Interview with author Jeanne Gassman


Welcome Readers to another installment of our author interview series. Today we have the pleasure of chatting with Jeanne, author of two historical fiction books.

JMR-Welcome to the Books Delight, Jeanne. Tell our readers where you live, what you do for fun and what does the perfect day look like?

JG- I live in Ruidoso, New Mexico, a small town on the edge of the Lincoln National Forest. I enjoy reading, hiking the local trails that wind through our natural beauty, walking our dog, and playing and singing music. I sing in our church choir, which has been a learning experience, since I’m an instrumentalist, not a trained vocalist.

My perfect day begins with a walk with my husband and our dog, Picasso. After we return home, I go upstairs to my home office and dig in on my latest writing project. In the afternoon, I putter around the house, practice music, or even take a nap! In the evenings, I dig into a book on my TBR list.

JMR-What’s your favorite historical time period? Why?

JG-I don’t know if I have a favorite historical era. I’m a history buff, so I love learning about all time periods. I’m fascinated by the continuum, how historical events affect events in the present. What happened years ago has an impact on our culture, our lifestyles, our beliefs, and our laws. We think we are moving forward, but as we move forward, we are always responding to what happened in the past.

JMR-Who is your favorite historical figure? Why? If you could ask them one question, what would it be?

JG-Probably one of my favorite historical figures is Abraham Lincoln. He served as President during one of the most difficult times in our history, and he had rough personal life as well. His son died, and he suffered from depression. I would ask him where he found his strength.

JMR- How did you come to be a writer of historical fiction?

JG-I think I sort of fell into it with my interest in history. When I started writing fiction, I found myself fascinated by the lives of people in the past. I wanted to understand their cultural choices, their responses to change in their worlds, and their struggle to find meaning in their lives.

JMR- We are all affected by the highs and lows in our lives. How has your lived life informed your writing?

JG-My husband and I have shared multiple, deep losses. We’ve had two children die. My mother had Alzheimer’s disease. I lived through two life-threatening pregnancies, and most recently, my husband has lost most of his sight. These losses have given me a deep well of empathy.

We’ve also had some wonderful experiences. We adopted two biracial children who have grown into terrific adults. We’ve traveled to Paris and Italy and all over the country. We were able to move to our dream home six years ago. My first novel won several prestigious awards. I’ve been blessed in so many ways, and those blessings have taught me resilience.

Nothing in your life is all good or all bad. That view is reflected in my writing. My characters often endure loss and tragedy, but they find the strength to rise up, to reinvent themselves, and to find hope in the future.

JMR- Did you visit anyone of the places in your book? Where did you feel closest to your characters?

JG-My first book is set in first century Palestine. I was unable to visit that location in person, but I did have access to experts and resources that informed my writing. When I was working on Blood of a Stone, I visited a Biblical arboretum in Texas that had recreated a setting in Galilee. I felt very close to my characters there.

JMR- Jeanne, tell us about your book, Blood of a Stone.

JG-Set in the first century on the edges of the Roman Empire and the Jesus movement, Blood of a Stone is a sweeping story of murder, betrayal, love, and the search for redemption.

Faced with the brutality of slavery, Demetrios confronts his master and flees by the blood of a stone. Determined to escape his past, he struggles to create a new life and a new identity with his friend and fellow escaped slave Elazar.

However, freedom has its price. Secrets cannot remain secret forever. A chance for love is lost. Elazar betrays Demetrios to a so-called prophet named Jesus of Nazareth. Fearing the Roman authorities and Jesus, Demetrios risks everything to silence those who would enslave him again. His quest leads him to startling discoveries and dire choices. Demetrios must answer the question we all ask: Can we be free of our past?

One of the themes I explored in this novel is the element of forgiveness. Can we forgive those who have harmed us? Can we forgive ourselves for our bad choices and decisions? When we first moved to Ruidoso, I was thrilled when the priest of our church used an excerpt from my novel for her sermon, which was about the meaning of forgiveness.


JMR-What projects do you have in the pipeline?

JG-My second novel, When the Sky Fell, is currently on submission with my agent. Set against the backdrop of the Cold War, it’s a story about a family of downwinders, people who contracted cancer from government-sanctioned radioactive fallout from the atomic bomb tests in Nevada. The novel spans 30 years, from the early atomic bomb tests in the 1950s to the downwinders’ struggle to find justice and compensation from the federal government in the 1980s.

I’m working on a third novel about an artist in Santa Fe, New Mexico, who paints visions of future climate change disasters. Although he can paint these horrific scenes, he has no idea when and where they would take place. His wife, a gallery owner, promotes his career, but the two of them get caught up in an attack by a conspiracy theorist who is obsessed with finding solutions for climate change and believes the artist knows more than he’s telling. The novel explores the intersection of art, science, and climate change. Obviously, this book is not historical fiction.

I’m also working on an essay collection about my life experiences.

JMR- Tell our readers how to find you on social media and the web.

JG-You can find me all over the Internet.


Twitter: @JLyetGassman

Threads and Instagram: jeanne.gassman


My blog, Jeanne’s Writing Desk, where I post opportunities for writers:


JMR- What question were you hoping I’d ask but didn’t?

JG-How do you research your historical fiction?

JMR- Thank you, Jeanne, for stopping by. Your books look really great! Readers, I’ve included a link to Jeanne’s book below. Please be sure to check it out.



Popular Posts