Glowing Author Interview #7
Today, I am pleased to introduce Jennifer AlLee, author of a hot-off-the-press novel, The Pastor’s Wife. She has a lot of good stuff to say, so…
Hello, Jen! Welcome to Kay’s Words. Hey, your book that just recently hit the shelves… what’s it all about?
Maura Sullivan thought she knew what she was getting into when she married soon-to-be pastor Nick Shepherd. But when she realized the “other woman” in her marriage was her husband’s congregation, she ran. Six years later, she finds herself back in the small community of Granger, Ohio, for the reading of a curious will that names both her and Nick as beneficiaries. Now Maura must face the husband –and the congregation – she left behind.
Interesting. What was your motivation for this story line?
I served as a church secretary for many years which definitely gave me a unique perspective on the lives of a pastoral family. When I was working on the original concept for this novel, I thought about the pastors’ wives I’ve known over the years. They’ve all handled themselves with amazing grace under pressure. But what if another woman couldn’t? What if a young woman thinks she knows what she’s getting into, but the reality of losing her unique identity and being forced into the mold of a “pastor’s wife” is more than she can handle? What if a tragic event pushes her over the edge? Would she run? And what would happen if she had to return to the scene of her heartbreak years later? All those questions eventually became The Pastor’s Wife.
This is going to sound funny, but right now, my favorite is Lainie, who is a supporting character. She’s the new youth leader at the church and I have a whole story about her written in my head. For a lot of writers, I think their favorite book or character is the one they’re about to write. Having said that, I don’t have firm plans to write Lainie’s story anytime soon, but I’d love it if that door would open!
Good foreshadowing, Jen! Do you see anything of yourself in Lainie? Or in Maura, for that matter?
I don’t put too much of myself into my characters, but a little something always slips through. I love horses, so I made the hero in my first book a rancher. In The Pastor’s Wife, Maura shares my love of the performing arts. And most of the females in my books love chocolate, but that’s an almost universal passion!
Umm, can’t lose with chocolate! I’ve always wanted to write, and I find that most other writers tell me the same thing. Is that true of you?
I’ve always wanted to do something creative. I’ve dabbled in art and photography and I’ve done lots of acting and singing through church and community theatre. But through it all, since I was in grade school, I was always writing. It’s the thing I love and do best (although I’m still known to belt out spontaneous show tunes on occasion).
Many writers have a “day job.” Is that true with you?
In my early writing days I had lots of different jobs, most of them secretarial in nature. But I haven’t had a true day job for about six years. I’m very blessed that my husband had enough faith in me to say, “Okay, honey. You stay home and write.” In essence, he handed me my dream. Of course I was then responsible to pursue the dream, even when I felt like it might never come true!
First the dream, and then the challenge. So how do you manage to balance writer’s life with rest of life?
I think it would have been much harder if I’d sold my first book when my son was younger. But he’s a teenager now, so he totally gets it when I have to bury my head in the laptop. And my husband is just excited that I’m working at something I love. Makes me less cranky.
If you had do-overs, is there anything you’d do differently in regards to your writing career?
Early on, I had a bad habit of completing a manuscript and not writing anything new while I tried to sell it. What a terrible idea that was! I know authors who got their first book contract and had a whole inventory of work ready to go because they just kept writing. I wish I’d done that… and I aspire to be more like that now.
So now you are a published writer! How does it feel?
It’s bizarre to see my name and book cover popping up in random places. I like it, but it takes me off guard! Also, the reaction I get when people learn I’m a writer is always interesting. Some folks are impressed, some give an indulgent smile and nod (like they’re thinking You poor dear), and others begin to immediately pitch the book they want to write. Turns out, being a writer is a pretty good conversation starter.
What are you working on now?
You’ll probably think I’m schizophrenic, but I have three books in the works: one is contemporary women’s fiction, one is a historical romance, and the last is paranormal. My childhood love of multiple genres has stuck with me!
And you’re taking your own advice to write, write, write!
Jen says: I’d love for you all to visit me in cyberspace. You can find me at any of these spots:
website – http://www.jenniferallee.com/
personal blog – http://jenniferallee.blogspot.com/
group blog – http://inkwellinspirations.blogspot.com/
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/jennifer.allee
Twitter – http://twitter.com/jallee
“With every book I read, I became more excited about writing books of my own.”