Jennifer Walker is a full-time freelance writer, editor and novelist, owner of Walker Writing Services (http://www.authorjennwalker.com), ballroom dance instructor and Arabian horse and dressage enthusiast. Her work has appeared in numerous places online and in print, including the Elements of the Soul and Ultimate Horse Lover anthologies and Arabian Horse World and Sierra Style magazines. Her debut novel, Bubba Goes National, was released in January of 2010, and she is frantically working on the sequel.
Q: Thank you for this interview, Jennifer. Can you tell us what your latest book, Bubba Goes National, is all about?
A: Thirteen-year-old Leslie Clark has loved horses for as long as she can remember. However, her widowed father cannot afford them, so she works for a horse trainer, Helen Green, to earn lessons. She finally earns enough money to consider owning a horse of her own, and she finds a purebred Arabian horse at the livestock auction. He had been left there by his uncaring owners because he was small, but Leslie thought he was just right. He turns out to be very talented, and they go all the way to the National Championships together. Along the way, she has to deal with her rival, a bratty rich girl named Kate, and learn about love with her first crush, Alex.
Q: Is this your first novel? If not, how has writing this novel different from writing your first?
A: This was my first novel, although I have written three since then. It definitely got easier after the first one! Once I discovered National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I learned to crank out a novel in a month and I got the hang of it. However, even though I made the goal of 50,000 words in the three years I’ve done it, I didn’t finish the novel the last two years so I started LAFFN (Let’s All Finally Finish a Novel) http://jenniferlwalker.blogspot.com/2010/07/laffn-is-here-get-to-writing.html to inspire myself and others to finish those novels, edit them and get them published.
Q: How difficult was it writing your book? Did you ever experience writer’s block and, if so, what did you do?
A: Bubba Goes National took two years to write, because I kept getting distracted by other things and going back to it. I don’t think I experienced writer’s block exactly, but from time to time I would realize that my original plan for the book had to change because either something was no longer possible or I realized something was too unbelievable. Whenever that happened, I had a brainstorming session with my wonderful, talented husband Greg (also a writer), we’d work it out and I’d get right back to work. The hardest thing is when I have a difficult scene I don’t want to write, or when I get to the end–I’m so afraid of messing it up, I stall! I eventually have to suck it up and get it done, though.
Q: How have your fans embraced your latest novel? Do you have any funny or unusual experiences to share?
A: Everyone who has read Bubba Goes National seems to love it, young and old. The biggest compliment is when people ask me when the sequel will come out. One of my favorite comments is from Beth Thomas, owner and trainer at Stone Hollow Sport Horses in Pennsylvania:
“I lent my copy to one of my younger riders who is not much of a reader. Her mom just called me to tell me that Kayla has had her nose in that book since I gave it to her on Friday and when they went shopping yesterday, Kayla wanted to go to the book store to get the next book in the series!”
Q: What is your daily writing routine?
A: I am on my computer almost every minute that I’m awake and inside. I don’t have a specific routine, but work comes first and fiction comes last. sometimes I have to pack up my computer, leave my house and go to a coffee shop to write fiction so I don’t feel guilty about setting work aside.
Q: When you put the pen or mouse down, what do you do to relax?
A: I have to take a long, hot bath every night, and I always read when I do. I usually also have a book I read before bed. I often get out of the house to go ballroom dancing (which I teach) or ride my Arabian horse.
Q: What book changed your life?
A: I don’t know that a book has changed my life, but one I read a couple of years ago really stuck with me, and it was probably the first book I read twice in a row and then read again a couple weeks later. The books is called Horseplay, by Judy Reene Singer. It’s about a woman who leaves her cheating husband to be a working student for a dressage trainer. The book is just so funny and silly that I couldn’t put it down, but it was also inspirational to see a woman well into her adulthood take charge of her life and take on a whole new lifestyle. I actually did take a grooming job for a few months because of that inspiration, but after a while I decided to go back to writing full time.
Q: If someone were to write a book on your life, what would the title be?
A: Probably, “Pencil Me In” because I’m always overbooking myself with all my various activities.
Q: Finish this sentence: “The one thing that I wish people would understand about me is…”
A: that I have a very dry sense of humor, and I usually don’t mean anything by it. I find humor in many situations, and that offends people, usually because they don’t know I’m kidding.
Thank you for this interview Jennifer. I wish you much success on your latest release, Bubba Goes National!