Today I'm welcoming versatile author, Jennifer St. Giles, to my blog. Jennifer writes historical romance, contemporary romance, and romantic thrillers under three pseudonyms. She does a hell of a job juggling a full-fledged writing career and a hectic life in the medical field (her day job). Her determination and love for the craft shine through in this interview, and it clearly proves that it's the persistence that pulls an author forward each day. You don't give up, the rest will follow. :)
I'm letting Jennifer give her two cents now... what an inspiration! Certainly worth a read.
How long have you been writing?
My biggest regret is that I didn't keep writing when I started writing. I started a historical in my mid twenties then let life intrude. Did the same thing again in my late twenties. It wasn't until my early thirties that I wrote and decided that I would never give it up again. That determination saw me through the next nine years as I struggled to publication. My first book came out in 2004 and now eight years later with thirteen books published out I am still struggling to make all of my writing dreams come true (be able to make enough to write full time), but will never give up no matter no matter how long it takes. I love writing.
When did you decide that you wanted to write for a living (that "aha" moment)?
Early twenties when I realized authors that I loved reading touched my heart with their stories long after they were gone from this life. I knew then that I too had to give life to the stories bubbling in my heart.
What did your family say when you told them you wanted to be a writer?
My family has been very supportive. My now ex felt that romance was less than worthy, so my genre choice made any support very difficult.
What is your preferred genre both for reading and writing?
I read a variety of genres, mostly high action, thrillers, or suspense with or without romance, and I write a variety of genres. LOL As for writing, I write a number of genres from historical to contemporary to paranormal, I love story, but they all have one thing in common, a senses stirring, heart consuming romance.
Did you start by writing full time or did you have a day job?
When I started writing, I had quit my nursing job to stay at home with my three young children and home school them as well as help in a family cabin business. Now I write and work full time.
Did you take any writing courses or did you just sit and write a book?
I joined Georgia Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America. From conferences and meetings, I learned from fantastic authors how to improve my writing skills and I have read voraciously ever since I was a child.
Did/do you have a crit group or mentor to guide you?
RWA, GRW and Critique groups have been a lifeline in an solitary career.
Do you use a/several pseudonym(s) and if so, why did you choose to have one/them?
I began writing under Jennifer St. Giles (Publisher chosen) and I wrote classic gothic historicals and Paranormal thrillers under that name. When I self- published very sexy contemporary stories, I choose the psuedonym of Jennifer Saints and when I published my romantic military thrillers with Samhain, I write under the psuedonym J L Saint.
How long did it take you to make your first sale? What was your first thought when you did?
Nine years. My first reaction was that it wasn't true. LOL. I had recently had a dream that I had sold and told my friends and then it wasn't true, So when my agent called my to her house on April 1st and told me I had sold, I said no. No, really, no I hadn't. It's not true. It's just April Fool's day. LOL she looked at me as if I had lost a few marbles, but laughed and understood when I told her about my dream.
Did you sell the first story or novel you wrote?
No, by the time I had sold I had written over five full books and over twenty paritial books
How many drafts did you write of your first novel before you felt you got it right? What about now - do you still write several drafts of a story?
I edit and correct as I go along so when I hit THE END, it usually is until I get editor feedback on revisions.
Do you read industry or writing related blogs? If so, can you share some useful links?
Well, I have very limited time. Usually news that Stephanie Bond posts and Author/ Agent Deidre Knight posts keeps me informed in between the conferences that I attend.
Did you get an agent first or did you submit directly to publishers?
Agent first, after I won RWA's Golden Heart Award. the Daphne du Maurier Award and the Marlene Award all in the same year.
If you signed with an agent, how did you go about the process of finding your agent/publisher?
I applied to numerous agents over the nine years and to the Knight Agency too but had been rejected, but the one good thing about the Knight Agency is they are project based, so LOL after three tries they brought me on board and it wasn't even on my Golden Heart winner but on a comedy-mystery story that I have yet to be able to write.
Did you ever get rejected? If so, how did you handle it?
Multiple times. LOL made me stronger, smarter, more determined, and improved my game. That is after I drowned my sorrows in champagne and chocolate with my best writing buds
What, in your opinion, do agents/publishers look for in a new author in the current market? Is it all to do with talent or with trends?
LOL If I knew the magic combination I'd share. More and more I think it's luck that takes the ingredients of talent and fickle trends to make an author. Yes publishers are always searching for the next great.
What do you think of the changes going on in the book industry (e.g., e-books vs. print books, and big publishers getting involved in digital publishing)? Where do you see the industry going?
