Author Interview (and a Giveaway): Jennifer Slattery

January 9, 2017 Author Interview, Christian, contemporary, giveaway 80

I am always super-happy when I get to chat with my author friend Jennifer Slattery! We got to meet in person at the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat this past August, and it was such a treat to chat face to face. She has a heart for Jesus and for hurting people, and it’s a privilege to know her.

Novelist and speaker Jennifer Slattery 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 put on events at partnering churches designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact. She writes devotions for Internet Café Devotions, Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com, and edits for Firefly, a Southern fiction imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.

Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte

Jennifer’s latest release, Restoring Love, released January 2nd from New Hope Publishers.

Mitch, a contractor and house-flipper, is restoring a beautiful old house in an idyllic Midwestern neighborhood. Angela, a woman filled with regrets and recently transplanted to his area, is anything but idyllic. She’s almost his worst nightmare, and she s also working on restoring something herself.

As he struggles to keep his business afloat and she works to overcome mistakes of her past, these two unlikely friends soon discover they have something unexpected in common, a young mom who is fighting to give her children a better life after her husband’s incarceration.

While both Mitch and Angela are drawn to help this young mother survive, they also find themselves drawn to each other. Will a lifetime of regrets hold them back or unite them and bring redemption along with true love?

   

Jennifer polled her facebook followers to see what questions they would like her to answer and from those responses she picked several to feature here today. Keep an eye out – you might see your question 🙂

Where do you get the inspiration for your books?

Jen: This is a loaded question. (hee-hee) Honestly, I think I was born daydreaming, and fiction writing is simply recording one’s overactive imagination. My mom often said, when I was young, she could always tell when I’d mentally checked out of a movie or television program because when she’d ask me about it, I’d begin retelling the storyline, then inevitably would venture into some fantastical tale. Reality is much too boring and restrictive to remain in for long, right? 

Carrie: Oh of course! This is why I read … lol.

What’s your key environment that helps you get into writing?

Jen: I really like silence, and as boring as this sounds, I prefer my office. Part of this is for comfort purposes, and I have all my resources and notes within reach. That said, I’d love to get snowed in in some mountain cabin in Colorado with my husband, my laptop, and a few books. He could catch up on his reading and offer feedback on the thousand and five sentences I toss his way, and I could create and create and create. Then read for a while, then create some more. Happy sigh.

Carrie: Ohhhhh blissful sigh! Wouldn’t that be ideal?!? (With my own husband of course … lol)

What are you saying in your writing that can help Christians today?

Jen: It’s interesting, but I think all my books in some way point to surrender, and I really believe that’s the key to experiencing the abundant life Christ offers. I also tend to write about women discovering who they are in Christ and what they’re created to do—discovering that which brings them more fulfillment than anything else (apart from their relationship with Christ).

Carrie: Both of those are so key in our world today! Exactly what women need to hear!

Explain your writing process—how do you go about writing a novel?

Jen: I usually begin with an idea. For example, the story I’m working on now started with me stumbling upon the historic stained churches of Texas. They are so incredibly beautiful, and their stained glass work is amazing. I seem to have a fondness for artists (though I’m so artistically challenged!), and I’ve fallen into a bit of a cowboy trend. (I blame my critique partner Shannon Taylor Vannatter for that. Have you read her cowboy stories? So good!)

So, there were the bones, then I began dreaming of how to put a stained glass artist and historical art restorer (from the city!) and a small town cowboy handyman, former rancher together.

My next step was research, and this is where I’m still at. It’s soooo much fun! With every new scene idea, questions arise, which lead to research, which triggers ideas, which leads to more research.

Carrie: Cowboys … another blissful sigh. I have a weakness for cowboys in fiction. I know that’s so not at all the point of this question but … yeah. Cowboys. 😀

What is your biggest challenge when you get ready to write?

Jen: Time. Especially when I’m working on edits (for an upcoming release or in relation to my role as editor with LPC, Firefly) and book launch stuff. Then there’s ministry work, speaking engagements, books upon books to read (A girl needs to refuel now and again.). I continually contemplate how I want to change my schedule so I have more time to simply write, but then … Well, you know. We’re all busy.

Carrie: I’m always saying I NEED MORE TIME, like I’m running around in an episode of 24 or something. I feel your pain. I think everyone in today’s world struggles with finding enough time.

What would you celebrate about writing, and how has it changed your life?

Jen: I love how God uses writing to reach out to readers. How He can reveal His love through characters, and how He can provide hope through plot threads. I also love the close-knit community I’ve discovered through writing. I’ve formed some of my closest friendships with those I’ve met through online writers groups or at conferences.

Carrie: The community of Christian Fiction – writers, readers, bloggers – is one of the best around!

How important are reviews to you (from a reviewer)?

