Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.
The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Nicole Seitz is Ingrid Stuckey! Please email my assistant Christen with your mailing address. (email@example.com)
This week Jennifer Beckstrand is in the Spotlight! To win a copy of her book, Kate’s Song, leave a comment on this post!
Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?
I have been married for almost 28 years to the same wonderful guy I fell in love with in college. I have six children. The four oldest are girls and I have two boys at the end. Now that the daughters are out of the house, dinnertime is quite silent. My eldest daughter is married and has a baby son, my first and only grandchild. My third daughter is getting married June 1 and my second daughter is getting married July 6. And then I’m going to take a very long nap. I don’t work outside of the home except to do PTA and church stuff.
And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…
I write Amish romance. I love romance in general and love to dream up wonderful stories.
How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?
You know how about four kids into your life you suffer from chronic insomnia because you can’t stop wondering what you forgot to do that day—like hug your child or go to the bathroom? That is basically how I started my writing career. One night, a few months after the birth of my fourth daughter, I lingered on my pillow unable to sleep and decided to make up a story. A romantic story, because, really, it’s the only kind worth reading. It took me 15 years to finish my first romance.
After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?
It took about six months from the time I really started writing as a career before I had a contract with a publisher. It was very exciting!
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?
I do a lot of sitting at the computer, staring at the blank screen, hoping by sheer will that words will come to me. The problem is that when I sit still for more than a few minutes, I invariably fall asleep. I have tried to correct this weakness by snacking while sitting at the computer, which leads to another, weightier problem. As long as my inspiration is flowing and my fingers are flying, I can usually stay awake, although, even on good writing days, my son often comes home to his mother sprawled out on the couch in the family room trying to steal a few minutes of sleep. Ideas don’t come easily to me, but I have found that if I ponder and think and contemplate and stew, my muse will wake up (if I am awake) and a great plot or character will speak out. The advantage of being a task-oriented, stay-at-home mother is that many of my daily jobs allow ample time for musing. I ruminate while puffing on the treadmill or running a vacuum over my carpet or taking a shower. I am notorious for long, indulgent showers—my guilty pleasure. I do my best thinking in there. (My apologies to the green movement. But I do recycle!) I spend about four hours a day writing, three days a week. The rest of the week is hit and miss, and I am very slow.
What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?
Writers’ conferences have helped me develop my craft and find agent contacts. I read a lot, and they say reading is the best thing someone can do to improve writing skills. Finding the right agent was also essential. I am not in a writing group because I don’t feel it is the best use of my time, but I know many people love them. Honestly, the two biggest helps have been: 1. My sister, who has a Phd. in English and critiques everything I write, and 2. A little book titled “Self Editing for Fiction Writers.” It is an amazing book about the basics of craft.
Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be? (Explain your answer)
It is so much more work than I thought it would be. Sometimes the ideas WILL NOT come and there is all this pressure to get something done. The writing is challenging enough, but the promotion and marketing are mind-boggling. I still don’t have even a fraction of it mastered.
What are your biggest distractions?
My motto as a stay-at-home mom is: “My interruptions are my work.” My family takes priority over my writing. So, when my children need me, I’m there. I have been able to manage my deadlines in such a way that I have a little more time for distractions.
What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?
Least: Promoting myself. Most: I love reading something I’ve written the day before and saying, “Hey, this is really good!” Sometimes I surprise myself.
What advice would you give to new writers?
Let a lot of people read your work and listen to their suggestions. You don’t have to take every suggestion to heart, but every reader has something to say. Do whatever you need to do to hone your craft. All the marketing in the world is no substitute for a well-written book.
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. Kate’s Song is the story of an Amish girl who is faced with a choice that could forever separate her from her people and the man she loves.
What’s on the book horizon for you?
My next two books in the Forever After in Apple Lake series, Rebecca’s Rose and Miriam’s Quilt, are scheduled for release later this year and next. I am currently working on another series about two Amish matchmakers. It will be super fun.
Last question, how can readers find you and your books?
My books are available online and wherever Inspirational books are sold. You can learn more about me and my books by going to jenniferbeckstrand.com
I love Amish romance stories! I would love to read this.
thanks for the chance to read this beautiful story 😉
Looking forward to reading “Kate’s song”…..I truly love Amish stories. They are so uplifiting!
Hi, I’m soooo happy you have decided to write Amish fiction. I can’t get enough of it and can’t wait to read your new book Jennifer!
looks like another interesting book…there are so many books out there that I’d still love to read. I just have to save up the funds to purchase them.
I love Amish fiction. This book looks very interesting and I would love to read it.
I LOVE to read Amish fiction and would LOVE the chance to win and read your new book. (Though I enter many contests and never win anything. ) LOL
I’m holding on to my bonnet until I can get this book. Looks wonderful!
I would love to win a copy of Katie’s Song. I like to read first time Author’s books.
I HAVE READ THE BOOK KATE’S SONG AND LOVED IT. READ IT IN TWO DAYS. WELL WRITTEN AND THE STORY WAS WONDERFUL.
