Friday, July 10, 2015

Chasing My Own Butterfly by Jayme H. Mansfield

I’m convinced book clubs are really like fields of wild flowers. Each reader tosses out individual seeds—reflections, insights, questions, ponderings, musings…And then, over the course of the gathering, a beautiful and wildly colored display takes root and grows. Each “gardener” has added a unique element to the design, texture, scent, and flavor of the event.

So, when I’ve been asked what I enjoy about being a published author, one of the best and unexpected outcomes has been the opportunity to attend book clubs to share about the writing and publishing journey. 

After all, what others bring and take away from a common piece of literature should be considered one of the wonders of the world—a fascinating construction of intricate details, varied backgrounds and experiences, individual passions, disclosed fears, hopes, and dreams—coming together to create a one-of-a kind spectacle.

Although each discussion is distinctive—molded by those glorious readers who are passionate about books— a common question surfaces each time: “What was your inspiration to write the story?”

At this point, I always hesitate, take a sip of my drink, and shift in my seat. Do I really tell them the truth? Our eyes are locked, inquisitive heads tilt, and encouraging smiles follow. They want to know how authors do what they do—write and publish books. Do I tell them what really happened?

Yes, I tell them the truth. I share that I didn’t initially set out to write a story that would be published, let alone be completed. I didn’t outline, plan, and segment my time to meet a daily word count, or have a clear storyline in mind.

Instead, I divulge that I concocted a character, quite haphazardly, that would soon accompany me on a journey to meet some of my life’s most poignant challenges and heartaches. Without intention, I was writing scenes, creating additional characters, deepening conflicts and searching for glimmers of light to help deaden pain and clarify confusion. Ultimately, I discovered I was drawing closer to God—slowly exposing my hiding places and stepping into His light.

I vividly recall two junctures in the writing process—one when I made a deal with God that I would complete the story if He would provide the stamina and confidence to see it through to the end (I know—not scripturally sound—but all too human), and when I wrote the last sentence. Most certainly, He never abandoned me in the journey, and I wept profusely when the last words were finished. I had traveled with the best Companion possible. After that, unimaginable doors began to open, but that is another chapter…

So, what really inspired you to write? There may be more to that common question than what meets the eye. Here’s to the journey!

2015 Historical Fiction Book of the Year-
Christian Small Publisher Association
2015 Inspirational Readers Choice Award

From a vineyard in the south of France to the sophisticated city of Paris, Ella Moreau searches for the hope and love she lost as a young girl when her mother abandoned the family. Ella's journey is portrayed through a heartbroken child, a young woman's struggles during the tumultuous times surrounding World War II, and as a reflective adult. Through a series of secret paintings, her art becomes the substitute for lost love, the visual metaphor of her life. But when her paintings are discovered, the intentions of those she loves are revealed.

Jayme H. Mansfield
Jayme H. Mansfield is an author, artist, and educator. She provides vivid imagery as she melds her inspiring writing and artistic talents. Her debut novel, Chasing the Butterfly, released in October 2014 from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Jayme is the owner of Piggy Toes Art Studio in Lakewood, Colorado. After a career in both the business and creative sides of advertising, Jayme received her teaching and Master’s Degree in Elementary Education and Creative Arts. For the past seventeen years, she has shared a passion for literacy and the writing process with her students. She teaches art at Aspen Academy in Greenwood Village. Jayme is married to James and has three teenage boys.

To learn more and connect with Jayme, please visit:

The Blank Canvas blog: