the FamilyFiction magazine.
It’s my privilege to share the hilarity of my complete interview with Jenny with you here ~ enjoy!
Oh, gosh. I’ve never been asked that.
Writing is a very solitary job. It’s just you, the computer, and the M&Ms. And that can be too much alone time for me. So I love that teaching gets me around people, even if most of them are only fourteen. I love working with other teachers, chatting it up with them, and just being part of a team. It’s a cool experience to have people going through the same things, sharing the same ups and downs (and enduring the same boring faculty meetings), as we find in teaching.
But I like that writing is something I can do at my own pace for the most part. I can wear yoga pants for it. And while I might have the occasional review that smarts, at least I don’t have 150 sets of parents I have to keep up with. The pressures associates with both jobs are just totally different. When you’re teaching, you get instant feedback from your audience. That’s always helpful. Usually. And occasionally with teaching there is food in class. Just this week we were doing group projects, and one of the groups worked nachos into their project. “Can we bring nachos to class and serve everyone?” Um, let me think about this for a millisecond. Yes.
Save the Date stars a former pro footballer ~ are you an avid fan or did you need to research your football facts?
Oh, girl, I love me some football. The offense. The defense. The stuff they do on the field, running with the ball and throwing flags and tackling and…are you kidding? I am not a sports person. I am clueless about football. Fortunately I have a good friend who lives and breathes it (So weird! She could be reading People magazine during this time!), and she helped me a lot. I called her a lot while writing Save the Date. I would always begin the conversation, “Now promise me you won’t laugh…”
But as clueless as I’ve been about sports all my life, I’ve always been fascinated with sports culture. It’s just another version of Hollywood to me. So I can’t tell you what a quarterback sneak is, but I am familiar with the names and reputations of players. I love the drama in the athletic world. Can you imagine living a life where you’re paid multi-millions a year just for doing the thing you love the most? That is both a blessing and a curse, and makes for some interesting characters.
Why a marriage of convenience story? Aren’t they usually in the realm of historical fiction?
It’s actual an engagement of convenience. I read romance, and my favorite plot device is where an unlikely man and woman are forced to either marry or pretend to be a couple. It’s just instant sizzle and always reels me in. It’s not the most honest approach to a relationship, so I was blessed the gang at Thomas Nelson were up for it.
In Save the Date, my characters Lucy and Alex each need something desperately. Lucy needs some major funding to save her girls’ home, and Alex, who is running for Congress, needs to restore his reputation. So these two characters, who are day and night, are throw together. I love that doing that to your characters gets you instant sparks and tension. We see different people when they’re “on stage” and in public, acting like a loving couple, then when they are alone and out of the eyes of press or voters. It was a fun contrast to play with.
Your writing career kicked off with a highly successful YA series. Do you need a different mindset to write adult novels?
They are probably more alike than different. Both include romance and single girls. When I write about 30 year old women, the heroines, like the YA heroines, are still confused by boys, still have piles of stress, still need their best friends, and find moments when life is out of control. The 30 year olds just have better skin and a later curfew.
It does require a bit of switching gears though. I usually try and stay away from YA reading when I’m writing women’s romance, and vice-versa. My editors are really good at finding inconsistencies and saying things like, “This sounds too young for an adult woman to say.” I hang out with teenagers all day, so I don’t always have the most mature sense of humor or point of view. Yet another thing I blame on my ninth graders. Like my gray hair and jumbo sized bottle of aspirin.
What is the most challenging aspect of incorporating your faith into your novels?
Oh, wow. Yeah, there are definitely challenges. I think the biggest is that you can’t satisfy everyone. I can write a book that will strike some as being too heavy on the faith elements, while hitting others as being not enough. You just have to be satisfied that you did your best, listened to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and let the story unfold how it needed to. And all authors have their own comfort level with the faith elements too, which can be a good thing. Because the author who likes the heavier message is going to appeal to those readers who appreciate that. And those of us who write lighter fare can speak to the rest. The cool thing about Christian fiction is that there is something for everyone.
Usually desperation. Ha. Ideas are pretty slow in coming to me, so they often bloom when the clock is ticking and I HAVE to start typing some pages. I also get ideas from NOT trying to write. The plot for Just Between You and Me came to me while I was taking a break and seeing a movie. As I tuned out the movie and let my mind wander, the pieces started to fall together. And good brainstorming friends help a lot. God has totally blessed me with some awesome author friends this year. It’s been a ginormous asset.
Do you have another adult fiction on the horizon? If so, please share a sneak peek
The next book after Save the Date will be a YA. In Save the Date, Alex’s teen sister makes an appearance, and in this next stand-alone YA, she gets her own story. So it’s been fun to incorporate characters from Save the Date and pick-up where the book leaves off.
I hope you have enjoyed this FamilyFiction plus post ~ comment away!
Relz Reviewz Extras
Review of Just Between You and Me
Character spotlight on Maggie & Connor
Read FamilyFiction’s third edition
Look soon for my review of Save the Date and a character spotlight on Alex & Lucy