Author Interview – Jen Lowry

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:

Website: https://jenlowrywrites.com/

Youtube

Twitter

Instagram

and purchase her book Love Over Pizza, via Amazon:

Link to ebook on Amazon US | Amazon UK

Link to Paperback on Amazon US | Amazon UK

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Book Review Alert: The Fae King’s Curse by Jamie Schlosser

Reviewed: April 1st, 2021
Release Date: April 20th, 2020

This is a nice fantasy romance, set in a fae world which exists beside the human world, and has adapted some, but not all, of the human ways.

Kirian and I were just twelve years old when I pulled him from the icy waters of the creek behind my house. As he looked in my direction with unseeing lavender eyes, I quickly realized our age was just about the only thing we had in common. He spoke with an accent, he had pointy ears, and he was so beautiful it made my heart ache. Oh, and he claimed to be a fae prince cursed by witches who stole his sight. Read More…

Author Interview – Sloane McClain

Author of Holding out for a Hunter

For today’s author interview I am joined by the American author Sloane McCain. Author of the Pendragon series and now the first book in the Hunter Chronicles Holding out for a Hunter.

Welcome Sloane. I am a fan of your Pendragon books so I am excited you branched out to tell us more about the Hunters. To start us off please tell us about your latest book.

Sloane: I just released my fourth book in January 2021 (earlier this month). It’s titled Holding Out For A Hunter, and is the first in The Hunter Chronicles series, a companion series to my Sons of Pendragon. This new series deals with Hunters. They’re Halflings, half-human, half-fairy. When they reach their late teens or early twenties, they develop their powers. They use them to fight evil and capture creatures bent on mayhem and destruction that have been sent by the Dark Fairy. The Good Fairy pay them very well for their help.

While Sons of Pendragon will be limited to seven books (unless I go into the next generation), the Hunter Chronicles can have as many books as I can think up ideas for.

Helen: I must admit I couldn’t put it down. I love your characters and the world you’ve created. Tell us about the genre you write and why.

Sloane: I write romances with strong fantasy and paranormal overtones. It’s my favorite genre to read (though I read medieval, Scottish, Regency, and contemporary books) because I love the HEA—Happily Ever After endings. When the world is crazy, I want something that doesn’t give me any nasty surprises at the end. I like being assured that no matter how rocky the road, the end is going to be a good one.

Helen: And your characters are so lovely, certainly not perfect, as you’ll find out in Holding out for a Hunter. Max’s idea of being romantic just made me laugh. How do you come up with the ideas for your books?

Sloane: Nearly everything has the potential to give me a story idea. A photograph or painting. Songs. A conversation. So many things. Anything that makes me think, ‘what if?’ Sons of Pendragon came out of my love for King Arthur and wishing he’d at least had children. The Hunter Chronicles sometimes come from the song that I use for the titles. Like Holding Out For A Hunter. The sequel, which I hope to release in March, is titled I Belong To The Hunter, a play on the Caro Emerald song, I Belong To You. In that instance, the song didn’t inspire the story, but it seemed to fit the story.

Helen: I can’t wait for I Belong to a Hunter, but I hope there is Pendragon book number 4 coming soon! You can find my book review of Book One Dragon’s Grace here. Do you you find you plan out your books or do they just flow naturally?

Sloane: I’m definitely a panster. I’ve tried outlining a couple of times, but my characters laughed at the attempt and went in their own direction. For me, writing is like watching this moving play out in my head and trying to write down what’s happening as quickly as I can. Luckily for me, I seem to be able to hit the pause button when I have to stop for work or to let my dogs in or out.

Helen: There seems to be two camps about whether silence is golden while working. I’m a fan of listening to music when I write (or edit!). Do you like to listen to music while you work?

Sloane: Yes, I often listen to music while I write. I have a station I’ve made on Pandora called Straight No Chaser. It plays music by them as well as other groups that I like:  Michael Bublé, Pentatonix, Imagine Dragons, Celtic Thunder & Celtic Women, American Authors, Secret Garden, and several others. I have rather eclectic taste in music.

Helen: It’s what works that is important and music can be just as inspiring as the written word. Tell us, do you have a favourite character from your books?

Sloane: My favorite character is a recurring secondary character named Stiabhan Iorworth. He’s full-blooded Sidhe. In human terms he’s around thirty to thirty-five. Though several centuries removed, he’s an uncle to many Hunters. He has recently begun to take an interest in their lives, coming to help them in their battles. He loves a good fight. He’s learning idioms and slang, card games like poker, and driving a vehicle. He’s enjoying helping his relatives which helps him in turn take his mind from the tragedy in his personal life. Some of his scenes add some comic relief to the stories. Like one in the third Hunter’s book, where he goes to a beauty salon. You’ll just have to wait to read it to find out what happens. LOL!

