TAEM- The Arts and Entertainment Magazine loves to explore all facets of the Literary World. One such area of note is the avenue of psyche concerning children and how they react to tragedies in their life. We just recently discovered author Jessica Lynn Curtis as she explores and explains this in her latest book. Jessica, what first interested you about this subject genre, and tell us about your education that prompted you to do so ?
JLC- Well, I remember losing my own grandfather when I was three – at first not understanding what was going on, then grasping after a few months that he wasn’t coming back, having crazy nightmares, and being very confused and distraught. And in my nanny and babysitting jobs a few years back, I witnessed so many kids going through the same thing. Even children who have never lost someone get fixated on the idea of death – they are so confused and curious about it. At the same time I was noticing this theme in the children I was watching, I was given an assignment in an acting class to write an autobiography. My teacher, a casting director and wonderful woman named Alaine Alldaffer, mentioned how much she loved the part about my Papa. So, those two ideas coincided in my mind, and I was inspired to write Papa’s New Home.
TAEM- Originally you focused your education on music. Please describe this aspect of your life to our readers, and what college you attended.
JLC- I was a music major/theatre minor at Ithaca College. I come from a family of musicians, and have always been a singer, actor and flutist. This was always dominant in my life – it was my writing that actually fell by the wayside in high school and college when I was spending so much of my time rehearsing and practicing. It was after I moved to New York City and began auditioning all the time that I began writing my own musical. Suddenly, my writing floodgates opened back up and I haven’t stopped since! I hope to eventually have more balance between writing and performing, but right now writing is keeping me pretty busy!
TAEM- Who was your greatest inspiration in this point of your career ?
JLC- I’m inspired by many people – basically anyone who is brave enough to put themselves out there in a way that makes a positive impact on this world.
TAEM- We understand that you also wrote a play that was seen in New York City. Please tell us about the play and where it was seen.
JLC- One of my plays, Everyday Wilcox, was chosen to appear in a short play festival. It was actually a quick little play I wrote after asking my Facebook friends to each give me the first word that popped into their minds. Based on the characters I already had in my mind and this string of words, I created this quirky, fun little play. I had no idea this was going to happen, but we sold so many tickets that they moved the performances to an Off Broadway venue, the Roy Arias Off Broadway Theatre.
TAEM- How were the reviews for this show, and who were the cast and crew members for it?
JLC- It was very well received, as were my actors. I’d worked with them all in various improv comedy situations and knew they were all great comedians – New York City-based actor-improvisers Phil Duss and Mike Brown, and Marc Adam Smith, who is the artistic director of Gotham City Improv.
TAEM- We also understand that you are a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan and appeared in a number of publication for them. Tell us about your involvement in this and what your contributions consist of.
JLC- Well, one month before the 2004 Red Sox broke the “curse” and won the World Series (first Red Sox World Series win in 86 years!), Red Sox.com Nation held a Red Sox National Anthem contest. As a lyricist who loves the Red Sox, I was always writing little Red Sox songs, so this pretty much had my name all over it. My song, “Voice of the Faithful,” ended up winning, so I appeared on Red Sox.com singing my song for about six months. My work has also appeared on Boston Dirt Dogs (Boston.com’s Red Sox page) – a poem about the late reliever Rod Beck and a song about the 2007 Red Sox entitled, “Funky Ohhh-kajima.”
TAEM- What new avenues of writing are you exploring and what other plans do you have for the future ?
JLC- Well, I’ve always thought of myself as mainly a playwright and lyricist, but the more varied things I write, the more I’m realizing I need to expand that pigeonholed view of myself. That said, I recently finished a second children’s book and began an adult book. And I have about one million other projects in various stages of development.
TAEM- Tell us something about the publisher that your work appears with.
JLC- Papa’s New Home is being published by TRISTAN Publishing (www.tristanpuublishing.com), a Minnesota-based publishing company owned and operated by Brett and Sheila Waldman. Brett and Sheila are wonderful – I knew during our first phone conversation that they were the right ones to bring PNH into this world. They are very kind, positive, integrous people, and this is evident in everything they publish. Their mission is the same as mine – to produce works that will have a positive, uplifting impact. And I’m very grateful to them for bringing Steve Harmon on board – he is the illustrator for PNH, and he is AMAZING.
TAEM- Jessica, We want to thank you for the time that you have spent during this interview with our publication and wish you much luck in all your future endeavors. I am sure that our readership will be thrilled to learn all about you.
Text: ©2012, Jessica Lynn Curtis.