Friday, October 23, 2009

Interview with Jenness Walker

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Jenness Walker. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called Double Take. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

The story begins with the hero reading a thriller. Then that scene is played out in front of him in real life. Using the book as a guide, he tries to save the heroine. But then the bad guy changes the ending...

Double Take is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

I had a little help. It was originally called Déjà Vu, because the hero feels like he’s seen some of the story playing out before it actually does. Apparently foreign words as titles don’t sell well for my publisher, so my editor and a few others came up with Double Take as a replacement.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I read almost anything, but suspense is definitely one of my favorites. It’s the genre I get most of my ideas in.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I’m not exactly sure. ☺ I was trying to brainstorm a story that would be kind of a cross between Speed and My Hands Came Away Red. I’d also just read an interview with a book cover model. Somehow the plot for Double Take came out, although all it has in common with the movie is a bus, and nothing whatsoever with the book.

Do you have all the key suspense/mystery elements thought out before you begin writing?

No. I usually have a vague idea of where I’m going and none whatsoever of who the bad guy is. Keeps things interesting. ☺

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book? What are your favorite research books or sites?

I researched odds and ends, mostly online. Like watching youtube videos to get a feel for whittling. Checking out the MARTA website and photos on google. That kind of thing. Oh…and I picked a guy to be Cole. He was a musician (which Cole was in the original draft), and he was perfect. But then I googled more images of him to look for different facial expressions…and found out he had a side job as an underwear model. Not exactly the shots I’d had in mind. I wrote the book without a picture. ☺

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

I think Cole was probably my favorite. He’s the wounded hero kind of guy—the kind I like best. ☺

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?

I’m more of a seat-of-the-pants type writer. I get bored with character interviews. I have to see the characters in the story itself to figure out exactly who they are and what they want. It’s so awesome to me when I get near the end and somehow the threads start tying together in a nice neat bow in a way that I never would have thought of. I love that feeling. Of course, sometimes I have to tweak it, and I think I changed Cole’s eye color three times before I did a search of the document to find out what it was supposed to be. Can you tell I’m not the most organized person in the world?

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

At my first writers’ conference, Susan May Warren looked over the first few pages of one of my projects out of the kindness of my heart. I still have the comments she wrote on them. One of them said something like, “You can write!” Coming from one of my favorite romantic suspense authors, that was really special. Also, Donna Fleisher kind of mentored me a few years back and I learned a LOT from her. Her friendship and encouragement has meant so much.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

I haven’t done much promotion yet—Steeple Hill is great at marketing its authors. With the book releasing this month, however, I’m stepping up my efforts, with a blog tour, some giveaways, a promotional video, etc. Honestly, though, I think word-of-mouth is going to be the most effective tool. For most of my life I’ve lived in a tight-knit Christian college community where people are always coming and going. Because of that, I know people in churches and schools all across the U.S. I’m hoping curiosity will cause them to pick up the book, and the characters won’t let them put it down.

What do we have to look forward next?

I’m currently reworking the first novel I ever wrote to hopefully sell to Steeple Hill. It’s another romantic suspense about a wounded hero. What else? ☺

Thanks, Jenness!

To celebrate her book release, Jenness is offering a free book to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (Please check back Monda night to see who won. Chances of winning depend on number of commenters.)

She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Bio. Jenness Walker has always been captivated by stories. Growing up, she read while she walked in line, ate lunch, played the clarinet, and brushed her teeth. (Unfortunately she still hasn’t figured out how to clean the house with a book in hand.) She’s been writing ever since a contest in first grade, and this month her debut novel, Double Take, releases from Steeple Hill.

She lives in Florida with her beloved website-designer husband.

Check out author’s website at www.jennesswalker.com. Buy it at a store near you or online at Amazon or CBD.com.

7 comments:

Kim Watters said...

Good Morning Jenness. Thanks for joining us today. We hope you're enjoying your chocolate. When you figure out how to clean house with a book in your hand, please, please, please let me know. :) Were there any scenes or characters that were cut from the final version? Have a great day.

Glynna Kaye said...

Jenness, congrats on your first sale! And welcome to the Steeple Hill Love Inspired family!

Jenness said...

Thanks, Kim! Chocolate is always good. :-)

The cast for the story was pretty small, so I didn't cut any characters. We did end up changing/cutting quite a few scenes, though, especially since Cole ended up needing to change careers. He was originally a musician. So it was fun in one scene to stick a "ghost" of who he was in the background, playing a guitar. :-)

Thanks again for having me!

CrystalGB said...

Great interview. Double Take sounds good.

Estella said...

Congrats on your first release! It sounds great.

Tina LaVon said...

I love the idea of using the book as a guide to save the heroine!

Also, great cover!

Thanks for stopping by MCTT

Tia Dani said...

Nice interview, Jenness. Congratulations on your sale. Definitely looking forward to reading DOUBLE TAKE. Suspense is one of our favorites too.