OUR AUTHOR SAYS:
Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about?
My job is heavy and rarely do I see a happy ending – so the happily ever after of romance is a great escape to balance that. And I think if you add in some laughs along the way it makes people feel good.
What appealed to you about it?
The lightness which is the opposite of most things in life. Real life is heavy enough for me, I want something that makes me laugh and ends up happily ever after.
Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?
With More than the Game, using social media to help drive the story was different and appealed to readers. They love seeing the tweets getting a peak at things sometimes the characters didn’t even know yet.
How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it?
I don’t really think about a topic and decide to write about it. Its more the characters just start yapping in my ear and will not stop. The start telling me about who they are and the crazy weird thing that happened to them which becomes the meet cute. And the more I try to ignore them the louder they yell their story at me. Is this not normal? Does this not happen to everyone? LOL
Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?
No I’m weird and plot things out in my head. I get a general idea of the characters where the story is going. And then I just sit down and write it.
How long does it take to research a topic before you write?
So I research probably way more than I need to write my story. For example, my second book I need some farm knowledge – I spent waaaaay to much time learning about equipment and field rotation. But I like to have a working knowledge that the character would have even if I use almost none of it for the book. It helps me get to know my characters better.
And for this book?
I was lucky enough to know a pitching coach in MLB for this book. He answered a lot of questions for me and talked me through a lot of stuff. He also let me talk to a few pitchers and it helped a lot to get in Marc’s head space.
What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?
I mean I start with google, but talking to people is the best. Find someone who does it and ask them ALLLLLL the questions.
How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police, medics etc when you say you want to write about them?
I do know a few police officers, a few firefighters, some emt, etc. They would be helpful but I haven’t gotten to write a story using them yet.
How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?
Oh man. So many. And yet not nearly as many as I’ve heard others have gone through. I queried 25 agents total with this book. I had two offers of representation. And both women were super helpful and detailed when I asked so many questions.
Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?
So neither self nor traditional publishing is wrong or not real. Its more about what you want. Both have pros and cons and both are A LOT of work. I think too many people think I’ll just self-publish because it is easier, that is not true. You have no help and have to wade through the mind field of the industry without back up. And if you don’t do it correctly and check the boxes rarely, are you successful. I also think people wrongly assume if you traditionally publish the publishers do the work for you. No – you still have to edit; you still have to Market- A LOT. I think if you are an author looking to publish a book, you need to do your research and look into both option and understand what you are getting into before you decide which route you want to go.
Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened? Right now for me – no – it doesn’t. Might it in the future. We will see.
What is the funniest thing that happened to you on a book tour?
Or what is the funniest thing that has happened to you when writing / researching a book?
What do you read when you are ill in bed?
I’m a mom – do we get to be in bed when we are ill??? Man I’m definitely going to tell my kids they’ve been withholding sick days from me. LOL. No seriously when I’m down I always pick up anything by Susan Elizabeth Philips. Her stories are my favorite medicine.
What is your favourite genre?
Romance – contemporary especially if it can make me laugh.
If you could recommend a living author – who would it be?
Susan Elizabeth Philips is my favorite.
Which author had the most influence on your writing? Your writing style? Your writing genre? Susan Elizabeth Philips. The first book I ever read by her—It had to be You—hooked me to romance forever.Her perfect balance of laughter and real-life issues grips your heart while make everyone in the room look at you like your nuts for laughing out loud over a book. My job is heavy and rarely do I see a happy ending – so the happily ever after of romance is a great escape to balance that.
In your opinion who is the funniest author now writing?
I really love Max Monroe for a laugh. That duo cracks me up pretty much every time.
Have you ever tried to imitate another author’s style? And if so, why?
Not really. I have way of telling a story whether verbally or on paper that is very me. However there are plenty of authors that I think do a great job of balance the art of laughs with creating relatable characters that the reader can connect with and I hope to do that as well.
What have you done with the things you wrote when in school?
Lost them. LOL. I’m one of those people who doesn’t hang on to stuff.
Do you have any pets?
If so, what are they?
