Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey

Summer Spotlight: Gwen Stephens

115 Comments

GwenI’m Gwen Stephens, writer, runner, elementary schoolteacher-turned-“lunch lady” (yeah, really), wife of the funniest guy I know, and mom to a ‘tween and young teen. I started blogging at The 4 A.M. Writer in 2012 to connect with others chasing the same crazy obsession, and what a rewarding journey it’s been.

Apart from a 5-year stretch my family and I spent in Europe, I’ve lived in the Great Lakes region of the U.S. my whole life. For the past 23 years, I’ve been proud to call Chicago my hometown. The Windy City, a place known for its ferocious winters, unscrupulous politicians, and deep dish pizza. I suppose we have a little history of organized crime here, too. But the tenacity of my people makes this city what it is — a progressive, sophisticated melting pot with down-to-earth Midwestern values.

As the name of my blog suggests, my days begin in the early morning hours with a steaming cup of coffee, my Mac, and a host of imaginary friends. Through lots of trial and error, I’ve discovered I feel most at home writing stories about ‘tweens and teens. Perhaps years of working in a school environment helps the writing come naturally, albeit not easily. I believe writing is a craft that’s never mastered. There’s always room to improve and something new to learn, but that may be the greatest joy of this art.

Thank you, Jill, for inviting me here today, and for the chance to consider my answers to this engaging mix of questions.

If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you meet?
I’d want to meet the so-called Founding Fathers of the United States, the men who framed the Declaration of Independence. They were brave and radical thinkers who challenged the most powerful monarchy on Earth and declared independence from it. How cool is that?

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
Nothing within the scope of saving the world or anything. I’d just learn to read faster. There are so many good books waiting to be read, and I’m a painfully slow reader.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Without a doubt, moving to a foreign country at 7 months pregnant with my first child. Newly unemployed on a new continent, in a new culture, as a new mother, trying to learn a new language. Hmm…how many major life changes is that all at once?

If you could visit any place in the entire world, where would it be?
The islands of the South Pacific. So completely different from my corner of the world.

What do you think the greatest invention has been?
Electricity. Imagine the impact on our modern civilization if it suddenly ceased to exist.

Thanks for taking the spotlight, Gwen! I’m with you, living in the South Pacific would be heavenly. Up next week is Hollis Hildebrand-Mills.

Advertisements

Author: Jill Weatherholt

My name is Jill Weatherholt and I’m a writer. I have a full-time job, but at night and on the weekend, I pursue my passion, writing. I write modern stories about love, friendship and forgiveness. I started this blog as a way to share my journey toward publication and to create a community for other new writers. Raised in the Washington, DC area, I’ve lived in Charlotte, North Carolina since 2004. I hold a degree in Psychology from George Mason University and a Certification in Paralegal Studies from Duke University. My first book, SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE, published by Harlequin Love Inspired released on February 21, 2017 and is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com. I was the first place winner in the Dream Quest One Short Story Contest in the Winter 2014-2015 competition. In 2014, I placed second in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest. I was also a top ten finalist in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest in 2012 and 2013. I’m a 2010 and 2012 winner of the NaNoWriMo Contest. I love to connect readers, visit me at jillweatherholt.com

115 thoughts on “Summer Spotlight: Gwen Stephens

  1. Nice to meet you, Gwen! I enjoyed learning about you, and I can’t imagine that move to Europe. Wow!

    Like

  2. How nice to learn a little more about Gwen. I always enjoy visiting her blog. And I have to agree–being able to read faster would be a treat. There are so many books I want to get to!

    Like

  3. One thing you both (Jill and Gwen) have in common is that you’re great contributors to other blogs and support the blogging community. Gwen, where in Europe did you live?

    Like

    • Thank you, Roy! The blogging community has been a great place to network with others who can relate to the crazy writing life. It’s been a privilege to have connected with so many wonderful folks the world over. We lived in Düsseldorf, Germany from 2000-05.

