Welcome to my blog! I have a fabulous author for you to meet! Jenn Faulk is not only an author of clean chick lit, she is quite prolific! I know Jenn through a group we are a part of called Pure Romance Reads. It is a collection of authors who all write clean romance. You can check us out online at: https://www.pureromancereads.com/ and on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pureromancereads/
We are hosting a “Christmas in July” party next Thursday evening (July 26th), starting at 5PM EDT. You will be able to meet the authors, there will be giveaways…it will be great!!
But you are here to meet Jenn. And I am so eager for you to do so. You will no doubt find her every bit as interesting as I have…
Welcome, Jenn! And thanks for being on my blog! You have quite the list of works to your name! Please, tell us a little about one of your novels.
My first novel, Resolutions, is about three friends who decide to celebrate the new year by creating a list of resolutions that will ultimately change their lives. Emily, Melissa, and Sara are lifelong Christian friends who are quickly approaching thirty, and as they juggle careers, extended families, and their different church responsibilities while also completing those resolutions, life (as it always does!) ends up throwing a few surprises their way. Resolutions is a story about friendship and faith, about growing in Christ and trusting Him more. And, of course, there’s a love story as well!
Sounds just delightful! The kind of read you could just sit and really get into. What was your inspiration for Resolutions?
I LOVE chick lit, and I love great Gospel-centered fiction that draws readers in, entertains them, and calls them to deeper faith. As a reader, I wanted more Christian chick lit books and was disappointed that it was such a small subgenre. I’ve always enjoyed writing, and I started brainstorming the ideas behind Resolutions back when my children were tiny, writing out some notes in between feedings, diaper changes, and the general chaos that comes with having babies. Once my youngest started kindergarten, I sat down, read what little I had been able to scrap together over the years, and committed to finally finishing it. That part – actually writing it – took three months. The lead up, though, was a spectacular five years, lol!
That is no joke! My story is similar. A lot of lead up, but once my kids were a little more independent, I found I could work a lot faster. So, the writing and dreaming is fun, but what part of the process do you dread?
Those last few tedious weeks of pounding out the end of the first draft! I’ve written forty-five books, and it never changes. I always tell my husband, “I hate this book, and I want to punch these characters in the face” when I get to this point in the process. Ha! I usually set it aside when I’m done, give myself some breathing room, and come back to it with fresher eyes, realizing that I don’t hate it after all and that no one will be getting punched in the face. Whew!
I am so the same 🙂 I’m like, “you’re not going to make this same mistake again are you!?” And my husband’s all, “Didn’t you write it that way?” “No. The story wrote that way.”
What are you currently reading?
I’m reading D.A. Carson’s The God Who Is There, which is phenomenal. It’s one of those books that exposits Scripture with an eye towards the totality of the Bible, showing how God is consistent in His character from the Old Testament to the New Testament, intentionally leading up to the incarnation of Christ and the fulfillment of His ultimate glory that’s still to come. These are things that we know as Christians already, of course, but I find myself praising God over and over again when theologians who are so much smarter than I am ever going to be keep going back to the Scripture and pointing out the miracle of grace and redemption so that we can know Jesus in a deeper, richer way. Always learning!
I’m also reading through the last three books in Robin Jones Gunn’s Christy Miller Series. This is an embarrassing confession, but I’m going to go ahead and give it – I read all of the Christy books (her high school and college years and those newlywed years) in, like, three weeks a few years ago, when I was in my late thirties and clearly past the age of the intended audience. I couldn’t stop, though! My husband was all, “What are you reading?” and I’d tell him, all irritated that he’d interrupted me, “I have to find out if Christy ends up with TODD!” like they were real people. (Real in my heart.) Anyway, I didn’t even know that there were books about the baby years (!!!) until last week, so I’m bingeing again! My oldest daughter has just started the first Christy book, and she was peeking over my shoulder trying to find out if (you guessed it) Christy ends up with Todd. Sigh. Apparently I’m like an overgrown twelve year old, but whatever.
I totally get it! I am going through Priscilla Shirer’s study “Discerning the Voice of God”. Talk about deep! But I might need to add this D.A. Carson book to my pile…
I always ask this next question. Mostly because music has become part of my writing atmosphere…instrumental music mostly. But, what kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?
It really depends on the book and what part that I’m writing. If it’s a scene of spiritual clarity for a character, then I have praise and worship going, usually something by the Gettys. The rest of the time, I’m really partial to seventies music (don’t judge!), especially the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Aerosmith, and, yes, even the BeeGees. While writing my last book, Picture Perfect, I was on a Coldplay kick for a while, and after listening to Trouble and Yellow a few too many times, my hero was just about the most depressing guy ever. Hymn for the Weekend and Paradise got us out of that slump, though, thankfully!
Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?
After I drop my kids off at school and get my run in, I sit down at the kitchen table and spend the rest of the morning writing. I try to prioritize and keep from writing and being buried in my work when my kids and my husband are at home, so I protect those few hours of solitude as much as I can. (And I run my miles faster with the reward of writing dangling in front of me, lol!)
So admirable. I’m one of those people that are like…”if I’m running, you should be too…’cause something’s chasing me!” 😉
How long does it take you to write a book?
During the school year, it takes me a couple of months per book. During the summer…. well, I’m lucky to get one out all summer. When my kids were little, I thought that they would require less of my time the older that they got, but as it turns out, they just require my time differently now that they’re in junior high. This summer in particular has been slow on the book front because I’ve had to be intentional about being all in with them, something that looks different than it did when they were younger. I’m taking my oldest daughter on a girls’ trip next weekend, and I’d had plans to get some writing done at night while we’re away, only to find out that she’s making plans to squeeze every last second of togetherness out of each day. (And the old lady in me is screeching that I need sleep, lol!) My readers are going to start thinking that I’ve given up writing, but it’s all good. The books will start coming more quickly once school is back in session!
I understand that the majority of writers take the summer off. At least that’s what I’ve been told is industry standard. I’m still feeling my way out though. Me? I’m putting a book out this week. It’s been difficult to push through this summer though…with trips and conferences, and my kids being home. It’s tough.
Can you tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
Can I tell you about my first book instead? The fun tidbit about that is that part of the story is in Okinawa, Japan where Emily’s brother, Matt, is stationed with the Marine Corps. When I first came up with the idea of Resolutions, we were living in Okinawa! The church that Matt goes to is the church that my husband was pastoring, and I loved incorporating details (and some characters!) from our time there into the book. I also have a few books – Different Stars, Ready or Not, A New Tune, Something Better, From Here on Out and my favorite book of them all, Happily Ever After – that are set in Namibia, a country in the southwest corner of Africa where I served for two years as a missionary right after college. The characters in Happily Ever After actually live where I lived, doing the same type of ministry that I did while I was there. It was so much fun to write!
That is fascinating! My first book was inspired by my time in the Czech Republic where I spent time four consecutive summers doing mission work. I fell in love with the people, the culture, and the history there!
Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?
My current project is tentatively titled Worth It, and it’s a friends-to-more story. Nate and Athena meet initially because her sister marries his cousin, but they stay in touch because their acquaintance with one another is mutually beneficial to their careers as up and coming PhD students with their eyes on a future in university administration and academia. The real story picks up four years down the road from that first meeting, and it’s clear that though they’re total opposites, they’ve somehow managed to become the best of friends, so much a part of one another’s lives that there isn’t much that’s left unsaid between them, until… well, you’ll see. 😊
I’ll be honest, while I like Chick Lit, it’s not my first choice of genre, but I am definitely going to get one of your books and check them out! It has been so much fun getting to know you and a bit about your inspiration and process. Thank you for coming on the blog!
Thanks so much for letting me visit your blog, Sara! I’d love to let your readers know that one of my books, Happily Ever After, is always free on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo. The rest of my books, starting with Resolutions, are over at Amazon and are free to read through Kindle Unlimited. You can find a complete list of all forty-five of my books, along with descriptions and links, at www.jennfaulk.com
Hey! That’s usually my line 😉 Well, readers, there is a fabulous excerpt waiting below for you and a giveaway rafflecopter as well. Don’t miss any of it:
Three friends, ten resolutions, and a year full of big life changes.
For Emily Fisher and her friends, New Year’s Eve has never been about more than eating cake and watching the minutes until midnight disappear. This year, though, Emily, Sara, and Melissa decide that as they approach the age of thirty, they’re going to make some bold resolutions together and see them through in the year ahead, never guessing how dramatically life will change for them in the process.
As the daughter of a megachurch pastor and the assistant to a sensational and exhausting wedding coordinator, Emily already has her hands full. Using the resolutions as a challenge to make life about more than being a mindless drone at work, she ventures out of her comfort zone – trying new hobbies, picking up new exercise habits, traveling abroad, helping out in new ways at church, DATING – and discovers in the process that there’s more to life than weddings and work. When her family experiences unexpected hardships, Emily is forced to re-evaluate all of her priorities, and the lessons she learns lead her to stronger faith, a new dream for her career, and a romance greater than any that she could have imagined for herself.
