Author Chat With Jayne Pillemer (Still Mine), Plus Giveaway! – US Only!

Today we are very excited to share an interview with author Jayne Pillemer (Still Mine)!

Read on to learn more about her, her book, and a giveaway!

 

 

 

Meet the Author: Jayne Pillemer

Jayne Pillemer is a writer and former children’s book editor. Still Mine is her first book. She loves to make her Grandma Helen’s old recipes and drink hot chocolate like they used to do together on sleepovers. Jayne lives in Westchester, NY, with her husband, children, and a heart full of love for people who are still hers.

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About the Book: Still Mine

What will I do if I don’t have you?

Are you still mine?

Our hands around a cup of hot chocolate, sweet and warm. Our boots splashing in puddles. The song you sing to me when the sun comes up. This is how we say “I love you” every day.

But what happens when the person you love is gone? Your heart hurts and you miss them, but even though your eyes can’t see them anymore and your arms can’t hug them, they are still there, still yours to love . . . just in a different way.

Jayne Pillemer’s lyrical story and Sheryl Murray’s sweet illustrations offer gentle comfort and reassurance to anyone who has experienced loss that you still carry those you love with you in the smallest things—and in your heart—forever.

Amazon * B&N * IndieBound

 

 

 

~Author Chat~

 

YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

The seeds of STILL MINE started to sprout when my grandmother passed away, and I had to tell my young son. Being a book person, I looked to books to find the words, but I couldn’t find anything that felt quite right to me in that moment.  I wanted to explain death, but more so, I wanted him to clearly see what wasn’t going away, and that was love. I really thought about all the memories with my grandmother that so vividly stuck with me, and how I could carry on certain things. Now, by making Grandma Helen’s favorite recipes,  I am creating memories with my kids, hoping they will find the comfort and joy in them, too.

YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?

My sister-in-law’s father passed away when the book was still in manuscript form, but I shared it with her in hopes it might offer some comfort.  She told me that she has such a strong olefactory sense, but until she read the line about the hot chocolate being “a memory inside my mouth, a little taste of you”, it didn’t occur to her that she could continue experiencing her father by engaging her sense of smell.  We often think of memories as living in the mind, but memories live on in all sorts of ways. Being able to reflect that is something I’m really proud of because it opens up the ways in which we can keep experiencing love. I loved knowing that my grandma always had a box of Swiss Miss in the cabinet, and the book’s hot chocolate memory has become really central to my school and library presentations, as we talk about how memories can literally and figuratively warm the heart.

YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

STILL MINE took me many years to get just right.  Death and grief are such hard topics to think about, and I had to whittle down so many emotions to get to the morsel of the book. Picture books deal with big topics, but it was important to narrow my focus so that I could achieve what I wanted to within the confines of a short text.  It was an important lesson for me to remember that the first draft may have the spark of a good idea, but it may look very, very different at the end and that’s okay.  Sticking with something you believe in and writing from the heart are essential, as is keeping an open mind when an editor comes back with lots of red ink!

YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?

The cover of this book was difficult to conceptualize because the publisher and I wanted it to convey hope and peace.  We discussed whether it should be the boy and his grandmother on the cover, but I loved the idea of two children.  There are so many books about loss of a grandparent specifically, and one of the unique aspects of STILL MINE is that it reflects different losses: grandparent, but also loss of a parent and loss of a young friend. I wanted the cover to reflect that this story wasn’t just about the loss of someone old.  I still didn’t know exactly what direction to give Sheryl, and I hoped she would be able to find a way to capture that special feeling of love after loss.  This was Sheryl’s first concept, and she really hit it just right. I love the brothers finding comfort in a hug, Dad’s mug tucked in just beside them, the rainbow—a symbol of hope—overhead, and that shadow of a heart on the grass below them.  When the rainbow appeared over Buckingham Palace minutes after the Queen passed away, I immediately thought of the boys on the cover of my book, and how the rainbow really is a universal message of peace.

YABC: What’s a book you’ve recently read and loved?

I could not put down LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY by Bonnie Garmus!  I had to wait weeks for it to come in from the library, and it was worth the wait. It’s equal parts quirky and insightful, and I couldn’t decide if I wanted to read nonstop or slow myself down so that I didn’t finish it so quickly.

LIBRARY GIRL, a picture book which was just released, is my new favorite in children’s books. Sheryl was just finishing the illustrations while we were doing publicity for STILL MINE, and I couldn’t believe I had to wait months for it to come out.  As a child, I loved reading and going to the library, and learning about Nancy Pearl—with Sheryl’s magical illustrations—is all sorts of beauty stuffed into one book.

YABC: What is the main message or lesson you would like your reader to remember from this book?

Death doesn’t mean gone forever, it just means living in the heart.  This is an incredibly difficult thing to process and embrace in the midst of grief, but it’s beautiful to be able to focus on what you get to keep, what will never be lost.  Love always continues.

YABC: What would you say is your superpower?

I love to be ahead of schedule, and managing to do so with three busy boys feels like a superpower! Getting close to deadlines gives me anxiety!  Being uber-organized helped me to never pull an all-nighter in college—my papers were always finished a couple of days ahead of time, and now, I like to have my holiday cards ordered and gift shopping done by Halloween! I was even interviewed by Good Morning America in November 2019 and featured in an article called Millennial Moms Have Christmas All Wrapped Up: Here Are Their Top Tips for Getting Organized!  Some of my friends think I’m crazy, but I think my editor really appreciated it when my final manuscript was ready a month ahead of the contract date!

YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?

Oh, gosh, there are so many. Sweet Grace Ministries is such a special organization. They provide comfort baskets to families enduring miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal loss.  They understand the unique pain that is the loss of a much-wanted and already-loved baby. I have been receiving Mother’s Day cards and notes on the anniversary of our pregnancy loss from them for four years now.  It is so nice to know your baby is not forgotten when many others seem to expect you to have moved on.

BlinkNow is a nonprofit based in Surkhet, Nepal. The dream of an American teenager on her gap year has grown into a foundation that has created a home and a school where children are educated and loved.  My sister volunteered here, and her stories opened my eyes to the incredible work that continues to be done at Kopila Valley. Founder Maggie Doyne’s memoir, BETWEEN THE MOUNTAIN AND THE SKY, details her journey of starting this amazing children’s home. The love that surrounds these children is tangible, and the way the local community has grown is so inspiring.

YABC: What advice do you have for new writers? 

There is a lot of pressure in our society to be successful.  If you spend time writing and it doesn’t get published, you feel like a failure—that the time you spent writing was a waste.  When you are a kid, it’s okay to create and imagine and play, and I love to see when adults give themselves permission to do that, too. Writing can be an outlet, and if it is important for you to do mentally, spiritually, energetically, then it’s important to make time for, no matter the outcome.  Not everything I write feels worthy of being published, but practice helps me improve and the quiet time helps me feel centered, and that’s a success in and of itself!

 

 

Title: STILL MINE

Author: Jayne Pillemer

Illustrator: Sheryl Murray

Release Date: January 18, 2022

Publisher: HarperCollins

Genre: Children’s, Picture Book

Age Range: 4-7 years

 

 

 

~ Giveaway Details ~

One (1) winner will receive a copy of Still Mine (Jayne Pillemer), plus themed stickers! ~US ONLY

 

 

*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*

 

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2 thoughts on “Author Chat With Jayne Pillemer (Still Mine), Plus Giveaway! – US Only!”

  1. kimzoby says:

    Beautiful story. Look forward to reading it with the grandkids

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