Jenny Prevatte had the sort of childhood you might find in a great American novel, one full of self-sufficient, salt-of-the-earth types. The main characters are a spunky, precocious child and a stalwart grandame with a secret sense of humor. The two adventure together across the countryside thwarting villainous busybodies with nothing but their wits and charm.
Most of that is true of Prevatte’s new book, When Grandma Teaches You to Lie, except this book is a collection of true tales from a childhood in rural North Carolina, a time and place ruled by the cycles of farm life and the grace of God. A pivotal figure in Jenny’s life, Grandma was a conventional Southern woman in many ways but unconventional in all the best ways. She instilled in Jenny a mischievous sense of humor, fierce independence, and good common sense—lessons we can all use today.
We asked Jenny a few questions about her publishing journey.
What Jenny had to say about SPARK Publications
SPARK Publications was amazing! Having someone who could edit the way I write and talk and then someone who could pull from my head illustrations I couldn’t describe. The publication stuff was a little confusing, but that’s where trust comes in. My clients trust me to help them—I had to trust SPARK Publications to help me. That was harder (for me) than you realize.
What inspired you to write this book?
Grandma! It’s funny—the older I get, the more I realize how much she taught me and how often I use those lessons. I still think of things she did and said, helping me through decisions and choices, helping me be the best me I can be. I want to share her with the people in my world.
What is your primary goal for the book?
I didn’t and don’t really have a goal. I tell these stories all the time to people around me who seem to enjoy them. So I thought if I wrote them down, they’d be easier to share. I’ve heard from several people that the stories helped them remember their own childhoods and their own mothers’ or grandmothers’ lessons. I was also surprised at people who said they would let their daughters and granddaughters read it. Fun!
What surprises did you encounter on the road to writing and publishing the book?
One: “bloney” is not as well-known a word as I thought it was! “Baloney” is just wrong. Two: I’ve been “working on it” for so long, going through some of my own issues with what and how to write. It was surprising and fun to discover how easy it was once I got through all that “mess” and got going.
Do you have any advice for other authorpreneurs?
Yes, just write or jot or record, and let SPARK Publications handle all the details. That’s one of my control hang-ups—letting go to allow someone else to handle things. Quit worrying about the final product and let it create itself.
What’s next for you?
Lunch! It’s 11:46 a.m. Don’t know. I’d love to write one now about someone else in my world who taught lessons in unique ways. And maybe I’ll do a second book on Grandma. As people tell me about what they hear in this book, I’m reminded of other stories about her world. This could be fun!