We’re thrilled to have here today Jenny Cloud from Julie L. Cannon’s new Christian fiction, Twang. Jenny is a 25-year-old country music diva from Nashville, Tennessee.
It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!
Thank you so for this interview, Jenny. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?
Julie L. Cannon was fair when she wrote my story. That doesn’t mean I enjoyed reading about some of the things I did and thought in Twang. But I know you’ve heard the old saying that ‘you can’t be happy and write good songs.’ Every country star I know, from Brad Paisley to Carrie Underwood to Faith Hill, says their best songs sprung from tortured times in their past. Also, Conway Twitty says, “A good country song takes a page out of somebody’s life and puts it to music.” And if you tie that in with the old axiom about how stories about happy people are boring, you can see why Twang goes the way it does. What I want readers to take away from my story is that it’s cathartic to dig up those painful times from your past and look them in the eye.
Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?
Well, I think I learned a lot during my journey through the proverbial valley. I had to confront some really ugly things from my childhood, and I was full of bitterness and rage, dark colors. However, they turned into brighter ones when I started pouring my pain into the lyrics of autobiographical songs, and they were even brighter as I began getting letters from girls who heard my songs and felt like they could find help, too. A lot of them are victims of sexual abuse like I was, and they’d been afraid to speak up, but now they’re empowered because they think if Jenny Cloud can overcome, they can, too. It’s a bright, beautiful feeling to know my music is helping people.
What do you believe is your strongest trait?
Well, I’ve got a gift for singing and writing music, but so do a lot of people. What propelled me to stardom is that I’m also very determined. A lot like Taylor Swift. So, I’d have to say my stubbornness is my strongest trait. Wild horses couldn’t have kept me from running off to Nashville to go after my big break.
Again, I have to say it’s my stubbornness. I absolutely was not going to believe my hairdresser Tonilynn when she kept talking about how I could trust some God who’d allow the awful things that happened to me in my childhood. It took a natural disaster to bring me to my knees, to make me willing to dig up those ugly old bones and use them to write a song.
If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?
Can I pick someone from the 1970’s? People say I’m a dead ringer for Cher, except I have green eyes. Since I’m 25, it would have to be from the days she used to sing along with her husband Sonny Bono on the Sonny & Cher show.
Do you have a love interest in the book?
I’ve got several. I’m glad Holt Cantrell is nothing but a memory now. A really bad one. He may be a country music legend. He may look pretty with that snarl and that rugged face. He may have two strong legs, but he cannot hold a candle to Bobby Lee Pardue. Bobby Lee makes me laugh so hard I have to sit down.
At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?
I guess it was when Mike Flint, my manager and the owner of my record label, began twisting my arm to dig up those old memories from back home.
If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?
Oh, I loved Aint Gomer, God rest her soul, but she had so many fears! She was scared of the devil, she was scared of tattoos, and rock ‘n roll music, and she was terrified of having to go to an old folks’ home.
How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?
Parts of the ending were hard to go through, but sometimes you gotta go where you don’t want to go, in order to get to where you do want to be. If music is the true barometer of a person’s soul, I know my decision to forgive my father has changed my music and me. The heart I bared in those early songs bears little resemblance to the one that’s pouring stuff out at the end of Twang.
What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it?
I’d tell Julie L. Cannon that if we cover any more of those events in my pathetic, painful past, she’ll just have to keep in mind that ultimately, writing about them will be cathartic. We’ll get through it and we’ll be better for it. A good thing is that Julie knows from first-hand experience that God can even redeem the seemingly unredeemable. You can go to her website at www.juliecannon.info and read about her valleys.
Thank you for this interview, Jenny. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?
More likely, you’ll be hearing a lot more from me. The songs I wrote in Twang are being compiled and a cd called “Beautiful Journey” which is coming out in 2013.
Julie L. Cannon is a bestselling author, speaker and teacher. She believes that using your memories to write autobiographical fiction is both cathartic and powerful, and when Julie isn’t busy writing, she can be found leading memoir workshops, encouraging others to encourage others on this journey called Life. Julie has captured many awards in the ABA as well as the CBA. She loves growing flowers and listening to country music at her home off Hog Mountain Road in Watkinsville, Georgia.
Her latest book is the Christian fiction novel, Twang.
You can learn more about Julie L. Cannon at www.julielcannon.com.
Friend Julie L. Cannon on Twitter at www.twitter.com/JulieLCannon.
Become a fan of Julie L. Cannon at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JulieLCannon
Purchase your copy of Julie L. Cannon’s Twang at Abingdon Books: http://www.abingdonpress.com/forms/ProductDetail.aspx?pid=7213
Pick up your paperback copy of Julie L. Cannon’s Twang at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Twang-Julie-L-Cannon/dp/142671470X
Pick up your copy of Julie L. Cannon’s Twang at B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/twang-julie-l-cannon/1108857096
The songs Jennifer Clodfelter writes and sings aren’t from her imagination. With innocence and passion, Jenny pours the pain from her childhood into the lyrics of one Billboard Country hit after another. Her manager assures her that confronting formative years wrapped in violence and poverty is a necessary evil, part of the unstoppable force of her destiny to become a Country Music Diva. And for a while, little Jenny Cloud is in heaven. She basks in the spotlight on stage and the wild applause of her fans. But as she pours herself into writing more and more autobiographical songs, Jenny begins to find the emotional fallout is staggering. When she revisits a dark memory she thought was long-buried, she begins to seriously wonder if the high price she’s paying to write her hits is worth it. Jenny’s hairdresser, Tonilynn, sees the wounded little girl beneath the star’s on-stage smiles and she attempts to fix her broken spirit along with her hair by counseling Jenny to pour yet another long-repressed story of her father into a song. Is singing for her sanity a possibility in this instance? Would another hit song be therapy enough to reconcile Jenny and her dark past? Jenny Cloud faces the music with music.