Today we welcome Bestselling Author:
She has come to share with us – a little of her own writing journey
and some of that much-needed encouragement.
Thank You Jennifer!
God Bless You!
OK, first – questions:
– Many authors say their first novel will never see the light of day. Was that the case with you… is there a “first” book you’ve written but not published?
My first book was a Western historical romance that hasn’t been published yet. I would really like to publish it because I think it’s really good! However, knowing what I know now – especially about the craft of writing – I can see that the book would need extensive rewrites before I would even consider sending it to someone.
– What major differences could you tell us about in regards to Kensington and Summerside Press?
Kensington is a lot bigger publisher so they have a very specific and time-tested process to get from first edits to publication. Every editor is different. My editor at Kensington believes in less editing, more letting the author tell the story the way she wants to. My editor at Summerside was more hands-on, which was a very good thing because my first book needed a lot of rewriting!
– Would you mind sharing with us how many rounds of querying you went through before getting that all-important “YES!”?
I probably queried 15 agents about my Western historical and got rejections from all of them. I connected with my agent through another agent at a writers conference. It was a serendipitous match.
– How much (if any) of your second book did you have completed before you signed a contract for the first?
My agent, Mary Sue Seymour, asked me to write an Amish book. A few weeks after I had finished it, she sold it to Summerside. So my second Amish book wasn’t even a twinkle in my eye. 🙂
– Do you have any special tips or hints you would like to share with struggling or novice authors out there?
The biggest mistake I see new authors make is not learning their craft. You must learn how to write well or it doesn’t matter how many Facebook likes you have. Learn your craft. Read with the intent to study how good writers write. Practice your writing every day. And don’t give up!
Please join me in thanking Jennifer for taking time
out of a very busy schedule to answer these questions for us.
And I hope all of you have found this as inspiring as I have!
Now for some other info about Jennifer and her wonderful books
And you can find more on her WEBSITE.
I grew up with a steady diet of William Shakespeare and Jane Austen. After all that literary immersion, I naturally decided to get a degree in mathematics, which came in handy when one of my six children needed help with homework. After my fourth daughter was born, I started writing. By juggling diaper changes, soccer games, music lessons, laundry, and two more children, I finished my first manuscript—a Western—in just under fourteen years.
I have always been fascinated by the Amish way of life and now write Inspirational Amish Romance. I am drawn to the strong faith of the Plain people and admire the importance they put on enduring family ties. I have visited and studied Amish communities in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin where I met with a bishop and a minister as well as several Amish mamms, dats, and children. It has always impressed me at what salt-of-the-earth people they are. My interactions with these kind people have been some of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I have a dear Amish friend with whom I correspond in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. She helps me keep my facts straight and gives me inspiration for my stories.
My goal is to write uplifting, inspiring stories with happy endings and hopeful messages. If my books make readers want to give themselves a big hug or jump up and down for joy, I’ve done my job. I am a member of Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers and am represented by Mary Sue Seymour of The Seymour Agency.
There are three Amish romances in the Forever After in Apple Lake Series (Summerside/Guideposts). Kate’s Song, Rebecca’s Rose, and Miriam’s Quilt are all now available.
I have six Amish Romances in the works with Kensington Books. The first and second books, Huckleberry Hill and HuckleberrySummer, are now available in stores and online. The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill is set in northern Wisconsin Amish country.
The series, The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill, is about an elderly Amish couple who try to find suitable mates for their grandchildren. What could be more fun than throwing two young people together to see if sparks ignite? No one would ever suspect two octogenarian Amish folks of mischief.
Romantic Times gave Huckleberry Hill 4 1/2 stars and chose Huckleberry Summer as a TOP PICK.
And now about her books:
Second in the Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series
COMING OCTOBER 2014!
Young widow Beth Hostetler has come to Huckleberry Hill to start afresh and make her own way without the interference of her late husband’s family. In addition to a feisty toddler, Beth has dresses to sew, cows to milk, and great-grandparents to care for. She doesn’t have the time or the inclination to entertain thoughts of a husband, even if every widower and bachelor in Wisconsin seeks her hand. Her first marriage to a harsh, demanding man was hard enough. She is perfectly happy being alone, not answering to anyone but God. Tyler Yoder is no different than the rest. With his infuriating sense of duty, he sees Beth as a woman in need of rescuing. His offer of marriage doesn’t tempt her in the least, but his handsome face and kind heart just might. Will this be the Christmas that she finally finds love?
After having been burned by love once, Tyler Yoder has given up on the whole idea of romance. He simply wants a godly wife with whom he can share companionship and the load of daily living. Beth Hostetler comes along at just the right time. She’s a hard worker, an excellent mother, and a beauty, to boot. And, with a son to raise, she needs a man’s protection. But when Beth spurns Tyler’s marriage proposal and offers to help him find a proper Amish wife, Tyler realizes where his affections really lie. Will he be able to convince Beth that love is at the heart of his persistence? And will she accept his heart for Christmas?
The first book in Jennifer’s Forever After in Apple Lake Series
The expected course of Kate Weaver’s life is baptism into the Amish church and strict observance of the Ordnung. But Kate is blessed with a beautiful singing voice, and when another path leads her to the academy for vocal training, she struggles to understand God’s will for her life. She returns home after a violent encounter with a fellow student, and though she is drawn to the peace and devotion of the Amish lifestyle, could her calling forever separate her from the people and the way of life she holds so dear?
Nathaniel King has never wavered in his commitment to the community and the Old Order Amish Church into which he is baptized. Secretly in love with Kate, he is devastated when she leaves the community to attend the academy. When Kate returns, will she finally make his most profound hopes a reality, or will she break his heart all over again?
Now available from Summerside Press
Book 2: Rebecca’s Rose
Book 3: Miriam’s Quilt
And DON’T MISS this wonderful collection of stories from our favorite authors!
An Amish Christmas Quilt
A collection of short novellas from three of your favorite Amish authors to get you in the Christmas spirit. Available in October!
A bit about Jennifer’s contribution:
Anna and Felty Helmuth’s grandson, Gideon, plans to spend Christmas on a beach in sunny Mexico. But Anna is quite sure he’d rather be with them, snowshoeing, ice fishing—falling in love. And she knows the perfect girl. Not only is Dottie Schrock an excellent quilter and baker, she’s having a party. There’s just one complication—Gideon is not invited. Dottie has her reasons, but Anna trusts that the spirit of Christmas—and true love-will change her mind, and her future …
SO MANY GREAT BOOKS COMING SOON!
Jennifer Beckstrand is a true inspiration to me and I consider her a valued mentor!
She could have balked when her agent presented the idea of writing Amish fiction but she didn’t. She dug in her heels and got started! I admire her so much for that!
GOD BLESS YOU JENNIFER! And may you continue writing for years and years to come!
God Bless You all and Have a GREAT week!