Julie L. Cannon can be found leading memoir workshops and encouraging others on how to live a better life…that is, when she isn’t busy writing. She is not only a bestselling author, but a speaker and teacher as well. In her spare time she enjoys growing flowers and listening to country music in her home, located in Watkinsville, Georgia.
Her latest book is the Christian fiction novel, Twang.
Why was writing Twang so important to you?
I know from firsthand experience that God can redeem even the seemingly unredeemable. I wrote Twang to show how a wounded country music diva uses her pain to create powerful hit songs that touch others’ lives. I believe that art, in this case songwriting, is cathartic.
Where did the title come from?
Twang is the vibrating sound produced by plucking the taut string of a guitar. Some people use the word twang when they’re talking about a certain regional country dialect.
Can you tell us more about your main character, Jenny Cloud?
Jenny Cloud is a born singer, songwriter and guitar player with a fire burning in her bones to perform. The stage beckons her to Nashville, Tennessee, the womb of country music. But loving music the way she does turns out to be a double-edged sword when Jenny’s manager tells her that he agrees with Conway Twitty when he said, “A good country song takes a page out of somebody’s life and puts it to music.” The pages from Jenny’s past are the kind she’d love to rip out, crumple into a ball, throw away and forget.
What are her strengths, and what are her weaknesses?
Jennifer is in love with country music. She’s a gifted musician, passionate and determined to make it like Taylor Swift. At first, Jenny’s stubbornness is a strength when it comes to making her way to Nashville, pursuing her big break, but this pigheadedness has a negative side, too. Jenny Cloud is determined she’s not going to trust a God who would allow the things that happened to her in childhood at the hand of her father. She’s weak in the faith department and doesn’t trust people who tell her that Jesus can help her dig up those old bones and use them for good.
Are there any supporting characters we need to know about?
Tonilynn is a beautician to the stars. Her only degree is from the school-of-hard-knocks, but she appoints herself a therapist to wounded country music diva Jenny Cloud, issuing advice from what she calls the ‘Hair Chair.’ Tonilynn assures Jenny that instead of emotionally crippling her, she can pour her painful past into the lyrics of a song to find personal healing and to help others. At first Jenny thinks Tonilynn is some whacko religious nut.
Can you open to p. 25 and tell us what’s happening?
It’s an April evening and 22-year-old lennifer Clodfelter’s got stars in her eyes as she walks into the thick of what looks like a gigantic street party on Broadway in downtown Nashville. She’s carrying her guitar and she’s determined to do two things; make it big in Music City, and leave her past buried deep in the red clay of Blue Ridge, Georgia.
What about p. 65?
Jennifer has just performed an original song on Open Mic night at the famous Bluebird Café, hoping for a big break. She’s caught the eye of Mike Flint, a retired music executive who’s thinking about launching a new record label. He asks Jennifer if she can write a heartfelt song about love gone bad. She’s never had a boyfriend, much less a love gone bad, but she lies and assures Mike she can do it.
Now that Twang has been published, what’s your next project?
I have a novel called Scarlett Says coming in October of 2013 from Abingdon Press. It’s a story about the transforming power of words, both good and bad, and those vulnerabilities that hold us back from our potential. Think Gone With the Wind versus the Proverbs of King Solomon.