Researching a Contemporary Novel in a Foreign Setting

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I am thrilled to have Author Norma Gail as my guest today. After reading her novel Land of My Dreams I fell in love with Scotland. She’s agreed to share how she did her research to make her setting so believable. By the way, Land of My Dreams just received the Bookvana Award. Way to go Norma. I’ve got my notebook out and my pen is ready.

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Accuracy is a challenge faced by every writer, no matter what your genre. A contemporary setting can be just as challenging as a historical one. When I decided to set my debut novel, Land of My Dreams, in Scotland, there was quite a learning curve. During a two-week vacation, I barely glimpsed the top of the ben (mountain) when it came to understanding the language and culture necessary to portray Scottish life with accuracy.

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Photo provided by Norma. Sheep farm in Scotland.

 

More than just the northern part of Great Britain, Scotland is a unique and unusual place. Everyone knows about kilts, bagpipes, and castles, but little else. I’m from New Mexico, and as one of my main characters remarks, “Scotland and New Mexico are as different as water and dust.” So what can you do when your setting is unfamiliar? The internet is wonderful, but some things are hard to understand if you haven’t been there.

If you can travel to your setting, stay in small hotels, get out among people, and make opportunities to talk with them. Develop the art of observing small details. Take photos of everything, but also make notes about things that strike you as different, food, architecture, speech, and music are easy. I created a file of over 400 photos, some from our trip, but most from various websites about the area around Fort William, and Loch Garry. I set it up as a screensaver on my laptop. Now, whenever I walk through the room, I catch a glimpse of scenes that trigger thoughts of what might take place in such a setting. Watch YouTube videos where people describe the countryside or talk about some local event.

A selection of pictures Norma took of Scotland for her research.

A Scottish accent either confuses the daylights out of Americans or makes them swoon. I love their unique English, peppered with Scots, a Germanic language, and Scottish Gaelic, a native Celtic language. Fun words such as bubbly jock for turkey, tattyboggle for scarecrow, and clishamaclaver for chatter or idle talk make me giggle. Pesty insects are wee beasties, and they might refer to a disturbance to as a stramash or kerfuffle. The first time we ordered water with a meal, the waiter asked if we preferred “still or sparkling”.

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Highland Games

Scots might be among the toughest people on earth, plans continuing in spite of the weather. While we layered shirts, sweaters, and rain jackets for the Highland Games, children sported shorts and sleeveless shirts. A dapper, elderly couple, him in his kilt and her in a tartan skirt, eating ice cream cones in the chilly weather, declared it a “Lovely day!” It was August, after all.

Determined to eat what the Scots eat, I ordered their national dish, haggis, a “pudding” made from the heart, lungs, and liver of sheep, minced fine and mixed with spices and oats. Imagine this mixture, resembling dark, coarse sawdust, sewn into the stomach of a sheep and boiled. It wasn’t bad. We ate in small local restaurants so we got a real sense of local flavor.

I have a playlist of Scottish music on my phone. Yes, I love bagpipes, but much is traditional and some is contemporary. I listen as I drive and remember the images that spring to mind. I read Scottish news from time to time. It’s necessary to know what kinds of issues affect the lives of your characters, like the recent referendum on Scottish independence and Brexit.

I met Scottish editor through ACFW who combs through my manuscripts to make certain things are accurate. She suggests words, customs, or a change of scene that might work better.118 D&N Old Town Weaving Co 5x7(1)

The time you spend creating your story world is never wasted. Above all, strive for accuracy. Readers will never go for a book that doesn’t ring true to life and believable.

© Copyright Norma Gail Holtman, June 12, 2017

 

Thanks for the great information, Norma.

Here’s how to follow Norma:

www.normagail.org      

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorNormaGai

http://pinterest.com/normagailth/boards/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7874459

https://twitter.com/Norma_Gail

https://www.instagram.com/normagailwrites/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Land-My-Dreams-Norma-Gail/dp/1941103170

Do you have any questions for Norma about research? Post in the comments.

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Why Narrow Your Audience Focus

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Whose your audience.

No matter how I asked, “What’s your audience?” The author I was speaking with insisted “my books are for everybody.” This from a conference attendee who’d heard from the podium and in the classroom many times—you need to narrow your audience.

