My name is Jean Foster Akin. When I was eight years old I told my parents that I knew what I wanted to do when I grew up: “Write books.” My parents knew I loved reading–I always had a book in my hand–and they knew I loved writing, for when I didn’t have my nose in a book, my pencil was scratching along in my writing pad. However, as I had also expressed my determination to be an actress and a cloistered nun that same year, my parents smiled indulgently and went about their business.
Well, now, forty years later, I have realized my dream of being published: my first book for middle readers is entitled, THE FILIGREE SLIPPERS. But my dream of publication always involved many books, many many books, written up to the day that I am unable to write another word. I have finished my second manuscript and I’m shopping it around (it is very different from FILIGREE), and I’m working on the third. I never intended to write books for young people in the age range of 8 to 12. Over the years I forgot about acting and I forgot about the nunnery; I kept on writing as much as I could, and I just always assumed I’d write books for adults some day. I went to college here and there, got married, raised a family, and in the 1990s I produced a multi-page inspirational publication, sans computer, for religious women entitled The Women in Our Family. With a good girlfriend, I was able to get an issue out each month, and we did that for over three years before I decided that family life had become too busy to continue with it. I wrote two novel-length manuscripts for adults that are still “in my drawer,” and have two partial manuscripts for adults that I have yet to finish. Some day 🙂 Right now I’m having way too much fun writing for middle readers and keeping up with my editing business.
I have been editing fiction and non-fiction manuscripts since the year 2000, and started that while raising children, teaching them to read and write, keeping house, making birthday cakes, and acting as part-time secretary in my husband’s business.
In 2010 I won first place in a writing contest presented by Nota Bene, a literary anthology produced by the international honors society for two-year colleges, Phi Theta Kappa. The winning entry, my short story, was entitled, The Sacred, and it was about a young woman weeping with her siblings over her mother’s deathbed and contemplating her mother’s joys and disappointments, her Irish cradle songs, the rich family history she passed down to her children, and her daily love and sacrifice which became sacred to them all.
I no longer live with my family in a rural community in upstate New York. We now live in a much warmer place, surrounded by pines and oaks and poplars in the mountains of Central Virginia. There are birds here I’ve never heard sing before, and there are crawdads in the stream beds. There are wonderful people with warm, welcoming Southern drawls, Mid-West twangs (and even West coasters with sparkles in their eyes) who have moved into my world. Life is good.
Below is a brief synopsis of THE FILIGREE SLIPPERS:
Shy, young silversmith, Hubert Minkle, is in love with the beautiful violinist, Fiona, but he cannot bring himself to even speak to her. When he overhears her tell a friend that the only thing which will make her happy is to travel the world, playing her instrument for great crowds in grand theaters, Hubert must decide if he will sacrifice his greatest creation to insure Fiona’s happiness…and by doing so, lose Fiona forever.
Go to THE FILIGREE SLIPPERS webpage if you like. You can look at beautiful illustrations, find out more about the characters, and read an excerpt from the book.