Helen: He sounds like a great character to have fun with, and I can imagine many humorous scenarios and misunderstandings! Most writers are also great readers. Which book have you read most recently?

Sloane: Your book is one of the most recent. I loved it! Also, Hidden Magic by Elena McDougal. I would recommend them both.

Helen: I am so glad you enjoyed Sentinals Awaken. I am looking forward to releasing my second book in the series, Sentinals Rising on March 17th, so exciting times. It has been lovely spending time with you, Sloane, thank you so much for sharing a little bit about yourself and your novels. To finish us off, if you didn’t write romantic fantasy, what genre would you like to write next?

Sloane: If I didn’t write romances, I’d probably write straight fantasy. I actually wrote a YA one while I was in college, but it’s not very good. I would love to write mysteries. I think that would be fun. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to have the right mindset for them. At least so far, my attempts have been horrible. So I’ll stick to romance.

About Sloane:

Both of my parents loved reading and instilled in me a love for reading and writing. That was one thing that I could count on them saying yes to buying me–a new book.

Besides writing and animals, I love reading (TBR pile is outrageous), photography, cross-stitch, and anything with Henry Cavill or Jason Momoa in it. And don’t even get me started on Dean Winchester of Supernatural.

I spent my early years in West Virginia, where my father taught college. When he retired, the family moved back to his home state of South Carolina.

I currently live in South Carolina with two very spoiled rescue dogs. One tries to lick people into submission and the younger one believes he’s still a lapdog at 95lbs.

You can reach Sloane via social media on:

Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads

and purchase her book via Amazon:

Holding out for a Hunter, Book One of the Hunter Chronicles
Link to ebook on: Amazon UK
Link to ebook on Amazon US

Dragons Grace Book One of the Pendragon Series:
Link to ebook on: Amazon UK
Link to ebook on: Amazon US


As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Author Interview – Rebecca Lange

Author of Joining Hearts for Christmas

As we welcome in 2021, I wish everyone a safe and happy new year.

My first author interview of the new year is with German author Rebecca Lange. Author of many novels, the most recent of which is Joining hearts for Christmas.

Welcome Rebecca, thank you so much for joining me today. To start us off please tell what genre you write and why.

Rebecca: My last book release was a regency romance novella. “Joining Hearts For Christmas” is a light-hearted Christmas love story and was to try out that genre and have a book out for Christmas. I never thought I would write regency anything, but this year I read two books by new authors that made me fall in love with the time and characters, and so I thought I would give it a try as well. It was a pretty last-minute thing and not planned at all, but it somehow worked out. It always amazes me how a simple thought or idea can turn into an actual book.

Helen: I agree, all you need is a spark and the creative juices start flowing and before you know it you’re half way though a book. The key of course is to finish it, so congratulations on releasing Joining Hearts for Christmas. So if Regency romance is new for you, what genre do you normally write?

Rebecca: I write clean Young Adult Fiction, Christian Fantasy, and Historical Fiction. Although I target pretty intense topics in my books, it is important to me that my stories are clean and suitable even for teenagers. I don’t particularly appreciate reading books that include sex and explicit violence or foul language. Violence can’t always be avoided with specific topics, but it doesn’t need to be super descriptive. Foul language and sex aren’t necessary for a book, in my opinion. There are less offensive words to use, and well, my imagination is pretty good, so I don’t need a sex scene described to me. I love swoony, clean, heart-flattering romance, but hot and steamy is not my thing.

Helen: Where do you get the ideas for your novels?

Rebecca: It depends. Sometimes from a book I read, a movie I watched, but mostly just from a thought that pops in my head and slowly develops into more. I am not a planner, but lately, I have had so many new ideas that I had to make notes not to forget certain details while finishing other projects. Since I am currently writing a book and started a second one, other ideas come alive in my mind and occupy my brain. It gets a bit overwhelming and exhausting at times, but I love how I can picture scenes and where I want the story to go. 

Photo credit: Aaron Burden (Unspash)

Helen: With so many ideas bubbling, what are you currently writing?

Rebecca: I am writing two right now. One is close to being finished and will be my next release. It is called “Grandfather’s Will.” Here is the blurb to give you an idea of what it is about:

After billionaire Henry Woodruff loses several family members in a horrible accident, Rebecca McNeil and her siblings are now the only relatives left he can trust. Although they never desired to be put into his will, he has no choice but to make his grandchildren the official heirs. Henry has every reason to believe that the tragic plane crash was not just an unfortunate accident but a planned murder. Feeling that his children were somehow involved, he has to come up with a plan.

Fearing for his grandchildren’s lives, Henry moves them from Edmonton to Valemount to keep them safer and more protected. When Rebecca nearly dies after a vicious attack, Henry hires two mounties to keep an eye on her and her siblings. Before long, everyone realizes that the shy young woman is the main target. Keeping her alive and unharmed turns into a full-time job. As if the everyday fight against someone wanting to murder her isn’t enough, Rebecca faces a battle with her past demons. Not wanting to get hurt again, she fights the growing feelings towards one of her protectors and puts up a wall to guard her heart. Will she be able to let go of the past and find her happily ever after?

