Getting To Know You: Who is J.C. Yeamans?

Woman peeking through fingers and lights.

What’s in a name?

I have a confession. You won’t find J.C. Yeamans in a Google search. I write under a pen name. It’s way more interesting than my real name. As a writer, she is my alter ego, the keeper of the stories. However, I will tell you a smidgeon about the real me.

Living in the 80s

Photo by Rick L on Unsplash

In the early 80s, I was in the final stages of completing my music education degree and becoming a teacher. You might have caught me wearing high-waisted, acid-wash jeans with a lime-green blouse, and a blazer with huge shoulder pads. Or leggings, which I swore I’d never wear again, yet here I type dressed in? Leggings. Everyone had perms, including moi. My circle of friends and I were still arguing over the BIG question of the time. Was Darth Vader really Luke’s father? We would have to wait two years to find out in Return of the Jedi.

Luckily, those of us who were Star Trek fans only had to wait one short year for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. We listened to songs by Kim Carnes, Kool and the Gang, Sheena Easton, Blondie, ABBA, Air Supply, Styx, Foreigner, Diana Ross, Pat Benetar, The Alan Parsons Project, and Devo. Being trained musicians, we had heated Luckily, those of us who were Star Trek fans only had to wait one short year for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

We listened to songs by Kool and the Gang, Sheena Easton, Blondie, ABBA, Air Supply, Styx, Foreigner, Diana Ross, Pat Benetar, The Alan Parsons Project, and Devo. Being trained musicians, we had heated discussions on how the hell composer Michael Gore won the Best Musical Score Oscar for “Fame” over composers John Corigliano (“Altered States”) and John Williams (“The Empire Strikes Back”). I started dating my future husband the summer before my senior year and would be engaged by the holidays, married by June. 

The Music Life

Academy of Music, CC BY-SA 4.0

Although I loved reading and writing stories for fun, my focus in college was music. I loved musicals, and in 1981, something sublime happened. I found out one of my favorite musicals of all time, The King and I, was coming to the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. It was part of the final tour starring the actor who made the lead role iconic: Yul Brynner. I never thought I’d have the opportunity to see him in this role, and couldn’t contain my excitement. I confess. I had a tremendous crush on Yul Brynner in my teens. His sexy, brooding eyes, toned physique, and accent in the 1956 movie captured the attention of many fans.

So, there I was at the Academy of Music in my short dress with shoulder pads and puffy sleeves wearing triangular heeled pumps. I was a 20 something college student fulfilling a lifelong dream to see and meet my teen crush performing one of my favorite musicals. It did not disappoint. Yul Brynner was fabulous in the role, and it remains one of my most cherished memories.

However, it was laden with reality. I met Mr. Brynner after the show, one of the hundreds who lingered after the performance to get a brief movement with him. No longer the hot thirty-six-year-old who starred in the movie, he had a small potbelly and a face full of wrinkles with sweat rolling down his face, dragging streaks of dark makeup with it. I was elated anyway. THE MAN who created the role brought the story to life in front of my eyes, and he was brilliant in the role.

For the love of Sci-Fi

Photo by Nathan Duck on Unsplash

Almost forty years have passed, and my teaching and performing careers have ended. I’m the same age as Yul Brynner was on that stage in Philly and would never have imagined I’d be an author writing stories about a menopausal woman’s journey through life dealing with witches, fairies, love, and heartache.

In high school, I read an assortment of books: William Shakespeare, Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Agatha Christie (one of my faves!), George Orwell, H.G. Wells, and numerous others. One of those included Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. Not having read hard science fiction before, I became obsessed with the genre. I only read Sci-Fi books for a few years. A college friend introduced me to some of the greats: Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, Frederick Pohl, Aldous Huxley, and Ray Bradbury. 

The World of the Paranormal

Through my music performing and teaching career years, I read a wide variety of literature for fun but had little time to write fiction. I played professionally with four regional orchestras and other venues and taught private lessons after school. My writing concentrated on curriculum and music composition. Add the raising of two children in the mix, and I was lucky to have time to shower and shave my legs/underarms! OK, I’ll admit it. Sometimes the shaving didn’t happen.

I read romance but preferred Sci-Fi, being a huge Trekkie. In 2008, the HBO series “True Blood” premiered, and I discovered it was based on the Southern Vampire Series by Charlaine Harris. I bought Dead Until Dark and couldn’t stop reading the series. I’d always loved stories about the supernatural but had never read a series like it. Stories of vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, werepanthers, and witches mixed in with folklore provided a break from my usual Sci-Fi obsession. The mystery, humor, and romance passed the time when I was stuck in the orchestra green room or had a tacet section during rehearsals. 

A few years later, I hung up my performance fingers and began to write again but thought I should start with what I knew. I began to write a story about a woman in midlife, dealing with life’s challenges—something familiar. My daughter, a well-read English major and Writing Fellow in college, told me it was good but would never sell. OUCH! A Sci-Fi and Fantasy fan, she told me I should write a type of fantasy and make it a series.

The Writer

I finally found time in January 2020 to start revamping my original story into my paranormal debut novel. March 2020 popped out of nowhere, putting my book on the back burner yet again, but that’s another story. In June 2020 along with many others, I retired from teaching and launched my full-time writing career.

I invite you along for the ride leading up to the launch of my debut novel and hope you will follow my blog as I explore all things supernatural related to my book series and the challenges that women in midlife must endure. My J.C. Yeamans Blog will alternate posts on varied topics. If you have a topic you would like me to address, please feel free to contact me with your request, and I’ll see if I can fit it in. To stay informed on the book release and other information, please sign up more my newsletter. Thank you for following!