I write Historical and Contemporary romance. And everyone knows women are the biggest audience for romance. Some men read romance. But the focus audience is women.

I can say Secrets and Charades audience focus are people who love historicals. Or those who love inspirational fiction. Adding those demographics, I have narrowed my audience more.

We need to define our audience to market to those most likely to read our books. Boys do not read girl books. They don’t. But girl’s read boy books. Whether the main character is male or female, a girl will read it. This is why there’s a huge need of middle-grade boy’s fiction.  Harry Potter is a boy’s book series read by people of all ages around the world. Most boy’s books stay within the demographics of boys and girls between the ages of nine and twelve.

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It is important to narrow your audience even on non-fiction. This same conferencee insisted everyone needed to read the miracles God wrought in their life and the devotional would impact everyone. Although everyone might benefit from reading these books, everyone will not read it. The category everyone does not exist in marketing. Although everyone should read the Bible, it is still catalogued under religious. And as powerful as the words of a non-fiction writer may be there still needs be a baseline for your audience. The Purpose Driven Life was marketed to church people but has been read by the unchurched.

I saw two wonderful devotion designed for middle schoolers. The author had written two versions reaching both boys and girls. There were places to doodle. It’s unique to that age. Not my idea for personal devotions but I have one friend who has always doodled when she listens to preaching. It helps her process. Although she is a grandma, she might use these devotionals.

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Having a narrow focus can draw all those who love your subgenre. It can also draw those who don’t. Mom reads my historical and tells her teenage daughter a bit about the story. She decides to read it then tells her friends. Statistically, most teens are reading Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I may find a new fan base with other-world readers. History is another world. However, most of my sales come from romance readers.

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An audience focus that is too broad is like a play marquee that reads A Play. Your audience may not buy a ticket.

Limiting your audience focuses your writing before you get started. Your vocabulary and jargon must fit your audience. This makes it easier to market your book when it’s finished. Defined readership helps when you write your proposal and during appointments with agents and editors at conferences. It sparks more interest in your writing if your marketing audience meets a need of their house. “My book is for everyone” is a novice response. And no matter how much you believe that, it won’t aid you in getting a contract or even self-publishing sales.

Anyone have any tips for narrowing your audience focus? Please share in the comments.

Ten Point Checklist for Conference Attendees

conference word cloudThis week I’ll be attending Write to Publish, the writer’s conference I’ve attended every June for over a decade. Today I’ve decided to post a conference checklist. Thought you’d find it helpful.

  • Business Cards

Take 50. You may not use them all but you won’t run out. Give them to the people you have appointments with and exchange them with those you network with at the conference.check list-tiny

 

  • One sheets (sell sheets) of the novels or books you are pitching. One sheet per book. You can also create a sell sheet of article ideas you have. Present these at your appointments with an editor.

 

  • Clips- photo copies of your published work. This gives editors a taste of your writing experience. Or have copies of your completed short stories, articles and devotionals to share during your appointment if requested. Samples of your best work can lead to a request for your stuff.

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    I carry my clips and samples in a three ring binder with plastic sleeves.

 

 

  • Fresh notebook or laptop. Whether you prefer to take notes with pen and paper or on your PC be sure you have enough paper, extra pens and the power cord for your laptop. If you have a larger laptop like me, you might prefer to leave it at home or in your room. It gets heavy and cumbersome to tote. I can check emails etc. on my phone so I opt for pen and paper.

 

 

  • Pitch cheat sheet. I hate memorizing a pitch. I get frustrated and nervous. A cheat sheet helps me remember my pitch just before my appointment. I may not say it word for word but at least it’s fresh in my mind.

 

  • Pictures and names of agents, publishers and editors I want to meet. I may not get an appointment with them but mealtime is a great time to pitch your stuff. If I have a picture I might recognize them in the cafeteria or in the hall.

 

  • Proposals and manuscripts are optional. Most editors and agents want an email version. Having a copy or three is good if you plan on getting input from freelancers or participating in critique sessions. Have copies of the first chapter of your book. If an agent or editor marks it up or takes a copy, you have more clean copies.

