It was just another day working as a waitress for a Southwest County restaurant. Jessie Dwyer, a Cave Spring High School senior, took orders, ran credit cards, and talked to customers… just a typical day, right? Not that day. Jessie just happened to be helping a local author who was looking for someone to be the model for the cover of her new book. Dawn Joaun, a local author who lives near Smith Mountain Lake, asked Jessie if she would be interested. “She was perfect. I saw her at the restaurant and knew she was the one to be the model,” Dawn said. The book, called “Dreams Like Sugar Mountains” is a romantic/adventure novel geared towards adults young and old. “It’s based a lot on my experiences while living in Europe for seventeen years,” said Dawn. Dawn gave me a quick synopsis of the novel: it focuses on a young girl who longs to see the ocean but is in love with a boy who lives in her village. They both leave in separate directions but they’re paths inevitably cross. As their lives intertwine, they discover the meaning of life.
After agreeing to be the model for Dawn’s book, Jessie started to become excited. Dawn called her two weeks later and the whole photo shoot was done in two days. Dawn took the first pictures at her home studio in front of a white screen… (she also happens to be a great photographer). Jessie wore several beautiful dresses, including one that she was able to keep: “It looked like the dress worn by Rose in the movie Titanic,” Jessie said. The other photo shoot was done in two parts: one at the beach and another on horseback. Jessie said the horse was beautiful and all white, which is very rare. Jessie’s favorite part of the photo shoot was sitting on the beach at Smith Mountain Lake and enjoying the scenery. Dawn said that Jessie “was a natural and fell into the character so beautifully.”
In fact, Jessie is no stranger to performing and being in character. She’s been in musicals and plays ever since middle school. In 8th grade, Jessie auditioned for Kevin Jones, owner of the Kevin Jones Performing Arts Studio here in Southwest County. From the Kevin Jones website, “The Kevin Jones Performing Arts Studio is the most comprehensive musical theatre training program for teens and children in southern Virginia.” There, Jessie was in workshops, private lessons and several plays around the community, including two at Showtimers Theater in Southwest County. Jessie certainly plans to continue her love of theater in the future, “it’s such a big part of me, I can’t just stop something that is so important to me,” she said.
Dawn says her book should be available for purchase in about two months. She is hoping to sell the novel online and in a few stores around the valley. You can read a longer synopsis of the novel here.