Jen: I love reviews, the good and the bad. Granted, the bad reviews can make my stomach knot and trigger some of my insecurities, but they also teach me a lot about what not to do in future books. Obviously, some reviews are the result of varied tastes, but I can almost always learn from each one. And the positive reviews, especially when the reviewer gets what I was trying to accomplish or what the character was going through internally—gold! Those are like matches to kerosene!

Carrie: As a reviewer myself, I am encouraged by this answer 🙂

What drove you to start writing?

Jen: I’ve always been driven to write, though initially it was for my own pleasure (journaling) and for ministry. I wrote parent newsletters, outreach curriculum, dramas for church events, and short stories. Then one day, when I was brainstorming a story assigned to me by my church’s children’s director, I realized, “Man, I love this. I mean, I really loved this!”

That was when I began to clue in that this was something God was calling me to do, that He’d created me to do. Though I didn’t actually surrender to His call until a few years later.

Carrie: I love that sweet spot of doing what He’s created you to do! It’s such an indescribable feeling. Draining and energizing all at the same time.

How do you get your characters so real?

Jen: This question blesses my socks off, largely because it was suggested by one of my favorite people—Kathleen Freeman (a woman I’ll get to see this spring. Yay!). It’s fun that she asked because she was my critique partner for a long time, one for the best critique partners I’ve had. So in answer, I’d say, with Kathleen’s brilliant help! I have grown and learned so much by working with her. But the greatest blessing is the friendship God formed through our critique partnership.

Carrie: God is so sweet to do that, isn’t He?

I am giving away a copy of Jennifer’s latest release Restoring Love. Due to shipping costs and international giveaway regulations, this particular giveaway is open to US mailing addresses only. Giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies.

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What about you? What is YOUR biggest challenge – in writing or reading?

Carrie

80 Responses to “Author Interview (and a Giveaway): Jennifer Slattery”

  1. Rachel Dixon

    Excellent interview! My biggest challenge is making decisions on what books to read. I have learned to make one for reading, I just wish I had note of it ha! I was blessed to get to meet Jennifer at CFRR too!!!

    • Jennifer Slattery

      Hi, Rachel! It was so fun to meet you! I can so relate to your comment on deciding what books to read. I have piles and piles and shelves and shelves full. I find the ones I choose depend on the mood I’m in at that moment. But if a friend has enjoyed a certain book, that one tends to move up on my TBR pile. 🙂

  2. Melony Teague

    Great interview! I can’t wait to read this book.

    • Carrie

      i started it last night – can already tell it will be powerful!

      • Jennifer Slattery

        Eeeeeeeek! Makes my tummy all fluttery! I hope you enjoy it–and message me to let me know which character you like most. 🙂 My favorite character might surprise you. hehe.

    • Jennifer Slattery

      Hi, Melony! Thanks for the kind words. The questions all came from readers–they shared question suggestions on Facebook, so that was loads of fun! 🙂

  3. Rebecca Maney

    Great interview! I actually read “Restoring Love” over my snowy weekend and loved how “real” the characters felt even down to Angela’s quirky sense of fashion. So often we judge people about things that they really don’t know.

    Greatest challenge . . . .. the ever persistent tick of the clock. I prefer to read a book in two days, three at the most . . . . . in a perfect world.

      • Jennifer Slattery

        I feel Angela dresses as I wish I had the courage to–a more modest version. I love seeing women rock the bold and bright, but I usually stick with my somewhat subdued wardrobe. haha.

    • Jennifer Slattery

      I was so blessed by your review, Rebecca! Thanks so much for taking the time to read and review “Restoring Love!”

      Wow, in two days?! That’s impressive! I’ve never done that. I normally read at night–which can be a bad thing, when a book keeps me up and a severe case of sleep deprivation follows. O.O (Case in point, I recently read Thin Ice by Irene Hannon. So good! And tense. Whew!

  4. Jocelyn

    Wonderful interview. Love reading how writers find inspiration. My biggest challenge? Finding a critique partner. I’m a new writer, and have not found anyone who I could partner with. I had a friend edit my writing, but it was mostly for the grammar, not for content.

    • Carrie

      that is tough! there are some great resources online to help with that but it’s hard sometimes to find the right fit.

    • Jennifer Slattery

      Hi, Jocelyn,

      That can be hard! Have you joined a writer’s group? That’s how I found my critique partners, though they have shifted some over the years. It takes time to find writers you really mesh with, and sometimes those writers get busy and quit writing for a while, and then you find new partners. I’m part of the American Christian Fiction Writers group, and they have an online critique group called Scribes. I met some of my first critique partners through Scribes. That organization is by far the best in the nation for fiction writing.

