Q: Did Jennifer always see herself pursuing a writing career?
A: No. In fact, writing was never anything more than a simple hobby until she decided to try her hand at writing children’s books at the age of twenty-six.
Q: How did she pursue publication?
A: Her first step was to study the market and the procedures for presenting manuscripts to editors and agents. Then she embarked on a period of sending out a query, waiting, getting a rejection, and then querying again. In an attempt to get her feet wet in publishing, she began writing freelance and eventually saw her name in print about two years after her original decision to test the waters.
Q: Was her Operation First Novel win her first time entering a writing contest?
A: No. Jennifer first entered the Operation First Novel contest in 2006 when she placed as a semifinalist. She then entered Fireflies In December in the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Genesis contest where the novel didn’t place. However, the feedback she received from one of the judges helped her tweak the book before she re-entered the First Novel contest in 2007.
Q: Does Jennifer craft her stories by outline?
A: No. Jennifer usually starts out writing with a general feel for what type of book she wants to write, i.e. a Southern historical drama in the case of Fireflies In December. It is the style that helps her create characters and the characters that help her form the plot.
Q: What are Jennifer’s suggestions for finding a way into the market?
A: Jennifer encourages writers to research the market, attend writers conferences, and be open to critiques that can help a writer improve their craft. But above all, she encourages prayer. Seeking God’s will and listening openly to Him are keys to knowing what a writer is meant to do with their God-given talent.