Give us a bit of your background (where are you from, your family, traveling adventures)
Born in Ohio but raised in Pickens, SC, I graduated from Converse College with a triple major in history, politics, and English before earning my Masters in Education. A sports enthusiast, I returned to my high school alma mater to teach English and coach volleyball, winning four state championships and six upper state titles in ten years. I live with my husband, daughter, eight beagles, and two cats. Knight of the Dead is my first published novel.
Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?
England, both to London and to the Lake District. Just something wildly romantic about the setting.
What is one silly fact about you?
You’d probably be able to tell if you met me more than once, but I love to change my hair color, and I mean drastically. From blond to a deep red mahogany, and even to an orange creamcicle color—sigh— I found myself with this last summer. Thus, my heroines tend to have the flavor of the season too. For instance, Persephone, from Knight of the Dead, has long, wavy deep red mahogany hair to match my color last winter when I was writing the romantic suspense. When I started working on my volleyball romance this past fall, I was a brunette; thus, my newest heroine Randi has the same light brown color.
What got you started on your writing journey?
I’ve always loved words. As a child, I earned the nicknames motor-mouth and jabber jaws for my love of talking and telling stories. Later, as an avid reader, I wrote mainly to analyze. I viewed life in terms of paper topics! Still, I played with writing short stories and poetry. Then life took over—I became a wife, mother, teacher, and coach—and even though I continued to read, I rarely wrote anything creatively.
About ten years ago, some teacher friends and I were talking about books and decided to try to write our own. One friend found her groove with the challenge, and has had numerous novels published. I spent years on two connected novels, both still looking for the right home. However, at the encouragement of my friend, I tried once again to write a romance. I choose the name Persephone for my heroine in Knight of the Dead because I teach mythology, and used the tale as a springboard.
What other things do you have planned with your writing for the rest of the year 2013?
I’m working on a contemporary volleyball romance that I hope to finish by spring break. Here’s the premise: Bad decisions make great stories. Recently appointed girls’ volleyball coach at Keowee High School, Randi Sly spends the night with rival coach Blake Steele because she gets sick from drinking too much wine. Pressure builds, rumors swirling about their relationship as the two coaches battle for the State crown. Will Randi win the championship eluding her since playing for Keowee ten years ago, or will she win the heart of the handsome coach from Saluda instead?
In addition, I hope to find a publisher for my Drown series before the end of the year.
How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
In Knight of the Dead, Persephone and Mark both like basketball, and I live for sports. However, Persephone’s propensity for accidents kept her from participating, whereas I lettered in three sports in high school and played volleyball in college with zero trips to the emergency room in my career as an athlete. Also like Persephone, I waited tables before returning for my teaching certification. And who doesn’t need money!
Obviously in my current work in progress, my coaching experience comes into play—at least in the game scenes and conversations.
Please share about your book
Knight of the Dead: Persephone Richards is in a pinch. With a wrecked car and bills stacking up, the income from her job at the daycare isn’t enough. Mark Lawrence needs a sitter for his little girl and Persephone is perfect for the job. What begins as an employment opportunity leads to romance. However, a secret Persephone hides threatens the happy ever after and puts the three of them in danger.
If you could sum your main character into five words, what would they be?
Persephone: Beautiful, fiery, clumsy, Southern, charming
Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?
Persephone and Mark meet at the perfect time in their lives, when they both need and desire what the other can offer. The complications to their love story only enhance the fulfillment at the end.
Do you have a favorite character you have written so far?
I love Mark’s four-year old daughter Rose. She reminds me so much of my daughter at that age.
Thanks for being with us, Jennifer!