We are excited to introduce you to bestselling author Jennifer Brown. Jennifer writes women’s fiction and middle grade fiction. Check out her latest suspense thriller SHADE ME. For a complete list of Jennifer’s books please visit her website www.JenniferBrownAuthor.com.
So how do we know an actual real-deal author? Kristi is friends with Jennifer. I asked them for a photo and this is what I received.
As you can see they work out together and are both a little camera shy.
We are grateful to Jennifer for giving us some insight and advice that keeps with this summers theme of creativity in life. Do you ever wonder what surroundings a bestselling author works in? What inspires them? What other creative talents they have? If so, read on!
1. What inspires you creatively?
I have always found that enjoying other artistic endeavors (mine or otherwise) tends to inspire me. A great book, a meaningful song, a deep movie, a poem or painting that I connect with — when I see something great that someone else created, it makes me want to create, too.
2. What kind of surroundings do you like to write in?
I can write in pretty much any kind of surrounding, but don’t love dark and gloomy areas. I tend to keep it to my kitchen table, where I’m surrounded by windows and can see and hear what the kids are up to. I can’t really write to music, unless it either has no words, or has words in a foreign language I can’t understand. My brain just latches onto words too easily, and it gets distracting.
3. Who inspires you?
In terms of inspiring specific pieces, that could be different on any given day. But in terms of who generally inspires me to write and makes me want to be better what I do? Stephen King. He’s a master storyteller and I wish I could spin a yarn the way he does. Also, Lin-Manuel Miranda, because he packs so much meaning into his work, and I love deep meaning in art. And Marian Keyes, because her work is light and fun and romantic and sexy.
4. How old were you when you started writing?
Gosh, even before I could write, I was a storyteller. I would draw pictures and tell the story out loud as I turned the pages. I wrote my first short story when I was eight. I wrote a picture book in high school. I’ve just always written for my own entertainment. I started writing with the hope of publication in 2000. I was *mumblemumble* years old.
5. Do you have any other artistic outlets?
Here’s the thing. I can draw and paint pretty well, but it gives me the rage. Like, serious rage. I hate it so much, so I never do it. I do, however, play piano. It was something I wanted to do my whole life, but never had the opportunity until I was an adult. I’m self-taught and try to practice every night (when my cat, who loves nothing more than to walk across the keyboard, will let me).
6. How long does each stage of the writing process take?
Depends on the project, actually. It takes me a lot more time to write a 100,000 word YA or adult novel than it does to write a 40,000 word middle grade novel. Also, my writing availability fluctuates through the year, depending on how much I’m traveling to speak, whether there are holidays, or if I’m just personally busy. But generally, it goes something like this:
Writing the rough draft takes anywhere from 3-6 months. After turning it in, there is a several-month wait for my editor (and others in the publishing house) to read it and write a revision letter, and also suggest revisions on the manuscript itself (the length of time on this really fluctuates, depending on the editor’s other projects and workload). Depending on how heavy the revisions are, that stage can take me anywhere from 4-8 weeks to complete. Then I wait a couple months to either get another revision letter, or (if the editor feels the revisions are complete) to get copyedits. Copyedits are detail edits, and grammar tends to be pretty cut-and-dried, so they take much less time – hardly ever more than a couple weeks. From there, within a month or two, I get what’s called first pass pages, which is where the book is laid out and I can make one final look-through to fix any small errors that have been missed. That takes about a week. During this whole process, the editor (and others) is working with the designer to come up with a cover and any interior design, and not long after first pass pages, I will get ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies). Those tend to come out a few months before the book is released, to give reviewers time to look at and review the book before it comes out. I would say the entire process, from idea to bookshelf, can take around 18-24 months. Patience is a must-have skill for any writer.
7. What advice do you have for kids & adults who dream of being a published author?
It’s never too early; it’s never too late. Read. Read a ton, actually. And try to absorb what you’re reading in terms of style and craft. Pay attention to what makes a story good and what makes a story bad (in your opinion). Write. Every day. Even if you’re just playing with bits and pieces of stories and techniques. And, finally, believe in yourself. Too many would-be authors give up too easily. You are going to have days, weeks, months, years, where you are certain that you stink and it will never happen for you. You will get rejected. You will get bad reviews or hateful emails or harsh critiques. That’s just part of being in the business. Sometimes the writer who gets published isn’t necessarily the best at writing; she’s just the best at believing in herself and sticking with it the longest.
We so appreciate Jennifer taking the time to share herself with us. We’d like to congratulate her on her nomination for the 2016-17 Gateway Award for Torn Away!
Don’t go yet! We have exciting news!
Jennifer is hosting a give-away on her Facebook page. You could win a signed book by Jennifer Brown and this fabulous necklace from our Literacy Kansas City Collection.
Here’s how you enter:
- Visit Jennifer Brown’s Facebook page and find the post announcing this contest. Don’t forget to “like” her page to keep up with news and announcements.
- Post a comment and link on her contest post telling her which of our Hang Ups products you absolutely love. You can find us at www.hangupsinkc.com.
- The contest runs from August 9th through August 26th, 2016. It is open to US Residents only.