Tell us a little about yourself. Well, according to my daughter, I’m embarrassingly goofy, but I suspect that could apply to all parents. 😉 Especially those who spend a great deal of their time in an imaginary world of their own creation. I’m a Midwest transplant from the West Coast area, and, although I miss the mountains and fir trees that make Western Washington so beautiful, I’ve fallen in love with the Omaha Metro.
Why did you start writing? I’ve always enjoyed writing, and as a teen I wrote a lot of poetry, but I never really considered it as anything more than an emotional outlet. It was a way for me to process things going on in my life. As an adult serving in various ministries, I began writing for ministry needs—plays for outreach, parent newsletters, Vacation Bible School Curriculum. Then one day, while I was praying over a short story for a children’s ministry outreach event, it hit me: I enjoy this! It’s funny, but it really was an ah-ha moment where I began to see that God had given me a love for writing.
How did you start writing? I shared this a bit in the above, but when I first sensed God calling me to write fulltime, I fought Him. Hard. I wanted to do something more…rational, something with a guaranteed and predictable wage. But the more I fought God, the more distance developed in our relationship. This was such a dark and lonely time! I finally surrendered, realizing whether anything came of my writing or not, I had to obey. I needed God’s daily, intimate presence that badly!
How did you select your genre? I created it. Hahaha. Although I write contemporary romance, I specifically write what I refer to as “missional romance.” It stems from past struggles as a homeless, hopeless teen, my marriage and how my husband and I serve together, and how blessed we, our relationship, and my passion for seeing others pursue, or should I say surrender to, their calling.
What is your writing day like? I am very blessed in that I can stay home and devote a regular chunk of my time to writing. Even so, I’m also a bit sporadic with my writing time. I usually start my day checking emails, blogs, updating my blogs, etc. Then, depending on where I’m at in the writing process, I’ll spend time researching or brainstorming or writing. I’ll take a break when my daughter gets home from school to hang out with her for a while, until she gets bored of me, then I’ll cook dinner and spend time with the family. The evenings are usually for edits or critique swapping.
How do you organize your writing (outlines/note cards/post-its)? I’m a big plotter! I normally begin with a very vivid story idea, and this usually hits when I’m nearing the end of a novel. I like to believe that’s God nudging me to keep moving. J Then, after doing preliminary research and some explosive brainstorming, I plot each scene on a note card. These scenes don’t always make it into the novel, but they provide a roadmap to follow as I go.
What’s the most surprising thing a character has “told you?” I might get tomatoes thrown at me, but my characters don’t surprise me, per say. God has, though. I’m often delighted at how closely He walks beside me as I write, and there have been numerous times when I’ve been awakened with a truth that is central to my character’s growth. One in particular that will appear in my sophomore novel, releasing in 2015, brought tears to my eyes. It spoke to His love for orphans and His desire for the church to help break the cycle of despair and abuse.
Do you have a list of characters that you’re saving for future use? What kind of information do you keep on these characters? Oh, yes! I’m a very visual person, and scenes play out in my head like clips from movies all the time. One in particular came to mind so vividly—her entire story—I tried to force her into a different novel. But it didn’t work. It wasn’t meant to be. I set her story aside, wondering if I’d ever be able to dig in. Then, after my debut Beyond I Do was contracted, a new story exploded in my brain—a sequel where Bianca, the single mother I’d grown to love, found a home.
What does your work space/office look like? I work all over. In my office (rarely), on the couch (often) and outside (when it’s not snowing or raining!). Praise God for laptops!
What is your go-to snack when writing? Peanut butter.
If you could only recommend one NOVEL, what would it be? Why? I’m sure this is on everyone’s top list, but I’d have to say Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. That’s such a powerful story of God’s redemptive love for mankind! I also loved Misery Loves Company by Rene Gutteridge and absolutely anything by Mary Connealy!
If you could only recommend one CRAFT book (writing, no crocheting), what would it be? Why? Can I recommend two? Pretty please? The first I’d recommend is the Moral Premise by Stanley Williams. This book helps writers really hone their main message (think back to high school English: love versus hate; selflessness versus selfishness, etc.) and keeps them from being all over the place in their novels. The more cohesive the moral premise, the more powerful and memorable the message.
The second book I’d recommend, and one I review often, is How to Grow a Novel by Sol Stein. This book is awesome and a must have for anyone wanting to improve their fiction writing.
Is there anything else you’d like to add? My debut is available for preorder at 26% percent off! So, if you plan to buy the novel, now’s a great time. J (Here’s the purchase link: http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-I-Do-Jennifer-Slattery/dp/1596694173/)
Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.
Ainsley Meadow’s encounter with a woman, her child, and their abuser sparks a passion that threatens her engagement. Will seeing beyond the present unite her and her fiancé or tear them apart?
Raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignites a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.
Thank you so much for having me!