      Like

      • Lovely meeting you, Gwen. I’ve been having this conversation all over these past few days, about how social media has made it so wonderfully easy to connect with other writers, at all phases of their writing journey, all over the world. I’ve been writing since the mid-’80’s when it really was a very lonely occupation, and very difficult to find connections unless you entered an MFA program.

        By the way, my husband is from Chicago; and I lived in Germany (Hamburg) in the ’70’s. I’ll be following your blog.

        Thanks for introducing us, Jill! I’m constantly amazed by your kindness. ❤

        Like

      • Interesting coincidences, Tracy. We are very fortunate to have this outlet that allows us to connect with so many folks of varying backgrounds and experiences.

        I agree, Jill – thank you again for this opportunity!

        Like

      • It’s been a pleasure, ladies! Tracy, I’m hoping you’ll join the spotlight so everyone will know about your wonderful book! 🙂

        Like

    • Thanks, Roy! Entering the world of blogging has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in order to grow as a writer. I’m constantly amazed by the love and kindness of so many wonderful people.

      Like

  4. Hello, Gwen and Jill! Gwen, I love what you say here: “I believe writing is a craft that’s never mastered. There’s always room to improve and something new to learn, but that may be the greatest joy of this art.” I really do think that the best part of writing is the learning, the discovery of something new. Your recent post on POV really brought that home for me. Thank you, Jill, for hosting Gwen. May you both have a great weekend 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you, Marie, and I agree, the never-ending learning is one of the best aspects of writing. Maybe that’s why so many of us persevere, despite the challenges that come with the art. It’s comforting to know we’re in good company. Happy weekend to you, too.

      Like

    • Hi Marie! I agree, we will never stop learning, but it is fun to look back to see how far we’ve come. Enjoy your weekend!

      Like

  5. Hi Gwen! I just started “following” you because I was intrigued by the name of your blog. I share your appreciation for blogging and as you call them “your imaginary friends.”

    All those life changes at once sound rough. As things smoothed out, it sounds like you have had a very interesting life. With children in tow!

    Like

  6. You had me at deep dish pizza!

    Like

  7. Interesting – good to learn about Gwen. Nice work…

    Like

  8. Gwen! You’re in my neck of the woods! Glad to meet you! And yes, I love deep dish pizza from Ginos East or Giordanos.

    Like

  9. Thanks for stepping into the spotlight, Gwen. I’d like to be able to read faster too. 😀

    That would leave more time for eating PIZZA.

    Like

  10. How fun to find two of my favorite bloggers on the same page!

    Like

  11. All of this pizza talk is making me hungry. 😉 Always nice to learn more about one of my favorite bloggers! Hope you have a great weekend Gwen.

    Like

  12. Gwen, I learned so many new and wonderful things about you ~ especially the “foreign” events of the birth of your first child!!!
    Jill, this is an excellent post!

    Like

  13. Pizza and corrupt politicians? Are you sure you aren’t from New Jersey?

    If I ever become a self-employed novelist, I’ll be going to bed around 4 a.m. I’ve always been a night owl. Maybe we could work out some kind of e-tagging system whereby you take over when I go to sleep. That way, someone is writing at all times. We need to add some weirdo who likes the afternoon I guess.

    Like

    • I’ve always been an early riser, and my husband is a night owl like you, Eric. I think it’s innate, but it seems to me much of the world operates on your type of clock. Whenever I mention I rise in the wee hours (often between 4 and 5), people are generally horrified. Not typically the case when someone says they stay awake until the same time. I like that e-tagging system idea. If you find that afternoon weirdo, lemme know!

      Like

    • Well, I guess we need to put out some feelers for afternoon weirdos, Eric. Like Gwen, I’m an early riser…even on the weekend. The body clock is a stubborn piece of machinery. If I stay up until midnight on the weekend, which I never do anymore, I’ll still wake up no later than 5:00 a.m.

