Story & Photos by Marianne Salza
For Jeanne Blasberg, award-winning and best-selling author of “Eden” and “The Nine,” success is personal fulfillment, creative expression and forming connections.
Blasberg explained her journey as a writer during the March 10 Beacon Hill Women’s Forum presentation, “The Write Transition: from Investment Banker to Published Novelist,” at The Hampshire House.
“If you are brave enough to put yourself out there and be an artist, create, and finish a book – regardless if anybody else reads it – that is success,” Blasberg insisted. “Define success as something achievable and meaningful.”
After graduating from Smith College, Blasberg became an investment banker on Wall Street, and a strategic planner for Macy’s, but her passion has always been writing. From an early age, Blasberg kept a journal, which inspired her first novel, “Eden,” a story of reproductive rights and child adoption, released in May 2017.
Blasberg became a research associate for Harvard Business School, where she wrote case studies for a retail class.
“It’s where I got my first case of the writing bug. That was the last job I had before I stayed at home full-time with my kids,” said Blasberg. “I saw how fulfilling it was to create something. The Harvard Business cases had to be true, entertaining, and have structure.”
Blasberg enrolled in writing classes when her children were young. She was constantly engaged in the literary community, searching for mentors, conversing with fellow writers and attending book-store events.
“We are centrally located for many adult education programs,” explained Blasberg. “The opportunity to be a continual learner in this city has made me a happy person.”
The wife and mother of three does not only write in her Chestnut Street home office on Beacon Hill, but also has a pen in her hand while on the road, and is especially productive on planes and trains during family adventures.
Blasberg, who is a competitive squash player, avid traveler, and lover of hiking and skiing, encouraged listeners to follow their dreams, regardless of their age. Her advice to authors is to explore the world, communicate with people face-to-face, and show others how hard you are willing to work to relate to readers.
Blasberg was often overlooked and rejected when she began sending her manuscripts to publishing companies. Most agents will receive several hundred compositions every week, and Blasberg’s were tossed into the “slush pile.” It was not until she began approaching agents in person that she gained traction.
“We live in an amazing time to be an author because there are a lot of avenues for getting your work into the world,” Blasberg revealed. “There are a lot of readers willing to read indie authors, and booksellers willing to look at debut novelists. Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”
Although having an agent to promote a book is invaluable, it is also feasible to publish a piece through independent press – the traditional route is not the only option.
Blasberg partnered with She Writes Press — a female-owned press in Berkeley, Calif., that publishes female authors – to release her two novels. Established businesswomen with resources and fascinating lives invest in their print run and own their inventory.
“The publishing world is changing quickly, and authors are making big decisions about distribution,” noted Blasberg, whose novels have been published in English, French, and German as e-books and audio-books.
She has also created visual trailers for “Eden” and “The Nine” to share with publishing and film agents and readers.
“It’s the first performance of the dialogue and narratives,” said Blasberg. “We live in a time when people are looking for stories. Content providers want print, audio and visual. Part of the fun is the different ways your story comes alive.”
Visit www.JeanneBlasberg.com to view “Eden” and “The Nine” book trailers, learn about upcoming events, and join discussion groups.