Jill Sayre is a middle school English teacher – but not just any middle school teacher. She is also an author, artist, mother of three, and past actor and model. She grew up in a small town outside Los Angeles where she was inspired by the beauty of flowers and all the beauty in nature. She received her degree in Art from UCLA and her teaching credentials in elementary education. She followed her husband’s career to Dallas, back to California and back to Dallas, to a neighborhood full of nature’s wonders.
Receiving Readers’ Favorite award in Miami
This was her inspiration – nature and the walks with her children – to write the book, The Fairies of Turtle Creek, a magical novel for readers age 9 and up. In the book, fantasy and history come together in a story about a grandmother and her granddaughter. One reviewer of the book commented, “A beautifully written book about the belief in fairies and whether or not one young girl will believe her dying grandmother. It’s a must-read for granddaughters and grandmothers everywhere.” Her research showed that the time in history when teens and adults really believed in fairies was during the 1920s.
Jill and her family in Hawaii
The Fairies of Turtle Creek has won many awards: Silver Medal in the Readers’ Choice Awards for Children’s Fiction; Finalist in USA Best Book Awards; August Top Book from Independent Publishers by LibraryPub; and 2017 John E. Weaver Excellent Read Award for Tween Fantasy. It was published in 2013 and took four years to write. She is currently working on the second book in the Fairies series which is set in Maui, Hawaii with sea sprites, mermaids and Hawaiian fairies called menehunes.
In addition to teaching, writing and mothering, Jill makes time for her book club of 17 years! She loves to help other writers and speaks on “Want to Write a Book? Let’s Get Started!” She is active in her local chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).
Jill’s tips for writing a book:
Write every day, even if it’s drivel. Re-read later and edit then. Sometimes there are gems buried in that the drivel!
It is really important to get feedback on your work. To me, being able to write well without a critique group is nearly impossible.
Go to writers’ conferences to learn about publishing, get constructive critiques and learn what other successful writers are doing.
To deal with writer’s block, go to the internet and search images from the story you are working on – print them, cut them out and glue them to your “writer’s journal.” Details and ideas emerge that you would have never expected.
Prime Women asked Jill the following:
What is your elevator speech introduction of yourself?
I am a creative person who loves working with and writing for children.
Describe your morning routine.
Jill and her 6th graders during a class trip to Washington, D.C.
In the summer, I get lazier, so I sleep in, get my coffee and write.
In the fall, I spend about 45 minutes planning fun lessons for my 85 6th graders.
Did you have a mentor or person who influenced you early in your career?
Yes, my 4th grade teacher who made learning fun.
When have you been most satisfied in your life?
When I received my Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from SMU.