The Hippo


Jul 23, 2019








Meet Jessie Salisbury
Where: Toadstool Bookshop, 614 Nashua St., Lorden Plaza, Milford
When: Saturday, Nov. 21, at 2 p.m.
Contact: 673-1734

Never too old
Jessie Salisbury on A Heart Mended

By Kelly Sennott

You’re never too old to fulfill your dreams. 

“That’s what I told somebody about writing this book,” said Lyndeborough resident Jessie Salisbury over coffee and pumpkin pie at Milford’s Red Arrow Diner last week. “Don’t give up on it.”
Salisbury is 80 and just had her first book, A Heart Mended, printed by Soul Mate Publishing. She’d written the story in the ‘70s — actually, it’s one of many books she’d written in the ‘70s and ‘80s, “scads” of which still sit in several drawers at home. For a long time, they were untouched, having been rejected by publishers and contests years ago.
“The second something comes back, I say, well, I guess it wasn’t good after all, and I put it in a drawer. Which you’re not supposed to do,” Salisbury said. 
After decades dormancy, Salisbury got up the nerve to begin submitting again a few years ago. She sent her first novel, Orchard Hill, to Soul Mate in response to an advertisement in a FundsforWriters newsletter — they were looking for romances. 
They accepted the novel and turned it into an eBook, kicking off  her career as a novelist.
Salisbury’s latest book, A Heart Mended, is available in both eBook and paperback format, on Amazon and at the Toadstool Bookshop in Milford, which she visits for an author event Saturday, Nov. 21, at 2 p.m. The book follows a 40-year-old recovering from a heart attack who has taken a job as a nature counselor at a youth camp, where he finds love and old demons. 
Salisbury remembers that the book started as a short story, but for some reason, she couldn’t make it work.
“Some people say it’s harder to write a short story than it is a novel because in a short story, you can’t have anything extra, but it still all has to be there. So if you want to expand — provide background, and all that other stuff — it’s a lot easier to do a novel,” she said.
Salisbury’s no stranger to writing. She’s been a part-time journalist for publications like The Nashua Telegraph, the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript and The Milford Cabinet, for which she still writes, since 1967. (Her most recent article was about the area artists participating in New Hampshire Open Doors.) She co-wrote an Images of America book covering Wilton, Temple and Lyndeborough, and she had a short story published in Love Free or Die, part of the New Hampshire Pulp Fiction series. All this helped her write her novels.
“Writing news articles, you have to keep focused, and that’s a big help. You can’t get side-tracked,” she said.
She writes regularly every day, waking at 5:30 a.m. to perform newspaper work and take care of secretary errands for the several town organizations she’s part of. Then, she writes fiction, edits old work and, twice a month, attends meetings for a writing group that meets at the library called the Tale Spinners. At the time of her interview, she’d recently submitted another story, No Coming Back, to a writing contest and was anticipating the release of her short story collection, Fifteen Tales of Love, also published by Soul Mate.
Though all her published fiction has been categorized as “romance,” Salisbury doesn’t consider herself a romance novelist.
“For one thing, I do not write about hot sex,” she said. “I do not write anything explicit. I’m part of an older generation. I think it’s better to imply. If it’s only implied, you can imagine it anyway you want.” 
She calls Orchard Hill and A Heart Mended love stories. She’s also beginning to look for a publisher for her fantasy/science fiction series.
“I’m an overnight success after 60 years, you know?” she joked. 
But she doesn’t like to dwell on her age. In fact, she was turned off  by the Soul Mate Publishing blog’s reader comments about her book.
“I was rather annoyed — a lot of the comments were about my age. But I didn’t think that was really relevant,” Salisbury said. “Because I don’t feel old.”
 She recalled a time 20 years ago, at age 60, when she fell and broke her wrist roller skating with her grandson. The doctor was appalled and asked her what she was doing roller skating.
“If something comes along that I want to do, I tend to do it,” she said. 

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