Tuesday, April 21, 2015

In Love with Small Towns: Author Interview with Jill Kemerer

When did you decided to write your first novel?
I was just out of high school and frustrated by a book I’d just read, so I decided I would write my own book! It ended at page twenty-two. Needless to say, I realized there was more to writing a book than deciding I could! The writing bug bit me, though, and I started writing full time years later when I had my first child.
Why did you choose to write contemporary romance? Who are some of your favorite contemporary romance writers? 
I love reading contemporary romance, and it seemed a natural fit. I have so many favorite authors! I’ve been reading a lot of Christian contemporary romance lately. Becky Wade, Beth Vogt, Carla Laureano, Mellissa Tagg, Denise Hunter and Rachel Hauck have released terrific books in the last year or two. I’m a huge fan of Love Inspired, also. Jill Lynn, Allie Pleiter, Gail Gaymer Martin, Missy Tippens, Tina Radcliffe and Brenda Minton are all must buys!
How long did it take you to write the first book? How many rewrites did you do on it? Who helped you with the editing? 
I wrote my first full length novel eight years ago. I didn’t know much about revising, so I did very little. Small-Town Bachelor, my debut novel, was actually the thirteenth book I’d written. I did extensive rewrites!
Both your novels are published with Harlequin’s Love Inspired Line. How many other publishers or agents did you pitch?
I’ve had a terrific agent, Rachel Kent with Books & Such Literary, for four years. We pitched several books to various publishers, including Harlequin Love Inspired, and I’m very thankful to have sold this book. As anyone trying to get traditionally published knows, there’s a lot of waiting involved. From the time we submitted the proposal (and there were requested revisions on that) to the time I got the call was about a year.
Have other books been started and stopped along the way? 
Oh, yes! As I mentioned previously, I’ve written thirteen novels. My early books were great practice, but they are not fit to be published. I’m proud of the last six books I wrote, though, and hope to see them in print someday, too.
What is your writing discipline? How many hours a day do you write? Do you have a word count goal daily? 
I track my writing/revising progress daily. From plotting to the final polish, it takes me four months to write a short novel (55,000 to 60,000 words). It takes me around six months for a longer novel (85,000-95,000 words). Writing is my full time job. I spend at least an hour every morning on the business and promotion side. I usually write, revise, or plot six hours a day, four days a week. I set one weekday aside to run errands and manage my household, and weekends are spent with my family.
What type of publicity do you do to promote your book? What has worked best for you in generating sales?
 I do the typical publicity. I have a reader-focused website. I scheduled a month-long blog tour, sent out press releases, sent review copies out and hosted several giveaways. I’m not sure what will work best, but I’ll be tracking it in the future.
You were part of a collection of 22 stories and recipes with other “Love Inspired” writers a few months back. How did that come together? 
I was blessed to be approached by Dana Corbit, an amazing Harlequin Love Inspired author. She asked if I would be interested in submitting, and, of course I was! I’m thrilled to be included with so many of my favorite authors. All of the proceeds benefit children’s charities, which to me is the best part!
What do you know now about writing/publishing now that you wished you had known sooner?
When I first started writing, I believed in talent. But after seven years of rejections, I learned it was really all about hard work and a willingness to study and grow.
What is the best advice you’ve been given about writing or that you’ve learned that you would like to pass along? 
The best advice? Keep writing! Never quit.
That's it for today's interview. If you would like to learn more about Jill's writing, here's some great links to get you started:
Website: http://jillkemerer.com      Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJillKemerer
Interested in purchasing Small-Town Bachelor? Click on http://jillkemerer.com/books/small-town-bachelor/ for links to purchase!