Debut Author Jenness Walker Returns

Jenness Walker is a romantic suspense author for Steeple Hill. Her debut novel, Double Take, released this month. She also co-authors lighthearted stories with Tracy Bowen. Jenness lives in Florida with Jason, her beloved website-designer husband, and Hyacinth, her almost-as-beloved laptop. When she’s not writing from her magic coach, she loves to decorate or plan her next road trip with Jason.

I was privileged to interview Jenness in March soon after she sold. If you’d like to learn more about her and her writing journey, you can read her interview by clicking this link.

Join me as we learn about more about Jenness and her debut novel.

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Jenness Walker

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Jenness’s Journey Begins

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•Please recap for us how you got started writing and what led you to create your debut novel, Double Take (formerly Déjà vu).

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. A horrible rewrite of Goldilocks and the Three Bears in first grade. A thirty-page, hand-written mess in fifth grade about a woman who falls in love with her kidnapper. Fun, over-the-top short stories in high school about my friends falling in love. I took a correspondence course and then some college classes for creative writing.

Double Take is my fourth completed novel, and I’m not exactly sure what inspired it. 🙂 I was brainstorming one idea and was also thinking about an interview I’d read with a cover model, when the plot for Double Take began to take shape pretty much out of nowhere. I love it when that happens.

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From First Sale to First Book

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You received The Call from your agent, Tamela Hancock Murray of the Hartline Agency, with news of your first sale in December 2008. That event changed your life in many ways, I’m sure.

•What have been the most exciting aspects of having sold your first book?

It is so much fun to give copies away to the people who have meant so much to me or spent a lot of time helping me with research or encouraged me along the way. It’s nice to have a dream validated. And it’s so cool that a person like me, who would rather avoid crowds and stay somewhat in the background, can reach people I’ve never met through my stories. It’s awesome, and it’s humbling.

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•What aspects of being a published author have surprised you?

Maybe that I don’t feel any cooler. Lol. I still am really bad at answering people when they ask what my book is about. (Must practice before the book signing!) I’m so excited about having my first published book…but I still don’t feel like a published author, you know?

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•What advice would you offer to not-yet-published writers about things they can do now to help them prepare for the day they get The Call?

Don’t feel like The Call is going to completely change your life or who you are. It’s a wonderful, validating feeling, yes, but getting a contract doesn’t make or break you. It probably won’t make you a millionaire. More likely, you’ll still be driving the same broken-down car, like me. 🙂 Be content with who you are. Love what you do. Be passionate about writing, because you’ll still need that passion and determination after you sign your name on the dotted line.

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A Delightful Delivery

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•When did you hold your book for the first time? What was your reaction?

My author copies came at the end of July. My husband wasn’t home, so I sat there and stared at the box, trying to decide if I should wait on him or go ahead and open it. So I compromised—I took the box to his meeting and interrupted him long enough to open it. 🙂 It’s such a weird feeling to see your name on a book cover, to hold it in your hands.

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•Are you celebrating your release with a launch party?

Yes! My local bookstore is hosting a book signing for me. We’re going to have refreshments and door prizes, and it should be fun. I don’t do crowds, really, but I have been practicing my autograph ever since I could write, so I’m sure it’ll be fine. 🙂

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•Promotion is a vital part of the writing business. What are you doing to get the word out?

Steeple Hill does a great job of promoting its authors, so that saves me a lot of work. But I am doing some giveaways to try to build up my list of subscribers to my newsletter. I’m having a blog tour and talking about Double Take’s release on Facebook. And I’m promoting the book signing locally and doing some other odds and ends.

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A Warm Welcome

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•What’s it like to be part of the Love Inspired family?

It’s a great family to belong to. The authors have an email loop where we discuss themes, get brainstorming help, ask random questions, etc. They’re a great bunch of ladies. The editors I’ve worked with have been patient and insightful, and all the other Steeple Hill people I’ve had contact with have been very helpful.

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Double Take has begun to receive rave reviews, including the fantastic four-and-a-half stars and Top Pick from Romantic Times. Woohoo on that debut! What a way to launch your career as a published novelist. What are some of your favorite comments so far?

Thanks, Keli. That RT review was an awesome surprise!

I’m very grateful for the good reviews Double Take has gotten. After all the edits were in, I started to get nervous about having a published book. It’s one thing for your family and friends and critique partners to read your story. They might be honest, but they still see it through eyes of love—or maybe shock that you actually completed a whole book that was somewhat coherent. J But for complete strangers to read it and get a little glimpse of your heart…that can be pretty scary. When I got a couple of WOW!s, the nervousness began to slip away.

I think my favorite comment so far was when a lady emailed me that she’d been challenged to keep reaching out to her teen daughter even when the girl pushes away. Yes, I hope you love my story, that you can’t put it down and finish it with a big “WOW!” But more than that, I hope in some small way I can challenge you or change you or help you see Jesus a little more clearly.

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Jenness’s Debut Novel . . . and Beyond

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•Please tell us about Double Take.

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Double TakeDouble Take begins with Cole, the hero, reading a best-selling thriller where the villain plays a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with the heroine. When the first scene from the book is replicated in real life in front of Cole and a woman is kidnapped, Cole believes he holds the clue to her survival in his hands. But will anyone listen to him? Or will he be too late to save her? The story is set mostly in Atlanta and includes some of the scenes from the thriller.

Something kind of cool about the story—I sat on a friend’s porch and told her this brand new story I had around Christmas ’07. Almost exactly a year later, I received an offer on the book. My friend moved, but I think I’m going to try to sneak over there and sit on her old porch every time I get a new idea.

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What can your readers look forward to next?

