Author on the Couch: Jenn Windrow
This week on Author on the Couch, I conduct a session with…
GIVEAWAY! Jenn would like to giveaway an ecopy of her Paranormal Romance novel STRUCK BY EROS… Just do these three things:
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- Leave a comment for Jenn.
- Be sure to check back for when Jenn announces the winner!
Me: Tell me about an experience that had a profound impact on your life.
Jenn: When I was a little girl we spent a ton of time as a family gathered in the family room together. At this point I lived with my Mom and Grandparents. My Mom and Grandma were always watching a movie or something on TV, but not my Grandpa. Every night my Grandpa sat in his recliner, a stack of books on the table next to him that he had gotten from the library, and one in his hand. He devoured those books, reading was his escape, his way to relax. I watched him read every night, and when I got old enough I joined him on those library trips and got my own books. A stack that sat on my nightstand next to my bed.
Watching him read, knowing how much he enjoyed the words and the stories is what I contributed to my own love of reading and words.
Me: Aww… I love that story. I love grandparents. They teach so much to their grandkids without even trying.
What personality trait of yours helps you most as an author?
Jenn: Hmmm…this is a hard one for me….see the answer to question number 3 and you’ll know why. I’d have to say…I’m seriously just sitting here trying to think of one.
My creativity. I have Bachelors in fine art with an emphasis on graphic design, illustration, and photography. I love to doodle, and create. I’m not a fan of idle hands, if I have a few moments I’m making jewelry or bookmarks, or anything that is highly creative. I encourage my girls to draw and write and color as much as possible. I think that helps me with my writing. I get to build a world, people, ideas. It’s such a creative endeavor, and it keeps that part of me satisfied.
Good for you Abbie for making me come up with something ☺
Me: What personality trait of yours hinders you most as an author?
Jenn: Crippling Self-doubt. I don’t have a ton of confidence. I’m shy, don’t enjoy tooting my own trumpet, and I certainly don’t think I am that good of a writer. When Eros was released, I had a major anxiety attack. I had to take something to help me sleep, to calm me, because I was so fearful that everyone would hate it. That after all these years of fighting to get published, I would finally find out that I sucked at it.
Even now that things have gone well with the release, I’m still waiting for someone to tell me to find another profession because I’ll never make it as an author.
Me: It seems like so many of the authors on my couch suffer from the same thing. Me included. I also think that’s why the bad reviews hurt so much. Because we think we suck and when someone gives us a bad review it validates that self-doubt.
What was your high point as a writer—a time when you were happiest?
Jenn: When I won the Golden Pen. At that point Eros had finaled in a few contests, never first, but so very close, but I hadn’t won, won with it. The Golden Pen was very late announcing the winners that year and I was up against two other stories that had kicked my butt several times, so I had no confidence that I was going to win, but I was happy to place.
I was asleep, but something woke me up and I peeked at my phone, and the email was there announcing the winners. And I was first place! I couldn’t believe it, I had won, and my all the judges told me I was a shoe in for the Golden Heart…which leads to my lowest point as a writer.
Me: What was your low point as a writer—a time when questioned your path as a writer, a time when you felt really crappy about your writing?
Jenn: I put Eros into the Golden Heart, after reading all the glorious things the Golden Pen judges had to say about it, and honestly my hopes were high! I was confident for the first time in my life that I was going to final. Then the day that the calls are made came. Nothing. I hadn’t finaled. All that confidence wasted. Honestly, I cried. I cried a lot that day. I still wasn’t good enough. I still sucked. The romance world hated me. I had signed up to go to Nationals because I thought for sure I would be a finalist.
How did I face the other authors knowing that I had failed?
My friend’s, critique partners, family, they all talked me down from the proverbial ledge. I stayed away from my writing for a week or so, just didn’t have the passion for it, but then the voices started to drive me insane, my characters wanted back out, they wanted me to come play with them, so I sat down and just did what I do. I wrote. One word. One sentence. One Paragraph. I continued to send Eros out to publishers, and you know what? Before I went to Nationals, I had 4 contract offers on my little book. 4 publishers who loved it. I signed one a month before I left for New York, and it felt so good to tell people that I had a contract.
Me: Ugh… I know that feeling of crying because you didn’t final and thought sure you would. Happened to me in 2013 and 2015.
Which of your characters are you most like? Why?
