Friday, March 25, 2011

Fiction Friday: Belle Interview With Jenny B Jones

If you've stopped by today after reading the devotion, I'd like to say thanks for dropping by! I have a different focus each day on my blog, and today is "Fiction Friday."

Today I am introducing my friend and fellow Southern Belle View blogger, Jenny B Jones. I hope you enjoy meeting her! You'll find she's very funny!

So Jenny, share a little about who you are when you're not writing books.
Gosh, when I'm not writing books I bathe on a regular basis. I have time to comb my hair and not eat from whatever white cartons are lined up on the counter. I don't snarl and growl nearly as much, and I don't spontaneously burst into tears while watching deep, emotional television programming like The Office and SNL.

Other than that, I teach public speaking to high schoolers in Arkansas part-time, I speak here and there, such as Never the Same, this summer's She Speaks, where we'll also find the fab Marybeth Whalen, and the yearly ACFW conference. I also love to travel, Ireland being my favorite spot so far. I love to eat, go to movies, take in Broadway shows (Wicked!), and spend time with family and friends. When I'm not writing or teaching, I also obsessively paint (and repaint) my house. As soon as I find a 12 step program, I'm gonna enroll. Assuming they have good snacks.

When did you first realize you were a writer?
Probably first grade. I was the obnoxious kid who wrote and put on one woman puppet shows for our class, including creating the script and stick puppets. It's a wonder my classmates didn't beat me up at recess. There's a reason I've never gone back to a reunion...

What book are you most proud of right now?
Right now I'm most proud of Save the Date, my romantic comedy that released this past February. We're getting great feedback on it, and it's been really fun (and surprising) to see the response. I really, really, really (x10) struggled with this book, so I just figured it would be a disaster. It's funny how God can turn such a blech time into a blessing. Save the Date is about a couple who make desperate decisions in desperate times. When funding for Lucy Wiltshire's home for girls is pulled, she is determined to find out why. Enter Alex Sinclair. Alex has it all...except for the votes he needs to win his bid for Congress. Despite their mutual dislike, Alex makes Lucy a proposition: pose as his fiancee in return for the money she desperately needs. Bound to a man who isn't quite what he seems, Lucy finds her heart--and her future--on the line.

What about being a "Belle" is most fun for you?
We're just different, aren't we? I love our accents, our heritage, how our Southern roots creeps into everything we do--from the extra butter added to the potatoes to the sweet smile we give when telling someone how the cow ate the cabbage. The South doesn't have the most brag-worthy past, but through the centuries we've always been about home and family, love and kinship. But any woman can be a Southern belle, no matter where she's from , no matter where she lives. It's all a state of mind, an attitude. And maybe a love for strong iced tea.

Share a little about your publishing journey.
Stop by Southern Belle View and read the whole story. Well, most of the story. You gotta keep a few details between you and God.

Share a writing tip that you've stumbled upon in your years as a writer.
The one I shared with a writer just this weekend, one that I still struggle with myself is: Give yourself permission to write junk. Sometimes we get so paralyzed by our fear of rejection, we just sit there and stare at the screen. Many of us are what we call "clean" writers--we mull it over in our head for a while before putting the final draft down in the computer. Then we change very little before turning the book in. That's all fine and good, but when you get stuck, our type tends to sit and sit and sit and sit...because we're waiting for that "just right" feeling to strike before putting any of our ideas down. You can fix a cruddy chapter, but you can't do a thing with a chapter that's eight blank pages. Don't be afraid to write absolute drivel. While writing the last two books, I've really had to become one with the dregs, and surprisingly enough, I usually am able to use something from these sloppy copies. So...just write. Don't wait for perfection. No one is looking at it but you.

What's next for you?
Next is a YA book, a book that follows Finley Sinclair, who makes an appearance in Save the Date.

In There You’ll Find Me, Finley is a senior and spending the year in Ireland in a foreign exchange program. She is trying to come back from a devastating loss, but pretty much failing. While she stays with her host family, who own a B&B, she meets Beckett Rush, the hottest teen actor in Hollywood and star of a series of popular vampire films. While Finley tours the countryside, determined to walk in the same steps her brother did when he was there years ago, she finds her stay in Ireland not nearly as inspiring. Between an assignment that has her babysitting a cranky old woman with troubles of her own and working as Beckett’s personal assistant against her wishes and her good judgment, Finley is finding little time to do the healing God is calling her to do. And little time to deal with the secrets from her own past that threaten to pull her under.

That's great news Jenny! I love it when you come out with new YA books because I know I can confidently put them in my daughter's hands! Can't wait for that one!

As she mentioned, Jenny will be speaking at our pre-conference Storytelling track at She Speaks this summer. Be sure and check it out if you're wanting to learn to tell better stories as a novelist, non-fiction writer or speaker. I am hearing this pre-conference track (not the whole conference) is already full but they are taking a waiting list in case they can open up more spots. Do check it out!
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Anonymous said...

I just read your devotional on P31 and it really spoke to me. Thanks for that insight. Everyone at P31 is such a lifeline and inspiration.

Adoption Mama said...

I, also, just read your devotional on P31. Please pray for me. I am a mother of 4 adopted children. My oldest, who is 14, is rebelling and hurting. We are at a crisis point again. Please visit to get more details. Thank you for the Scriptures. I am writing them down and posting them up where I can meditate on them.

Jackie Brown said...

Your devotion on Proverbs 31 today, touched my heart to the core because I just got an email saying my article wasn't accepted for the scholarship. I sighed and asked God for encouragement.

In the meantime, I had Barney playing in the background and feeding my 10 month-old. I know it's a season and I'm thankful for my four blessings.

Your writing speaks to me because you've been here and done it-even beyond what I'm presently doing. My family is a ministry and I'm blessed to touch others as I serve them simultaneously.

Thank you for your encouraging words today through "Losing Heart." I look forward to reading the scriptures you listed in the devo during my quiet time. And I look forward to seeing you again at She Speaks-

Danielle said...

I don't read fiction anymore, but man this book sounds good! I know I'd love it!

Thank you for your devo today, Marybeth. I really needed to soak in the truths of God's word. Losing heart and faith seemed to be the track I was heading for. PTL! He gives us just what we need to hear when we need to hear it!

Wendy Bello said...

Hi Marybeth,

Your devo of today was really encouraging. I thought I was about the only mom that sometimes felt like driving away.

I was also encouraged by reading the interview. I have this tendency of loosing heart easily, and the fear of rejection as a writer (even a beginner one) is there too.

It was a timely reading for me. God is good.

Cheri Bunch said...

I love this post, Marybeth. I am on my way over to read your devotion. Stopped here first this time.

Love the advice from Jenny! Thank you for sharing her wisdom with us. Wonderful!


Shari Braendel said...

Hi MB, sitting here in a hotel room in Ohio so after reading your devo (which was brilliant like you) I popped over here to see what you're up to. Call me a stalker, I'm okay with that!
Loved Jenny's interview...she is hilarious!!!!!! Can't wait to read her book....having finished 2 of the 3 you gave me a few weeks ago....ready for more!! I LOVE FICTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jenny B. Jones said...

THanks for letting me stop by, MB! Can't wait to see you this summer at SheSpeaks!