      Like

  14. Great to meet you, Gwen! I will hop over to your blog and check it out! 🙂

    Like

  15. I empathised profoundly over your European adventure – such moves and family situations tick all the stress boxes there are. I found it left me with an understanding and willingness to be open to all immigrants I have since come across, no matter where they are from. I am in awe of Jill and all her writing friends – I shall enjoy to visit your blog. Pauline

    Like

    • Thanks, Pauline, for your kind words. My experience abroad has had the same effect on me. That is to say, I’m much more sympathetic toward immigrants to the U.S. And I had the cushion of a nice corporate expat package. Many who emigrate here do not. They are the real brave ones. The whole experience opened my eyes and mind like none other.

      Like

    • You do have a way with words, Pauline. You’re right, I’m blessed to have such wonderful writing friends. Enjoy your weekend!

      Like

  16. I have been following your blog Gwen for a while now (and love it) so it was wonderful to learn a little extra about you here. I too wish I could read faster so I could get through more books 🙂 the problem is when I am really enjoying the writing or the story I purposefully ‘slow down’ so I can prolong the experience.

    Like

    • Great to see you here, Yolanda, and thanks for your kind words. I love being in that sweet spot in a book – wanting desperately to get to the end, but not wanting it to end. I’d still like to know how to read faster, though, so I can find that sweet spot more often!

      Like

    • Hi Yolanda! It was nice to learn more about Gwen, wasn’t it? I wish I could control my speed while reading and slow down. Often when I finish a book, I’m dying to know…what’s next? Waiting for sequel can be painful. Happy Weekend!

      Like

  17. Ah Gwen, I feel I know you already as we dip in and out of each other’s blogs but I enjoyed reading your answers to Jill’s questions and for the opportunity to find out a bit more about you. I loved your description of your husband – I could probably apply it to mine too 🙂

    Like

  18. What a great post! So fun to get to know you, Gwen. I’m impressed you get up so early. My alarm clock makes me angry every morning. 😦

    Like

    • Thanks, Jill. I also admire the folks who can burn the midnight oil. I turn into a pumpkin around 9PM every night. But, as my husband so tactfully reminds me, it probably has something to do with getting up with the birds.

      Like

    • It’s great to see you, Jill! Thanks for stopping by. Like Gwen, I’m a morning person as well. I wish my alarm clock woke me…typically I wake up before it sounds.

      Like

  19. Thank you, Jill! The reception went very well! I enjoyed talking to lots of people. I hope my piece sells, but it was viewed by many and that was gratifying!

    Like

  20. Well, hello Gwen! I have a friend from high school who’s name is also Gwen, so you are the second person I “know” with that name. 🙂 I also have a very funny husband who keeps me cracking up all the time. It’s wonderful, isn’t it? I don’t know what I would do without the humor in our relationship.

    I like your statement about there always being room for improvement when it comes to writing. It keeps it interesting and forces us to always strive for better.

    Very nice to meet you. 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you! It was so nice to be hosted by Jill, and so much fun to compose this post. There aren’t a whole lot of Gwen’s around, at least in my experience. Whenever I come across one, I feel an instant connection!

      Like

    • Hi Maria! Gwen is the first Gwen I’ve ever met. As far as I’m concerned…she’s set the bar and there will be no other. 🙂
      I hope you have a great weekend, girlfriend! xo

      Like

  21. Great to meet you, Gwen! I’m heading over to your blog right now to check it out 😀

    Jill – yet another great post 🙂

    Like

  22. Lovely to meet you Gwen, I really enjoyed reading your answers to Jill’s excellent questions. Chicago has always held a deep fascination for me ever since I first watched The Blues Brothers in the late 70’s (dating myself there!) I’m looking forward to checking out your blog 🙂

    Like

    • I guess the Blues Brothers sort of put Chicago on the international map in the movie world. It’s a great city, although I’m a bit biased 🙂

      Like

    • Hi Sherri! I complete forgot about The Blues Brothers…but I do remember them too! 🙂 I hope you have a fantastic weekend! xo

