|Jennifer Erin Valent|
1) This is probably a bit like asking which child is someone's favorite but do you have a character in one of your books who has taken on a special meaning in your life?
Definitely Miss Cleta! I always say I want to be her some day. She's that amalgamation of tough honesty and empathetic understanding; of boldness and humility; of toughness and affection. One minute she's sitting you down in a rocker on her front porch, feeding you lemonade and pastry; the next minute she's grabbing her shotgun and firing a warning shot. If one of my characters could come to life and I could have a long chat with them, she would be my pick.
(I had a feeling you might say that, judging from reader's responses I think many of your readers would agree...)
2) I always love asking what are writer's writing routines or rituals? Do you write out your stories longhand or on the computer? Do you have a favorite writing spot?
I never write longhand. My brain goes faster than my hands can, and I wouldn't be able to decipher my own handwriting. So usually I'm at my computer, maybe with a coffee at hand and some sort of noise in the background-music or the TV on low. I have to have something to distract the practical part of my brain so the creative part can take over. And I always write at my desk. There are way too many distractions for me to write in, say, a coffee shop. That's not the kind of noise that helps me focus creatively because there are too many different conversations going on and people to watch.
(Definitely can get that...)
3) So, knowing you are a foodie I have to ask the age old question, what would you pick as a last meal?
Duck confit risotto from The Saltbox Cafe in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. That was hands-down one of the most memorable meals I've ever had, and I've been thinking about it since. Top that off with a cup of good coffee and something chocolatey and gooey, and I'm set.
(You have me at chocolate and coffee...)
4) What's your all-time favorite movie?
That's a tough one. I'm a huge classic film fan, and I have several favorites in every genre. But overall I'd say my absolute favorite, and the one I've probably seen more times than any other, is Arsenic and Old Lace starring Cary Grant. That movie has a little bit of everything in it, despite the fact that it's mainly screwball comedy. But there's some suspense, some romance, and plenty of laughs. I quote that movie all the time. They simply don't make them like they used to!
5) Can you share a bit about your research process and what that looks like for you? Do you have any good tips for others writing historical?
One of the main things for me is understanding the time period and how people lived. It isn't so much about specific historical events, because I don't tend to write based on major moments in history. My goal is to know what it would be like to live in that time and place so I can pull readers into the setting. It helps that I'm such a classic film fan, and that I've always been interested in the time period when classic Hollywood was in its heyday. By the time I started writing stories set in the depression era, I had a good idea of what styles people wore, what some of the slang was, the appliances that would be available, etc. Those little details matter! I also read non-fiction books about the time periods I'm writing in, filter through photos and articles online, browse through antique stores and E-bay... whatever will get me more familiar with life in those places and times that I write about. If I can accurately depict the everyday life of my characters, then I can draw readers in by showing them the setting instead of telling them about it.
(I can see how your interest in classic films can stir your research process. Details are so important, thanks for sharing how it works for you...)
Also, check out Jen's novella, Magnolia Spring
FRIDAY NEWS and LINKY LOVE:
NOVELLA NEWS: This week LOVE AT FIRST LAUGH released. It includes not one but THREE Alley Cat authors: PEPPER BASHAM, KRISTA PHILLIPS, and LAURIE TOMLINSON. Check it out!
LAURIE TOMLINSON: Don't forget you can preorder WITH NO RESERVATIONS due to release in May...
ANGIE DICKEN: Angie's release THE OUTLAW'S SECOND CHANCE is also available for pre-order. We've been following our fellow cats' releases so its super exciting!
PEPPER BASHAM: Pepper also has a book releasing in April, JUST THE WAY YOU ARE. Check it out, lots of exciting Cat news!
Enjoy your weekend, y'all! Is anyone else having wonky early spring weather? Shorts one day, chance of snow the next! Welcome to March in the South, I guess!