Meet Maura Jortner, whose first novel The Life Group is published by Lakewater Press.
New Hampshire-born Maura, who has a PhD in Theatre History, explains why she loves winters in Texas and eating breakfast.
And she finally owns up to denting the in-laws’ car…
My name: Maura Lee Jortner
My family: My husband’s name is David. I have two daughters (one biological, one adopted). The eldest is nine and the youngest is five.
I was born in….New Hampshire
But now live in…Waco, Texas
I like my home because…Of the winters. Hands down.
Perhaps I should explain.
There is one month in central Texas that by any standards might be considered ‘winter – February.
In February, it gets cold (under 40 degrees Fahrenheit). Sometimes it even snows (three times in the past eight years) and we’ve had icy conditions once or twice since I moved here in 2008.
Let me repeat that.
IT’S ONLY SNOWED THREE TIMES IN THE PAST EIGHT YEARS AND WE’VE HAD ICY CONDITIONS ONCE OR TWICE.
Can you believe that? It’s incredible.
From one who once lived in a place where it snowed every day for a three week stretch, and the snow piled up on the back porch so high we couldn’t get the door open, let me tell you: it’s awesome!
The winters in Texas simply are not cold.
And they don’t offer the heart-pounding,-grip-your-head-and-start-praying-hard experiences you tend to go through on a daily basis in the north.
Here in Texas, I don’t need to fear getting in a wreck or sliding off the road when I drive to the grocery store.
I don’t need to spend 20 minutes scraping, gouging, and otherwise fighting with a thick layer of ice off my windshield.
Nor do I get a sore back trying to shovel the heavy sludge that’s left on the end of the driveway after a snow plough barrels down the road.
I don’t need, in other words, to fear for my life nearly as much as say, everyone who lives north of Dallas.
Texas, in the winter, is pleasant.
Short sleeves and Christmas carols
Simply pleasant. Gorgeously pleasant.
Sure, we still wear heavy coats, but only because we’ve all acquired thin, thin Southern blood or, perhaps, we all just might feel a bit out of place singing Christmas carols while donning short sleeves and capris.
One thing I’d change about me…LOL. My age.
Best holiday? Hanukkah. No, Halloween. No, Hanukkah. No, Halloween. Ugh. It’s a toss-up.
Can I go with Hanukuween?
Favourite film? I’m a writer, a professor, a wife, and a mother. LOL. I don’t have time to watch movies.
Best thing about my life? The best thing about my life is kind of everything at this point.
I have a wonderful family—a patient husband, two amazing daughters, even a cat that doesn’t puke every day.
I love my job; my students are engaged and interesting, and I’m squeezing in time to write.
Moreover, Lakewater Press picked up my books, The Life Group!
So it’s awesome. Everything about it.
What keeps you awake at night? I get up at 4:45 am, so, quite frankly, nothing keeps me awake.
I’m so dog-tired when I hit the sack that I just kind of collapse down, wrap myself up, and drift off.
Friends or Big Bang Theory?
Big Bang Theory (though Friends was great in its day) because of Raj.
Gotta love Raj.
Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day.
Every great food is a breakfast food—pancakes, bagels with lox and cream cheese, omelettes, French toast, cereal. I love every little sticky crumb or dairy-smeared bite of it.
What you don’t know about me?
I grew up Roman Catholic, converted to Judaism to marry my husband, and now I currently teach at a Baptist university.
Just a small dent…
As far as religion goes, I’m the most well-rounded person you’ve ever met.
My guilty secret?
Okay, I’ll tell you, but you can’t tell anyone else.
The last time my in-laws came to visit, I hit their car.
It wasn’t a big smash, and it was a rental car they had parked in my driveway, but still. That scratch. That small dent in the right-hand side bumper.
It was me.
And I never told a soul.