Her fourth novel, Fireflies In December - a departure from the romantic comedies she first penned - placed in the semifinals of the Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest in 2006. After some revisions, she re-submitted the novel to the 2007 Guild contest and won the prize of publication. On the heels of seeing Fireflies In December released, Jennifer looks forward to the upcoming sequel, Cottonwood Whispers, due out September 2009. And keep an eye out for the third book in the series, Catching Moondrops, releasing in the Fall of 2010.
Jennifer's sincerest hope is to glorify the Lord by writing quality Christian fiction that will inspire, encourage, and uplift readers of all ages.
Did you come up with the titles your books? They are very unique, they stand out. If not, what were the working titles? Did you have any say so on the cover this book?
Yes, I did come up with the titles. Fireflies in December came a little late in the game, but I actually think the title came to me before I wrote the scene that points to the meaning of the title. Cottonwood Whispers came about after I'd come up with the theme and idea I wanted to communicate. Catching Moondrops was a real rabbit out of the hat because I needed a title in order to pitch the idea for a third book. I did a lot of praying and considered my basic theme to give me an idea of what direction to go in. I turned the title in before I'd ever started to write the story.
I haven't been a part of the cover creation for either book, but I have loved both of them to pieces. The designers did such a tremendous job capturing the feel and meaning of the story in one picture.
In your book Fireflies in December, you talk about a subject most people are uncomfortable to talk about. What made you want to write about this topic—racial tension in the early 1900’s? Why through the eyes of children?
It really just came from this thing I've always had about standing up against bullies, to be honest. I've often thought that if more people would step up and say no to those who try to use violence to intimdate and coerce, there wouldn't be people who intimidate and coerce. The problem is, we often aren't willing to step forward and stand firm for what's right, and I wanted to portray a family who did. But I wanted them to be real. These characters all have different emotions when it comes to their battle against evil, and they all approach it differently. The idea for racial prejudice to be the source of conflict for the book simply came about because I had come up with the characters of Jessilyn and Gemma and had set it in 1932 Virginia. There's really no other direction it could have gone at that point.
What was your favorite scene to write in Fireflies in December? What was your most difficult to write? Why?
What was your favorite scene to write in Cottonwood Whispers? What was your most difficult to write? Why?
I really liked writing the scene between Miss Cleta and Jessilyn where Miss Cleta is talking about the "whispers". That scene holds a lot of meaning for me and brings out the theme of the story. If I told you the most difficult I would be giving away plot lines, but let's just say it was a moment when Jessilyn comes face to face with her own mortality.
How did you come up with the sequel to Fireflies in December? Did you know where you wanted to go before you even wrote the first book? Will there be a third? If so, what will you talk about in that book?
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? If not, how did you get into writing for a career?
No, I really didn't. I wanted to be a lot of other things, but never really a writer. I'd always written bits and pieces here and there for fun, but it was never more than a hobby to me. I really think this was just something the Lord had planned for me, and when the time was right, he planted the desire and ability in my heart. Plain and simple, it was meant to be! (This is Jennifer's book cover printed in other languages)
It says on your website that you were a nanny for a long time, what made you get into that and what were you duties?
I love kids! Growing up I made my spare change babysitting, so once I realized that there was actually a way to parlay that into full-time work, I jumped at the chance. The primary responsibilities for a nanny simply involve daily care for the children, including taking them to activities, preparing meals, changing diapers... you know, all the stuff kids need, nannies do it! I'm so grateful to have been a part of so many great kids' lives.
QUESTIONS I KNOW YOU WANTED TO ASK JENNIFER BUT WERE AFRAID TO SO I DID!! :D
If you had 24 hours to hang out with anyone TWO PEOPLE alive or dead in the history of the world (besides Jesus); what two people would you pick & Why? What would you do?
The first one would be my maternal grandmother whom I never met. From what I've learned of her, I think we would have had a good deal in common, and I'd love to have a girls' day out with her. We could do some shopping, eat some good food, and maybe go to a sporting event, since I hear she enjoyed sports like I do. I can't wait to meet her in heaven!
Secondly... this is tough! Maybe Clinton Kelly from What Not to Wear. I love to shop, but I never seem to find what I'm looking for. It would be great to have a day to shop with an expert who could tell me where to go and what to buy. Of course, if he'd bring along one of those $5,000 debit cards with him like he does on the show, that would be even better!
Where did you live growing up? What did you like about growing up there?
Name three jobs that you’ve had that might surprise people?
What movie greatly impacted you as a child? Why?
The 1959 version of The Diary Of Anne Frank. Even when I was young I was amazed by what horrors Hitler was able to accomplish, and Anne's story really impacted me. My writing is deeply affected by the concept of one person or a small group of people managing to intimidate and persuade a large group of people, and how that might change if more people took a stand against evil and fought for the oppressed.
Name four of your favorite books read as a child?
Oh gosh! That's tough, because I was primarily a truly devoted Nancy Drew-er. Loved them all! I honestly didn't love the classics, sad to say, but I did like to flip through Little Women every now and again. And if you want to really go back, my favorite bedtime book was called The Forest Hotel, and I wanted to hear it ALL the time. Just mention the name of it to my mother, and you'll hear a very long sigh.
You’ve been given the opportunity to us a time machine and visit any TWO events in the history of the world. Which TWO events would you pick and why?
The Crucifixion and the Resurrection. There are no other events in history that changed the world so dramatically and completely. As horrifying as it would be to witness the crucifixion, it would make certain that I never again take for granted that ultimate sacrifice and perfect example of love. But what an amazing experience it would be to see Him alive again, to go from hope in nothing to hope in everything! It transformed the lives of his apostles, and I'm sure it would do the same for me.
Name three everyday tings that you wouldn’t want to live without?
Lip balm, hand lotion and chocolate
What four websites do you visit daily?
9. Name four movies you could watch over and over again?
I love the old screwball comedies! I've seen Arsenic and Old Lace, The More the Merrier, Bringing Up Baby and The Awful Truth so many times I could probably act them out for you. As it is, the quick, witty lines in them have become part of my everyday conversation.
10. If you had one free afternoon to do anything you wanted to do what would that be?
Walk on the beach, read on the beach, and nap on the beach.
(Picture with my niece and I having fun at the beach)
Also take time to enjoy my family. Pictured here I'm with my sister, mom and niece.
FINAL COMMENTS YOU’D LIKE TO LEAVE MY READERS WITH??
One of the most amazing parts of becoming a published author is knowing that people are actually reading what once sat on my computer unread. So a huge thanks goes out to all of you who take the time to dog-ear one of my books. It's a thrill to create stories for you, and I hope to do it for years to come!
Thanks for stopping by Jennifer and letting my readers get to know you. Blessings on your writing adventures. All the best to you on your new writing projects. Remember if you’re ever in Atlanta you’ll have to stop by and speak to my book clubs that would be so much fun.
Thanks Nora, I look forward to you stopping by again.
DRAWING WILL BE JANUARY 10th - You Must Leave a Comment ABOUT the Interview for your chance to win a copy of Jennifer's book.
CONGRATS Kristinia Clos.You've won a copy of Jennifers book.
THANKS to everyone for stopping by and getting to know Jennifer and her books. They are really books thhat touch your heart and make you think. She talks about tough times through the eyes of young girls. Thanks Jennifer for stopping by. Thanks to Tyndale for providing this give away.
****DISCLAIMER: Entering the give away is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws. Void where prohibited; open U.S. residents and Canadian residents only, odds of winning depend on number of entrants *****