LOUISE JOLLY has enjoyed a life- long interest in literature and writing. Besides writing poems and stories for her two sons, she has published book reviews in Redbook and poetry in the book "Catching the Dream" . Currently, Louise writes letters, postcards, stories and poems for a non-profit organization called “Hearts in Unity,” which sends her creations to children, families and teachers in two small villages in Tanzania. She also makes grammar books for the children at the Tanzania schools, translating Swahili words into English. The last package Louise sent to Tanzania contained 87 hand-written letters, 25 hand-written postcards and 30 grammar books. Often, she says, up to 25 children are forced to share one grammar book.
A former nurse for 23 years, Louise specialized in palliative and elderly care. In that capacity she conducted an in-depth study about the beliefs and traditions of dying and burial practices for all religions as a part of the palliative care team’s sensitivity training.
Louise also has a solid grasp of the English language, and as a result she translates university papers for Italian and Slovakian university students. Deriving a great sense of pleasure and contentment from these worthy projects, Louise also finds time to enjoy music. Declaring Susan Boyle’s voice to be “truly that of an Angel,” Louise is delighted to share her poetry and her joy of living with others. She and her husband Vic live in a peaceful country home in Ontario, Canada, with their two sons, Mike and Rob. The family also includes a German Shepherd, Nellie; a Black Labrador, Buddy; and Maggie, a four-pound Chihuahua. Louise can be reached at:
Deirdra:What are your favorite kind of books to read and why?
Louise: I really enjoy non-fiction, memoirs, and biographies because I think we can learn a lot from other people and what they have experienced. At times, depending on the book, we can learn lessons for our own lives through the experiences of other people and I'm big advocate of sharing. If there is anything that I've been through that can help someone else then I'm more than willing to share.
Deirdra:How many books on average would you say you read a year?
Louise: Funny you should ask that question! People ask me this question all the time because I'm a voracious reader and you seldom see me without a book in my hands and I often read a book a day. This year I decided to actually record the name and author of every book I read so come December 31st I'll have an exact figure. At the moment I'm reading my 110th book since January 1st. Given the fact that 5 months of this year have passed and I've read 110, that means in another 5 five months I'll have read 220 and then we still have 2 months left of the year so I'd place my best guess at approximately 240 books a year.
Deirdra:What is the most recent book you read that you thoroughly enjoyed? Can you tell us a little about it?
Louise: Hands down that would be: "Song of the Silk Road" by Mingmei Yip. It was the story of a 25-year-old Chinese girl who has the opportunity to inherit 3 million dollars from a living Aunt. However, in order to collect the money she must travel the ancient Silk Road in China and complete a number of tasks along the way. She is given $50,000 up front to finance the trip and must complete this journey within 6 to 8 months. Some of the tasks she has to complete are: scraping a small piece of clay from a certain numbered soldier in the museum of the terra cotta warriors; go into the Takalaman desert to retrieve a box hidden at the base of a crumbled wall; and climb a mountain to visit a monastery, gain a certain monk's trust and then steal an ancient scroll written in human blood. There are about 8 tasks she must complete. The Takalaman desert is known as the "go in but never come out" desert. The writing was impeccable, the story spellbinding, and it kept me up a night turning page after page after page. The last time I had THAT must interest in a book was when I read "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett last year.
Deirdra:What is the most disappointing thing authors do?
Louise: For me, the most disappointing thing authors do is not tie up lose ends. I find it very annoying when you get to the end of a book and are left wondering what happened to a certain character, or if someone was at death's door, did they linger, get better or die. I know some authors purposely leave their endings like that because they're going to write a sequel but for me it's extremely frustrating.
Deirdra:Who are your top five favorite authors?
Louise: Adriana Trigiani; Mingmei Yip; Gail Tsukiyama; Linwood Barclay; and Richard B. Wright.
Deirdra:How do you feel about e-books?
Louise: Hmmm....well, I can't really give you an honest answer as I've never tried an e-book. Will I try one in the future? It's very doubtful, call me old fashioned but I still like the feel of holding a book in my hands, turning the pages, and smelling that wonderful aroma of ink in the printed words. lol
Deirdra:If you could give a message to authors what would it be?
Louise: PLEASE tie up your loose ends!!
Deirdra:Have you ever thought about writing a book?
Louise: I have actually thought of writing a memoir due to the fact that I've been through some terribly rough times in my fifty-three years. Some of which are harrowing and would be difficult to write about. I would hope that the memoir would benefit other people who may have been through some of the same situations that I have been and that by my sharing my story, it would somehow allow for healing and closure for that person who was reading it.
Deirdra:What other talents and hobbies to you have?
Louise: My biggest hobby is my dogs (if you can call dogs a hobby)!! I have a 9-year-old German Shepherd named Nellie; a 2-year-old Black Lab named Buddy; and a 1-year-old Chihuahua named Maggie. I'm crazy in love and head over heels about dogs. If I lived alone I'd surround myself with dogs and books!!! My other hobby is folk art painting. I paint scenery on wooden objects, old milk jugs or just about anything and I also paint ceramic Christmas ornaments which I give away every year.
Deirdra:Where is your favorite place to read?
Louise: In my lazy-boy chair with a hot cup of tea, Maggie on my knee and Nellie and Buddy at my feet. THAT my friend is sheer bliss for me!!
Deirdra:Do you have a favorite reading snack?
Louise: No, I'm not a snack eater or a big food eater for that matter. However, I do always have a hot cup of tea or two, or three, four when reading.
Deirdra:What books have made you cry?
Louise: Hmmm...now that's a difficult question. Let me think...Oh!..."A Child Called It" by Dave Pelzer which was the story of the incredible abuse he suffered at the hands of his mother. Another one was: "Not Without My Daughter" by Betty Mahmoody. An amazing story of abuse at the hands of her husband and her escape through Turkey with her little daughter and back to the United States.
Deirdra:What books have made you laugh?
Louise: The "Stephanie Plum" series written by Janet Evanovich. Stephanie works for her Uncle in the bail bonds business and she's the most bumbling bail bondswoman ever!!! Getting in on the action is her New Jersey Grandmother and every single book is absolutely hilarious!
Deirdra:What kind of books are you looking to read next? What is on your reading list?
Louise: Next on my reading list are: "The Accident" by Linwood Barclay; "Hot Wire" by Alex Kava; "The Virgin Cure" by Ami McKay (not out yet); "The Boy From Baby House 10" by Alan Philips; and "Joy For Beginners" by Erica Bauermeister.
Deirdra: Is there any other message you would like to give the literary community?
Louise: Just keep on reading!! Books can take you anywhere, teach you anything, and be good company when you find yourself left alone.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank you, Deirdra, for inviting me to do this interview. It's been fun and I enjoyed the challenge of responding to your questions.