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An Interview with Jeanne Savelle

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Jeanne Savelle is a wine writer, who also dabbles in creative non-fiction, short fiction, and poetry. Her past lives include life and retirement coaching and a long international finance career. She loves travel, nature, wine, and reading and lives in the Atlanta, GA, area with her husband.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

I have wanted to memorialize our cat, Okra, who was so impactful in our lives. I’ve had a lot of cats but Okra was super special.

Tell us the story of your book’s current title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

The title—The Tao of Tabby: Live Life Like Okra—gets at what the book is about: Okra’s outlook on life and how it informed mine. We often look to nature for clues about living and even among humans, Okra was the perfect teacher. I called him my little Buddha but Tao is actually more accurate.

Describe your dream book cover.

A picture of my handsome boy’s face on the front and a picture of him from behind on the back. Both of these pictures were taken at the beach, a place we visited often together.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

Most anything by Michael Franti, his happy optimistic songs.

What books are you reading (for research or comfort) as you continue the writing process?

Lots of books about cats and animals. Some books by friends that are animal-oriented. The Tao Te Ching. And poetry.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I have an ‘adopted family’ who came with me when I moved back to the States from Venezuela where I worked for three years in the early 1990s. They are my family by choice. I worked in finance for an international company for 30 years. They loved Okra too.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I have always loved to read and wanted to emulate my poet brother. I also love music (my mother played piano and another brother played classical guitar) and art. My home is filled with original artwork from my travels.

Where is your favorite place to write?

I write at my desk at home on my laptop while looking out of floor-to-ceiling windows at 100-foot-tall trees that make up my backyard. Lots of trees and bird life to keep me connected to nature.

Do you have any writing rituals?

Not really. I write when I feel it calling me but during the day only. I keep the evenings free to spend with my husband.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

I want my perfect reader to fall in love with Okra like I did, to appreciate his unique gifts and to realize that its only through returning to our deep connections with nature that can we live our true lives.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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Atmosphere Press is a selective hybrid publisher founded in 2015 on the principles of Honesty, Transparency, Professionalism, Kindness, and Making Your Book Awesome. Our books have won dozens of awards and sold tens of thousands of copies. If you’re interested in learning more, or seeking publication for your own work, please explore the links below.