It's that time of the week again, and I have to say I was pretty excited about this next interview. You all know I'm an Indie author of clean, Christian romance novels. But, you may not know that I am a mother of four children and the wife of a preacher. It's great to get to travel around with my husband as he preaches at different churches and meet new people.
That's why this particular interview really struck a chord with me. Jenn Faulk is a stay at home mom and pastor's wife in Texas. She writes Christian Chick lit and has some wonderful advice for us. Read the article below to find out what this sweet lady had to say.
Me: What inspired you to write your first book?
JF: I love Jesus, and I love reading sappy sweet chick lit. Unfortunately, a lot of the really good chick lit out there leaves readers with little hope in anything beyond romance, feelings, and a happily ever after. My heart is to share Christ with others, and Jesus Himself shared profound truths about faith, hope, and grace through storytelling. As I began writing my first book, my goal was to keep it fun and entertaining, like good chick lit should be, but to also point readers to Jesus, to redemption in Him, and to faith in His love. Twenty-three books later, that's still my goal and the inspiration behind every word I write.
Me: What books have most influenced your life most?
JF: My favorite fiction writers are Liane Moriarty, Catherine McKenzie, Beth Kendrick, Jennifer Weiner, Denise Hildreth Jones, and Rachel Hauck. There is so much to be learned from reading writers who are so masterful at storytelling, and although these particular women range from inspirational fiction to just outright secular chick lit, reading their books has taught me a lot about writing.
Me: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
JF: I do! Social media has been so great in keeping me connected with faithful readers who are always so encouraging and so much fun to get to know. Every week, I get a few emails from new readers who write to tell me that my books have encouraged them in something they're going through in their lives. I hear from a lot of pastors' wives especially. When you're in vocational ministry and trying to figure out what that means for the rest of your life in terms of friendships, parenting, and just surviving (lol!), it's hard to find safe people to share your joys and frustrations with, and I find that a lot of those readers in particular are just glad to hear through a story that someone else "gets it." Been there, done that, and am STILL there, sisters. It's a joy to write characters who triumph and flourish even in difficult situations, and I love hearing that others are encouraged to be reminded of God's faithfulness.
Me: How do you reach your readers? (Social media, giveaways, etc.) And, which has been the most successful?
JF: Promos are great for reaching new readers. I've had the most success with Book Bub, by far. I find that guest blogging helps as well, along with giveaways and speaking engagements, mainly to MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) groups. My blog and my social media accounts -- Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook -- are great for keeping readers up to date with new releases, giveaways, and sales on the older titles.
Me: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
JF: I once had a woman write me a very long letter telling me why she hated one of my characters and how it would keep her from ever reading another one of my books. He was/is a flawed character, which came into play in the story and served a great purpose, but she didn't finish the book and didn't get that. It was a tough thing to take, knowing that something I made up had so offended someone like that, but on the bright side, at least she was really moved by the writing, right? The best compliment I've been given was from a reader who was reading one of my books while waiting for a difficult diagnosis from a doctor. She said the book was timely for her, reminding her that God doesn't always answer our prayers the way we want Him to but that He always has a purpose and a reason behind everything He allows. I was so encouraged to hear that a sappy sweet chick lit story had communicated a very deep truth about God and His faithfulness to her at just the right time.
Me: What or who inspires you to write?
JF: Seeing God's faithfulness in action inspires me to write. Reading about Jesus and how He changes lives inspires me to write. Hearing about those who serve Him gladly and live daring lives for Him inspires me to write. I'm daily encouraged by my sweet husband and pastor to keep on doing what I'm doing, and as I study Scripture and write into the lives of my characters what I myself am learning in my own walk, I'm affirmed in what I'm doing as I'm sharing these truths with others.
Me: Can you tell us what you're working on right now?
JF: Yes! I'm in the last stages of a book for my daughters (they're in the third and fourth grades), which is a follow up to A Little Faith, a book I wrote for them a few years ago about two pastor's daughters and all the adventures they have. I'm also working on a book called Taking Chances, which tells the story of Mark Jackson, a quirky missionary who returns to the US for his niece's wedding, and Jill Walker, a woman with a difficult past who is still trying to figure out how it all fits into her new faith. They end up on a road trip together, and as one complication after another meets them, they learn more about who they are, what God wants for their lives, and one another. I'm so excited about finishing it up this spring and sharing it with my readers!
Me: How can readers discover more about you and you work?
JF: I blog faithfully at www.jennfaulk.com and have an author page on Facebook. I can also be found on Instagram and Twitter.
Trust me when I say that it isn't easy trying to raise a family, share the burdens as a preacher's wife, and writing books. Visit Jenn's website and give her some comments of encouragment!