Interview with June A. Converse, Author of Journey to Hope

01 Sep 2020

What can you tell us about your new release, Journey to Hope?

In Journey to Hope, Kathleen, with the support of Matt, has decided to step into The Center in Charlotte for intense PTSD rehabilitation after losing her family in a horrific way. While Kathleen struggles through the therapy, Matt also struggles to look at his own life choices. Together they face Kathleen’s demons. Separately, they face their own choices and consequences.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I never planned to become an author. After a medical crisis forced me to give up my career, I made taking care of my health a priority. To that end, I started hiking daily. On one of these hikes, my character Matt entered my mind and started to tell him his story. On that first day I thought I was going a little crazy. Matt returned day after day telling me “you have to write my story”. Finally, to get him to go away, I sat on my deck and wrote his story. It was 200 pages of yucky writing. It was also the start of a new journey for me, for Matt and for Kathleen.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

• All the Light We Cannot See by Doerr
• Outlander by Gabaldon
• We Need to Talk About Kevin by Shriver
• Wuthering Heights by Bronte
• A Gentleman in Moscow by Towles

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask

Jodi Picoult. All of your stories focus on a difficult topic and you force the reader to see shades of grey. We enter your books with one opinion about say, abortion, and when we close the book, we aren’t quite as solid in our view. Is this your reason for writing? Do you start the journey with one view and then force yourself to look at shades of grey through your characters? Which book has changed you the most and why?

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

When the characters become so real they take me on a journey instead of me taking them on one. I love it when a character tells me I didn’t represent them correctly and tell me I have to re-write.

What is a typical day like for you?

I’m up by 630AM. The early morning is about coffee, exercising, walking the dog and prioritizing my to do list. By 9AM, I’m usually working on some sort of writing – the blog I write for an organization working with the visually impaired, my own blog or novel number three. The morning is writing draft. After lunch I either move to editing for someone else or my own stuff. Fridays is dedicated to coaching other writers and Wednesdays I often teach at the local colleges. Thankfully, I have good people behind me and can focus on writing and not marketing/sales. By 4PM, I’m exhausted and read until time to make dinner.

What scene from Journey to Hope was your favorite to write?

This is actually a scene re-write. At about the 2/3 mark, Matt and his sister get into an argument. I wrote this and read it to my husband. He liked it and agreed it was how he would handle a conflict with his own sister. But while taking a bath, Matt (the fictional character), stood above me and said, “I am not your husband. I would not be that nice. I would tell her to get the f*!* out of my office. Get up tomorrow and re-write the scene.” I did as he asked and it’s a great scene and more authentic to Matt.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

If it’s going to be funny in five years, then laugh about it today.

And my coffee cup reads … “Zero F*$% Given” – this reminds me to give emotional energy in areas important to me and not anywhere else. Plus, my kids gave it to me because they know me well.

June A. Converse is the author of the new book Journey to Hope.

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