My Books!

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Heart of Little Faith

Readers, please help me welcome the fabulous Jennifer Wilck to the blog.  Jennifer, I'm so thrilled to have you come by.  Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Sure, I’m the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men I know (my family loves laughing at me whenever I say this). 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, running youth group activities, training the dog, and cooking dinners that fit the needs of four very different appetites, I write freelance articles for magazines and newspapers and edit newsletters. I’ve been writing forever, it seems, and it took me five years to get my first publishing contracts. I’m a member of RWA, although I’m horrendous at actually getting to meetings, and EPIC.

With a schedule like yours I'm surprised you have any time to write!  How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?
I think my writing reflects my personality to some extent. There’s a certain way my characters speak and interact with each other that I think readers who know me might recognize. While overall, the books are not a reflection of me, there are snippets in each one that are mine. For example, in A Heart of Little Faith, there is a massage scene where the heroine, Lily, talks about giving her dad massages when she was little. That’s something I used to do. In my next book, Skin Deep, coming out in November, Valerie and her family go to the racetrack on Thanksgiving. That’s something my family and I used to do every year when I was growing up.

Most people think authors live glamorous lives. Describe a typical writing day.
Hah! That’s funny. First of all, I don’t have a typical writing day, or a typical any day, for that matter. I stick writing in whenever I can, based on what’s going on at the time. During the school year, I try to write in the early afternoons (after errands, before kids get home—can you tell I’m a mom?). Now, with my kids at sleep-away camp, I’m not bound by school schedules, so I can write for longer periods of time throughout the day. I’m amazed at how productive I’m being! J I used to write at night, and I still do sometimes, but I’m better focused in the afternoon (and a lot less sleepy). That’s not to say that if I need time to write or edit or get that kind of work done, I don’t get the time. My family’s been very supportive of me and helps me out whenever they can. 

Having the support of your family  means a lot.  When writing a new book, how do you decide on a theme, genre, or topic?
Most of my ideas tend to be romance, so that’s what I write. A scene or a dialogue between characters just seems to pop into my head (I joke around with people and say that I’ve got so many voices talking in my head, it’s either writing or therapy, and writing’s cheaper) and I write them down. If it’s any good, the rest of the story will follow. If not, I just save it and hope to use it another time. Sometimes I get an idea from a movie, TV show or even a commercial or song. It makes me think of something, or a minor character will inspire me, and I write. 

If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?
Well, one of my favorite authors is Lynn Kurland. She writes time travel/romance and I love her books. So I’d love to meet her, pick her brain, find out more about what inspires her to write. I think the other author I’d like to meet is Charlotte Bronte. Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorite books. I’d love to talk to her about her book, what it was like to be an author back then, etc.

I haven't read Lynn Kurland, but I'll give her a try.  Would you share your links with us?
Happy to! You can reach me at any one of the following places:

Blog (my own): Fried Oreos
Blog (contributor): Heroines With Hearts

We’d love to read an excerpt from one of your books. Don’t forget to leave us a buy link. 
Gideon entered his sister’s crowded SoHo gallery in Manhattan and glanced at his watch. If he was lucky, he could make a quick appearance and leave. Garish paintings and semi-pornographic sculptures, coupled with snooty patrons and pseudo-intellectual artists, bored him. A mélange of overpowering perfumes blasted his olfactory nerves and he grimaced as he quickly tried to breathe through his mouth. He’d only come to support Samantha, and with any luck she’d be too busy with potential buyers to do anymore than register his presence, leaving him free to make a hasty exit. In the meantime, he needed to find something to eat before he starved to death.

Across the room he spied black-clad catering staff and made his way around half walls and columns to check out their offerings. At least he thought they were catering staff. With black continuing to be the customary dress code of New York art patrons, he could never be too sure. Still, silver platters were sure to give them away. Before he’d gotten halfway across the converted warehouse, a waitress materialized in front of him, offering champagne and scallops wrapped in bacon. Pendulum lights from above glinted on the crystal glasses, and the smoky scent made his mouth water. He snagged a glass of champagne and two scallops, and popped one immediately into his mouth. The ice cold glass chilled his fingers and provided a welcome relief from the warmth of the overcrowded room. The scallop melted in his mouth, leaving the taste of crisp bacon for him to savor. A little bit of heaven

He saw Samantha and made his way over, past old gentlemen sitting on oversized ottomans comparing notes, willow-thin women chatting about the Hamptons and a few art students staring at the scene with longing. He waited until she noticed him. They said their hellos quickly, and she apologized as another group of people swept her away. He nodded his understanding and, with his duty complete, headed back the way he’d come.

He’d gone about twenty-five feet when something caught his attention. Surrounded by movement — the friction caused by the artist’s use of flashy, contrasting colors against stark white canvas, the undulating positions of the sculptures, or the constant swaying of people in the room — her stillness drew his eye. All other sights and sounds disappeared as he approached her. He no longer heard the chatter and laughter around him. His vision tunneled and all surrounding sights disappeared into a fog. His ears picked up only the sound of her fingernails tapping the crystal goblet and magnified it until her tapping became the beat of a song for him alone. The jasmine scent of her perfume floated toward him and made him think of summer vacations in a tropical paradise. Distracted by her, he didn’t notice those around him trying to get out of his way. 

