“Me and Mrs. Berns”

We finally got a chance to meet Jess Lourey yesterday. She was doing a book signing at Cherry Street Books.

Jess, of course, is incredibly famous as the creator of Mrs. Berns.  OK, Mira James is THE protagonist in her books – and a wonderful character she is as well [Editor’s note: In discussion with Jess we learned Mira is pronounced “Mirror-ah,” not “My-rah.” Jess said women generally think the former; men the latter – I told her I generally thought of her either way, which brings into question my gender.] When I asked Jess to guess my favorite character, however, she immediately said Mrs. Berns. Mrs. Berns is Mira’s 80-year old library assistant who often comes to work in attire that would get a teenager tossed out of school and placed on double secret probation. We both agreed Betty White would play Mrs. Berns in the movies.

Jess taught English at Alexandria Technical College (now the Alexandria Technical and Community College) for nine years. She left Alex in 2007 (if memory serves, though it often doesn’t) for a similar position at St. Cloud Technical and Community College – closer to her hometown, Paynesville. But it was in Alex where she began her career as a writer – murder-by-month mysteries that revolve around the high crime metropolis of Battle Lake, Minnesota.

She was here to sign her latest book – October Fest.  In a bit of a calendar challenge, her “November” book will come out in March. She is also under contract for “December.” When she runs out of months she thought she’d probably go to days of the week. 😉

We asked how a full-time teacher finds time to write novels. Her response was basically that’s what weekends are for. Moving closer to home freed her weekends for writing because her mom can provide childcare.  She writes a 1,000 words per day, which will produce a novel a year.

I was amazed at the number of patrons at the bookstore who are writers, either by vocation or avocation. Jess handed all a handy-dandy five-page reference guide entitled How to Write and Publish Your Novel. I undoubtedly will find it extremely useful as I venture into the construction of the great American novel – Pork Chops and Cabbage Patch Dolls.  (OK, I made up that last part – by choosing random vowels.)

About tomobert63

The Journey Begins Thanks for joining me! This is the follow-up to the original, “alexandriacardinals.wordpress.com,” which overwhelmed the system’s ability to handle it any more. Thus, this is “Part 2.” As the original was initially described: 10-26-07-4 “It all began in a 5,000 watt radio station in Fresno, California” . . . wait a minute, that was Ted Baxter on the Mary Tyler Moore Show! Let’s see . . . oh yeah, it all began in 2003 when retirees, i.e., old people, in Alexandria, Minnesota, who had no desire to become snow birds, went looking for mid-winter entertainment here in the frozen tundra of West Central Minnesota. We discovered girls’ high school hockey, fell in love immediately, and it remains our favorite spectator sport to this day. Initially, and for several years, reports on these games were e-mailed to those who were actually snowbirds but wanted to keep abreast of things “back home.” It was ultimately decided a blog would be more efficient, and it evolved into a personal diary of many things that attracts tens of readers on occasion. It remains a source of personal mental therapy and has yet to elicit any lawsuits. ~ The Editor, May 9, 2014 p.s. The photo border around the blog is the Cardinal girls’ hockey team after just beating Breck for the state championship in 2008. It’s of the all-tournament team. The visible Breck player on the left is Milica McMillen, then an 8th-grader – she is now an All-American for the Gophers. The Roseau player in the stocking cap I believe is Mary Loken, who went on to play for UND; and the Cardinal player on the right, No. 3, is Abby Williams, the player we blame most for making us girls’ hockey fans who went on to play for Bemidji State. *********************************************************************************** Photos contained herein are available for personal use. All you have to do is double click on any of the photos and they will become full screen size. You can then save them into your personal “My Pictures” file. They make lovely parting or hostess gifts, or holiday gifts for such as Uncle Ernie who wants to see how his grand niece is doing on the hockey team. If any are sold for personal profit, however, to, for example, the Audubon Society, National Geographic, Sven’s Home Workshop Monthly, Curling By The Numbers, or the World Wrestling Federation, I only request that you make a donation to the charitable organization of your choice. You have two hours and fifteen minutes. Pencils ready? Begin! **********************************************************************************
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1 Response to “Me and Mrs. Berns”

  1. Jess Lourey says:

    Haha! I don’t know if I giggled most at you calling me famous, you questioning your gender, or the name of your Great American novel. If you write it, I’ll read it.

    Meeting you and Ruth was the highlight of my day yesterday. Thank you for coming out!

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