  5. Becky B.

    Great interview. My biggest challenge in reading is finding time. I have 7 children, home educate, and work. But, I try to schedule time.
    Becky

    • Carrie

      whew. In my best Maria Von Trapp/Julie Andrews voice, “SEVEN children?!?” 😉

    • Jennifer Slattery

      Oh, my! You sound very busy! That’s awesome that you schedule in time to refuel. Reading is such a great way to relax! 🙂 I read every night before going to sleep. It’s become an addiction. haha!

  6. Dianne Casey

    My biggest challenge is finding time to read and trying to decide what to read from my big TBR pile.

  7. BJ Marley

    My greatest challenge in reading or writing is choosing time. Other things seem to have a higher priority.

  8. Marilyn

    Making time to read. Thanks for the giveaway.
    Marilyn

  9. Melony Teague

    Oh and I forgot to answer the question: My biggest problem with reading is focusing ( this is during the day) …I get distracted by housework and things. At night when in my pj’s and blankets, I can read forever…..(who needs sleep anyway?)

  10. Winnie Thomas

    Great interview, Carrie and Jennifer! I’m excited to read your book, Jennifer. I’m hoping to get to it this week! Congrats on your new book baby!

  11. Pam K.

    My greatest challenged with reading (I’m not a writer) is allocating enough time. I tend to spend too much time reading blogs about books and finding out about so many good ones, that there isn’t as much time left as I’d like to do the actual reading of those books.

    • Jennifer Slattery

      That’s funny! I think it can be hard to choose, to. There’s a used book store I love going to that’s filled with awesome books, older and newer. I can walk around with about ten in my hand, trying to decide which one to get, then leave with none because I couldn’t make a decision. Sigh.

      • Winnie Thomas

        Jennifer, my problem is exactly the opposite. I’d buy them ALL because I couldn’t make a decision!

          • Winnie Thomas

            Carrie, I’m so bad at making decisions. LOL I didn’t inherit the decision-making gene from my mom. She was a whiz at it. I also didn’t inherit her organizational skills.

          • Carrie

            i didn’t inherit either of those from my mom either! She’s so good at both – and housecleaning – and i’m …. not. 🙂

  12. Meredith Miller

    My biggest challenge is always trying to find the time!

  13. Connie Saunders

    Carrie, I enjoyed this interview with Jennifer. My biggest challenge as a reader is finding the time to read all of the books that I think I will enjoy. Too many books, Too little time certainly describes me perfectly!

  14. Bonnie Roof

    Loved learning more about Jen and her writing – thank you, Jen and Carrie!! Jen is such an inspiring, caring lady, I was so blessed to meet and chat with her at CFRR.

    My biggest reading challenge is the same as that of many other readers: time – too many wonderful books and never enough time to read them all. But such a wonderful challenge to have, we readers of Christian Fiction truly are blessed!!

    • Jennifer Slattery

      Bonnie, I’d say the same about you! What a special weekend (week’s end and weekend?) that was! You ladies sure put on quite an event! Wow! And yet, despite how bit it was, it felt cozy.

  15. Anne

    So many books to read which I look forward to enjoying and time is limited.

  16. JJ

    My biggest challenge when reading or writing is just staying awake. I seem to fall asleep for everything these days.

    • Jennifer Slattery

      Oh! Maybe listen to audio books while doing the dishes? (Though I haven’t listened to one myself, except for those stories on tape when our daughter was young, so I don’t know if listening is as enjoyable as reading.)

      • Dianna

        Yes, it definitely is!! Audiobooks make it more fun to fold laundry, cook supper, etc. Anytime my kids are otherwise occupied, it’s fun to listen to an audiobook. We also listen to them in the car when we’re driving to school (usually a Jesus Calling or something).

        My biggest struggle with reading is making myself part with books. I have serious hoarding tendencies, and it almost hurts to get rid of my favorites.
        We have a small house, so I try to only keep my very favorite read-agains.

  17. carylkane

    Fabulous interview! My biggest reading challenge is writing the review. I still find writing them intimidating. I want to write review like Carrie when I grow up. 😉

  18. Brenda W

    My biggest challenge in reading or anything else is not to get sidetracked and stay sidetracked too long. I also go to sleep reading too.

    • Carrie

      you’ve got to watch for falling books/kindles when you do that! haha

  19. Joan Arning

    I hate making time to sleep instead of reading! But sleep is a necessity!

  20. Lisa

    Great interview! Love reading about how & when Y’all read. I’m a major bibliophile so that always interests me. I have exploding bookshelves & a Kindle could explode, mine might!??

  21. Sonnetta Jones

    My challenge is that I read so much that I forget to leave a review. I always feel you have to write all these amazing things for a review and then I get discourage. Writing is not my strong suit.

    • Carrie

      oh don’t feel that way, Sonnetta!! You don’t have to do what I do to review a book. Just a simple “this is a great book” or “i really liked these characters” is more than enough!

  22. Linda Moffitt

    Time and the ability to concentrate because of my kiddos. Thanks