Monday, May 02, 2016

Q&A with the latest Eckhartz Press author: Jeanne Bellezzo

Jeanne's "Rantings of a Bitter Childless Woman" is available for pre-order now at Eckhartz Press. The book ships later this month. We recently chatted with her about her book, her background, and her sense of humor.


You're originally from Chicago. Where in the area did you grow up and how did Chicago influence the kind of writer you became?

Jeanne: I grew up on the Far Northwest Side – literally as far as you could go within the city limits. If you crossed Belmont Avenue, you were in River Grove. Across Cumberland Avenue was an unincorporated forest preserve. After college, I lived in DePaul and Lincoln Park for several years, and loved it.

So many of my friends and co-workers in Chicago were smart, quick-witted and somewhat sarcastic, but not in a mean or hurtful way. I live near San Diego now, and people often comment on how nice Chicagoans are! So I think that combination of witty but benign and often self-deprecating humor influenced my writing.

What other writing have you done before this?

Jeanne: I’m a professional freelance writer and editor, so I’ve written all kinds of advertising and marketing copy, website content, public relations campaigns, that kind of thing. I’ve also done ghostwriting and editing for several non-fiction books.

What inspired you to start the blog that eventually led to this book?

Jeanne:: I had written an email to one of my good friends (who has kids) about the child counting out change in the grocery store express lane (“Paper or Plastic?”), and I asked her if I sounded like a bitter old childless woman. It became kind of a theme. She though the email was funny, and I just started to write more of them.

How have your friends and family (who have kids) reacted to it? Do they see themselves in any of your stories?

Jeanne:: Well, a couple of them are the subjects of the stories! But they’re fine with it. They’re still speaking to me, anyway. I’ve found that parents who raise their kids to be considerate and kind feel the same way I do about parents who don’t.

What do you say to parents who are offended by your humor?

Jeanne: Fortunately, I haven’t come across that (yet). I’ve had people tell me that I don’t understand what it’s like to have kids, and they’re absolutely right. I’ve also heard that you become more tolerant when you have kids, which makes sense. I’m certainly not trying to offend anyone. It’s humor.

The demographic of people who have chosen not to have children is an all-time high. Have you found solidarity with that demo?

Jeanne:: I heard that recently and I was actually surprised, because I feel like most people I know do have kids. I’ve never felt judged by my friends who have kids; if I did, we probably wouldn’t be friends. I do have a group of close friends who aren’t parents, and we tend to get together more often than we do with our parent friends just because our lifestyles and schedules are different.

What's your favorite story in the book?

Jeanne:: I think that would be “Dying of Boredom” because so many people can relate to it, whether they remember playing The Alphabet Game on car trips as kids, or they have kids now who have more energy than they know what to do with. And, we still laugh about how we entertained the kids all day and then they wanted to “do something fun.” I also like “Table Manners” because everyone has their own similar story – especially people who work in restaurants.

What's next for you?

Jeanne:: Thinking about my next book…maybe Rantings of a Crazy Cat Lady?