# Please introduce yourself and your book
My name is Jennifer L Wright, and my debut novel is ‘If It Rains,’ which released July 6 from Tyndale House Publishers
# What inspires/inspired your creativity?
I find inspiration for my stories through life experiences. I have always been a naturally curious (or nosy, depending on your point-of-view!) person, and I started out working in the journalism field, which was the perfect fit for my insatiable inquisitiveness about the world around me. However, the demands, pace, and heavily political climate of a newsroom wore on me fairly quickly, and I soon knew journalism was not the right fit. When my family and I moved to New Mexico in 2014, I witnessed my first ever dust storm and that natural curiosity reared its head once more; I devoured every book, movie, and tv show I could get my hands on about dust storms and—eventually—the Dust Bowl. It was from this research that ‘If It Rains’ was born.
# How do you deal with creative block?
If deadline allows, I try to take a break. I get up, take a walk, go for a run, or do something creative that’s completely different, such as paint or play music. There are times, however, when my deadline is so tight, I have no option but to power through. I force myself to put SOMETHING on paper, knowing I can always come back later and make it better.
# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
The biggest mistake I’ve found with new writers is the tendency to ‘info dump,’ putting a ton of backstory in the first chapter and spelling out exactly what is going on. There’s a fine balance between putting just enough information so that your readers won’t be confused or lost and putting so much information that there’s not enough action to keep your audience reading. It’s a balance that comes with time and practice; my advice is to always err on the side of your readers. Trust in their intelligence. Chances are, they will figure it out.
# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
I honestly think choosing a title is even harder than writing the book itself! If it’s not your strong suit, I recommend asking for help. I was very fortunate to have such a wonderful team at Tyndale that helped with my title and cover design.
# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
Bad reviews and negative feedback hurt. They really do, and I don’t think it’s something you ever truly get used to. But what does come is the realization that it’s part of the job. You learn to separate the feedback that’s genuinely helpful and the kind that’s mean just to be mean. The most important thing to remember is that books are highly subjective; you will never please everyone. Feedback can be useful, but the most important thing is to be authentic and write the book you want to write.
# How has your creation process improved over time?
I used to be highly critical of myself and self-edit as I was writing the first draft. My first novel (which did not end up getting published) took me over two years to write because I was writing and editing at the same time. Trying to get it “right” on the first go around stifled my creativity. Now I focus on just getting the words out and on paper during that first draft. Making it “good” comes later. I’ve found the process to be much smoother this way (and much more enjoyable).
# What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
I was very surprised just how LONG the publishing process is, especially if it’s your first novel. Not only do books take a long time to write, but it can take months or years to find an agent, and then months upon months of being out on submission. Then, if you’re lucky enough to score a deal, it can take anywhere from 12-18 MORE months before the book is actually published. It is a long-term game, and patience is key. The worst thing is the lie that “It only takes one yes.” It actually takes SEVERAL yeses before your manuscript becomes a book, and each time that next decision comes is excruciating. But the best thing about it all, though, is that it’s so, so worth it. 🙂
# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers?
Though it sounds selfish, I always aim for personal satisfaction over reader satisfaction. Because taste in books is highly subjective, I feel like catering to one specific demographic in an effort to attract readers leads to a lack of authenticity in my writing. I don’t ever want to be seen as playing a role or pandering to my audience. I try to write books that *I* would enjoy reading and hope they find their way into the hands of readers similar to me.
# What are your plans for future books?
I have another book coming out in summer 2022 from Tyndale. I can’t give many details yet, but I will say it’s a coming of age story set against the backdrop of the Trinity Test in 1945.
# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
I am a military spouse so I live the life of a nomad. I’ve lived in three different countries and four different states over the course of the past 13 years. Each of my children—fur or human—were born in different places, and my house is filled with a unique collection of all the different cultures we’ve been blessed to experience. I long for a place to truly call home, but I also don’t know that I’d ever be able to settle in one place for too long. We’re always looking for that next adventure!
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Publisher Information: https://www.tyndale.com/p/if-it-rains/9781496449306
‘If It Rains’ is now available at Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Books-A-Million, or anywhere else books are sold.