This week my guest for the book reading at the cafe is author Jena C. Henry whose series of books about post retirement for Charli strike a chord with most of us of a certain age. And for younger readers offer the hope that there is life after 60.
Just a reminder that this is an interactive interview and Jena is looking forward to answering your quesions in the comments over the next couple of days.
But before we get into the interview here is a reminder about Jena’s work.
Jena C. Henry is an active, high energy gal who is a wife, mother, non-profit volunteer and bon vivant. She created the book series, The Golden Age of Charli, to encourage, entertain and share her joy of living and laughing. Jena C. Henry holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Akron School of Law. Now retired, she and her husband, Alan, live in tropical Ohio where they enjoy their two adult children and extended family, friends and darling dog.
Jena presents writing workshops to help creatives achieve their dreams of writing a book and publishing it.When she is finished tidying her house, Jena likes to relax on her front porch and read and write. She enjoys fine dining, traveling to visit family, and lounging by lovely bodies…of water.
About The Golden Age of Charli -RSVP
Charlotte McAntic spent her thirties, forties, and even fifties in peace and harmony aligning her marriage, mortgage, careers, and children. As she stumbles into a new phase of life—also known as the Golden Years—Charli cannot help but wonder where the gold and her husband, Pud, are hiding.
Pud is happily cruising down the retirement path that, for him, leads straight to the golf course. While Charli spends her days at home cleaning out closets and the basement, she yearns to gaze deeply into Pud’s blue eyes and remember all the reasons why she fell in love with him thirty years ago. Unfortunately, the only thing Pud is eying is the next fairway. Knowing there is more to savor in retirement than silver-hair shampoos, senior discounts, and hernia surgery, Charli embarks on a quest to do whatever it takes to spend retirement in the embrace of the man she loves. But is it too late for happily ever after?
In this humorous novel, a high-energy wife and her solid guy must learn to adjust to a new chapter in their lives and find their way back into each other’s hearts after their retirement begins with a jolt.
One of the reviews for the first book in the series.
The Golden Age of Charli RSVP by Jena C. Henry is an enchanting, feel-good story. Chock full of savvy humor, this book is pure enjoyment.
The protagonists, Charlotte McAntic, aka Charli, and her golf-addict husband, Pud, take on retirement, and the tale that ensues is pure gold. Reading this book was like watching a reality show as the author leads us into the McAntic’s household and introduces us to every aspect of this newly retired couple’s life.
Charli tackles every situation with determination and a high dose of optimism, whether it is as simple as what to plan for dinner, or as complex as how to get her golf-crazed husband to spend more time with her and less time on the golf course. I won’t spoil the story for you and tell you if she succeeds or not.
Current retirees may just get a few new ideas from this book, those about to retire will get some experienced insights, and young people will learn that growing older is definitely not the end, but rather, the beginning of a new adventure with new challenges aplenty. Therefore, I highly recommend The Golden Age of Charli RSVP to people of all ages. I look forward to reading more about Charli as her adventures in retirement continue.
And a review for Jena’s latest book The Golden Age of Charlie – GPS
I always enjoy reading about the McAntics, since their lives so parallel my own. Learning how to navigate days when a person is no longer punching a time clock or waking up to an alarm can be trying and confusing, but Charli’s outlook on life always gets her through the tough times with a sense of humor. “Press on,” she tells herself, and she does.
In the third book in The Golden Age of Charli series, when an unusual and shocking event happens in her neighborhood, Charli mentions that “bad things comes in threes,” and she begins to worry what will come next.
I laughed out loud when Charli decided to make a “death notebook,” being guilty of something similar myself. “Pud and I needed to get our affairs in order. As the past three sad events had showed us, you never knew when something bad would happen.” It’s not that Charli is a pessimist, in fact, she is quite the optimist, but she wants to make sure her life is in order so her sons don’t have to go through what she had to when she deatl with her parents’ home and documents.
With free time that was never before available, Charli cleans closets, and organizes drawers and cupboards. All the while her husband Pud continues to play golf, seemingly unaware of his wife’s dissatisfaction with her empty, quiet house. Wondering what is in store for her she comes to this conclusion: “This is my looking year, so I’ll keep looking.” As she searches for something to keep her interested in life and make sure she is still a contributing member of society, she encourages her husband to join her, and through traveling and volunteering she forges ahead, and proves that life is not over after retirement, but only just beginning.
Life in The Golden Years of Charli:GPS is a surprising and funny romp through life, as Charli proves to us all that the golden years can truly be golden.
Check out all the reviews and buy the books from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jena-C.-Henry/e/B014PLDN12
Check out other reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14254103.Jena_C_Henry
Now it is time to get a little more personal with Jena and find out more about her life, work and projects. Jena has also chosen an extract from her latest book The Golden Years of Charli: GPS for her book reading at the end of the interview.
