Thursday, October 16, 2014

Jennifer Slattery Interview


Give us a couple sentences describing what you write.
I write what I (and my publisher) term “missional fiction”. This is fiction that has a strong missional or outreach focus, though I like to take this a step further and say I write “missional romance” as I always have a strong romantic thread involved. For example, in Beyond I Do, the missional aspect centers around a homeless shelter my heroine feels called to serve in. 

How would you label the overall mood of your stories: dark, gritty, poignant, sensitive, heart-warming, raucous, light, adventurous, witty?
I’d say my stories have a mix. In the editorial notes for my second book, When Dawn Breaks, my editor called my story heart-breaking and hilarious. Often I write about some tough issues—homelessness, poverty, addictions, foster care. Because of this, I like to add a fair amount of humor, and of course, a great deal of romance. (smile)

What is the name of your latest book?
The book that just released is titled Beyond I Do.

Using any celebrity, past or present, whom would you cast as your main characters?
Oh, my! This is a hard one as, to be honest, I don’t watch much television (except for Ninja Warriors and Shark Tank). Therefore I have zero celebrity knowledge. Yes, I know, I need to venture out in the real world once in a while, but my fictional reality is so appealing. I’d love for your readers to help me out with this question.

Ainsley main character has long, loosely curled hair. Though she initially works as a professionally dressed pharmacuetical representative, she’s much more comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt. Her hearts desire is to sing though she’s too insecure to admit that, and she’d much prefer a picnic in the country to a fancy restaurant.

Her fiancé Richard is an impeccably dressed socialite psychiatrist who grew up around fancy parties and enjoying five course dinners. He loves the symphany, discussing theories regarding abhorrent or dysfunctional behaviors, and has a very dominant personality, especially when stressed.

My third main character, Chris, Ainsley’s neighbor, has a relaxed, often sarcastic side and a huge heart for the impoverished and homeless. He’s also very much a momma’s boy (in the good sense of the word) and sold a thriving law practice in order to move closer to his mother who has early onset Alzheimer’s. Having recently purchased a local coffee house, you’ll often find him working alongside his staff, dishrag in hand. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his aging and arthritic dog.

Knowing all that, what actors and actresses come to mind?

What is the theme of your story and how did you come to it? Any real-life inspiration?
As I said earlier, the story largely centers around homelessness, and this arose from my experiences with homelessness as a teenager and also my experiences serving the homeless as an adult. A big theme in the book is surrender, and much of this stemmed from the angst I experienced when I first sensed God’s call to write. It felt so irrational and unpredictable to me! Much like persuing a career in singing feels to Ainsley.

A sneak peek into what you're working on right now?
I have a second novel coming out in January that I recently finished substantive edits on. It’s about a 51 year-old realtor who’s displaced by a hurricane. New believer Jacqueline Dunn has a strained relationship with her adult daughter, and this is a major regret of hers. Seeing the storm as a chance to begin again and reconnect with her daughter, she moves to Crystal Shores where her daughter lives.

While there, she encounters three children also displaced by the storm who’ve been abandoned by their mother. She also encounters a handsome widower, and the two become quick friends. However, Jonathan Kohen has his own issues to deal with, and Jacqueline isn’t sure she can lean on him in the difficult days ahead. Then there’s the three orphans to consider, especially Gavin. Must Jacqueline relinquish her chance at love in order to be restored? 

Describe your writing space.
Oh, my, is it ever a mess! I do clean it fairly regularly but I have a strange and growing addiction to sticky notes and multi-colored notecards. It’s like if I don’t have it on a slip of paper, no matter how burried that slip of paper is, I’ll forget it. I also tend to migrate. Right now I’m in my office which has a large window allowing me to gaze out into the front yard. Othertimes I’ll work in the living room, gazing through that window at the golf course behind us. So either way I have a wonderful view.

What do you do for a break if you find yourself overwhelmed with writing pressures?
I have a few special friends I love to hang out with, and I’ve learned I must regularly schedule girls’ days in, whether I think I have time or not. These ladies are hilarious and keep me laughing to the point my stomach gets a work out. Therefore, I’m sure there’s a great deal of calorie expenditure taking place, making up for the large amount of heavily-flavored coffees we drink!

Do you blog? If so, leave us the address.
I think I’m a blogging addict! On my personal blog, http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud, I post devotions written by myself or guest authors. I’m also part of two group blogs: http://faithfilledfriends.wordpress.com/ and http://inspyromance.com/, manage a blog for a local homeless ministry, and write monthly devotions for http://internetcafedevotions.com

Bonus fun questions:
Leaves—rake or mow?
Um… Watch my honey do it while I prepare his favorite meal?

Favorite fall movie?
I’m not much of a movie person, but I love, love, love curling up in the corner of the couch with my snuggly blanket and a great book. In regard to novels, my taste is ecclectic but I love anything by Shannon Taylor Vannattor, Mary Connealy, and Carole Towriss.

Author bio:

Jennifer Slattery writes missional romance novels for New Hope Publishers. Her debut, "Beyond I Do", released in August and her sophomore novel, When Dawn Breaks, will release in January of 2015. She also writes Christian Living articles for Crosswalk.com and devotions for her personal blog, JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud; Internet Cafe Devotions; and Takin' it to the Streets', a ministry serving Omaha Metro's working poor and homeless.

When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, hanging out at the mall with her teenage daughter, enjoying her real-life hero husband, or serving in her church or community.


  


Book blurb:

Will seeing beyond the present unite Ainsley and her fiancé or tear them apart?

Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed, socialite psychiatrist. But as Ainsley’s wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream, a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. If she wants to embrace God’s best and find lasting love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.



GIVE-AWAY:
I am currently doing a give-away over at Shannon Taylor Vannatter's blog (where I'm also sharing a true romance story).

4 comments:

Courtney Phillips said...

I read Jennifer's new release and really enjoyed how serving others is a prominent theme. :)
I don't use celebrity look-a-likes for my characters either. Hollywood guys are NOT attractive to me, and the women are too done-up. Ha. That probably makes me sound like a snob.
Good interview, Natalie! I think my favorite fall movie is You've Got Mail, although I'm not sure it is technically "fall-ish". :)

Natalie Monk said...

Thanks so much for being here, Jennifer!!! What a fun interview!

Hmm. I had an actress and two actors pop in my head immediately when I read those descriptions!!!!

I'm thinking Katherine Heigl for Ainsley, Aaron Eckhart for Richard, and Wes Brown for Chris. :)



Natalie Monk said...

Courtney! I LOVE You've Got Mail. Mom always loves it. Especially the quote, "Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address." LOL! That movie cracks me up.

Courtney Phillips said...

When I was really little, it felt like my parents watched You've Got Mail every day. I could (and still can) just about quote the movie. (They always muted the cuss words.)
It brings back happy memories. :)

Okay, now I've gotten y'all off topic....whoops...