Thursday, July 2, 2020

2020 Interview: Jess Weible

My name is Jess Weible. I taught middle and high school English for about ten years before deciding to stay at home with my two young boys. Now, I am a freelance writer and local reporter in Brookville, PA. I’m also the Executive Editor of The Watershed Journal, an inclusive literary magazine for the western Pennsylvania wilds as well as the President of The Watershed Journal Literary Group, a 501(c)3 nonprofit literary organization. 

Do you have any hobbies?

I’m lucky to live in an amazing area for outdoor recreation. I love biking, yoga, and have recently gotten into snowshoeing. I also just got into brewing kombucha. And I read a lot.

What is your favorite vacation spot?

This is tough because I honestly feel like where I live is a great vacation spot. But, for a change of pace, I like visiting Pittsburgh or the Harrisburg area. 

If you were given a ticket to anywhere and spending money to indulge, where would you go?

Greece. I’m hoping some day to take my family there.

What was your favorite book as a child?

This might not count, but I read the Little Prince in a high school French class and it resonating with me in the way it likely has for millions of other children and adults alike. 

What is one thing about yourself you’d like to change or are trying to work on?

I am trying to maintain a balance, which is not always easy as a mother of young kids. 

What music genre/singer/band is your go-to for a bad day? For working? 

Florence & the Machine, Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar, and Hozier—any day, all the time.

Are you an introvert, extravert, or ambivert?

I think I’m an ambivert. Social situations are exhausting and often feel performative for me, but I am most inspired while interacting with others. 

What was your first job?

My first official job where I had an actual work permit was at Kmart. I handled layaway as incompetently as one can without drawing too much attention and getting fired.

If you could live inside a movie, which would you choose and which character would you be?

I love the movie I Heart Huckabees, which would be a wild, hilarious, existentially-dizzying world to live in for awhile. I might want to be Lily Tomlin’s character. 

Do you have a favorite motto or quote that applies to your own life?

The best advice I got from my dad was in the form of a “this too shall pass” revelation that, when I was in elementary school, almost instantly comforted some deep-seated anxiety within me. 

What books, other than your own, would you highly recommend?

A book that is giving me context for the Me Too movement is Becky Aikman’s Off the Cliff: How the Making of Thelma & Louise Drove Hollywood to the Edge. It’s very well done and, I think, contributes to a conversation worth having about how we commodify storytelling and how women are represented in our most popular stories. 

On to writing: what inspired you to start creating stories/non-fiction? How long ago?

I used to write stories all the time when I was young. It was an impulse that persisted until I became preoccupied with college studies and then a teaching career. I don’t know where that impulse came from, but now I see it in my oldest son, which is exciting. 

Can you tell us a bit about your path to publication?

Several years ago, I started a local writer’s group called The Writer’s Block Party as a way to support, encourage, and connect with other writers. From that group, we pursued our own literary publication to empower and elevate authorship in our region of the state. Throughout all of that, I had been working on my own writing, and, eventually, my book. It was through the momentum of this literary community that I started to identify opportunities in publishing my own work and came in contact with Sunbury Press Books. 

Finally, please tell us about your books and add your website so we can find you:

My debut book is called Dead Letters: Delivering Unopened Mail from a Pennsylvania Ghost Town. The book chronicles my investigation into 10 letters which were written over 120 years ago, but were never delivered. After reading the letters, and inspired by my mentor and friend, Joan Swigart, I become determined to tell the stories of the people and places in the letters, then deliver their to the living descendants. 

You can find out more about the book at

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