Friday, February 25, 2011

Welcome to Jennifer Wilck

Our Friday Friend today is Jennifer Wilck who has two releases with Whiskey Creek Press later this year.  First, Jennifer tells us a little bit about herself:

When I was a little girl and couldn’t fall asleep, my mother would tell me to make up a story. Pretty soon, my head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Each character had a specific personality, a list of likes and dislikes, and sometimes, even a specific accent or dialect. Even as an adult, I think about the characters and stories at night before I fall asleep, or in the car on my way to or from one of my daughters’ numerous activities (hey, anything that will drown out their music is a good thing).

One day, I started writing them down (it was either that or checking into the local mental hospital—the computer was way less scary) and five years later, I’ve gotten two book contracts from Whiskey Creek Press. A Heart of Little Faith is coming out in June; Skin Deep is coming out in November.

In the real world, I’m the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men I know. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading, traveling and watching TV. In between chauffeuring my daughters to after-school activities that require an Excel spreadsheet to be kept straight, I run youth group activities, train the dog we recently adopted from a local shelter, and cook dinners that fit the needs of four very different appetites. I also write freelance articles for magazines, newspapers, and edit newsletters.

When all of that gets overwhelming, I retreat to my computer, where I write stories that let me escape from reality. In my made-up world, the heroines are always smart, sassy and independent. The heroes are handsome and strong with just a touch of vulnerability. If I don’t like a character, I can delete him or her; if something doesn’t work, I can rewrite it. It’s very satisfying to be in control of at least one part of my life. My inspiration comes from watching the people around me and fantasizing about how I’d do things differently.

Organization versus Creativity? 
When my daughter was a baby, she could entertain herself for great lengths of time by lining up her toys in rows. Not actually playing with them (or even the boxes), but categorizing and adjusting them into perfectly straight lines. It’s one of the stories I tease her with now, but the truth is, she gets that from me. I can’t function without organization.

For a long time, I thought that my need to make lists couldn’t possibly co-exist with my creative writing side. I’m the student who, when the teacher required an outline, rough draft and final copy, would write the rough draft first, the final copy second and the outline third. I’d make sure the outline matched what I had written and then turn it in on the first due date. While the rest of my classmates were scrambling to write their papers, mine would be done. The eight hours I spent in one day doing all this was just a necessary evil. In fact, the one time I tried writing the outline first, I ended up with my one and only D.

That grade was enough to convince me that I am a “pantser.” My writing couldn’t flow if I worked from an outline. Somehow, I had to figure out a way to put aside the organized side of my personality, the “plotter” side, in order to create something that flowed smoothly, made sense and followed the story arc that was in my head.

And to some extent, I’ve done it. The stories I write straight from my head are much easier to get down on paper as is. When I’m inspired to write something about one of my characters or an entire scene, and I have the time and ability to do it immediately, it’s a stronger piece of writing than if I planned it out first. I still write outlines, but as a means of keeping track of what information I’ve put where—which chapter has a physical description of my hero or heroine, which chapter do I begin to hint at the conflict, which chapter contains the first mention of a secondary character who will become important later on?

Where I have found my need for organization to play an important role, is in motivation and meeting of my deadlines. If I mark on my calendar to write my blog every Monday, I get it done. If I make writing part of my daily schedule and carve out a specific time, then it happens. In fact, I feel guilty if the time I set aside to write passes while I’m busy doing something else.

The things that make me the happiest, though, are timelines. Call me crazy, but I love them. I have a book coming out in June and another in November. The need to start marketing them has been stressing me for months now, but I haven’t known where or when to start and frankly, diving into the unknown has been making me nervous (which only makes me more stressed and thus, the vicious circle continues). You can’t begin to imagine how excited I was, therefore, to come across a marketing timeline in an industry magazine that I receive. It listed, in crisp, type-A-personality black and white, exactly what I should do when. No relying on my own feelings, no worrying about forgetting something, and no putting off doing it because I was unmotivated. There’s a deadline and I have to meet it. It was perfect!

There’s no one right way of writing (try saying that 10 time fast!). What works for some, doesn’t work for me and vice versa. Believe me, I’m not trying to convince anyone to use my crazy methods. But for me, it’s been a lot easier finding a combination of ways that works for me where I don’t have to stifle either part of my personality. I wish you luck in finding yours!