Thank you Sally for the warm welcome to you charming café and bookstore.
Delighted to have you here Jena and can you tell us about your chosen genre of books that you write and why?
I write in the “Jena” genre. This genre of fiction features humor, optimism, love, joy, and a few jolts, told from an old gal’s point of view.
Tell us about your blog and your main features. With a link to what you consider best sums you up as a blogger.
I was told “You need a platform.” Hence, my website spotlights my books. But wait…there’s more! I also showcase other authors on my FREE Book Promotions page, and I feature me in my eponymous blog, Jena’s Blog. I blog every Thursday and touch on the writing life, as well as regular features such as Charli’s World, A Sexagenarian’s Tool Box, and Life in the Golden Age. You can read about ice cream, scotch, green bean casserole, podcasts, millennials, and armchair travel. Thank you Sally for giving me the opportunity to use the word eponymous.
Here is a link to a recent post that encompasses all my bits and bobs- social media friends, fine and fun dining, sight-seeing and Believeland! http://www.jenabooks.com/charlis-world-cleveland-rocks/
Where would you like to be in 5 years’ time?
Hale and hearty! I had a nifty conversation with my younger son the other day. He told me his twenty-year plan for me and our family: trips we should take, how we should fix up the house, what cars we should buy- in other words a lot of fun dreams. I don’t think he even realized that his horizon stretches ahead more than mine but I appreciated his sweet optimism.
As far as my writing life, I keep grabbing opportunities one day at a time. I may start another book series, or create a YouTube book review series, or a podcast biz or finally go to see Mount Rushmore! Press on!
You write in a humorous way about retirement but a long career in such a demanding profession as the law, what do you miss and why?
Actually, my long, demanding career was/is motherhood which I enjoyed even more than law. From my motherhood career I miss watching the day to day blossoming and growth of my kids. From law, I miss the variety of problems that my clients and I faced. Which sounds like motherhood, too. So I guess I like variety and challenges.
You mention in your bio that you are a non-profit volunteer, can you tell us about that very important role in the community and why you would recommend others to do likewise?
Here’s another example of variety, challenges, as well as love and hope! We all like that feeling of brightening the corner where we are. Yet, as many of you may know, one can work harder as a volunteer than as a paid employee. One thing I have learned is that if you want to serve on a Board, the position of recording Secretary always seems to be available. No one likes to take and maintain the Minutes. It’s a good job for a writer! (But the Minutes must be non-fiction! No embellishments!)
You present writing workshops. In your experience what would you say is the main barrier to publishing that most of your group find the most difficult to overcome? For example self-publishing, marketing books etc.
I lead a workshop that meets weekly in the summer at a lovely arts center on Lake Erie. I have met many wonderful creatives. What’s the main barrier to publishing? Is it finding an agent, publisher, editor, or marketing pro? No, it’s writing the book!
Some folks are like me, they just never got “a round tuit”. (I finally found mine!) Others worry that their idea isn’t any good. One lovely woman told us at the workshop, “I was raised sixty years ago in India. My parents were medical missionaries. My siblings and I lived at a boarding school on the Indian Ocean. I thought about writing my memoirs, but would anyone really want to read them?” “Yes! Yes!” We all shouted. I hope she is writing about her amazing life.
Here is my book reading from The Golden Age of Charli- GPS, the third book in the Charli series
An Amuse-Bouche is a single, bite-sized hors d’œuvre. An amuse-bouche is different from an appetizer in that it is not ordered from a menu by diners, but is served gratis and according to the chef’s selection alone.
You may have been surprised with an Amuse-Bouche at the beginning of your meal, but I like to treat my readers at the end of each of my books. The third book in my series finds Charli recalculating her life. Here is the Amuse-Bouche. Audrey Hepburn flits in at the start of the book, so I chose her to delight my readers at the end.
Audrey Hepburn said it best: “Nothing is impossible; the word itself says ‘I’m possible.’”
What can one small, gamin-like woman accomplish when nothing is impossible?
She could become an actress. Audrey Hepburn created many memorable screen and stage roles from Gigi to Sabrina to Sister Luke in The Nun’s Story—quite a range of characters, and that’s not even including her iconic, defining role of Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
She could become highly honored. Ms. Hepburn earned an Academy Award and Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Awards as well as lifetime-achievement awards.
She could define fashion with her glamour and style and be named to the International Best Dressed List. Givenchy and Ferragamo adored her.
She could change the world as an international humanitarian. Ms. Hepburn was a UNICEF goodwill ambassador and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from the United States. She personally visited and worked in many countries to ameliorate their strife and hardship, and she had a true heart for the suffering of children.
Nothing is impossible. For Audrey Hepburn, for me, for you.
I hope you will head over and connect to Jena on her blog and social media.
My thanks to Jena for joining us today and please leave your questions in the comments section. Jena lives in the US so will be in later today to answer them and over the next couple of days. Sally