 

  • Clothes for conference. Being sure you have all your outfits and all their components is important. I once forgot to change out of my sports bra. A pink sports bra under dress clothes was …I made an emergency run to a nearby Walmart to buy a new bra. Another year I bought a sweatshirt because the temp dropped. Be prepare for any contingency. Wear comfortable shoes if the conference you’re attending is on a large campus. Blisters and limping are just oh so fun when you’re trying to get all you can from a conference. Lots of people wear tennis shoes at these events. So, leave your classy uncomfortable footwear at home. If your conference has a formal dinner then pack dress shoes for that event only.

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    Leave your uncomfortable shoes at home.

 

  • Double check your spending budget. There will be lots of books and CDs available for purchase. Decide what you absolutely must have. If it exceeds your budget copy down the title and purchases them later.

 

  • Be sure to have registration confirmation, hotel confirmation and if you’re flying tickets, boarding passes and proper ID.

 

  • Books for sale. This is my first year to bring my novel for the sales table. Only bring a reasonable amount. If you’re flying you’ll be limited unless you shipped them ahead. Even though the conference has hundreds of attendees they are not going to all buy your book. You will be in competition with lots of other authors along with myriads of craft books. Better to run out than haul boxes back home. Have lots of bookmarks or postcards available so interested readers can take them home and order your book later.secret-charades-front-cover

 

What items would you add to this list?

 

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Author and Life Coach Letitia Suk

Letitia Suk2Letitia Suk and I meant at my first Write to Publish Conference a decade ago. She has been acting chaplain for the event and her red hat has become the trademark. Need prayer look for the red hat. Tish is also in charge of the Paul and Timothy program which connects an alumni conferencee with a newbie. She’s also a speaker and life  coach. I’ve enjoyed getting to know her over the years and her newest book has me very intrigued. Welcome Tish.

Let’s get started at the beginning. Tell my readers a little about your writing journey.

My writing journey started a long time ago! My favorite childhood books were the Betsy-Tacy series (Maud Hart Lovelace) and Betsy was a writer and I knew I was too. My first published articles were included in a newsletter insert for a diaper service in Ohio 😊.  The publication was called “The Wet Set Gazette” and it really gave me my start. No pay but lots of exposure. After multiple rejections, I sold my first piece to Family Fun magazine for $1 a word in 1998. Slowly other articles began to sell and my first book, Rhythms of Renewal, was published in 2009.

What is your latest published project.

My latest book is Getaway with God: The Everywoman’s Guide to Personal Retreat inviting women to plug their soul in for a long recharge like we do with our phones.

How do you research for your books?

Both of my books contain vignettes of other women on the chapter topic. I ask friends for contributions.

What inspired you to write Getaway with God?GWG cover(1)

I have been taking personal retreats for 40 years and in 2010 God invited me to take a five-day retreat at the ocean and covered all the expenses (details in the book!) It was very transforming and I knew before I left that a book would emerge from the experience. This is it!

Here is the back cover blurb for Getaway with God: The Everywoman’s Guide to Personal Retreat

What if a simple day away could transform your life?

Does spending time with God sound like just one more thing to check off an ever-increasing to-do list? How are you supposed to fit in anything that threatens to be more time-consuming? Too often there’s simply no room to experience the intimacy, grace, and peace that God offers us.

Getaway with God does more than invite you to step away from life’s pressures to take a personal retreat. It shows you exactly why you must–for your sake and for your family’s.

With grace and warmth, Letitia Suk provides step-by-step guidance and the necessary tools to enable any woman on any budget to plan time away, whether it’s a quick, half-day break or a week long time of restoration. You’ll find detailed steps for preparation, including descriptions of different kinds of retreats and how to choose the best one for you, and you’ll learn ways to bring the renewal you experience home with you. Practical appendixes identify retreat centers nationwide and provide exercises and prayers to kick-start your getaway with God.

When did you realize your calling to create words on paper to share with the world?

When I was about nine years old I had a strong sense that I would be an influencer through speaking and writing. I remember the exact place where this occurred. Very defining moment.

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Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

John 10:10. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. My hope is that all women can experience more of that full life which is available to us here and now. My mission statement is to “Invite Women into an Intentional Life Centered in Jesus.”

