Friday, December 12, 2014

Where the Joys Are

Bestselling Alabama author Jane Carroll, in her books Bertha-Size Your Life! and Becoming Bertha gives a face, a wardrobe, and a flare to inspirational humor. Her writing weaves a rich tapestry of humor, inspiration, insight, and Southern roots. While she enjoys all aspects of her life, writing is her passion. The third book in her Bertha series, just recently released is Where the Joys Are: Bertha’s Guided Journal. Jane discusses the evolution of Bertha in today’s edition of In Good Company. It is a joy to welcome you today, Jane.


Where the Joys Are: Bertha’s Guided Journal


Jane Carroll

I never intended to write a book about a zany character named Bertha, let alone…three. In fact, I was in my late forties before I considered putting my pen to the paper in an effort to help women who were experiencing an empty nest.

Why such a topic? Well, it was a combination of things. I had just completed training as a life coach and my youngest daughter had just gotten married. Now please don’t tell her…but I was excited. I’d been a single mom for a lot of years and I was relieved to not be solely responsible for the wellbeing of my children but I was aware that not all women felt that way. In fact, I knew women who were a little lost…didn’t have a clue who they were or what they wanted once their children had left home. So that, along with a love of writing, translated into my first book effort…a collection of personal discovery exercises…most of which started out with…get quiet and imagine.

I even had a name for it…When Little Birds Fly: Feathering Your Empty Nest. There was just one thing. The title was more exciting than the book and even I didn’t love it. One day my personal life coach, who had been encouraging me to write, left me a message that her daughter had left home and asked what she should do. I sent her a very flip email telling her to name her nest and I named mine Bertha. I went on to tell her how much more fun it would be going home to Bertha than to an empty house.

Well, I thought that would be that but was I ever wrong! Bertha decided to take over the book and all the exercises I was writing became vignettes all about her. Faster than eight tiny reindeer, she had developed a whacky wardrobe of spandex capris, bright colors and high-heeled sandals and if jumping on a soapbox was an Olympic event…she’d be a gold medal contender for sure. Bertha was almost always in a good mood. In fact, only her nemesis, Rita, and the cat could put a dent in her Pollyanna attitude.

Bertha-Size Your Life! begins the transformation of our narrator, who really doesn’t even have a name at this point. Bertha gently…oh who am I kidding…Bertha did the equivalent of snatching her up by the hair of the head and dragged her into a more balanced life.

Becoming Bertha continues the transformation of our narrator now known as, Honey. Honey is progressing nicely and learning her lessons while Bertha is busy preparing for a shoe model tour, designing fantasy shoes and sparring with the cat. Once Bertha leaves it is up to Honey to continue her transformation…can she do it with just the cat for assistance…or has Bertha’s work been in vain? I’ll let you find that out when you read the book.

Where the Joys Are: Bertha’s Guided Journal features all the same characters but it is truly a standalone book. While you’re reading the fun stories…you’ll learn valuable journaling techniques all designed to increase your joy. But whether you do the exercises or not…you’ll laugh at some of Bertha’s most exaggerated outfits and antics.

So…that’s how I came to have not one but three Bertha books. I hear Bertha may have some more adventures in store for her in a series of cozy mysteries along with some teenagers, plenty of shoes, and of course…the cat.

Where the Joys Are: Bertha’s Guided Journal


  1. Linda, thank you so much for having me. It was so much fun!

  2. Thank you for sharing. Love Bertha and all of Jane Carroll's books.