Writing can be a solitary endeavour, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, reaching out to and connecting with other writers can help in more ways than just moral support. Today’s guest, author Jennifer Slattery, knows first-hand how important it can be to connect with others.
Hi, and thanks for your willingness to appear on my blog! I’m looking forward to sharing your knowledge and advice with the rest of the world (at least with the small portion of it that follows my blog). Let’s get started with: what genre do you write? How did you pick it?
My stories are a mixture between women’s fiction and romance. They almost always have a strong romantic element, but they tend to go a bit deeper than many romance novels, which is where the women’s fiction bent comes in.
I didn’t necessarily “pick” a genre. I simply wrote what came out. Though this novel was co-authored, both Eileen and I are similar in this aspect. We both adore our husbands and therefore enjoy romance daily, but we’re also concerned with the various issues women struggle with. This novel is the result—one that celebrates Christ-centered romance but also takes an honest look at real life issues, like bitterness, forgiveness, and overcoming insecurities.
What are your favorite genres to read? Why?
I am incredibly eclectic and read and enjoy nearly every genre. However, I tend to struggle with science fiction and hard-core fantasy—stories that have completely “other” worlds and that, it seems, my brain has a tough time really diving into. But other than that, if it’s a captivating story, I’ll devour it! (I also like to read nonfiction.)
How long did it take you complete your first manuscript (published or not)?
I wrote my first manuscript (which became my fourth release) relatively quickly, and I felt God’s presence strongly throughout the process. It went through extensive rewrites, however! (Which goes to show, just because God gave you a story, doesn’t mean it’s ready for publication.)
First, I sifted it through numerous critique partners and beta readers. Then Kregel, who had been considering it, made content suggestions and asked for a revise and resubmit, which I provided. Though they didn’t end up contracting the novel, their insight was invaluable!
Then it went through the whole editing process under New Hope Publishers, and during my final edits, literary agent Linda Glaz read it (in one weekend!) and provided further suggestions—and invaluable ones at that! All of that input helped it to be (so I’m told) one of my strongest stories yet!
Have your follow-up novels been easier or harder to write? Why do you think that is?
In some ways, the writing has become easier as I have learned what makes strong stories and thus am more apt to include those elements in the first draft. However, sometimes my “knowledge” of the craft stalls my creativity as I can focus too much on fiction elements instead of simply allowing my muse to take over.
I would say the novel following one’s first experience with reviewers can be the hardest as it’s easy to “hear” their feedback, especially the critical statements, during the writing process. But eventually you get over that and simply write. 🙂
What’s surprised you the most about the book-publishing process?
The editing process! I lost track of how many revisions each novel goes through!
What’s been the most challenging part of getting a book published?
The waiting, and while waiting, fighting my insecurities. But God has been faithful to encourage and equip me along the way.
What’s your favorite part of the publishing experience?
Oh, my, the relationships! In fact, I’m currently answering these questions in Seattle, shortly after having spent an afternoon with one of my favorite writing friends, Kathleen Freeman, and her husband.
I met Kathleen through the ACFW online critique group, and we quickly developed a one-on-one critique partnership. She’s worth her weight in gold, chocolate, and coffee! I wouldn’t be published today without her. Her insight, feedback, and courage to provide it has truly been a gift. But more than that, her friendship—and the friendship God’s allowed me to develop with other writers along the way—has made this journey so sweet!
For learning the writing craft, which do you prefer – books or conferences? Why?
Both! But I feel I have learned the most through critique partnerships. Conferences have the capacity to not only inform but also inspire. There’s something about spending time with your peeps! But books are awesome also, as I can digest them bit-by-bit and put tips/tools into practice as I go.
If you could recommend one writing conference, what would it be? Why? (If you haven’t attended one, which one would you like to attend? Why?)
For fiction, ACFW. For nonfiction, probably the Blue Ridge.
If you could pick any of your novels to be made into a movie, which one would you pick? Who would you want to play the lead roles, and why?
I think this one! I loved the setting Eileen, my co-author chose, and the camp aspect really provided the sense of community I love in movies—when I watch them. (I’d much rather read a book!)
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you so much for appearing on my blog! Have a blessed day!
Jennifer Slattery is a writer and international speaker who’s addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and other writers across the nation. She’s the author of six contemporary novels maintains a devotional blog found at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com. She has a passion for helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, (http://whollyloved.com) she and her team partner with churches to facilitate events designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.
Dancing in the Rain:
On the verge of college graduation, Loni Parker seeks employment as a music teacher, but no one will hire her since she’s blind. Or so she thinks. To take her mind off her troubles, her roommate invites her to spring retreat at Camp Hope in the gorgeous North Carolina mountains.
Unbeknownst to Loni, Michael Ackerman, the director, is an ex-con responsible for the accident that caused her blindness. When Loni warms up to camp and wants to return as a summer counselor, Michael opposes the idea, which only makes Loni want to prove herself all the more. Though she doesn’t expect to fall for the guy. Still, her need for independence and dream of teaching win out, taking her far away from her beloved Camp Hope . . . and a certain director.
Camp director Michael Ackerman recognizes Lonie instantly and wants to avoid her at all costs. Yet, despite the guilt pushing him from her, a growing attraction draws him to the determined woman. She sees more with her heart than the average person does with his eyes. But her presence also dredges up a long-buried anger toward his alcoholic father that he’d just as soon keep hidden. When circumstances spin out of control, Michael is forced to face a past that may destroy his present.
Buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CSH8F97