Jonell Kirby Cash - BIO
Jonell Kirby Cash grew up in Georgia where she graduated from Franklin County, Georgia, high school, in 1947; Reinhardt Junior College, Waleska, Georgia, 1949; University of Georgia, BS.HEC, 1952; MS Degree in Education, 1957; (PHD) EdD (in Education,) Counseling Psychology, 1964. She performed herpost Doctoral work included a summer session at Carnegie Melon University.
She taught in the public schools of Georgia for twelve years and was a full-time teacher at UGA while she was a full-time doctoral student. Her first college position was at Augusta College as Directory of the Counseling Center and later served as Director of Instruction Director of Instruction with Georgia’s 9th District Services Center. She taught at the graduate level at University of Georgia, Syracuse University and West Virginia University, in Morgantown, WV. She moved to Kanawha Valley Graduate Center in Charleston, WV as Coordinator of Instruction with West Virginia University and later, was an Assoc. Dean for Program development, and she was involved in developing an accredited graduate college (WVCOGS) in Charleston, West Virginia.
Professionally, Dr. Jonell Kirby Cash served on the editorial board of the Journal for Specialists in Group Work and as an advisory editor for The Individual Psychologist; she was a member of the Commission on Higher Education of the North Central Accreditation Association, and a consultant to overseas workshops in Portugal, Australia, Brazil, Egypt and England.
Dr. Jonell Kirby Cash has authored four books in the field of psychology and counseling and since retiring has written her first novel, A Ring, A Dance, A Second Change. With her busy schedule Jonell has found time to attend workshops in writing, create a writing group, and read widely. Since retiring her volunteer work has included CASA, working with couple under stress and with disruptive children and troubled families.
1. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Over the years, as a college professor, I wrote several books and other shorter works. Then, widowed and in the middle of my busy retirement, I married my high school sweetheart, increasing exponentially my family size and complexity. It seemed that people “ate up my time,” and age began to take a toll on my energy. But I wasn’t ready to settle for the routine, and as I approached the eighth decade of life I became mindful that I had not fulfilled my dream of writing a novel. Then and there, like turning on a dime, I decided to become a serious student of fiction and write a novel that would speak to the fifty-plus year old reader.
As my writing progressed, and my commitment to my novel became more intense, I felt some internal friction about letting my writing take its toll on my role as a frequent hostess to family gatherings I cut back on my volunteer work—things I loved but ate up time I used for writing. Sometimes I had the feeling that my extended family was unhappy with the changes I made; yet, their disapproval (if real) was unspoken and so I pursued my dream. I was living fully when I was pursuing our passion—and at age 82, I became a first-time novelist with the publication of A RING, A DANCE, A SECOND CHANCE (Tate. 2011). Writing the love story about high school sweethearts, who marry more than forty years later, was a personally satisfying experience.
2. Describe your book ‘A Ring A Dance A Second Chance’ in 30 words or less.
When Katie Wheatley answers the phone and hears Taylor Floyd’s voice, she feels giddy-single—just like the girl he dated some forty years ago.
3. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
My big hurtle was to block out uninterrupted time to write and to give myself permission to use the needed resources (time, money, energy) to get the help I needed to understand the structure of fiction. And I wanted to be part of the give-and-take of the creative writers’ community.
4. What books have had the greatest influence on you?
I’ve always been a reader and I love words. To answer the question, my first impulse is to say that books about self, e.g., Carl Rogers, ON BECOMING A PERSON, has had a profound impact on my life and philosophy. Since most fiction is about human nature, I think I’m deeply influenced by those writers who shine a light on the nature of being.
5. Briefly share with us what you do to market your book?
If I focus on marketing I feel I’m not doing what I enjoy—writing! Thus, I decided to leave marketing to a representative who can take my work to create interest in my activities and use his skills and knowledge to interface with those individuals and businesses. With monitoring, my marketing is an Author Strategic Brand Programs through social media, targeted through a dedicated marketing campaign, Internet SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Web Site design, Book Trailers, Book Signings, Interviews on Pod Cast, Radio, and TV, Press Releases and Media Awareness Avenues.
6. How do you spend your time when you are not writing?
I have a large and thoughtful extended family of origin--that I’ve expanded by creating a “Kudzu Family” membership who are also involved—mine is a creative and talented group of individuals who value art and creativity; thus, I have on-going contact with those who critique my work and share their ideas. This group adds to my interest in writing. Of course, I read widely, attend art exhibits and many seminars, classes, and drama at University of Ga. –and I teach courses in “writing fiction” at OLLI@UGA. I still travel quite frequently, garden, cook and entertain and recently I’ve become involved in activities relevant to active aging.
7. What are you working on next?
A Sequel to my first novel…now that I have been married, in my senescence, to my high school sweetheart for about twelve years, I’ve observed and experienced new and different events that are relevant to those of us who are in our eighties, with adult, even aging-adult, children and step-children and their families—our grandchildren and great grandchildren. I’m sure the book will enlighten me as I follow the couple and their children through another decade or so.
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