Today I welcome my Twitter friend, author Jennifer Wilck.
Hi, Jennifer! Let's start with how you got started with writing.
I’ve always been interested in words and writing. In elementary school, I used to LOVE vocabulary tests (yes, as you can guess, that made me REALLY popular with the other kids in my class). Although I’ve never been the most creative person – I have set ideas about what things should and should not be – I’ve always loved reading and writing. And when I saw how authors I read created stories, I wanted to try my hand at it. In the beginning, I used to tell stories to myself in order to fall asleep at night. Some of those stories would stick with me and replay in my head, over and over again. So then I started writing them down. Most of what I wrote didn’t actually lend itself to an entire story; it was more like a scene. But eventually, I was able to flesh out the scenes and make them longer and longer.
When and why did you decide to seek publication?
I’d had an idea playing in my head for a while and no matter how much I tried to move away from it, I couldn’t. So one evening, about seven or eight years ago, when there was no TV on and I was bored, I decided to sit down and write what was stuck in my head. I got so caught up in what I was writing that I just kept at it. I’d add to it every day, whenever I had time, which was usually at night. I have two kids, so writing during the day was not possible. When I finally finished the story, I didn’t want to just put it aside and forget about it, so I decided to submit it.
What was finding a publisher like?
The experience of finding a publisher was discouraging for a very long time. There were lots of rejections, most of which never listed a reason. But during the time that I was querying publishers, I joined RWA and met a lot of great people. I entered contests and attended conferences and spoke to agents and editors, who gave me great advice. I revised and rewrote and resubmitted and eventually found a publisher.
How did you react when the acceptance notice came?
It was pretty funny actually. When my husband proposed to me, for some reason, I had a really hard time looking at the ring. Of course, I said yes, but he thought I was nuts because I couldn’t look at the ring for the longest time (you’d think he would have taken that as a clue that I ACTUALLY am nuts, but he didn’t and now he’s stuck with me). The same thing happened when my publisher, Whiskey Creek Press, said yes. They sent me a lovely email letter and after I read it, I turned off my email and just sat there. I’d turn it on, glance at the letter, and then turn it off again. I did this several times before I could actually let myself believe that they really wanted to publish my book.
What's your advice for other writers?
My advice for other writers is number one, keep writing. The more you write, the better you get. Number two, talk to people. Show them your work. Get their feedback. Don’t necessarily take every piece of advice you get, but the more people you talk to, the better you will be able to determine what needs to be improved and what doesn’t. Number three, remember writing is a business. Be professional. Don’t burn bridges. Act in the way you’d like others to treat you. And number four, enjoy yourself. Have fun. If what you’re working on isn’t coming together, put it down and try something else.
Very sound advice. Thanks, Jennifer!
One day, I started writing them down (it was either that or checking into the local mental hospital—the computer was way less scary) and five years later, I’ve gotten two book contracts from Whiskey Creek Press. A Heart of Little Faith came out in June; Skin Deep is coming out in November.
In the real world, I’m the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men I know. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading, traveling and watching TV. In between chauffeuring my daughters to after-school activities that require an Excel spreadsheet to be kept straight, I serve on our Temple Board, train the dog we adopted from a local shelter, and cook dinners that fit the needs of four very different appetites. I also write freelance articles for magazines, newspapers, and edit newsletters.
When all of that gets overwhelming, I retreat to my computer, where I write stories that let me escape from reality. In my made-up world, the heroines are always smart, sassy and independent. The heroes are handsome and strong with just a touch of vulnerability. If I don’t like a character, I can delete him or her; if something doesn’t work, I can rewrite it. It’s very satisfying to be in control of at least one part of my life. My inspiration comes from watching the people around me and fantasizing about how I’d do things differently.
I can be reached at www.jenniferwilck.com or Facebook, and I tweet at @JWilck. My blog is Fried Oreos, and I contribute to Heroines With Hearts. My books can be purchased through WhiskeyCreek Press, or via Amazon and Barnes & Noble.