We have a Cat – who flips between sweet as sugar and mean as a snake depending on her mood. So basically – I have a normal cat. And then we have paint turtles that my son hatched from eggs eights years ago.
And what are they called?
The cat’s name is Jags. The turtles are named after the seven dwarfs but don’t ask me which is which only my son can tell them apart (and really I think he just makes it up)
Do they help you write? Eg our cats like to sit on my desk/computer and play with my mouse.
No but Jags does sit with me a lot.
What is the funniest thing they have done while you are writing?
Mostly she and Andy (my three year old) spend time terrorizing each other. One minute Jags is scared of Andy the next Andy is scared of Jags. Like ping pong balls.
Which of your books / series are you most proud of?
I don’t know yet.
What, in your life, are you most proud of doing?
My kids are and always will be my greatest accomplishment and what I am the most proud of in life.
Do you have an unusual hobby?
Writing was my unusual hobby. Now its because more of a job. Still adjusting to that. lol
Which is your favourite place to visit? Do you incorporate it into your books?
We have a family house on the coast of Maine. The house is called Poppy’s Point. And it is my favorite place. One of the Evans brothers’ story will take place in Maine. I’m having so much fun with that one. I’m not sure if it’s the setting or Luke. Because he is one of my beta readers favorite characters.
If you could be any fictional character, which would you be? And why?
Belle from Beauty and the Beast because I want to live in a castle with a MASSIVE library.
If you could choose to live in another country/town – which would you choose? And why?
I’d move to the coast. Any coast, I just want to be on the water. I’ve heard that control freaks should live by the water just to be reminded that the tide comes in and out everyday without there in put or okay and life still goes on. Not that I’m a control freak or anything.
What would you take on a desert island to read if you could only take 3 books?
I find this to be a mean question I get three? The Bible. One of Susan Elizabeth Philips books. And some book that teaches me all the skill I need to survive on a desert island because without that I wouldn’t make it long.
Do you people watch to find characters for your books? How do you do this?
My husband always calls it nosey because I do listen and watch people around me all the time. Conversation, mannerism. We will be out to dinner and the conversation of the people in the booth behind me has my full attention. It makes my hubby crazy.
Or do you add some traits from your family and friends into your characters?
Its been pointed out that a lot of my heros have some of my husbands traits. But no I don’t purposely do this. However the support, love, annoyance, teasing, friendship, that the Evans family has, is something that comes from my own family.
What music – if any – do you think inspires you to write? Is it different for each novel or the same? Its different with each book and characters. Although I will hear an arrant song and add it to each novels playlist because each has a tone.
Do you write at home or away from home? If at home, what does your space look like? Are you a tidy person?
Mostly people would say I am a tidy person, my husband who is a total neat freak would say I am not. I write mostly at home, at the table or counter or on the sofa. I don’t have a space.
Do you keep a timeline and character traits pinned up on your wall? On post-its?
The funny answer is of course not these people exist in my mind how could I forget them!!! But really, I have a doc on my computer so I don’t forget stuff. Because its surprising hard to remember so many details especially after you are five or six books into a series.
Were you inspired by any folk stories? If so which ones? And what was it about them that inspired you?
Should monsters /criminals be given a second chance? Can they be reformed? What is the best type of prison for them? (you can include paranormals here)
I think anyone can be reformed if THEY want to be. But someone else cant want it for them, they have to want it for themselves.
Who is your favourite pirate and why?
I have nothing. . . . I cant think of a single pirate’s name. Does that make me boring? It’s probably the lack of tv and movies I watch.
Do you enjoy sailing? On a lake or the sea?
This is actually funny. My dad loves to sail. Always has. I get super sea sick. So does my brother Rob. We tried but we spent a lot of time green at the gils and my dad always felt it was unfair that he kids that got seasick. His grandkids have his back though.
Has the pandemic inspired you with any new stories to write? If so, what is the story premise? Not really. But it made me release how much I miss alone time. I don’t know when the last time I was alone, having all the kids and hubby at the house all the time, has been weird.
How many books did you write during Covid19/Lockdown?