She stood motionless in front of a painting. The spotlight above illuminated her brown hair, turning it a fiery red tinged with gold, her skin a luminous peach. Her blouse, made of some gauzy material he couldn’t name, but longed to touch, draped gracefully over her shoulders and down her back. With the lights pouring down on her, he could just see the outline of her body. The barely there whisper of an outline attracted him more than any wet T-shirt ever could. Her black-flared pants hugged her hips the way he once had held a woman, gently but firmly. 

He stared at her, bedazzled. He only intended to look for a moment, but she turned around and met his eyes. Caught red-handed he contemplated turning around, but that would be cowardly. He couldn’t continue to stare at her without appearing either moronic or rude, especially since he hated when people stared at him. He inhaled and tried to muster up a smile, when another man approached her. Breaking their gaze, she turned and smiled at him. Gideon inched closer. He heard her engage the other man in casual conversation before she gently excused herself. As the other man walked off, she turned back to Gideon and smiled. Her green cat eyes pierced his soul and made him believe she could see right through him. He continued to watch her, entranced.

“Hasn’t anyone taught you it’s impolite to stare?”

Struck by the irony of her question, he burst into warm laughter and shook her outstretched hand. Her soft cool hand fit completely within his hard, callused one and he closed his other hand over hers. He felt the delicate veins beneath her skin, her pulse beating in her wrist and wished to prolong the skin-on-skin contact for as long as possible. Reluctantly, he let it go.  

“I’m Gideon.”


“Are you a fan?”

Lily stared at him blankly for a moment and blinked quickly. “Oh, of the artist’s?” She turned once more to look at the painting, tilting her head to the right. “Not exactly. He’s a little too…”

“Much? Bright? Vulgar?”

Lily laughed. “I see you’re a huge fan. No, maybe, I don’t know. The colors are cheery, if only maybe there weren’t so many. But looking at it does brighten my mood.” 

“Bad day at work?”

“Terrible. But why are you here if you don’t like the artist?”

Gideon turned and pointed to Samantha on the other side of the room. “She’s my sister.”

Lily raised her eyebrows as she looked over at the gallery owner. 

“Oh, Samantha’s my best friend. I didn’t realize you were her brother. So I guess she roped you into this too?”

He sat back and gave her what he hoped was a relaxed grin. “Brotherly duty, or some such nonsense. Apparently I pulled one too many pigtails as a child and this is my penance.”

Lily laughed. She has a great laugh, he thought. It lit up her whole face. “Samantha had pigtails?” 

The two of them turned to look at Samantha, currently sporting short and spiky jet-black hair, with small rhinestone barrettes scattered throughout. “You’ll have to fill me in more later,” Lily added, as she stifled a yawn.

“What, is it my stimulating conversation, or these garish paintings that bores you?” Gideon asked, one eyebrow raised.

Lily apologized. “I’m sorry. I had a long day at work and I’m exhausted. I wasn’t even going to come, but Samantha begged.”

“She tends to do that. I’ve told her it isn’t a pleasing trait, but why should she listen to me? I’m only her big brother.”

Find out more about Samantha’s big brother in A Heart of Little Faith, available from Whiskey Creek Press this month! Part of the proceeds from the sales of the book will be donated to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

A Heart of Little Faith is available in print or e-book format from Whiskey Creek Press and Amazon:

Jennifer, thank you so much for stopping by.  I'll be sure to check out A Heart of Little Faith.


Zequeatta Jaques said...

Read your excerpt, Jennifer, and your book sounds very interesting. I understand having to write around family obligations.

Francine Howarth said...

Hi Elaine and Jennifer.

You're getting around girl (J), and lovely interview!

I'm going on a shopping spree to Amazon at the weekend: "A Heart of Little Faith" on my list of to buy!! ;)


Jennifer Wilck said...

Zequeatta, thanks for stopping by and writing around family is a challenge, but worth it! Yes, Francine, I am making the rounds! Luckily for me, they're in cyberspace. And thank you!

Paula Martin said...

Hi Elaine and Jennifer
Great interview. I well recall the days when I had to juggle my writing around the demands of career and family, and I know it's not easy. But it's great that you have your family's support.

Debra St. John said...

Hi Jennifer, it's so nice to 'see' out and about! I totally agree with you, I wouldn't know a typical writing day if it came up and bit me. No day is ever the same.

Hello, Elaine! Thanks for another great interview...

Ana Morgan said...

I wish I had a typical writing day!
Most of us write around the other demands of our lives, I think. Our determination and passion keeps us going.
Great interview, Jen

Jennifer Wilck said...

Thanks for stopping by, Paula, Debra and Ana!

Elaine Cantrell said...

Thanks everyone for coming by. Both Jennifer and I appreciate it, and I can't wait to read that book.

Jennifer Wilck said...

Thanks so much for having me, Elaine!