I’m reworking my very first novel, which I hope to sell to Steeple Hill. It’s about a man who’s lost everything, the woman who tries to bring him back to life, and the killer who wants to destroy them both.

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Five Fun Facts About Jenness

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~ I once climbed a volcano in Guatemala. Nine hours on this mountain without a bathroom break, hyperventilating, watching a friend nearly fall off a cliff…And I still didn’t get to see the center. But it’s a great memory.

~ I’m a klutz. My husband has figured that out. Now when he hears a clatter, he first yells, “Are you okay?” and then “What’d you break?”

~ I have too many books that have to go on too little shelf space, so every time I buy books I loan out a stack.

~ I love the smell of coffee. I want to like the taste of it, too, and I’ve tried. I put whip cream in it, ice cream, sugar, creamer, chocolate syrup—nothing works. Sad, eh?

~ I am a virtual packrat, with almost 5,000 emails in my inbox.

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Jenness’s Question for You

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•I’ve enjoyed having you as my guest, Jenness. Thanks for your great answers to my questions. Now it’s your turn to ask a question of your visitors, so have at it.

Thanks for inviting me back, Keli! Here’s my question: In Double Take, the plot of a best-selling novel comes to life. If you could choose a story to play out in real life, which novel would you choose, and what character would you be?

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Learn More About Jenness

Visit her Web site ~ http://jennesswalker.com

Visit her blog, Ramblings ~ http://jennesswalker.blogspot.com

Friend her on Facebook ~ Jenness Walker

Follow her on Twitter ~ jennessw

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Leave a Comment for Two Chances to Win

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My Regular Drawing

My next drawing will take place October 10th. We took my daughter to college recently. She packed relatively few books, but one that went was an unabridged copy of Little Women, which is a classic tale she and I love. We’ve watched the movie version of the story with Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon many times. Since I’m missing my daughter and feeling nostalgic, I’m giving away a new copy of this DVD, one you can share with a loved one.

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment on any blog post by October 10th and enter your email address when prompted. (I don’t share your information or add it to any mailing lists.) On October 11th, I’ll post the winner’s name in the Welcome post at the top of the blog.

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You could also win a First Sale Scrapbook

If you’d like to have a chance at winning a First Sale Scrapbook created by me, your blog hostess Keli Gwyn, leave a comment on any post between now and September 30th. Be sure to include your name and email address when prompted if you want to be entered in the drawing. (Your information will not be shared.) Click red link above to see samples of covers and pages.

On October 1st, I will choose one person who will have her/his choice of covers on an 8×8 inch, twenty-page scrapbook in which s/he can document that long-awaited first sale. The pages will cover various milestones including The Call, signing the contract, receiving the first advance payment and holding your debut novel in your hands.

(No scrapbooking skills required. You just add your photos and journaling.)

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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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11 Responses to Debut Author Jenness Walker Returns

  1. Keli Gwyn says:

    Welcome back, Jenness. It’s great to have you here again and to have the opportunity to learn more about you, your writing and your debut novel. I’m looking forward to reading Double Take. I’d never read a LIS before Kit Wilkinson introduced me to them, but she showed me what fun they are.

    If I could see a book made into a movie, it would be Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I’d love to see Michael Hosea brought to life by a talented actor. Drama’s not my strength, so I’d not take a part. Rather, I’d sit back and enjoy the efforts of others.

    You said you don’t feel any cooler now that you’re a published author, but I think you’re plenty cool. 🙂

  2. Jessica says:

    Great interview! Funny about your fifth grade kidnapping book. I wrote something similar around that age, only the girl wanted the kidnappers to be her parents. Congrats on the review! That is really, really something great. 🙂

    As for your question, eek! I don’t know. Hmm, I’ll have to think about it. It would have to be a romance, I know that much. LOL

  3. Lynn Rush says:

    HI, Jenness. It’s nice to meet you. I was at ACFW in September and I just love your authenticity! I pray many blessings for you on your writing!!

    I’m not sure who I’d choose to live out in real life . . . I read and write paranormal stuff, so I’m leaning more toward the Bill Myers series (The Voice/Angel of Wrath.) Yeah, I’m diggin’ how God’s light shines through the darkness evil tries to spread.

    Have a great day!!

  4. Jenness says:

    It’s an honor to be back, Keli. Thank you! Hm…I have to think about what book to play out, too. 🙂 I’ll get back with you on that.

  5. Cindy Wilson says:

    Oh, I loved that interview. Jenness, your books sound so intriguing. And I love that you have a name for your laptop. How clever! Best of luck with all your books.

  6. Jason Walker says:

    Great Interview, Jenness. I am looking forward to seeing where your writing will take you. Of course, I also hope your next book comes out soon 🙂

  7. Quilt Lady says:

    Welcome Jenness, great interview! I love the cover of your book, and I think it would be a great read! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Marea says:

    Was your fifth grade story one of your assignments or one you did in your free time? Did I get to read it?
    I am looking forward to buying my copy soon! Congrats!!

  9. Jenness says:

    LOL! Yes, Mrs. Pouzar, if that’s you…it was for some sort of assignment that I got a little too excited about. I was hoping you threw that story away and that it wouldn’t come back to haunt me. 🙂

  10. Pamela says:

    Hi Jenness, great interview. Congratulations on your first release. Your cover is beautiful. And you have the most incredible hair I’ve ever seen!

  11. gail hobelman says:

    Congratulations Jenness – I always knew Tracy had “cool” friends. Maybe your success will bring good luck to you and Tracy as co-authors as well. I read a family members copy of your book that she received through Steeple book club and I enjoyed it very much. I am very proud to know you and wish you all the best!
    Gail Hobelman {Tracy’s mom}

Comments are closed.