Today, I’m so excited to bring you our second Fiction Friday interview! Today, I am interviewing the lovely Regina Jennings. She is so very sweet, and super cute as well. At the ACFW conference genre dinner, she wore the actual dress from one of her covers! Isn’t that so fun?
Anyway, I’m honored to have her here today sharing a bit about her writing journey. I hope her words will inspire and encourage you, whatever your dream may be.
Interview with Regina Jennings
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I never really thought of writing as being a professional option because I’d never met a real author before, but I always liked to read and found myself rewriting scenes of my favorite books on occasion. I’m sure my alternative ending to Gone With the Wind that I wrote in the sixth grade was a vast improvement. Besides that I wrote skits, newsletters and devotionals for my church and a few mission organizations. I didn’t make a real attempt at fiction until 2010.
I’m sure I would have loved your alternate ending to Gone with the Wind (I’m assuming it was a bit happier)! So you started writing fiction in 2010, how long did you write before being published?
Let me preface this by saying I studied English and history in college and read consistently for a couple of decades after that. I volunteered my writing skills for any project God brought my way just for the experience. Finally, I felt convicted—as in it would be sin for me to ignore God’s calling—to give fiction a try. I started my first novel Sixty Acres and a Bride in January 2010 (my New Year’s Resolution) and I had a contract by December of the same year. [Crystal here–through the end of the year, you can get her first novel, Sixty Acres and a Bride for FREE on Amazon!]
Wow! So you were kind of on the fast track, but it sounds like there was a lot of behind-the-scenes work (and providence) that helped lay the foundation. How exactly did that contract come about?
When I started that novel, I kept it a secret. I just knew it wasn’t going to accomplish anything and I didn’t want everyone to know how much time I’d wasted. When I was about three-quarters of the way through my first draft I looked online for a writers’ group and found the local ACFW chapter. I started going to their meetings and learned about the national ACFW conference. I wasn’t ready to attend, but my husband pushed me out the door. I eventually landed in front of a Bethany House editor, all ready to blame my husband for humiliating me…but what do you know, they liked the idea and eventually offered me a three-book contract.
By the way, I didn’t have an agent at the time, so it is possible to land the contract without one. From there though, I signed with the lovely Rachel Kent of Books and Such and I appreciate having an agent available for advice as needed.
Thanks so much for sharing your story and writing journey! Before we finish up, what is one tip you would offer to aspiring writers?
“In the morning sow your seed,
And in the evening do not withhold your hand;
For you do not know which will prosper,
Either this or that,
Or whether both alike will be good.”
– Ecclesiastes 11:6
As you are on this writing journey, don’t neglect the other opportunities God has for you. He already has a plan for your writing, so there’s no reason to fret over it. Don’t put all your hopes in this dream at the expense of serving in other ways.
As far as advice on how to proceed, join a writer’s group and find critique partners. American Christian Fiction Writers is the organization I most heartily recommend.
That is great advice, Regina!
Regina’s newest release is one that I’ve been looking forward to for a while now!
From the back cover copy:
Abigail Stuart Thought She was Jeremiah Calhoun’s Widow.
But Jeremiah Calhoun Is Very Handsome, Very Alive, and Very Perplexed.
Most Inconvenient Indeed.
That is enough to get me looking forward to it right there! I love stories where two people are forced together in difficult circumstances, and find their way together.And that was especially fun to see in this one. I loved everything about this story!
Abigail was so dedicated and a bit feisty, Jeremiah was strong, faithful, and honorable. Regina expertly weaves together so many little pieces in this book and everything comes together perfectly to create a beautiful, riveting love story. I felt like this book went a little deeper below the surface than many lighthearted stories. I felt like I knew these characters a bit more–like they knew one another a bit more than we usually find in such stories. All in all, this book is definitely worth a read! It made me tear up and it made me laugh out loud. The kisses were beautifully written. As for the details, you’ll have to read those for yourself ;)
Check out Regina’s other books below (the first 3 are a series):
- Sixty Acres and a Bride (book 1)–Free for your kindle through the end of December 2014!
- Love in the Balance (book 2)
- Caught in the Middle (book 3)
- An Unforseen Match (novella from A Match Made in Texas collection)
Connect with Regina
Like I said above, Regina is so nice. She’s also one of those people who value (and respond to!) comments from readers, so you can really connect with her through her website and social media. One fun thing she did recently was to provide a bit of behind-the-scenes info about some of her covers from Bethany House. Find that and much more at her website and social media accounts.
You can also sign up for her newsletter.