I would love the opportunity to win this book! Love the cover and it sounds wunderbaar!
Thanks for introducing me to a new writer – bless you, Jennifer!
I just love reading Amish Fiction. From reading your interview, I wondered what drew you into writing Amish Fiction. Are you just interested in the Amish or were you an avid reader, as well. Just curious.
Wow, 6 children~~ I am in awe of you.
I would love to win a copy of your book~~It would be an exciting “new” addition to my Amish Fiction library.
My agent wanted me to try my hand at Amish fiction because it is so popular right now, but I wouldn’t have kept writing if I didn’t fall in love with the genre. The Amish are such simple people and I admire many aspects of their way of life.
I love reading amish books too and so does my mom. Not too many famish authors we haven’t tried! Every one of the books we’ve read have been wonderful and uplifting. There’s just something about an amish book…….love them! Can’t wait to read Katie’s Song!!! Would love to win a copy. 🙂
Stupid auto-correct….sorry….should be amish not famish. 🙂
Need more books like yours to read but can’t afford to buy. Would love to win.
I love Amish fiction. It makes me relax and think how wonderful things are in my life. Would love to win. Something to read when I have my iron infusion treatments. Keep up the wonderful writing.
Would love to read this story!
Enjoyed the interview! I too enjoy Amish Romance. I also enjoyed reading about Jennifer and her writing routine, and life! Gives me hope! Thanks for the great author spotlight! this week looking forward to Jennifer’s New books! Going on the to read list.
Great interview! I love reading Amish Romance. It’s so nice to read a wholesome love story. Can’t wait for more!
I love reading Amish Fiction. Please enter me to win. Thanks for the opportunity.
I can’t wait to read Kate’s Song. Loved the interview with Jennifer. She is a new author to me and it was nice getting to know a little about her. Busy summer ahead for her! Weddings and such! Happy to read that you put your family over writing. Family is so important.
I would love to win a copy of “Kate’s Song”. Sounds like a great read!
This sounds like a good book! I would love to win a copy!
This book sound great . Please enter me in the give away Thank you
I love Amish book, and have a bookcase full of my fgavorite authors. Will be happy to add you to that group!!!!
Just looking at the cover makes me want to read this book. Can’t wait to add it to my collection.
Kates song sounds to be good reading. Perhaps I’ll win a copy
Enjoyed getting to know you in this short interview, Jennifer.
And I’m looking forward to reading your books.
I really enjoyed your interview! I would love to win a copy of your book:-)
I love Amish fiction!
I like Amish fiction a lot. Life is much simpler for them. Or is it?
I love Amish books and would really like to read this book.
i love reading about the amish.i would love to read this book.
This book sounds great! Would love to read it!
Congrats Jennifer on your book. Hope to read it soon. Good luck in book writing.
I haven’t read any of your books but just read your blog. Looking forward to reading your new book. In my experience anytime Suzanne recommends an author then the book is usually terrific. Oops, there goes my favorite adjective again. I love Suzanne’s books and I will definitely be reading yours now that I know your name. Thanks for the info Suzanne. God bless both of you.
It’s not that I don’t have enough books to read already, my TBR pile could probably reach for miles, but I would still like to read this one too. I’m always on the look out for new authors and since Amish/romance are my two favorite genres, this one seems right up my alley.
Thank you so much for this opportunity to win a copy.
I am a big fan of Amish Fiction and would love to know what Kate decided,
I love for a chance to win your book and read it.
Thank you and God Bless
Wonderful interview. The book sounds great. Can’t wait to read it!
Looks great. Would love to win a copy!
I am fascinated with the Amish maybe because I can relate ( I am the tenth of eleven children) so I am always looking for new authors! Love the cover of Katie’s Song and want to just pick it up and start reading!! 🙂
Thank you for the spotlight and the intro to a new auther to my favorite genre. I would love to win a copy of this book!
Wow another Amish writer, yes! I would love the chance to win.
Great Photo on the cover ! I hope to win this !
Good interview, Suzanne. Good to meet you Jennifer. Sounds like you have plenty to keep you busy. And planning two weddings right together, this mo. and next. WOW! So, how can things be quite tho, with two boys? Ha! Good luck with everything. I would like to win this book. Maxie (firstname.lastname@example.org )
I would love to read this book. God bless!
looks like another great book. Will be adding this on the my “to read” list.
I would love to win and read this book.Great interview.Thanks…
Jennifer is a sweetheart, and not only does her book sound excellent, and from all reports IS excellent, her reviews of other books are wonderful! I would love to win a copy of Kate’s Song.
Sounds like a great book! Would love to win!
Enjoyed the interview. I would love to win and read this book. Heard wonderful reviews about it.
Greadt interview! Can’t wait to read this book. There can’t be enough new amish authors or enough new books!!
Would love to win and read this book. Heard some great reviews about it.
Sorry for the second comment. I couldn’t figure out how to cancel it. The first one wasn’t there earlier.
I love Amish romances. And you are right about every reader having something to say. I know I do with each book I read. Sometimes positive sometimes negative. Always nice to discover a new author. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.