The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Lorena McCourtney is LEE JOLLEY! Please email my assistant Christen with your mailing address. (email@example.com)
This week Jenny Miller is in the Spotlight! To win a copy of her book, Life is a Gift, leave a comment on this post!
Married to my best friend for 14 years, and blessed with 3 little girls, Sierra, Courtney, and Brooklyn, who you’ll read about in my book. I work full time as a mommy to my girls, and yes, I write early morning while they’re still in bed, or during nap time!
And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…
Life stories are my favorite for reading and writing, I also enjoy Christian fiction.
How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?
Creative writing was my favorite subject in school, and through the years I’ve written a lot of short stories that hardly anyone ever saw. But all the while I was dreaming of “someday”….that day when I would publish my book.
After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?
Almost exactly one year. It took 3 months to write, and 9 months to have it edited/published. The 9 months were comparable in a lot of ways to pregnancy. One of my friends was sure I would go through post-partum depression when it was all over.
Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?
The most inspiring thing I can do before I sit down to write is get out in nature. Taking a walk on a beautiful day does something for my spirit that makes me want to write on paper. And always, before I sit down to write, I start with prayer. More than anything else, I want my writing to be inspired by God, and not just words I come up with.
What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?
I was blessed to find an editor through friends of friends. I emailed her and asked if she would edit my work on a private basis, thinking I would find an publisher once it was edited. She became my best ally, and we talked on the phone for hours. She really, really wanted me to be happy with the end result. She gave me her honest opinions, but also wanted to hear mine. And she works for numerous publishing companies, and recommended several of them to me, then helped me through the entire publishing process.
And yes, my mom was my first draft reader, along with my sister and a cousin, which was very helpful. A friend advised me not to pass along my manuscript to a lot of different people, because then all you would have is a lot of different opinions! So I stuck with a few trusted people whose opinion I highly value.
Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be? (Explain your answer)
I think I may have glamorized the idea of being an author before I became one. And now that I’m here, I realize I’m still the same “me” I always was, still learning, still stumbling from time to time. But I will admit, having accomplished a life dream, with God’s help, does feel pretty amazing
What are your biggest distractions?
Well, I’d hate to call them distractions, but my husband and my girls have my first priority.
What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?
The best? The moment the UPS man drove in my driveway with the hard copy of my book. I ran out to the little bridge across my creek, and had little worship session with tears of gratefulness.
The worst? The first publishing company that I went with ended up not working out. I had so much faith in them and it became obvious it was going to be an unworkable situation, so I pulled out. Suddenly, I had a book almost ready for print, and no publisher. We prayed hard and within a couple of weeks, we had our new publisher, and the book was in print 6 weeks later.
What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?
My favorite part of being a writer is reader response. Finding an email in my inbox from a reader makes my day. I’ve met so many new friends.
What advice would you give to new writers?
Whatever you’re writing, let it be from your HEART. You can be talented at putting words on paper creatively, but if it’s not from your heart, I won’t connect with it.
Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.
Are there situations in your life that make no sense at all…that make you wonder what God is thinking, what He’s up to? Follow me in my journey of confusion, darkness and pain as I struggle through accepting the genetic disease my daughters were born with. And come with me as I find grace, comfort and even joy as my Heavenly Father lovingly, step by aching step, teaches me important lessons about Himself and life.
What’s on the book horizon for you?
People ask me if I’m planning a sequel, and I say, “I have no idea what I would write about!” But maybe someday, a little farther down the road. At least I can dream, can’t I?
Last question, how can readers find you and your books?
Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)
Thank you, Suzanne! I’m so honored to have had the opportunity!