Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I have Jennifer Delamere as my guest. Jennifer’s parents sound like they’d be the starring characters in a contemporary romance novel — the journalist and the Navy pilot. I love it! As an Army brat, I can completely understand moving around a lot, and I think that also inspired my love of reading and traveling. It’s always fun to have a guest that I can relate to. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did. Read on to see how you can enter to win a copy of her latest release!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’m the youngest child of a Navy pilot and a journalist. We moved around a lot during my formative years. I credit this for both my love of travel and my love of reading. These days, I live in North Carolina. This affords me plenty of opportunities for day hiking, which is my favorite away-from-the-computer activity. For my “day job,” I’m an editor and project manager for a company that produces educational materials. I love reading history books, so when I became it writer it seemed inevitable that I would want to write historical fiction. My books are set in Victorian England, a time and place I find fascinating. It was a time of great innovation, with many shifts in technology and culture—and in that sense, not unlike our own times!
Tell us about your current release. Line By Line is the first book in my new series about three friends who are telegraph operators in Victorian London. Almost from the beginning, telegraphy was an occupation pursued by women as well as men. Sometimes they worked in separate departments, but more and more, men and women worked right alongside each other. It didn’t escape too many people at the time that this setup could easily give rise to workplace romances. That’s a fun fact that I’ll be pursuing in this series.
Since she was young, Alice McNeil has seen success as a telegrapher as the best use for her keen and curious mind. Years later, she has yet to regret her freedom and foregoing love and marriage, especially when she acquires a coveted position at an important trading firm. But when the company’s ambitious junior director returns to London, things begin to change in ways Alice could never have imagined.
For Douglas Shaw, years of hard work and ingenuity enabled him to escape a life of grinding poverty. He’s also determined to marry into high society—a step that will ensure he never returns to the conditions of his past.
He immediately earns Alice’s respect by judging her based on her skills and not her gender, and a fast camaraderie forms. However, when Alice accidentally angers a jealous coworker and his revenge threatens both their reputations, Alice and Douglas are forced to confront what is truly important in their lives. Will their growing bond give them the courage to see the future in a different light?
If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Absolutely. My primary aim is always to write books that are entertaining, interesting, edifying, and inspiring. If my book accomplishes any of those goals for a reader, I feel it has been a success. That said, there are always spiritual themes in my books, and I do hope they strike a chord with the reader and help them see some aspect of their lives in a new light.
Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? It’s quite the opposite, really. I’m always striving to become a better writer, because I feel that’s what will ultimately help me reach a larger audience.
How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? I sold my first book in the fall of 2011. Self-publishing was still very new at that time, and I never really considered it as an option. Today, I still prefer traditional publishing. I’m thankful for my publisher’s support in marketing, the art department making fabulous book covers, and most of all for the high-quality editing support. These things help me focus on the writing, which is what I love most, and make me feel I’ve produced the best book possible for my readers.
Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? I have the “big picture” elements laid out before I begin writing. I have a synopsis that’s about 8-10 pages long. My books always end up following that general thread (so far!), but there is also room for discoveries along the way. Characters will surprise me at times, and new plot threads will emerge. That’s always exciting! My synopsis is more like a general framework within which the creative process can still thrive.
What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? There are times when I struggle to figure out what the next scene should be, despite my synopsis. That’s when I find it really helpful to brainstorm with another writer. Talking it out helps me clarify where I’m going. This discussion helps spark new ideas in my mind, plus she’ll offer suggestions that I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. I love that collaborative process. At other times, when I know what scene to write but can’t figure out the best way to approach it, I’ve gone a different route. I step away from the computer and sit somewhere comfortable with pen and paper and begin writing the parts of the scene that I do know. That seems to free up a different part of my writing brain. Before too long, the scene begins to take shape, and I know how to use those writing scraps I started with.
Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever had a great writing idea? Not sure if this counts, but when I was visiting the Roman Baths in Bath, England, I came across a display in the little museum there that suddenly sparked an idea for an interesting and probably very odd time-travel story. I have yet to write it, but perhaps someday I will!
What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Write the book you want to read. It’s the best way to discover your writing “voice” and allow it to develop and thrive into a style that is uniquely yours. Understand also that writing is a craft, a skill that needs to be developed. Learn from writing workshops, books, and fellow authors. Not every piece of information you get from others will work for you, but much of it will (or can be adapted to your unique writing process). Don’t expect perfection the first time around. Keep working at it. Enjoy the journey!
Here is where you can find Jennifer online:
Webpage : www.jenniferdelamere.com
Jennifer is giving away two copies of Line by LIne to a reader! See below how to enter to win: