from the easel to the jessie & jack books

Mary Ann Cherry

the Jessie O'Bourne art mysteries

Writing is very much like painting with words. My parents both wrote, so the love of words was cultivated in me from the time I was a toddler. Mom wrote extremely clean, short novels. Both wrote poetry. My brother, Dave Lloyd, put stories to paper long before I did, writing  western fiction that includes historically accurate events and timelines. (see his website)

The background of my character, Jessie O'bourne is much like my own . Like Jessie, I was raised in rural Montana near the Yellowstone River and loved it there. My folks pushed my  interest in western art at an early age, and I have painted professionally for years.  The subject matter I prefer, again like Jessie O'Bourne, is wildlife and western. (see the art website)

I’ve been honored to have been a guest artist or to have been included in the permanent collection of several art museums, including the Clymer Museum of Western Art in Ellensburg, Washington, the Art Museum of Eastern Idaho in Idaho Falls, and the Olaf Wieghorst Museum of El Cajon, California.

Once a year I teach an art workshop, but I manage to critique work for other artists throughout the year. It is a way of 'giving back' that I feel is important.

What about Jack and Arvid?

We did, indeed, have an orange tomcat named Jack Dempsey that I inherited from my father when Dad passed away. He used to stand between my feet and growl when the doorbell rang. He was smart enough to play ball, batting it back and forth to my husband, then me, with more accuracy than I had myself.   (Yes, that is actually the original Jack on the right!)

I've had readers tell me that Arvid is their favorite character. The big Norwegian is much like my  Scandinavian relatives from Montana and Minnesota, but is primarily from my imagination, rather than based on memories of one specific person.

I try to either paint or write every day. Inventory for shows and galleries must be finished on deadline. I have a home studio - a great space in which to work, and another studio space in downtown Idaho Falls, Idaho - a  'get away from it all' work area.There is a wide picture window on an upstairs landing in our home, a window with a great view of the yard with the huge golden willow tree. My writing desk is situated to take full advantage of that lovely view. It's a wonderful place to write. 

At that desk, in that elusive free time, I am writing the next Jessie & Jack novel.