Blog Archive

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Getting to the Heart of Romance at Christmas: Author Interview with Jennifer Faye

Jennifer Faye is a two-time RT Book Reviews Top Pick author. Maybe that’s partly due to the fact that she has spent most of her life with her nose in one book or another. It was only natural that she dreamed of becoming a romance writer and spinning the tales of the imaginary people running around in her mind. But first life took her on a couple of detours. Refusing to give up on her dreams, she finally succeeded in getting her name on a book cover. When she’s not glued to her laptop writing another contemporary romance (which isn’t often) or enjoying some family time, she loves to get lost in a good book.

Your bio says that your first career was as a statistician. How in the world did you switch over to writing?

I’ve been writing since I was a little kid and asked Santa for a typewriter. Not long after, I would write short stories and pass them around the lunch table. But I was also gifted with a knack for numbers. I loved them. They were like a big puzzle just waiting to be figured out. So when I grew up and had bills to pay and kids to feed, being a statistician provided me with a steady paycheck while I continued to write in my spare time.

Prior to writing your first novel did you already have writing credits with magazines or any other type of writing?
Before writing my first complete manuscript, which is still under the bed collecting dust balls, I didn’t entertain the thought of writing for magazines or newspapers. I just wasn’t drawn in that direction. I’ve loved to read all of my life and it is fiction that has its grip on my heart. ;-)

When did you decide to start writing a novel? How long did it take you to write it? How many rewrites did you do?
I wrote my first complete novel by hand when I was nineteen. I think I broke every writing rule known to man, but the greatest part of the whole exercise was that I knew I could write a story from beginning to end. That’s a huge hurdle for a want-to-be writer. I honestly don’t remember how long it took me to write it. I’m guessing six months or so. And I didn’t get a chance to rewrite it as it got lost while moving. But in hindsight, I think it’s for the best. I still had a lot to learn. ;-)

With my current release, Snowbound With The Soldier, I rewrote the beginning twice until I got the right tone. And it went through two rounds of editor revisions to bring forth the emotional element. I think the book really benefited from the extra work.

Did you ever want to just throw in the towel and say it’s too much work to get published?
I definitely considered throwing in the towel when I got my first rejection. I was so certain that I’d nailed that story and it really stung to get a form letter rejection. I swore that I was done writing. My resolution might have lasted a couple of weeks…maybe a month at most. I had to write, even if it was just for myself. BTW, that very first rejection came from the publisher/line I write for now: Harlequin Romance. ;-) Perseverance does pay off!

How did you first go about finding a publisher?
I found my publisher via their So You Think You Can Write Contest. It a global contest they run once a year. I entered Snowbound With The Soldier and waited. When the winner was announced and it wasn’t my story, I refused to give up on this story. I just hadn’t figured out my next step. But at the same time I already had a full manuscript under consideration with Harlequin Romance. Then out of the blue I got an email saying that my manuscript, Snowbound With The Soldier, was one of the Final Five in the 2011 So You Think You Can Write contest.

Did you try to get an agent?
No. At this point I haven’t tried to get an agent. With Harlequin’s series lines, you can have one, but it’s not a requirement. Should I decide to branch out into other areas with my writing, I will consider acquiring an agent.

Who encouraged you to write?
Honestly, no one. I’ve had my nose between the pages of books since I was a little kid and my mother taught me to read. I thought books were amazing. I mean you could go on adventures with pirates or time-travel. With books, my imagination took flight and I loved that feeling!

Were you active in any writing groups?
Yes, I was. When I first got serious about my writing, I joined the From The Heart Critique Loop. I really enjoyed my time there. The ladies are so kind and helpful. And eventually I took over as the chairperson of the loop for a few years. I think critique loops can be so helpful to beginning writers.

How long does it take you to write a book today as opposed to your first novel?
When I first got serious about my writing, I could write a book in a few months. But oh my, the rewrites were awful. Back then I was writing by the seat of my pants and it wasn’t pretty. I got frustrated with the number of times I had to do rewrites so I started exploring other writing processes.

These days I can write a book in a few weeks. But I first write an outline/synopsis so that I have a roadmap. Not that my characters don’t head off on detours. That’s the fun and surprise of writing. ;-)

How many times do you rewrite a chapter or do a full edit?
It depends on your definition of rewrite. I don’t per se rewrite chapters. Now that I outline, the framework of my story is pretty solid on the first pass. But I will go over a chapter numerous times up’ing the emotion or adding a new story thread that I discovered in a later chapter.

How many hours a day do you write?
I spend my mornings doing writing admin stuff and social media. I spend my afternoons writing. My evenings are a toss-up. It all depends on which has a more pressing deadline, the writing or the admin.

Do you have a word count goal daily?
When I am on a deadline, I write a minimum of 2k per day. I have a spreadsheet that shows me how much I must write per day to meet my deadline and still leave time to go back over the manuscript and revise it.

How long did it take before you could quit your other job and write full time?
I worked for a lot of years as a statistician, but my hubby knew that my passion was my writing. So when the opportunity to write full-time presented itself, my hubby encouraged me to take it. At the time I wasn’t published. I was just very lucky to have such a wonderful, supportive husband.

How much does social media play in your promotion of your books?
Social media plays a big part in my life. But I honestly don’t have any advice for other authors at this point. I’m still tossing things out there and seeing what sticks. It’s a learn-as-I-go process. I also think that what will work for me, won’t necessarily work for another. You have to find what works for you. Because if you aren’t happy promoting your work, it will show. And you want to have an enjoyable experience for yourself and your readers.

What is the best advice you’ve learned you’d like to pass along to other aspiring writers?
My very best advice to aspiring writers is to:
Read. Read. Read.
Write. Write. Write.
Rinse and repeat.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed your interview, Jennifer. I'm looking forward to reading your book.