Today we welcome Jennifer and her Rita Finalist novel :)
Describe the call: On the specified day in March, it was in the back of my head that it was the day to find out if I'd finaled in the RITA. A call from an unknown number in Oregon came through on my home phone, and I didn't answer it because it wasn't from Texas. I was sure it was a salesman. But immediately after my home phone stopped ringing, my cell phone rang downstairs. It occurred to me that it might be the call I'd been hoping for. I booked it down the stairs and answered my phone before the caller could hang up. Laaaa! (heavenly choirs of angels) I was in shock when she told me I was a RITA finalist. It is something I've work toward for a long time.
After finding out you were a finalist, who did you call first and tell? I first called my husband because he has been incredibly supportive of my writing career--even on the days when he gets ignored because his wife is at the computer. :)
What other cool things have happened now that you’re a RITA finalist? The RWA makes you feel so special when you're a RITA finalist. There really is something special about it. I guess it's an affirmation of sorts that I am a good writer. It makes all those hard days so much easier.
Short bio: I am the bestselling Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer has been nominated for the 2015 RWA RITA Award and was a finalist for the 2015 RT Book Reviews Reviewer's Choice Award. Huckleberry Hill won the 2014 LIME Award for Inspirational fiction. Both Huckleberry Hill and Huckleberry Christmas appeared in Examiner.com list of top ten inspirational books for 2014.
I have always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and love writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth. I have a degree in mathematics and a background in editing. Me and my husband have been married for thirty years, and I have four daughters, two sons, and four adorable grandchildren, whom
I spoil rotten.
How many books have you written? I have 8 books in print and one more Huckleberry Hill book coming out in November. My new three book series, The Honeybee Sisters, comes out in 2016. It's going to be really fun.
One piece of advice you have for other authors: I think it was Thomas Edison who said, "Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration." Even if you have a brilliant idea for a novel, the words won't jump onto the page by themselves. Above all else, writing is really hard work. Even when you're tired, even when you'd rather watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix, even when you can't think of anything to say, you've got to get in that chair and write. You don't have to feel bad that it's not fun all the time. You will be successful if you are willing to work hard.
Tell us a little about this book: Huckleberry Summer is a contemporary Amish romance with lots of humor sprinkled in. Anna and Felty Helmuth's thirteen children are grown and moved away, and these feisty eighty-year-olds feel it is their responsibility to see to it that all their grandchildren find suitable mates, whether the grandchildren are willing or not. Who would ever suspect two elderly Amish folks of mischief? Anna knits potholders and cooks dishes like green bean and lentil cheese soup to lure unsuspecting suitors into her home.
In Huckleberry Summer, cautious Lily Eicher strives to live up to her dat’s high standards. She’s certainly not the kind of proper Amish girl who would make time for someone as impetuous as the Helmuths’ grandson, Aden–even if his lively spirit and caring ways are showing her just how wonderful following her heart can be.
Huckleberry Summer features a very large and naughty dog, plenty of hand sanitizer, and Mammi Anna's harder-than-golf-ball ginger snaps. Huckleberry Hill could turn out to the be the most romantic spot in Wisconsin.