. I’m in the middle of a collection of short stories focusing on family relationships - mostly mother/daughter relationships that involve transformation after overcoming steep obstacles. I hope to finish the collection later this year.
The second project I’m considering is a sequel to The Fruits Of Our Sins. I hadn’t initially planned on writing a sequel, but so many people have asked, I feel the need to at least consider the possibility.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Although I’ve been writing ever since I was a young child, I did not consider myself a writer until I published my first short story back in 2010. It was titled, Stella’s Silent World, and it was about a young woman meeting her birth mother for the first time.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Trying to find the time to write has always been a challenge. For many years I worked full time. With three kids, it was hard to find quiet writing time on a consistent basis. I’d sneak in the hours on weekends or while on vacation. Now that I work part-time, I manage to write a few hours a day while the kids are in school during the school year. With the kids home during summer break I find myself writing more and more in the evenings after they’re asleep and the house is quiet.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I often wake up in the middle of the night for no reason at all. It is during these moments that I experience my most creative insights. I keep a pen and table bedside so I can capture the rush of ideas that seems to come for nowhere.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a brain surgeon until I discovered I wouldn’t finish school until I was about thirty. In my teens I wanted to be a CIA agent. Instead, I ended up in the Insurance Industry for nearly twenty years. My dream of actual pursuing a writing career began during this time.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I’d like to share a quote to encourage others to follow their dreams as well:
“When you follow your bliss, the universe will open doors where there were walls.” -- Joseph Campbell
Thanks for stopping by, Jean. Readers, if you'd like to read more about Jean, you can stop by her other tour stops.