Is there a story behind your book Beyond I Do?
There is. The novel is about a woman called into homeless ministry, and I felt compelled to write this story for two reasons. First, having spent time as a homeless teen, I’m always looking for ways to increase awareness and compassion for the pervasive issue of homelessness. There are so many myths and assumptions when it comes to the homeless, assumptions that prevent people from getting involved. I want people to know lives change radically when they are introduced, through the actions of loving Christians, to God’s amazing grace. I know firsthand—am proof of—how powerful grace can be in transforming a broken life.
Second, I’ve served in homeless ministries as an adult, and finally, many scenes in this book arose from my time serving at Forest Avenue Women and Children’s Shelter in Kansas City, MO. As I was writing, I could often visualize the faces of the women and children I encountered at the shelter. I suspect many aren’t aware of the number of children living on the streets or in shelters. It’s sad, and yet, through Christ there’s always hope. As Christians, we’re called to point the hopeless to the hope of Christ.
What distracts you from writing the easiest?
Facebook, which somehow leads to me to a Youtube video, which links me to another video, which initiates a Google search that leads to a blog post that leads me back to Facebook to post the article’s link! And that’s when I’m home alone. When my family’s with me, well, they’re just too hilariously fun to avoid!
:) What kind of books do you enjoy reading? (Book recommendations very welcome!)
I love all kinds from numerous genres. Anything from Mary Conneally is great. I just finished A Light in the Wilderness by Jane Kirkpatrick. It’s about a freed slave making her way across the west, hoping for a better life in Oregon. This was a tear-jerker, for sure! Another novel I loved, loved, loved was Misery Loves Company by Rene Gutteridge. I also really enjoyed Connie Almony’s At the Edge of a Dark Forest. She did a great job with crafting the hero of that one! Wow!
Good recommendations there! Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? Why?
Honestly, I loved them all, even my minor characters, though I was probably drawn most to Ainsley Meadows, my heroine. I recognize a bit of myself in her struggles. She longs to follow God wholeheartedly, but fears, insecurities, and wounds from her past hold her back. Then there’s the whole uncertainty of following after a calling. Ainsley’s dream is to become a singer, a career that feels as unreachable as writing does to many of us. J I believe if God’s birthed the dream, He’ll carry it out. I hope Ainsley can grab hold of that same confidence.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
All writers are quirky, right? (Please say yes!) Apparently, according to my family, anyway, I’m quite the animated typer. Especially when I’m engaged. My head bobs, or shakes, and I’ll smile or scowl, depending on the mood of the scene. There’ve been numerous times, pages into a tense chapter, I’ll glance up to find my husband watching me, amused.
What is your favorite season of the year?
This is tough. If I could pick two, I’d say spring and fall, but if I have to pick one… fall. I love the colors, pumpkins, the spicy scent of apple cider, and roaring bon fires. Where I live we have an amazing pumpkin patch that has rides, corn mazes, great food, and bon fires. It’s called Valas and a dear friend introduced me to it last year. It’s one of those places we Nebraskans look forward to all year!
Oh, my. My two favorites too! What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up?
I grew up in northern Washington State with its coniferous trees, hiking trails, grassy meadows, and beautiful mountains. But what I love most is Pike Place Market in Seattle. I have some great memories of going there as a kid and later, a few special romantic outings spent with my husband.
I've only visited parts of it, and I loved Pike's Place in Seattle. My eyes were big, I'm sure, with all the fascinating colors and activities. I'd would love to return some day for an extended visit! What is a favorite memory from your childhood?
I don’t know about favorite, but I have one that’s very special and that I believe helped infuse in me a love for writing. My dad and I used to play rhyming games while walking—skipping, actually. At the time, I thought we were just having fun. Looking back, I can see how even then God was leading me toward my future calling. Parents, keep laughing with your kids. They will remember!
True. Parents really need to interact in a big way with their kids. Laugh. Talk. Involve! What's your favorite meal with family and friends? (and feel free to share a recipe with us!) Ugh. You want a recipe? I’m not so good at following those. In fact, after 19 years of marriage, my husband still urges me to call his mother for recipes of his favorite dish. It’s not that I don’t like cooking. I’m just more… free-flowing with the ingredients. And I don’t set timers, or if I do, I don’t hear them. This means my family has had more than their fair share of burnt dinners. *sigh*.
Luckily, there’s a frozen yogurt store not far from our house! I’m a big believer in eating dessert before—or instead of—dinner. On occasion. J
Lol. The farther I get "into" the writer life, the more I tend toward the same thing. Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
It seems my books often point the characters toward surrender—either for the first time as they come to understand God’s saving grace, or a deeper level of surrender as they grow in their relationship with Him. My books also have a missional or outreach angle—a believer called to share God’s love and grace with someone who is broken and living without hope.
Where do you escape for some quiet time to reflect, pray, read, etc?
In the morning, I have my quiet time curled in the corner of the couch with a ginormous mug of coffee, heavily sweetened, of course, in hand. Then around midday, I love grabbing my Pandora radio, praise music on, to go for leisurely prayer and praise walk.
Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you. (and why it's special)
Ephesians 2:10 is my life verse. It says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (NLT). It reminds me that I was created for an eternal purpose—that God has work specifically for me to do; work that fits me like nothing else because I was created to do that very thing.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
I don’t have a date other than 2015.
It’s titled When Dawn Breaks:
Jacqueline wants purpose and restitution, but must she relinquish her chance of love to find it?
A hurricane forces Jacqueline to evacuate. Looking to begin again—and reconnect with her embittered daughter—Jacqueline heads north. Reconciliation is hard, but she has a handsome new friend to lean on. Most importantly, she knows God is standing beside her.
When her daughter rejects her, three children abandoned by their mother open their hearts. But can God use a woman who dashed the hopes of her own child to bring hope to someone else’s?
Thanks so much for visiting!
Buy her book here:
New Hope Publishers
Jennifer Slattery lives in the Midwest with her handsome railroader and their teenage daughter. She loves taking long walks with her husband, hitting the mall with her daughter, and foregoing dinner for a ginormous serving of frozen yogurt.
She writes missional romance novels for New Hope Publishers.
Connect with her at these places:
Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com, and devotions for her personal blog, JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud and the group site, Internet Café Devotions. You can also find her at Inspy Romance.com and Faith-filled Friends where she chats about the intersections of faith and fiction.
Jennifer is giving away a copy of Beyond I Do. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.