Helen: Sounds intriguing. I look forward to seeing it released. What are your favourite characters to write? Heroes or villains?

Rebecca: I like both, but it is easy for me to get attached to my characters, and when that happens, and I think about changing the story a bit, it becomes almost impossible for me to make a character I already like bad. It is funny how they become real for us authors. However, when I create a villain, I can hate them fiercely if they attack my main character/s, even though I know it is silly since I made them all and the situations.

Helen: As you write different genres, do you find you have to do a lot research?

Rebecca: It depends on what the book is about. Some require a lot more research than others. For example, for my Regency novella, I had to research England and Wales a bit, so I had an idea where I wanted my story to take place. Most of the story is set in Wales, Monmouthshire, to be exact. One of the people who read and reviewed my book told me that they live pretty close to Monmouthshire, and apparently, I described things in a way that she and her sister thought I had already been there but never have.

My new novel takes place in Canada, and so again, I had some research to do to find the right areas for my story to take place. It is interesting. For my third Heavenly Bodyguards book, I had to do quite a bit of research since the story included conspiracy, mafia dealings, and murder. I researched different ways of how to kill a person, sedation, and all that. It was frightening, yet interesting to learn of illegal things like Rohypnol and Black Mamba venom and what it does to people. Since part of the story is taking place in and around the White House in Washington, I also had to check out the White House floor plan and surrounding areas to make things work for my story. I try to make things as accurate as possible if I can.

Helen: That sounds time consuming, but it is so important for our facts to be correct so we don’t jar a reader out of the story, especially when the setting is a real place. One of the fun parts of self-publishing is choosing a book cover. How do you decide what will be on the cover of your books?

Rebecca: When I first started self-publishing, I just chose one of my pictures of nature. For my first Heavenly Bodyguards book, I chose a photograph of a mountain in Scotland since the story is set in Scotland, and I thought that worked well. I then used pictures from KDP, which they offer for free, and I liked them. Still, during the last two years, I not only asked friends to help me choose a good cover that attracts and speaks to them, but I did a lot of research on cover images. I found out that there are websites where photographers post their pictures or artwork. You can use them for free without having to worry about copyrights. So, my current covers are chosen with the help of friends and from those websites. Some of the pictures are simply incredible.

Helen: Along with writing a new book there is also editing. Which do you prefer?

Rebecca: Writing, even though I have come to appreciate the hard work of editing, after learning so much about it and seeing how difficult and time-consuming it is. It does feel good, though, when your story is edited and ready to be published.

Helen: Most authors are also great readers. Which book are you currently reading?

Rebecca: I started “Marked” by Stephanie Whitfield. It is the second book in her series, and I really liked the first one already, so I am excited to see how the story continues.

Helen: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me. As a final word, and as a self-published author, what advice would you give new authors?

Rebecca: I would tell them to go for what they love and not let anything stop them and listen to those around them and the suggestions they might make. Finding a traditional publisher or agent is an excellent goal to have, but if they can’t find one or can’t handle rejections any longer, I would tell them that there are other ways to get their work out there without having to pay tons of money. I find publishing houses that take your money upfront a rip-off, but that’s just me. I still have my acting lessons in mind in which we were drilled not to pay an agent upfront or to redo headshots because they wanted you to use “their suggestion.” I know it works for some, but I don’t have that kind of money to pay thousands of dollars to have my book published, only hoping I could make up for it in sales. Self-publishing is a great way to keep your work your own, but it also comes with difficulties like facing editing and marketing.

Rebecca is a mom of two boys (13 and 15 years old), has been married to her husband for over 16 years, and is currently living in Germany. She was born and raised in Germany but moved to the US after meeting her husband in Scotland at a wedding. (That in itself is a super cool and crazy story.)

Her love for writing started early. Even as a child, she enjoyed writing stories. As a teenager, escaping reality took place whenever she had a good book in her fingers, her own stories, or watched romantic movies. She has a vivid imagination, so it is easy for her to disappear into a different world. She avoids specific genres because of her imagination, but she is still grateful that she can picture things so vividly. She is a hopeless romantic but likes it when the books she writes or reads (or movies she watches) have a bit of everything.

She writes Young Adult Fiction/ Christian Fantasy and Historical Fiction. Still, her readers will also find drama, heartbreak, romance, humor, suspense, lots of sarcasm, and sass (a must for her since she is fluent in both), inspirational thoughts, and faith in her books.

You can reach on Rebecca via her Website

and purchase her book via Amazon:

Link to ebook on: Amazon UK
Link to paperback on Amazon UK

Link to ebook on Amazon US
Link to paperback on Amazon US

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.