      Like

      • Hi Jill! They were great weren’t they? I sill have my Blues Brother’s album (along with Pink Floyd and The Bee Gees… haha!)
        Thank you, and you and DFD have a wonderful weekend too 😎 xo

        Like

      • Hi Sherri! Yes, they were great. Ah…Pink Floyd…DFD likes them. I never got that into them, but the Bee Gees…now you’re talking! I loved them!
        I really enjoyed your post today…great photos! DFD loved the diva Sherri photos! Enjoy your weekend! I hope it includes champagne that doesn’t cost $25 a plastic cup! xo

        Like

  23. Hi Gwen, love the lunch lady identity! Very memorable! You are right about electricity. Most of the other inventions are worthless without it!

    Like

    • I’ve made my peace with becoming the Lunch Lady. When I gave up my teaching job, people thought I was crazy. But working 50+ hours a week was too much time away from my kids. Being the Lunch Lady is the perfect Mom Job. It works, for now.

      Like

      • I completely understand that. I gave up the idea of going after a full-fledged academic career and settled for being a half time freeway flyer instead because I couldn’t stand the thought of missing out on everything that the kids did after school.

        Like

  24. Hi Gwen,

    Loved reading your post here which .Jill has shared. Those are great responses to the medley of questions. All level-headed and achievable. As you think back to those questions and the opportunity they gave you to dream, what do you see stopping you from dreaming more freely?

    Shakti

    Like

  25. What a pleasant surprise to see this post, Jill. Great to know a little bit more about you, Gwen. I love your stories. You have a very good understanding of tweens and teens.

    Like

  26. Gwen, I’ve been reading your words for a while now so it was great to learn more about you, your background and your writing.

    Like

  27. ‘Chicago, Chicago, a wonderful town!’ So I’m led to believe and I’ve always hankered after seeing it for myself. That puts it on quite a long list, as Jill will tell you, and meantime I’m just happy to read about it. And happy to meet you, Gwen 🙂

    Like

  28. Hi Gwen! Good to see you spotlighted on Jill’s blog. I love your blog. 🙂 I can’t imagine moving to a foreign country like you did–that was incredibly brave. Electricity is pretty amazing. Think how much less time we’d have to read if we had to cart water in from a well, heat it over a fire and then take a bath.

    Like

  29. Sweet home Chicago. I miss it so. Nice to meet you, Gwen. I’m curious as to what brought you overseas for five years.

    Like

  30. Great post Gwen I agree I wish I could read faster too, my books are piling up on my dresser and on my kindle app. I cannot read fast enough. I am also an early riser, 5am is my time for my writing and dreaming. Thanks for sharing your world.

    Like

    • Hi Kath! I think we all wish we could either read faster or have more time to read. I’m in the same boat as you, books stockpiled and my Kindle exploding…but I wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and reading Gwen’s spotlight post!

      Like

  31. I’m another morning writer; otherwise the world gets too crazy and loud. Love the interview. Gwen sounds so interesting!! I’ve missed a few of them and am trying to play catch-up. Thanks Jill and Gwen!

    Like

  32. So wonderful to see two great blogging friends on the same page. I love the way you describe Chicago, Gwen. And I can’t even imagine the number of changes you faced moving to a foreign country, seven months pregnant with your first child. Brave lady, is all I can say. Wonderful piece and what a great series, Jill.

    Like

  33. It’s nice reading about you, Gwen!
    Both you and Jill enjoy the rest of the week:)

    Like

  34. Excuse my tardiness, but I do accept that adage ‘better late than never’ with regard to learning more about fellow bloggers/writing enthusiasts! Last week I might not have understood the desire to meet the founding fathers as much as I do this week after a little reading for a recent post. I really had no idea of the monumental amount of sacrifice many made to secure our independence – what an amazing group. And I’m with you, Gwen, on wishing I could read faster. People assume because I love to read, have stacks of unread books in every room, and have jobs that require a lot of reading I can do it quickly. I can’t. Well, I can’t AND comprehend/absorb everything (hence, the STACKS of still unread books). So many books, so little time . . . sigh . . .

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s