I wrote and edited during Covid. But between having all four of my kids home 24-7 and dealing with work – which got busier during covid. It wasn’t an easy time.
If you were asked to write a family saga which century would you place it in?
The Evans series is a family saga and I picked now.
What about turning your best seller into a film or TV series – would you want to write the script or be on the production team?
If this ever happened – I’d want to be able to be including and maybe have some veto power in stuff but really thats not my strong suit. I do not watch any tv or movies, so I wouldn’t know how to do it right.
Do you prefer doctors or nurses as your hero/heroine? Why?
No preference, I come from a very medical family and if I picked one or had an opinion, I’m sure I’d hear about it for YEARS.
What about ‘snark’? is it good or bad?
It has it place, but I think it’s best used sparingly.
Is it easy to write humour?
I think it depends on the person. Some people force humor and its not funny. I’ve heard I write it well. But I don’t think anything about writing is hard. Editing – publishing – marketing – all that stuff is HARD. The actual writing is the fun part.
How easy is it to write a good sex scene? Or baking scene? And do you have to have experienced these things do you think, to write about them successfully?
Hmm Sex and Baking quite the combo. I think I’d write a crappy baking scene. But I’ve never tried to write one. So I guess maybe we’ll see in the future if I give it a go. Sex scenes can be tricky its almost like a game of taboo you need to get the point across without using any word too many times. But the key to a good sex scene is tension, you need to build it for the reader leading up to it.
A challenge: Write 500 or more words including in it at least two of the following statements and 1 of the words. And invent some new words to include in the story.
- Feed me now or forever clear up when I poop in your shoe
- Pink? I am a tutu wearing cat but never pink!
- May your fur be rainbow coloured and your tail a feather
If my cat could talk it would say I was a …pain in her neck. You have no idea what it’s like to deal with an owner who spend half of her time in lala land. Her mind is mostly in the Evansverse with her imaginary friends and I have to remind her to feed me now or forever clean up when I poop in her shoes. It’s crazy to think it makes this human mad that I would even consider popping in the things she put on her stinky feet but she really yells when I do it. Doesn’t stop her from containing to sit and peck away at the keyboard instead of giving me my third meal most days. So, I end up sitting on her lap just to make sure she doesn’t forget to include fur babies in stories. To make it worse her first book included dogs! What does a dog have that a cat doesn’t? She said one time it’s because dogs don’t randomly sneak up and attack their owners’ feet, but I think she was annoyed that I left hair on her pants. Its not my fault I shed, and to be fair, my hair is much shorter than the hair she sheds everywhere she goes. And even if she doesn’t admit I know she loves it when I snuggle on her legs keeping her warm. Even if she still kicks me off her lap when one of the little people that rule the house yell from the bathroom that they need her help because they had a poopalicious poop and need wiping. The lengths cats have to go to deal with humans is just beyond me.
if you could be an animal which animal would you be? Give three reasons. You may NOT choose to be a dog or a cat.
I would be a fish. I love the water. To be able to be in the peaceful silence of the ocean every day is a dream. And to get to see what the ocean looks like when no humans are around is too cool to give up. Plus I’d love to see what its like to be a fish when the water get crazy in storm are they flipping around like crazy? Or do they not even notice? The questions that haunt me – lol
How many ‘packs’ should a hero have? Are 8 too many and what might a character lick off them? Why?
8 – 10 -12 the more the merrier. Haha. Maybe 12 is too many. Truthfully it depends on the character, one who works out should have a pack. One who doesn’t wont. My second book the guy doenst have any sort of pack. And that doesn’t make him any less sexy. I vote for licking coffee off of them. Because we all need more coffee in our life. 😊
What music inspires you? And which instrument is best for which scenes?
I play the piano so I use that in my second book. But all music inspires me.
Jenni Bara lives in New Jersey working as a paralegal in family law, writing real-life unhappily ever-afters every day. In turn, she spends her free time with anything that keeps her laughing, including life with four kids, or five, if you count her husband. She is just starting her career as a romance author writing books with a great balance of life, love, and laughter.