 

 

 

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

Write first, edit later.

Who is your best support system to keep you focused on your writing?

To call myself a writer, to own it. I am part of Kathy Carlton Willis’ WordGirls coaching group which provides great inspiration, motivation and tools for developing as a writer.

What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

Historical fiction (winter) and beach novels (summer)

Where is your favorite place to write?

In my office on my desktop computer with music in the background and inspiring props all around.

What are you working on now?

My next book is about how to tell your story to the next generation in ten creative ways.

Contact Letitia Suk at:

Website: Letitiasuk.com

Email: Letitia.Suk@gmail.com

Blog: Hopeforthebest.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LetitiaSuk

Twitter: @Letitiasuk

Book links:

Getaway with God: http://amzn.to/2rwpT0e

Rhythms of Renewal: http://amzn.to/2rwRjmD

Tish it’s been fun getting to know you better. Thanks for being my guest. You book should be on every Christian woman’s to-read list. I’ll get my autograph copy at Write to Publish.

These interviews always inspire me. Was there anything Tish shared that resonated with you? Please share in a comment below.

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Interview with Grace Award Winner Sandra Ardoin

Today I welcome Sandra Ardoin recent Grace Award winner for her book  A Reluctant Melody.  Congratulations, Sandy. Sandra Ardoin_Headshot

Tell my readers a little about your writing journey.

Thanks so much for letting me share a bit about myself and my writing with your readers, Cindy!

I began writing in 1986. (Yes, all the way back then.) I started out with greeting cards and poster quotes—even had the fun of seeing a poster with my quote in a MOVIE! After a while, I wrote short stories for children’s denominational publications, then for adults. While being a SAHM, I only worked part-time until about 2008-09. That’s when I felt God opened that door to writing novels. From then on, it’s been my full-time job.

What is your latest published project?

My second book, A Reluctant Melody, came out last year. It’s the story of a secondary character from my first book, The Yuletide Angel. In A Reluctant Melody, Kit Barnes is a man saved from his wild lifestyle by grace. Now, he wants to open a mission for drunkards in a home owned by Joanna Stewart. Joanna, a woman whose affections he once stole from his brother, has yet to find that grace and must choose between protecting herself from a second betrayal by Kit and protecting her best friend from an abusive spouse. It’s a romantic story of secrets, second chances, and redemption.reluctant melody

How do you research for your book?

My research is mostly done online. There are some things I must know are possible before I begin the story—places, time frames, the best area to set the book, etc. However, many of the tiny details are researched as I go. It’s not an ideal way to do it, and I’m trying to get to a point where I can make a note and write on, intending to check the facts later.

A Reluctant Melody takes place in a fictional town, but is set in the North Carolina area in which I live, so setting wasn’t hard to write. And Google Books is my friend. I find so much information in the books of the era. I’ll even use them to check proper word usage. Chronicling America is a gold mine of information through the pages of the newspapers of the time. For instance, in my (as-yet-unpublished) novella about the Nome gold rush, I found quite a bit of detail through issues of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, including the ship my heroine would have taken from Seattle to Nome.

What inspired you to write your book?

I love reading a book and picking out a secondary character whose story I would like to read. This happens even in my own stories. I always find characters I think will make great heroes and/or heroines for another book. That’s how Kit came to be the hero of A Reluctant Melody.

When did you realize your calling to create words on paper to share with the world?

I wouldn’t say I realized it was a calling. I consider it more a ministry. God has allowed me to do something I truly enjoy that helps this highly shy introvert to speak of the gospel. Writing was something I’d wanted to do for a long time and never had the courage to tackle. When I was still single, I took a writing class and thought I’d use it as a second income (hear me laughing!). I was hooked.

Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

I have several. Jeremiah 29:11 is a biggie for me with my writing, but Isaiah 55:8-9 are amazing for keeping my perspective as to who God is and who I am. Then, there are numerous verses in Colossians—one of my favorite books—such as Colossians 1:17 – “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Isn’t that encouraging?

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

“You got it all wrong, kid.” I’d tell myself that writing is harder than it appears. Finding a publisher is even harder. And NEVER EVER do it for the money. 😊

Who is your best support system to keep you focused on your writing?

Other than writer friends who are incredibly encouraging, I’d have to say readers who leave reviews are my best support system. I don’t expect everyone to like my stories, but I’ve been blessed by good reviews so far. Even ones that are critical in some way are helpful, as long as they contain information I can use to make my next books better.

Available on Amazon

What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

At this time, I write historical romance and it’s my go-to for reading. However, I thoroughly enjoy romantic suspense or mystery. I will read straight romance, but anything that has mystery and danger is tops on my reading list. I don’t even want to know what that says about me.

Where is your favorite place to write?

When my daughter moved out to be on her own, I took over her bedroom—something I’m not sure she’s gotten over yet. I painted, added my desk and other furniture, decorated with fun writerly things and antique knick-knacks, then shut the door on the real world.

How can people follow you and your work?

If anyone wants more info about my writing and what’s coming up, I’d be thrilled for you to sign up for my Love and Faith in Fiction newsletter and receive a FREE short story when you do. My emails go out quarterly, unless an exciting offer pops up that I think you should know about.

BIO:

Sandra Ardoin writes inspirational historical romance. She’s the author of The Yuletide Angel and A Reluctant Melody. A wife and mom, she’s also a reader, football fan, NASCAR watcher, garden planter, country music listener, and antique store prowler. Visit her at www.sandraardoin.com and on the Seriously Write blog. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest. Join her email community to receive occasional updates and a free short story.

 

A Reluctant Melody – 2016 Grace Award Winner

Kit Barnes’ drinking ruined more lives than his own. Now sober, he wants to make amends by opening a mission for drunkards. The most suitable location belongs to Joanna Cranston Stewart, a love from his sordid past and the one person he hurt the most.

A pariah among her peers, Joanna is all too eager to sell her property and flee the rumors that she sent her late husband to an early grave. But she will let the gossips talk and the walls of her rundown property crumble around her before she’ll allow Kit back into her life.

When a blackmailer threatens to reveal her long-held secret, she must choose between trusting Kit or seeing her best friend trapped in an abusive marriage.

Will Joanna risk another betrayal? Or will she find a way through the pain of the past to love and trust again?

Links to purchase:

A Reluctant Melody

Readers, please share what comment of Sandy’s resonated with you?

There are more in depth interviews coming up and if you aren’t a subscriber you’ll want to sign up to meet some more awesome authors and learn their stories.

Why I added ProWritingAid to my writing toolbox

word cloud of Prowrite blog

ProWritingAid creates Word Clouds like this one. You’ll find all these words in my blog. This is one of the additional feature if this program.

I find self-editing daunting. It’s so much easier to catch others’ errors than your own. But editors always want a polished manuscript. That is not the same as perfect. Polished means common amateur errors are few.  I’ve invested in a tool for self-editing I love. ProWriting Aid. This program finds common errors editors track down for you. A great way to polish your manuscript to a shine.

You choose the items for the software to check.

Here is the list of individual reports. Whether you write fiction, non-fiction or articles you can find the help you need.

Sentence length  Complex words           House style         Full analysis

Dialog Tags                  Clichés and Redundancies   Homonym Overview Analysis

Diction                          Vague and Abstract Words  Alliteration         Combo check

NLP Predicates            Consistency        acronym    Sticky Sentences

Thesaurus           Grammar   Repeat                 Transition

Pacing                           Pronouns   Overused words

I love to go to the full analysis. Then I focus on the errors mentioned.  For example, if I meant to repeat a word for effect, I ignore the error. ProWritingAid allows me to look at each problem and decide how I want to rewrite for clarity.

You can go to https://prowritingaid.com for a test drive. You can use their sample or paste a portion of your work (no more than 500 words) on the website. Errors are color coded. I loved it so much I purchased a two-year subscription.  The tab for the program is in Word—so handy.  You can download to all your devices and websites. Although it’s not recommended for Scrivener.

Once I’ve complete a writing project, I open ProWriting Aid. In a few seconds, my page is peppered with colors, and I begin the process of discerning how I want to improve my words. Polishing a manuscript takes time.  ProWritingAid forces me to slow down and look more carefully.  Highlight a chapter at a time for analysis.  This software takes too long to mark 80,000 words. The program will jam trying to evaluate so much data.  If you stay on the same chapter you can scan the section with one report, clear it and select another report to scan your words again.  Each item found has an explanation for the needed correction.

