Glowing Author Interview #8
Today’s author, Jennifer Hudson Taylor, has written a book that’s getting lots of attention. Highland Blessings, her debut novel, really intrigues me. I love the genre! Jennifer juggles a full life, yet she manages to stay right on top of all the demands of the writing life. And now…
Welcome to Kay’s Words, Jennifer. So tell us, how did your writing life begin?
By the time I was 12, I was an avid reader. I finished watching Gone with the Wind with my mom and decided I wanted to write the next Civil War bestseller. I started writing my first novel that year. I set it aside during my teenage years, but started working on it again after I married in my early twenties. I finished it and had the nerve to pitch it to a Berkley editor at my first Romance Writers national conference in Dallas. Needless to say, that manuscript will stay on my computer.
Oh, but what a great beginning! What do you find to be the most difficult part of the writing process?
Without a doubt it is finding good, uninterrupted, quality time to write. I work a full-time job and struggle with trying not to envy those who get to write at home and have all those hours to contribute to their writing. I feel torn apart like I’m spreading myself too thin to my day job, my family, time with God, household responsibilities, and so forth.
I know there are more than a few readers who will identify with you!
It’s hard to strike a balance and not write with guilt.
I love historical fiction, which is your genre, too. Tell us about your book.
Highland Blessings is set in 1473 Scotland. (I started writing it in 1998 as a secular romance novel. In 2006, I felt called to write Christian fiction and converted it.) Highland warrior Bryce MacPhearson kidnaps Akira MacKenzie on her wedding day to honor a promise he made to his dying father. When he forces Akira to wed him, hoping to end a half-century feud between their clans, she struggles to overcome her anger and resentment. . .Yet her strength in the Lord becomes a witness to Bryce. But there is a traitor in their midst . . . and murder is the ultimate weapon.
Exciting! So tell me, did the plot or characters surprise you with any twists or turns during the writing?
Yes, many times. I wrote Highland Blessings without an outline, creating it as I went. I was so afraid of a sagging middle that I threw in a murder mystery in addition to the faith and romance. Turns out, that’s what I like, a deep, complicated plot.
A sagging middle! Hmmm… Maybe a good murder is what I need! When it comes to new writers, Jennifer, what do you think is the most important thing for them to know when they submit their work?
They need to learn as much about the publishing industry as possible so that they have realistic expectations to ease the disappointments when they come. The publishing process can take years. Nothing in this business is instant. New writers need lots of patience, and if they work a full-time job, plan on keeping it for a while.
Great advice! Is there anything to which you think writers pay too much attention?
I think new writers hear writing rules and then they aren’t sure how to apply them or they try to apply them to every single sentence thinking they are being consistent. For instance, a while back it was stated that writers should avoid using the “was and ing” verbs when possible and be more creative, and limit “ly” adverbs. People literally went through manuscripts and tried to cut every use of those words to the point that it lost something. The same goes with showing versus telling. There are places in a manuscript where telling is useful, but it must be done appropriately and at the right time in the story.
Appropriately and at the right time in the story. Right there is the key, isn’t it? Jennifer, what’s one thing that would surprise us about you?
I cringe when I’m expected to bring a covered dish to a gathering. I always ask my husband to make something for me or I go by the store and pick up something. I rarely cook and when I do, it seems that disaster happens. My husband laughs and jokes about it, but he tells people I’m the only person he knows who can burn up a whole loaf of bread just trying to make 4 pieces of toast. He gives me detailed instructions for my dinner if he’s going to be away or he buys me microwave meals.
God knew what He was doing when he gave you a husband who could cook! So, what’s next for you in the writing arena?
I’m working on a sequel, Highland Sanctuary, that will be released October 2011. It is set three years after Highland Blessings, in 1477 in Caithness, Scotland. Gavin MacKenzie is hired to restore the ancient Castle of Braigh. He discovers a hidden village of outcasts that have created their own private sanctuary from the world. Among them is Serena Boyd, a mysterious and comely lass who captures Gavin’s heart. The villagers have an intriguing secret, while Serena harbors a deadly past that could destroy her future. When a fierce enemy launches an attack against them, greed leads to bitter betrayal. As Gavin prepares a defense, the villagers unite in a bold act of faith, showing how God’s love is more powerful than any human force on earth.
Ooooh, I can’t wait! Thanks so much for coming by!
Thank you for having me, Kay!
To Contact Jennifer:
Writing Blog: http://jenniferswriting.blogspot.com
Carolina Scots-Irish Blog: http://carolinascots-irish.blogspot.com
“My mom made the biggest impact on my life, but she isn’t a writer. She’s an avid reader who knows what she likes to read.”
Jennifer Hudson Taylor