Hope you guys are enjoying this little series! I love learning the people behind the stories. And remembering what my writing used to be like in the olden days before I had a fifteen-month-old splashing in my toilets. I feel like I'm hosting a mini-Hallmark channel on this blog.
The Way I Used to Be - The Erynn Mangum Story.
Today, I get to introduce you to my friend, Jenness Walker. Jenness has a way cool story about how she got published and I'm excited that y'all get to meet her!
We'll start with the all-important question. Favorite kind of cheesecake?
Cheesecake Factory’s 30th anniversary cheesecake! Cheesecake Factory. Good answer. We are still friends. So, tell us a little bit about how you got started writing.
My first memory about writing is from 1st grade, where we had a class contest to see who could write and illustrate the best story. I remember thinking I was a shoo-in for the winner. (Um…I wasn’t.) So I don’t know if I’d been coming up with stories before then or if that was the beginning, but I’ve been writing ever since.
Another important one, so take a deep breath. Chocolate Chip or Oatmeal Raisin cookie?
Is that a real question? :) Chocolate Chip. Of course.
Again, we're still friends. :) Any new books coming out or in the process of coming out? I’m involved (with my coauthor Tracy Bowen) with the Bloomfield series, which is a series written by various authors and is being published by B&H. I believe the first book in the series is coming out next year. The stories all take place in the quirky small town of Bloomfield. So far it’s been a lot of fun!
What is your least favorite part of writing?
Serious rewrites. :) Sometimes it’s very hard for me to rethink plot elements or scenes when they’re already written. Maybe because the story becomes so real to me, that what’s written is history, you know? You can’t change the facts. :) So sometimes it takes some time beating my head against the wall to be able to get past that block.
Tell us a little about the genre you write in. Why did you pick that route?
I actually write in a few different genres. I do contemporary romance/romantic comedy with Tracy. I went that route with her because humor is something she excels at, and I needed help in that area. I mean, I thought I was funny, but… :) That’s the voice that works for us as a team, and we have a lot of fun with it. It’s also a nice switch-up from my other stuff.
On my own I write romantic suspense, probably because that is the majority of what I read growing up. I’m also currently working on kind of a darker women’s fiction. I’m not certain I picked that particular route. I think it just appeared before me and said, “You’re supposed to write this story. Deal with it.”
So, I think it's great that you are getting to write in two different genres. I think people often assume that writers can only write ONE way and that's their branding for the rest of their lives. What's your favorite part of writing?
It’s a tie between the very beginning—the exciting new idea and the brainstorming that follows—and the last few chapters with the rush toward the end. Both can be exhilarating.
Totally agree. My two favorite words are "the" and "end." So, what's your favorite character you’ve ever written?
To make answering this one a little easier, I’m going to limit this to characters from my completed manuscripts. :) And that would have to be Jake. He’s the hero in the first (as of yet unpublished) romantic suspense I wrote. And rewrote. And wrote again. I guess I love him best because we spent so much time together. And because he’s one of those wounded but devastatingly sweet and heartbreakingly handsome heroes that many of us swoon over. :) (Jason, if you’re reading this, don’t worry—I love you more.)
Ha! Love that. The "completed manuscripts." Ain't that the truth. I've got a couple buried in my hard drive. Got any advice for prospective authors?
The obvious things are to read and to join writers’ organizations and find a good critique group/partner. So instead of expounding on the virtues of those things, I’ll repeat something I heard from a recent workshop. Allen Arnold reminded us that we are to have no idols. We’re not to bow down to the story. “The calling should be more important than any one particular book. Your story is the fruit of the calling but should not become the focus.” So, pre-published authors, remember why you’re writing and Who you’re writing for. Keep working toward the goal, but don’t be afraid to move on to a different story to continue to grow into the writer He wants you to be. Perfectly said! Ok. You’ve got one minute to grab whatever you can at Target and money is no object. What do you buy?
Furniture! I heart furniture, even though I don’t have anywhere to put it. (No, seriously. My house is full, so I loan furniture to friends instead of getting rid of the surplus.) And Target has some great chairs…oh, and a desk I really like…and—wait. Do I have to carry them myself? This could be tricky…
Thank you, Jenness!! :)
Jenness has been WAY generous and offered to give away Blissto one of you!! All you've got to do is leave a comment below. Don't forget that every comment left during these two weeks is also entered to win the Old Navy gift card!
Also don't forget that it's one comment per person, please. ;)
Today's comment question: Two hours to do whatever you want to do - where will you go, who will you see and what will you do?