Happy Wednesday, Readers and Writers! Contemporary Romance Author Jennifer Wilck joins me today. She's sharing an excerpt from her New Release, Learning to Love. Welcome, Jennifer!
Tell us a little about yourself. When and how did you decide you wanted to become a writer?
I think I’ve always entertained the possibility of being a writer in the back of my mind. There have been several writers in my family, so I grew up around the excitement of published books and name recognition. I’ve always loved writing but didn’t consider seriously pursuing it as a career until I joined the New Jersey Romance Writers of America and saw that it was indeed possible. My kids were young then, so I wrote when they were sleeping. And I haven’t stopped since!
Tell us about Learning To Love. What inspired your story?
This was such a fun book to write. It’s part of my Serendipity series, but can be read without knowing about the other books. The characters are Jewish, and the hero briefly visited in the other books, but he was more of an antagonist or best friend. I wanted the chance to redeem him and make him hero material. In the previous books, he’s a pretty shallow guy and I searched long and hard to find his soul.
How do you create your characters?
They tend to pop into my head in some form. Dina, the heroine of Learning to Love, was inspired by the character of Spencer Reid of Criminal Minds. He’s a genius with a photographic memory, and I loved the idea of taking some of his attributes and giving them to her.
Do you work with a critique partner? What is a typical writing day like for you?
I have several critique partners without whom I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. One is a huge help with plot. She and I talk about the big picture and how to get our stories from A to B to C. My other three meet with me once a month and we critique about 25 pages at a time of each other’s work. We approach the work like a reader would, so we don’t know what’s going to happen. They find things that I’d never find on my own, and they all make me a stronger writer. As for my typical writing day, I usually start with marketing and editing in the morning, and writing in the afternoon. Of course, that can change depending on other things going on in my life, but in a perfect world, that’s my schedule.
What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned (thus far!) as a published author?
I think the most surprising thing is the highs and the lows that can come from the smallest incidents. A great review can put a smile on my face all day. A rejection from an editor can make me doubt myself, even while I’m looking at all the things I’ve done and still plan to do. So I’ve learned that I have to find a way to be happy with what I’m doing regardless of external forces.
Have any authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?
Again, I’d say my critique partners have been invaluable.
Where do you write? Is there anything you need or like to keep handy when you’re writing?
I have a desk, but I tend to write at the dining table or on the sofa, depending on what other things I’m doing (like eating). I write on my laptop, so I can move around when I want. I enjoy looking out the window and in the nice weather, I like to write out on my deck.
I’ve always considered Contemporary Romance a difficult genre to write in, as it is a task to make seem extraordinary what we might observe around us in everyday life. What draws you to this particular sub-genre, and how do you tackle its challenges?
I agree with you. It’s the genre I find easier to write in, as I don’t think I’d be able to tackle all of the research required for something like historical romance, and I’m unable to create worlds for paranormal. But I like tackling issues from everyday life and giving them the solutions I often wish for.
Beside writing, what other interests do you have?
I spend a lot of time with my family, and I love to read and watch TV and movies. I also enjoy photography.
What do you like to read? What is the best story(ies) you’ve read in 2018?
I love reading historical romance and military romance, as well as some women’s fiction. I just finished Sonali Dev’s A Bollywood Affair and I think it might be my new favorite book. Her descriptions were so vivid, I felt like I was there and the characters have stayed with me long after I put it down.
What is the best advice you’ve been given along your writers’ journey? What advice would you give to aspiring authors who are just starting out?
Don’t give up. Keep writing what you love. Study the craft and don’t be afraid to try something new.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on a four-part series about wealthy philanthropists and the women who bring them to their knees.
That sounds exciting! I'll definitely be on the lookout for your next series! In the meantime, keep reading for an excerpt from Jennifer's latest release, Learning to Love!
Jennifer started telling herself stories as a little girl when she couldn’t fall asleep at night. Pretty soon, her head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Even as an adult, she thinks about the characters and stories at night before she falls asleep or walking the dog. Eventually, she started writing them down. Her favorite stories to write are those with smart, sassy, independent heroines; handsome, strong and slightly vulnerable heroes; and her stories always end with happily ever after.
In the real world, she’s the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men she knows. When she’s not writing, she loves to laugh with her family and friends, is a pro at finding whatever her kids lost in plain sight, and spends way too much time closing doors that should never have been left open in the first place. She believes humor is the only way to get through the day and does not believe in sharing her chocolate.
She writes contemporary romance, some of which are mainstream and some of which involve Jewish characters. She’s published with The Wild Rose Press and all her books are available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Learning to Love Blurb
Dina Jacobs is a single librarian who has never fit in due to her off-the-charts intelligence, frizzy hair and rounder-than-socially-acceptable figure. She left her past behind until she receives an invitation to her ten-year high school reunion, and all her insecurities return.
Adam Mandel is a single corporate attorney who just missed his third deadline at his father's law firm, the law firm where he is up for junior partner. With his reputation on the line, Adam needs all the help he can get to convince his father that he deserves the promotion.
When Dina and Adam run into each other on a deserted road, Dina thinks Mr. Flashypants can't possibly be interested in someone like her. Adam thinks Dina is just the person to help him improve his reputation. Lies and insecurities force them to take a look at themselves. Can they trust each other to look beyond the surface?
Learning to Love Excerpt
What the hell just happened? She wanted to be friends. The only kind of “friend” he wanted to be with her had “boy” attached to it. No, that wasn’t true. He enjoyed her friendship because he loved talking to her, hearing her opinions, sharing himself with her.
But he was becoming more attracted to her. So far, they’d only kissed, but that one kiss, that unbelievable kiss, haunted him. His lips still burned where they’d touched hers, his insides still turned to jelly when he thought about it. In fact, he’d been hoping there would have been more kissing in her apartment once he’d apologized for his gaffe.
But she’d focused on their arrangement and her overreaction, and here he was pulling away from the curb into rush hour traffic.
She thought he was dating her only to impress his father. If he were one hundred percent honest with himself, he’d acknowledge the partial truth in that statement. But the more time he spent time with her, when he wasn’t royally screwing things up with her, the more he wanted to move beyond their arrangement.
His head was another matter. It was still focused on not making a fool of himself, on maintaining the right reputation, on spinning the right message.
But listening to his head was probably what had gotten him into this mess in the first place. As unbelievable as it might sound, it was time to follow his heart.