The functions are easy to use.

In each checklist, the errors appear one at a time. You can double click to change per the software suggestion or click next. When you are finished if any words are still color coded you hit the erase icon and your manuscript is clean once again.  There are other additional things I have yet to learn that help with the editing process.

This program is not a substitution for good writing.  But a good writer can produce cleaner copy. Cleaner copy gives me a chance to see deeper issues that I’d miss otherwise. And cleaner copy is more appealing to editors.  Check out the free version online and see if you don’t agree.

What editing software do you like to use?

Author Jenifer Jennings

Today I welcome another author Jenifer Jennings. My questions are the same as I asked Gail last week her answers are quite different.  Although she is not a jubilee writer  we do share our love for Word Weavers. A critique group that dramatically effected my writing. So, be inspired and check out the giveaway link at the bottom. Jenifer Jennings Head Shot

Tell my readers a little about your writing journey.

I always enjoyed English and Language Arts in school, but it wasn’t until High School that I enjoyed the creative process of writing for myself. Most of my senior year was spent writing poetry. It became the escape from reality I needed.
When I entered college, writing was put on the backburn. There were just too many psychology papers to write and too few hours in the day. After two years, I switched colleges and majors. Writing made its way back into my life through Creative Writing classes and studying the Bible. The more I studied God’s Word, the more it made me curious about the real people behind the stories. What were they like? How did their cultural shape their life style? Why did they make the choices that they made?

Soon after graduating, I joined my first writers group. There, I learned about sharing my ideas and building a strong support network of other writers. The leader introduced me to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). It’s a challenge to write 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. I had never written that much in such a short amount of time. My group leader suggested I start easy by writing short stories for my first challenge instead of focusing on an entire novel. I spent one month planning and researching each short story. When November came, I wrote 50,001 word in 13 days. That experience lit a fire in my soul. I wanted to make writing a priority in my life. I cleaned up those short stories and they became “The Hope Chest.” I never thought my writing would be good enough for a traditional publishing house, so I decided to start my self-publishing journey with that book. Jenifer Jennings The Hope Chest Cover

Sadly, that writers group was forced to disband. I still keep in contact with a few of them and I know they are always there for me. A few years ago, I found Word Weavers. We have local chapters that meet regularly for critique sessions. The organization also hosts retreats through the year where all the members can come together in one place to fellowship, encourage, critique, and be inspired.
As my life has roller-coastered up and down, I’ve found ways of making writing more of a priority. After a short absence from writing, I got the guts to submit a short story to a publishing house. To my shock and delight, they placed my story in an anthology. It was the motivation I needed to get back to writing.
Since publishing my first novel in 2011, I’ve self-published a collection of the poems I wrote in High School, a two-week devotional on the women in the Bible, and a Biblical Fiction novel about Rahab.
Writing has been a wonderful journey and I feel I’m only just beginning. It helps me feel closer to God because writing Biblical Fiction forces me to continually go back to the Bible for inspiration and research. I want to come alongside others on their journey of faith to encourage them and show them the God of the Bible

.What is your latest published project?
I released “Crimson Cord” in January of this year. It’s a Biblical Fiction novel about Rahab from the book of Joshua. Rehab’s story has always fascinated me. I really wanted to get into her sandals and find out why she made the choices she made.

Jenifer Jennings Real Women Cover

How do you research for your books?

For “Crimson Cord”, and my other Biblical Fiction novels, I always start with the Biblical account itself. I read the passage, study commentaries, and draw out event timelines. I want it to feel real to the reader and for it to be familiar enough to really draw them into the story. My goal is to stay as close to the original story as possible with historical and fictional details added for enhancement. I do love it when someone finishes one of my books and then says, “It made me go back and read the Biblical story.” Getting people to go searching for God in His Word makes my heart happy.

What inspired you to write your book?

