Author Spotlight- Jennifer Pierce

So, the whole Thanksgiving week got a little nutty, and I failed to post November’s Author Spotlight in a timely manner. As penance, I will be gifting three copies of my friend Jennifer’s book Gifting Grace to lucky commenters on this post. But I guess it’s not penance when it’s something I actually enjoy doing… Guess I’m going to have to work on that. I’ll draw names on 12/15. Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty, shall we?

Jennifer Pierce

Jennifer currently lives in Arkansas with her husband and two children. Her debut novel, Hidden Danger, is a 2019 Selah Award winner, and her second novel, Expecting Danger is a 2019 Selah award finalist. Her third novel, Deadly Connection released on October 20, 2020. Giving Grace, a contemporary romance Christmas novella will release on November 13, 2020. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and River Valley Writers.

  1. What unfinished writing projects do you have gathering dust in a drawer? Do you think you’ll ever try to publish them, or were they just part of the learning process?

Oh my goodness, I have so many. I’ve got several started that I’d love to see through to publication. But I tend to have something shiny syndrome. I’ll work on something a little while and then move to something else. I have a novel that started as a writing prompt for a blog I read. It was “Your one night stand from last night turns out to be your new boss.” I write Christian fiction and didn’t want to have the actual one night stand happen so I changed it to an intellectual one night stand. My characters meet at a club, where they are the designated drivers. They decide to get to know each other better at the diner down the road while their friends party. The female lead has just lost out on a promotion to someone outside the company. She commiserates during their conversation. Unbeknownst to either of them, the male lead is the one that has taken the job. There’s snarky banter thrown through out what I’ve gotten written so far. I have ideas for a couple more romantic suspense novels, a couple YA novels, and a couple contemporary romance novels. Now if I could just choose one and finish it.

2. What do you love about the genre in which you write?  

 I love suspense and mystery. I personally like to try to guess who the bad guy is when reading a book or watching a movie or show. Writing it lets me try to stump the reader. It’s fun being on the opposite side of it.

3. Do you keep a diary or journal? Do you find this practice helps you be a better writer or process character emotions more deeply?

I do not keep a diary or journal. I’m a paralegal by trade and love crime shows, movies, and books (true crime and fiction). Never put anything down in writing that can be used against you. Lol.

4. In the Bible, do you have a “life verse” that’s significant to you? Do you find yourself exploring this theme often in your work?

My favorite verse is Proverbs 18:10-The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous run to it and are safe. I write that verse any time I sign one of my books. I did include the verse in my debut novel, Hidden Danger.

5. Which part of the book creation process do you like best– brainstorming, writing, editing, marketing?  

I love brainstorming. I like getting random ideas and thoughts thrown out and then organizing them into a story. Making each piece fit together like a puzzle.

And there you have it! I can personally attest to the awesomeness of Jennifer’s books, and hope you’ll check them out. Here’s the cover image and blurb for her latest book along with the ways and means to connect with Jennifer on social media. Drop a comment below for a chance to win an e-book copy of Giving Grace!

Nothing is more embarrassing than Grace Dixon’s dog peeing on the new mailman. Except maybe when she thinks she’s hit the handsome man with her SUV.

When he’s assigned to cover an injured co-worker’s route, Evan McDonald assumes it will be like any other mail route he’s done. But then he meets Grace Dixon, and he’s thrust into total Christmas chaos.

As Grace spreads the love of God and Christmas cheer to her community, she encourages Evan to join her. The two grow close as Evan learns about giving of not just possessions but of time and grace, setting him back on the path to God.
Grace is a force to be reckoned with, though, and when she shows compassion in a situation that Evan disagrees with, he realizes he might not be the right man for her. Will Grace’s lifestyle of giving overwhelm him, or can he muster some of that grace and compassion she so easily spreads?

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Author Spotlight- Shaen Layle

I’m so excited to have my lovely friend, Shaen here for an interview! She’s one of the sweetest, most encouraging people I know, and her cozy mysteries are amazing! Seriously, check them out. You’ll thank me later. 🙂

After the interview, I’ll give you a few ways to connect with Shaen and purchase her upcoming release. There may or may not be a drawing for one of her mysteries down there too.

