Author of Love Over Pizza
Joining me today is the American author and educator, Jen Lowry. Author of sweet romance/young adult and middle grade novels.
Welcome Jen. You are one busy lady! You write a blog, a podcast, you have a YouTube channel, you stream on Twitch and you write novels in multiple genres! I don’t know how you fit it all in! But you do, and you have just released your latest sweet romance novel, Love Over Pizza. Tell us a little about your new book.
Jen: Love Over Pizza, a sweet romance set in small town North Carolina, was published in January!
This is the blurb: Pepper Pines is back in Jackson, North Carolina, and settling in after graduating college. Her classroom is just the way she envisioned it, but her social life isn’t. Pepper’s best friend, Jessie, convinces her that Cupid’s Connection, a popular online dating site, might have her Mr. Right. Luca Giovanni is trying his best to run the pizza shop his parents left him and be his sister, Angel’s, keeper. Angel signs Luca up to Cupid’s Connection without him knowing because she feels he’s ready for love but just doesn’t take the time away from his business to date. Both find out what really matters, how to let go and lean in, and discover that pizza is better shared with those you love.
Helen: What made you choose Pizza? Is that a favourite of yours?
Jen: When I first met my character, Pepper Pines, she had this intense love for pizza and could eat a slice a day! The line popped out during chapter one, and I knew it must be the title, “Pizza over love any day,” was what she told her best friend, Jessie. Well, let’s just say things happen when love and pizza are involved!
Helen: Isn’t it great when the title just leaps out at you? Sometimes it can be one of the most difficult elements of a book to pin down. It must be difficult when you write in so many different genres.
Jen: I’m a multi-genre author so love to write all types of books for a wide range of readers! I’m a children’s book author all the way to adult contemporary fiction. I’ve written mainly sweet romances, fantasy, and now am excited to see The Sunday Killer, my first police procedural thriller hit the stands later this year with City Limits Publishing!
Helen: Congratulations on your latest book, and in a different genre as well. When did you first start writing?
Jen: My earliest memories of writing are when I was in 8th grade! Middle school sweet romances like those of Sweet Valley High invaded my thoughts and that was my first attempt at writing! It was set at UNC Chapel Hill. The thirty-page books were all about first love on a college campus. Funny that I ended up going to a rival college later in life, NC State, and my son is now a Tar Heel!
Helen: What inspired you to write?
Jen: When I read A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks as an adult my heart soared with the possibilities and the dream of this author life. I will forever call that book one of my favorites because it led me on my writing journey and helped me find my way back to what I so loved but walked away from.
Helen: You mentioned a new book you are working on: The Sunday Killer, tell us a little about it.
Jen: My current novel, The Sunday Killer, follows lead detective, Heather Moody, she has to solve a series of harrowing crimes turned cold cases in small town, NC.
Helen: Quite a departure from your sweet romance novels, do you enjoy writing villains?
Jen: I just love my heroes! Villains are fascinating and can led us on some twisty rides, but there’s something aboutthat hero that battles it out for the win that I love!
Helen: With so many things going on, how do you fit in your writing.
Jen: I’m a full-time literacy coach and English teacher at a high school and a homeschool mom in the evening so it can get tough! I make sure that I’m writing something and researching or reading a novel in the genre I’m writing every day, even if it is just for 20 minutes. When teacher breaks or the summer hits, it’s ON!
Helen: Love it! Let’s talk about your writing process. Many authors work in silence, others like to listen to music, how do you work?
Jen: When I was working on The Fae of Averlee, I was addicted to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack and Irish instrumentals. It was so inspiring to me and transported me to another place. I only listen to instrumentals as I write. Trust me, if the lyrics were there, I would be singing along!
Helen: That sounds inspiring. It would definitely fit a fantasy novel. With a range of genres, you must spend a lot of time researching as well as writing?
Jen: TONS! I love to research. I’m reading within my genre, researching online events of the time, whether historical, setting, or time period related. Because I write almost all of my books set in small towns of North Carolina and was raised in one, my experiences often shine through the pages!
Helen: It does make it easier when you can leverage your experiences. Do you plan everything out upfront, or let the story take you where it may?
Jen: When I first started writing, I was a pantser all the way. Over time I have developed my own method for crafting my novels that I call The Monarch Method. I love butterflies! Now, I have a loose structure I follow that helps me to outline yet have the freedom to honor the page at the same time!
Helen: Tell us! Out of all your books, do you have a favourite character?
Jen: Oh, no! Another tough one! I must say Sweet Potato Jones because she was the first traditionally published book on the shelf and started my whole author journey!
Helen: It has been lovely chatting with you, Jen. To wrap up, tell us what you are current reading, and who your favourite author is.
Jen: I’m reading Cover Your Eyes by Mary Burton. In home school, we are reading The Wind in the Willows. In class, we are reading To Kill a Mockingbird. I’m usually reading more than one book!
If you like crime thrillers, I would highly suggest Lisa Regan’s Detective Josie Quinn series and Gregg Olsen’s The Bone Box! I’m just getting into the thriller world and loving each new discovery within the genre. This might be a place I take root for a while!
Victoria Bond is one of my favorite authors! She wrote a series called Zora and Me for Middle Grades about Zora Neale Hurston! I can always talk about this for hours on end, as well. I have a list!
About Jen Lowry:
I’m just a small town girl with a big heart for Jesus!
I was raised in the small town of Maxton, NC! Even though I moved close to the big city of Raleigh, there is no place like my hometown.
I’m Southern, no doubt about it. I want that to seep through the pores of any novel I write. I desire to be authentic in my voice and stay true to the characters that the Spirit guides me to write. See, I believe with all my heart there is power in words. That power can reach nations, and I pray that my writing has that opportunity!
I believe our youth should be provided with fiction that has a riveting story that draws them in, but keeps it clean from beginning to end.
Social Media Links: