1. What inspired you to become an author?
I realized I have a voice and a responsibility to use that voice as a force for good in the world. I see too many voices being raised and multiplied to spread division and hatred – especially on social media. We need to have an opposing force spreading goodness and compassion and light. I started thinking of the power people have to make a difference if we join together.
One day when I was feeling daunted by my yet-to-be-completed book, I sat and did the math in my head. I thought, “What if just one family of four reads my book and puts it into action, each one doing a good deed for the 25 days in December leading to Christmas? That’s 100 good deeds being put out into the world. Think of the impact that could have! What if 100 families did it? What about 1,000? What if a flood of kindness came into the world in December and just kept spreading?” We have purpose and power to do this. The possibility that one book could be a force for lightness overcoming darkness is what inspired me to complete writing it, illustrate it, and research the publishing process to make sure it gets out into the world. Because I truly believe that as God’s people we need to be an army of kindness and compassion and light for the world. When I was partway through the process, I saw an interview with one of my favorite performers, Pink. She said, “kindness today is an act of rebellion.” Writing and illustrating this book is my contribution to the rebellion. I hope you will join me.
2. When did you first realize you had a passion for writing?
I was definitely illustrating first – I have always loved to draw; from a young age there were doodles in every margin of every notebook; pages of sketches, painting shoes and sweatshirts, watercolors, etc. I remember my sixth grade English teacher reprimanding me in class for doodling in my notebook while he discussed literature, until he realized my doodles were illustrations of every chapter he was teaching. I have always loved reading & read-alouds, and as a 2nd grade teacher, I made up stories and poems to teach my class. I put all those loves together in this project.
3. What has been your biggest challenge as an author?
Juggling writing and illustration with being a mom, daughter, sister, wife, friend – and a full time geriatric occupational therapist as well as a singer in a band. There are a lot of balls to keep in the air! Fortunately, I have an amazing group of family and friends who have encouraged and helped me along the way.
4. Who is your biggest writing inspiration?
Songwriters who use their voice and music to call out injustice and inspire us – Brandi Carlile, Alicia Keys, and Pink; truth seekers like Glennon Doyle, Brene Brown, Colby Martin & Sonya Renee Taylor; poems like Continue by Maya Angelou and Amanda Gorman – “There is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” Elizabeth Gilbert, whose “Big Magic” helped me understand creativity as the Holy Spirit manifested.
5. What book are you reading right now?
Gabor Mate – The Myth of Normal
6. What sets your book apart from others in the same genre?
- -My book is active participation – it allows people of all ages to track the difference they make in the world (whether personally, professionally or socially)
- My book brings families closer together in a time needed most
- The world needs more kindness now – more than ever before after the pandemic, recession, wars, etc…especially the younger people who have been so isolated and inundated with anger & hatred in the media…they need to know that kindness not only exists but that each individual can contribute to ‘creating a new world’ by their small act of kindness each day.
7. How do you beat writer’s block?
- I walk or kayak and get in touch with nature and animals and the beauty God created
- I have coffee with a friend
- I remind myself that a voice is a gift from God and it must be put into use
- I practice gratitude
- I read inspirational poems/stories
- I sing
- I meditate and pray
8. What do you hope readers take away from your writing?
We all have the power to change the world with our actions. A single act of kindness can ripple out and touch many lives. When in doubt, just show up for someone else. Be kind, be kind, be kind.
9. If you could describe your writing journey in three words, what would they be?
Just show up.
10. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
See answer to #9. Keep showing up for yourself, for others, for your ideas. Your voice matters.
11. What made you choose Lucid Books as your publishing partner?
My first conversation with John Cochran. I could hear the genuine excitement and passion for working with authors and sending positive messages into the world.
12. Where can we find you when you’re not busy writing?
Drawing, singing, OT-ing, kayaking, hanging out and laughing with my family (and cat Auggie)
13. Where can we find you on social media/website?
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Coming Soon to Lucid Books! Jennifer created her new book so families could have some fun together while making the world a better place this Christmas. Be on the lookout for Filling the Manger, coming soon!