We’ve all had funny experiences, and that’s no different for a writer. What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever had happen to you as a writer?

I don’t know if this one is funny, or just a near miss! Last summer, I was asked to take part in a suspense anthology with quite a few well-known authors. I was the new kid on the block and had never written suspense before. Needless to say, I was a little intimidated. I went over my story with a fine tooth comb, yet the day before I was supposed to submit it, I realized that one of the other author’s stories featured a main character with the same name as one of mine. I felt like I needed to change it so there wouldn’t be any overlap, and in my panic to find the right name, I ended up mistakenly changing my villain’s name to my editor’s! Luckily, I caught my slip up right before I was sending the email to my editor and changed it again. I can only imagine he wouldn’t have appreciated me immortalizing him as a killer in my story, after all his hard work beating my manuscript into submission, lol!

Oh, my goodness! Keeping fictional characters names from being offensive to a friend or acquaintance can get a bit hairy sometimes. Do you have any quirky writing habits?

Kind of? This is just something I’ve started doing recently, but painted fingernails help me be more productive! Seriously, I know you’re laughing, but for me, it’s the equivalent of Jo (from Little Women) and her askew writing cap. I can look down and see my hands on the keyboard and just feel more professional and put together.

Maybe my chipped nail polish explains my writer’s block. Need to paint my nails tonight. In the Bible, do you have a “life verse” that’s significant to you? Do you find yourself exploring this theme often in your work?

I do! Like a lot of authors, I write about what I’m trying to learn myself, and a verse I often explore, over and over again, from different angles, is Romans 8:28… “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”

In Waves of Doubt, Priscilla has to learn to trust God’s plans and stop doubting His prompting. In A Slowly Developing Story, as a mystery falls together at a frustratingly slow pace, Elizabeth learns to rest in God’s provision. In Bird’s Eye View (my most recent cozy mystery release from Guideposts), Martha discovers her impatience and desire to control her situation don’t serve her well. It’s only when she lets go and submits to God’s overarching plan for her life that the mystery falls into place. I hope everyone who reads my books can take comfort in that truth: God is good and in control, even when things look like they’re falling apart.

In the times we’re in, it’s a comfort to know that God’s in control. That’s one of my favorite themes to read, for sure. Which part of the book creation process do you like best– brainstorming, writing, editing, marketing?

This is going to sound bad coming from a writer, but I actually enjoy the marketing part most! Is that a shocker? Let me clarify by saying that, of course, I enjoy the other parts of the process, too– I wouldn’t be a writer if I didn’t like writing! But crafting the actual book is often an arduous process for me. I’m super detail oriented and have to fight tooth and nail with my tendency to over-work a document. Marketing doesn’t have the same pressure associated with it… I guess it’s like birthing a baby versus sending out birth announcements!

Interesting! But it makes sense. How do you think your writing style has changed over the years?

Hmm, this is an interesting question… I think I’ve found my unique writing voice more as I’ve gotten older, probably because I’ve gotten to know my own self better. My natural voice (which I sometimes adapt based on the genre in which I’m writing) is very focused on crafting beautiful language– a holdover from my days writing poetry in college. When I was younger, I didn’t cultivate this part of my style as much, but now, it’s the part of writing that brings me the most joy 😊

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions and giving us a peek into your process!

Here is the blurb for Shaen’s upcoming release.

Shaen’s Author Bio:

I’m a USA Today Bestselling author who writes inspirational cozy mystery from my home in the Midwest, where I live with my artist husband, Danny, and our two rambunctious, but adorable, little boys. Trained as a literary novelist and with a decade of librarianship under my belt, I love discussing all things bookish with my readers on my website and on social media.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorShaenLayle

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shaenlayle

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shaen_layle/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/shaenlayle/

I want to give one of you lucky duckies a copy of A Slowly Developing Story. It’s a fabulous cozy mystery that I’m sure you’ll love! Comment below to be entered in the drawing. I’ll contact the winner on September 10th.