Amazon Rules! This is the most exciting time for an author in all of publishing's history because control of their career is now in their hands more than ever before. With Amazon's ability to distribute books world wide in both e-book (the future of books) and in print on demand options an author can write whatever their heart's desire is and put it up for readers to choose if they want to read it and not the publishers.
Do you think writers should consider self-publishing?
How do you feel about so many bookstores closing across the US? Do you think this trend is similar in other countries?
Very sad about book store closings. I love love books and loved browsing through them in the store. Books won't go away completely, but there are going to be unavoidable changes and who know where it will end.
Are your books available in print or in digital format?
All books are available in ebook and in print except. Mistress of Trevelyan, His Dark Desires, Wild Irish and Smooth Irish are currently ebook only.
What advice do you think aspiring authors should heed today?
Never give up on your dream and take control of your career. You be the one in the driver's seat.
What are you working on now? I have big plans for this year. I am currently enriching a short story from a Series called Tales from the Dark Domain: Aerik the Eternal: Point of No Return. I hope to write the next book in the Paranormal Shadowmen Series, then the third book in my Silent Warrior Series, military romantic thrillers.
What is/are your favourite book(s)? Do you read only books from the genre you write in?
I have so many favorites over the years, too many to write, and I read from many different genres.
Do you read when you are plotting or writing a story?
Yes, but not in the genre I am writing.
What book inspired you to write romance (or whatever genre you write in)?
I write romance because I believe if you take all of humanity down to its barest most vulnerable point the only thing that matters is giving and receiving love. It is the most inspirational, most beautiful and most fulfilling thing that one person can share with another.
What hero/heroine/character was the most fun or challenging to write for you?
I know this sucks as an answer, but I really do fall in love with each and everyone, but very dear to my heart is the hero and heroine of The Mistress of Trevelyan because the book is so much the classic gothic that I so dearly loved to read when I was growing up. That genre will always be close to my heart.
How do you juggle work, writing, chores and family/personal life? Do you have a secret to time management that you want to share with readers?
No secret, I don't manage, I'm a total mess and never have enough time to do all that my heart wants to accomplish both in writing and in my personal life. But I NEVER GIVE UP TRYING and every years I get a little better.....maybe...LOL
Do you have a ritual that you follow when it comes to writing?
LOL, A ritual of struggling to put words onto the page and doubting if they are worth anything or not. All authors doubt, but somehow the determination to reach the end eventually bring the payoff of a story I love and loved having written. It's like being pregnant, going through labor, then having a child that you'll always love.
Where do you see yourself, careerwise, in 5 years time?
I see myself selling enough books to support myself to write full time.
What's your website URL?
Are you on Facebook?
Jennifer St. Giles, on twitter @jenniferstgiles
How do you connect with readers?
Conferences and email and twitter and facebook.
Besides great kids, family, and friends, I have perseverance which has garnered me a USA Today Bestselling tag and thirteen plus books on the shelf in a number of genres (contemporary romantic suspense, historical suspense, paranormal suspense, and contemporary romance). I’ve won a number of writing awards, two National Choice Awards, three Maggie Awards, a RT Book Club Reviewer’s Choice Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award, the Marlene Award, and the Golden Heart Award to name most of them. I work with several amazing women in a charity to raise money for a shelter that helps abused and homeless women and children in the US and helps children in Sudan. I’ve revived my nursing career after a long hiatus, have renewed my license, and currently am very thankful for the day job I have in this rough economy. I know there are many more great things ahead for me. I write romance because I believe that when you boil all of life down to its essence, if you take a human being to the very core of his existence, then you will find that what matters more than anything else is to be loved and to give love. Life is all about choices and to pull from one of Erich Fromm’s quote, I choose to create and to love rather than destroy and to hate.
I hope you enjoy my stories.
Go forth, dream, believe, create, inspire, and love,
Latest and upcoming releases:
For Historical Lovers: Check out, The Mistress of Trevelyan and His Dark Desires on Amazon.
For Sexy Contemporary Romance Lovers: Check out my Southern Bad Boys in Wild Irish and Smooth Irish on Amazon.
For edge of your seat Romantic Thrillers: Check out Collateral Damage and it's sequel to be released on March 6th, Tactical Deception on Amazon and through Samhain Publishing.
Excerpts for all can be found at jenniferstgiles.com
Note from Jennifer: And if you enjoy one of my stories, I would be very grateful if you would post a short review on Amazon.
~ Natalie ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love, Mystery... and a world of surprises in between!