“Crimson Cord” came from studying the book of Joshua. Many times, preachers and teachers gloss over Rahab’s story. The focus is on Joshua and the Israelites and she gets swept up in their story. I wanted to give her a story. I wanted readers to see the world from Rahab’s perspective and give a possible backstory to her life. The very first chapter I wrote came when I was listening to the song “Whom Shall I Fear?” by Chris Tomlin. There is this moment when Rahab sees the angel army that is standing guard at Jericho before the Israelites arrive. Every time I hear the line, “The God of angel armies is always by my side,” I can feel Rahab looking down on the sand and seeing the army of God coming to fight for her. It gives me goosebumps.    Jenifer Jennings Crimson Cord Cover

 When did you realize your calling to create words on paper to share with the world?

It’s only been the last few years that I’ve really realized my calling to write. When I sit down to write, I can feel everything in my being shouting, “Yes! This is what you are supposed to be doing.” Honestly, I believe when God knits us together, He puts something in each person that is their absolute passion. When you find it, it feels like everything else falls into place. Writing is that for me.

Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

My favorite verse is Hebrews 11:6 which says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” In Bible College, one of my favorite classes was studying the book of Hebrews. I love some many of the lessons I learned in that class, but when I came to this verse it really resonated with me. My writing goal is to encourage people in their walk of faith. I want to inspire them to diligently seek after God.

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

If I could tell my younger self something about writing, it would be, “Keep writing, even when life gets hard. Writing is part of who God made you and you need to keep doing it.”

Who is your best support system to keep you focused on your writing?

My biggest support system is a combination of my husband and my local Word Weavers chapter. My husband has always been a big supporter of my writing. Before we got married, he only finished one book in his life, “The Last of the Mohicans” by James Fenimore Cooper. Since being married, he has read everything I’ve ever written. He is the first eyes on any of my projects and he is a great grammar editor. My fellow Word Weavers are great at critiquing my work and letting me bounce ideas off them. Knowing that I’ve got a meeting coming up in which they expect to see what I’m working on is a great motivator.

Jenifer Jennings Soul Sparks Cover

What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

When I get to read for relaxation, I read Christian Fiction. I also read a lot of commentaries. They are great for research, but I enjoy reading them for fun too. Call me quirky. Likewise, I’m constantly reading the Bible for encouragement, inspiration, and to grow in my personal walk with God.

Where is your favorite place to write?

When we moved into our new house, there was an empty alcove in the living room that my husband asked the builders to leave bare. Months later, he surprised me with plans to build a writer’s desk. He tailored it entirely for me. It has everything I need to create my novels. When I sit at the desk, I get into writing mode. It’s become my favorite place to write.

Bio:
Jenifer Jennings is a Christian author. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Women’s Ministry from Trinity Baptist College and is a member of Word Weavers International. Jenifer uses her writing to grow closer to her Lord. She desires that, through her work, God would bring others into a deeper relationship with Himself. Between studying and writing, she is a dedicated wife, loving mother of two children, and lives in North Florida.

Links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jeniferjenningsauthor

Twitter: @authorjenifer

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkNIF7y1dIbBzzEZjov5i8Q/playlists (I make playlists for each of my books.)

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jenifer_jenning/

Personal Website: www.jeniferjennings.com

Order Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jenifer-Jennings/e/B006M2NSUE

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Jenifer+Jennings?_requestid=1303833

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?query=Jenifer%20Jennings&fcsearchfield=Author

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/author/jenifer-jennings/id1146332011?mt=11

Sign up for Jenifer’s reader list: http://www.jeniferjennings.com/reader-list-sign-up

Jenifer is  participating in a large giveaway May 29th -June 2nd through LitRing.com.  Here is the information:

Unicorns vs. Dragons: May 26th-June 2nd

How to Enter: The website page shows all the available ways to earn points. Pick a team and earn points. Unicorns vs. Dragons. Jenifer Jennings is on #TeamUnicorn !!!

Prizes: At the end of the week, one winner from the team with the most points will be randomly chosen and gets to choose between a Kindle Fire or a 5-month subscription to Bookish Box (valued at $200). One person from the other team will get the prize that is left. Win-Win. Plus, one author from the winning team gets a promo package from LitRing. Win-Win-Win!

What part of Jenifer’s interview did you find the most inspiring?