Today we have very talented author Jennifer Echols joining us. Thanks for answering a few questions for us, Jennifer! Let’s get started…
What is your brainstorming process for a new book?
My entire writing process is a disorganized train wreck, which surprises and dismays me because I’m very organized about everything else in my life. The one thing I have going for me is that I WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN and NEVER THROW ANYTHING AWAY. I come up with an idea for a new book at an inopportune time–like, when I’m on deadline for my current book–like, at my son’s soccer game last Saturday morning–and jot it down on a grocery store receipt I find while pawing frantically through my purse for something to write on. I put it in the special place on my desk called Great But Untimely Ideas and come back to it later.
Can you explain your typical work week day?
I get up at 4:30 a.m., work at my copyediting job for a few hours, take my son to school, work for a few more hours, write for about four, pick my son up from school, and spend the rest of the day with him. Some time in there I will squeeze in a long jog and, ideally, more writing.
Tell us about your big break in the writing industry.
I had a lot of query letters out for two different books that I was very confident in. One was my first published novel, Major Crush, and the other was an adult romantic comedy that never did get published. Quite a few agents had asked to see the full manuscripts of one or both. Then, in February 2005, I was trying to sell my house in Atlanta so I could move back to Birmingham, where I live now. My husband had already moved back to start a new job. My son was three. There was an ice storm. The real estate agents all wanted to show the house at once. Then the literary agents started calling me. You can imagine what this was like. I am surprised I was able to talk to them at all because somehow my son and I had managed to drop the phone in the bathtub.
What suggestions do you have for aspiring writers?
Write the book you want to read. Following trends is fine, but not if they lead you somewhere you don’t want to go. This is a hard business, and it’s not worth it if you don’t love what you’re writing.
Tell us about what you’re working on right now and what we can expect from you in the near future.
I’m on deadline for the sequel to my romantic comedy The Boys Next Door. The sequel is called Endless Summer, and it will be out next June. After that, I’m revising Forget You, my next romantic drama. MTV Books will publish it in July. Then I have another romantic drama coming out a year later, in July 2011.
Thanks for joining us today, Jennifer! Wow, 4:30 in the morning? I feel like such a slacker in comparison. 🙂
For those of you who want to pick up a copy of Jennifer’s books, you can hit up your local bookstore or here.
Jennifer Echols is a former newspaper editor, college writing teacher, and PhD candidate in English. She has written for numerous literary and professional publications, and she won the Whatley Award for the year’s best essay in the Journal of Popular Culture. Raised in a small town in Alabama, Jennifer currently lives with her husband and son in Birmingham, where she works as a freelance editor for scientific publications.