Thank you for being with us today, Jennifer.  I'm sure many of us can relate to your opposing personality traits - I know I can!  We wish you every success with your new books.

Visit Jennifer at her website:


  1. I wish you had taken the opportunity to tell us a little about your two forthcoming novels.Are they romance or historical.

    You do seem to be very organised, I imagine you have to be with your busy lifestyle.

  2. Thank you for being here today, Jennifer! Please do tell us more about your books. Also, can you share more about the marketing timeline?

  3. I'm happy to tell you a little about my upcoming books. Thanks for your interest!

    A Heart of Little Faith (coming in June): Lily Livingston is a widow raising her six-year-old daughter, Claire, in New York City. Devastated by her husband’s death three years ago, she’s in no hurry to fall in love again. Besides, trying to balance her career with motherhood leaves her little time for romance.

    With a wheelchair instead of a white horse, and a vow against falling in love again as his armor, Gideon Stone is the last person Lily expects to sweep her off her feet. But when a business agreement forces the two of them together, that is exactly what happens.

    As they navigate the minefield that fast represents their relationship, can either of them overcome the obstacles to find true happiness in each other’s arms? The answer is yes, but the bumps along the way demonstrate that neither of them can go it alone.

    Skin Deep (coming in November): Millions of people watch his show weekly and see a handsome, sexy leading man. When John Samuels looks in the mirror, however, he sees what his family called him—a monster. His make-up artist, Valerie, has recovered from her life with an abusive husband and now her heart goes out to the troubled actor. Their mutual attraction deepens until she tells him she is pregnant. Afraid he will perpetuate his father’s cruelty, he rejects her. When a childhood friend discloses the lies he was told about his past, he rushes to Valerie’s side to begin their life together.

  4. @Ana,

    Thanks for your interest. You can see my previous comment for info about my books. Regarding the marketing plan, I found it in the February issue of RWR, which is a publication for members of the Romance Writers of America. It breaks things down into time segments--7-12 months in advance, do your website, etc., 5-6 months in advance, put together your press materials, etc. The author of the article is Theresa Meyers and you may be able to find her on the web and contact her (I don't see any contact info for her). You could also try contacting the editor at Good luck!

  5. Hi Jennifer,

    Welcome to HWH, and I'm happy to confess I nipped over to your web page this morning to check out your upcoming books! ;) After all, put a link before me I'll go look at what's on the other end.

    In "A Heart of Little Faith" Lily & Gideon's story sounds very touching and rather sweet.

    So glad you've since posted details about upcoming novels here, because the link on "Skin Deep" isn't working on your web page. And boy, does the actor sound like a cold dude! ;)


  6. Hi Francine, thanks for commenting and for stopping by my website! The Skin Deep link isn't up yet because the book's not coming out until November. It'll probably go live a few months beforehand, so check back often! And don't worry, he's definitely not cold!!!! ;)

  7. Great interview Jennifer, really interesting. Wishing you lots of luck with the books.

  8. Thank you so much, Lily! Love your name (if you don't know why, check my blurb about Heart of Little Faith)! ;)

  9. I'm so organized my kids refer to me as the Queen of Anal-retentive! But others are in awe that I can remember so many birthdays and always get things done in time...if I didn't write everything down, I wouldn't be able to cope.
    But I also have a creative side, and listen to the voices in my head telling me their stories. I like to think they want a life in other people's brains as well as when I write their story, hopefully they have that.

  10. Hi Fiona, great nickname! Thanks so much for stopping by.

  11. I always enjoy reading reading other blogs from writer's, it is always so educating.
    Levi (

  12. Thanks Levi, I appreciate your stopping by. I'll check out your blog as well. Good luck!

  13. Hi Jennier,
    You do sound organised. I wish I could be so efficient.



  14. Hi Jennifer,
    So sorry,I left a letter out of your name. I hit "post" before I checked what I had written.



  15. Hi Margaret, no worries! Glad you stopped by--my system works well for me, but everyone has to find their own way of doing things. Good luck and take care!