LAURIE: Jenn, I'm so glad you could join us today to talk about your debut book with Anaiah Press and your writing journey. What inspired you to write this story?
JENN: My father died in January 2014 and I spent the rest of the year with my nose in books. I read a total of 135 books that year. In the beginning of 2015, I thought "I can do this." And I did. This book started with one scene and developed from there.
"All Maggie Jones wants to do is sell her late father's property and get out of Whitehaven, Texas as fast as possible - before she runs into the one man she's spent the past six years avoiding. Someone has other plans for her though. Sinister plans. And when a seemingly harmless act of vandalism turns into a series of menacing threats, she has no choice but to turn to the last person on earth she wants to see for help.
Sheriff Cody Smith never expected to see Maggie again, especially after he'd broken her heart all those years ago. Maybe this is the second chance he's always wanted. But when he realizes Maggie's in grave danger, he intends to keep her safe at all costs. With lines from an old nursery rhyme as their only clue, he needs to find out who's behind this deadly game before the rhyme ends and Maggie's time runs out. Can he protect her, catch the bad guy, and make amends for past wrongs? Or will old wounds get in the way?"
LAURIE: Well, I must say, I LOVE your cover! And how did you come to be published with Anaiah Press?
JENN: I had written "Hidden Danger" and submitted it to another publisher. It was rejected. I decided to sit on it for awhile and get a second book finished and maybe pitch them both. One day I was on my lunch break and scrolling through social media. A friend posted on Facebook that #PitMad was happening on Twitter. I thought "Why not?" I boiled my 56,000 word novel down in to a 144 character pitch. I got a "like". I submitted the synopsis and first three chapters. One week later I got a request for the full manuscript. Then I was offered a contract.
LAURIE: And I understand this is just the first book in the series coming out then?
JENN: Yes. This is my first novel. I was close to finishing book two when I signed the contract on Hidden Danger. I finished the book and sent it to my editor. She offered a contract on it as well. I'm currently working on edits for it.
LAURIE: What draws you to writing romantic suspense as opposed to straight up romance or romantic comedies?
JENN: I don't know what drew me to it. Maybe it was because I had been reading mostly Harlequin's Love Inspired Suspense. It's funny, I never really read much romance until my dad died. Before then I preferred mysteries and thrillers.
LAURIE: Are there any authors who've influenced you in your writing? Do you have any favorite authors?
JENN: Marion Faith Laird is in my local writer's group. She has a novel with Harlequin's LIS line. She helped me a lot with my writing. I'm also friends with Angela Ruth Strong on Facebook. I love her Resort to Love series. I've had a couple of brainstorming sessions with her. I'm actually friends with several authors and they are all so helpful.
LAURIE: How long has it taken you to get published and what advice would you give to other writers trying to break in to the Christian market?
JENN: I finished "Hidden Danger" in 2016 and participated in #PitMad in 2017. It just released with Anaiah Press on January 23, 2018. As for trying to break in, get on social media and follow other authors and publishers you intend to submit to. Know what they require and what's a no-no. Never give up. If you get a rejection from one publisher, try another. Keep reading and keep learning the craft.
LAURIE: What hobbies do you like to do when you're not writing? Anything else you'd like our readers to know about you and your work?
JENN: Hanging out with my family. We like to play card games like Phase 10 and Skipbo. I love to read, too.
LAURIE: And finally, how long do we have to wait for your next book?
JENN: That I can't tell you. I don't have a specific release date, but I do know it will be in 2018.
LAURIE: Thanks again for being here today, Jenn. If you're looking for a romantic suspense read, you can find Jenn's book on Amazon.com.
I'm a military wife who's raised two wonderful special needs children to adulthood. We've lived all over Canada and are still on that journey. When I'm not writing, I can be found spinning, knitting, and hanging out with my dogs.