Jenn: I’m most like Noel Chase, my protagonist from Struck By Eros. She’s my less afraid to say what she thinks alter ego. Writing her was a blast because if I thought it, Noel could say it. She’s artistic and loving, but also very afraid of being hurt again. She guards her heart, even if she shouldn’t.
Me: What’s the most painful rejection or review you’ve ever received? How did you get over it?
Jenn: The very first one. I sent my vampire novel out from a full request with an agent who I really wanted. I hoped that querying would be easy for me, that I would be one of the lucky ones who didn’t have to claw and scratch their way to getting an agent or a deal, but I wasn’t.
I got a three word rejection back. Sorry, not interested.
Then I went to comicon and met an author who I really liked, and we talked a bit about the querying process and rejection and she told me her story. It made me realize that I can’t take those rejections personally. I stopped taking them so seriously after that.
Me: If you could have dinner with any famous author who would it be? Why?
Jenn: Anne Bishop. Her Black Jewels Trilogy is my favorite series ever. I read her books every year, I could probably recite them by now, but I adore her characters. I just want to sit with the woman who created some of the best written male characters I have ever read. Find out how she came up with their different personalities, the idea for the series, how hard it was to put her main character through so much. Her writing inspires me, and I guess I wish I could tell her that.
Me: Tell me about your Paranormal Romance novel STRUCK BY EROS.
One jaded woman. Two hot men. A challenge to prove Cupid doesn’t always know best.
After a lifetime of dating losers, Noel Chase thinks she’s found love with college professor Len Holder. But Cupid’s aim sucks worse than his crap-tacular curse, sticking her with supposed soul mate, Grayson Adler. Grayson is gorgeous, Greek, and an exact replica of the man-whores of her past. No matter what the chubby cherub thinks, Noel is sure Grayson is Mr. Wrong with a capital “W.”
Forced to do Cupid’s bidding, Noel must spend her days with Grayson matchmaking the unlucky-in-loves, and trying to resist Grayson’s charm and do-me-now sex appeal. But when Cupid tries to match her fiancé, Len, with another woman, Noel must make an excruciating decision. Defy Cupid and hang on to Len? Or succumb to her fate and trust Grayson with her heart?
Me: Share a few of your favorite paragraphs with us.
The arm of the couch held me and my courage to continue at this point. “You showed up in my life when I was finally happy. Finally content.” I hoped Grayson heard my next words loud and clear. “I can’t fall into your arms. I can’t let myself love you. I can’t accept you for anything more than an inconvenience. I’ll fight Cupid until the day I die to be free. I want to choose the man I spend eternity with, not be forced into it by some supernatural know-it-all.” On the surface my words were strong, but something in my heart bent, cracked, broke, made me regret speaking them.
Grayson pushed past me on the way to the door. “And what if I said I would spend the rest of my days proving you wrong?” He swept his hand between the two of us. “Showing you I’m nothing like the man who hurt you so bad you ran to the complete opposite of what you’re attracted to. Because I don’t believe for one second that your heart beats for the man upstairs like it does for me.” He placed his hand on the doorknob and turned. “What if I don’t stop chasing?”
“Didn’t you learn anything from the story of Apollo and Daphne? He chased, she ran. You chase, I’ll run.”
He stepped closer, invading my space. “Let me tell you how the story ends. Apollo cared for that laurel tree. Protected it. Tended it. Kept it green. Safe.” He opened the door. “I plan on being your Apollo. I won’t stop protecting you, keeping you safe. Even from yourself.” He stepped outside and closed the door behind him, his threat hanging in front of me, circling me, challenging me.
It’s longer than two paragraphs, but this is my favorite part of the book. When I started querying, I put the book away for a long time, didn’t read it for at least a year, and when I pulled it out to start edits with my editor, I got to this scene and it made me cry.
To me this is the part where Noel finally admits why she won’t love Grayson, and of course Grayson being Grayson calls her on her BS. It’s pivotal to the whole book and I love the interaction between the two of them.
↓ Purchase STRUCK BY EROS here: ↓
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Abbie Roads writes dark emotional novels featuring damaged characters, but always gives her hero and heroine a happy ending… after torturing them for three hundred pages. Her first novel RACE THE DARKNESS is available for
Check out Abbie Road’s second Novel HUNT THE DAWN, which is also available for pre-order!
*FORMATTED BY~MANNY GOODMAN~