This is from Resolutions. If it’s too long, feel free to cut, cut, cut (lol!) or ask me to hunt up a better excerpt. 😊
It was ten minutes until midnight on New Year’s Eve night, and my mouth was full of wedding cake.
Not my wedding cake, obviously, since I was in my favorite pair of pj pants, a comfy old sweatshirt from high school, and a fabulously tacky pair of leopard print slippers. This cake was our New Year cake, from a vendor who catered most of the weddings I worked and who always had a “sample” available for me once a year. “Because I just love you like that, Emily,” he would wink at me as he passed the box across the counter and refused my money. His wife would pat me on the arm and tell me, “You tell all of your brides how wonderful this is!”
And it always was. Tonight’s specialty was my favorite – white chocolate with strawberry cream filling, covered with cascading chocolate-dipped strawberries, some of which were decorated to look like little men in tuxedos.
“Exquisite,” Sara had said when I lifted it out of the box.
“Kinda creepy,” Melissa had noted, pointing to a tuxedo strawberry that looked more headless than his brothers.
“Just wait,” I told her. “This will be better than last year’s. As if that’s even possible.”
The three of us were having a party – a party just for us. We had been having these every New Year’s Eve since we were ten. Our friendship had started long before then, back when we were the only three babies in attendance at Grace Community Church twenty-eight years ago when my father began his pastorate there. The church had been very small then, but we were blissfully unaware in our crèche department, chewing on the same plastic toys, being diapered by the same volunteers, and babbling incoherent ramblings to one another each and every Sunday morning. As the church grew, we transitioned from the crèche to the preschool, from the preschool to the elementary age wing, from the elementary age wing to the Junior High youth, and from the Junior High youth to the High School group. Along the way there were other friends who came in and out of our lives, but for the most part, it remained the three of us, running to class to meet up and tell one another some silly story during our younger days, coolly meeting up after the service when we were angst-ridden teens who were mortified by our parents, and now, post-college and nearing our thirtieth birthdays, finding time in our busy schedules and lives to continue our friendship.
This New Year’s Eve tradition had served us well, even during college. We were fortunate that even though we chose three different universities in different parts of the state, we were all home for the same holidays and could still do our annual countdown of the year.
“This,” Sara said, pointing her fork at the layers of strawberry goo wedged so delicately in the cake, “is what I’m getting for my wedding. Think he’ll cut me a deal?”
Sara had been planning a wedding for quite a while. Years, in fact. She had met Jon during her last year of college, and although he seemed as committed and focused as she was back then, the six years since had gone on with no move towards marriage. Sara had started working as a kindergarten teacher in Fort Worth after graduation, and Jon had started work on his MBA. Two years later, he took a position with an investment firm in San Antonio, although he had offers nearer to home. If you know your Texas geography, you know that Fort Worth and San Antonio aren’t exactly in the same neighborhood, and since Jon, two years into the relationship was still no closer to a ring and a date, we all thought it was the beginning of the end. Sara didn’t, though. She loved him beyond any valid reason we could see and continued to plan her life with him even though he made no move towards any kind of commitment.
That was Sara, though. Kind and sweet, optimistic and hopeful, perhaps to a fault at times.
Melissa eyed me questioningly for a moment. I gave a slight shake of my head, imperceptible to Sara, or so I thought.
“No, Melissa,” she said in a sing-song voice. “He hasn’t proposed yet. But there’s always Valentine’s Day, you know.”
“Ugh, Valentine’s Day,” Melissa groaned. “Hate it, hate it, hate it…” She speared a bite of cake and popped it in her mouth. “This is good,” she told me. “And you know I’d tell you if it wasn’t.”
I knew that she would. Melissa’s best trait was her brutal honesty… although at times, it was also her worst trait. I had, on more than one occasion during high school, seen some poor unfortunate and unsuspecting guy shyly ask her out, only to have her look at him dubiously and say, “Me? But you’re way too dumb for me.” When I would express some amazement about this after the wounded boys would retreat, she’d say, “What?! It’s true!” And it was. Melissa was smarter than all of them. She would eventually show some remorse for her harsh treatment of the male gender, saying that perhaps some kindness and tact would have been more honoring to the Lord. But she never apologized for being smart. After racing through a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree with high marks, she was now the only female engineer on staff at a secure government location that we couldn’t know too much about, even as her closest and oldest friends. “It has to do with missiles,” she told us once, very simply, and never spoke another word about it. (I remember Sara’s response to this had been to treat her with increased care and gentleness, as she was quite sure Melissa had become a domestic terrorist of some sort.) Melissa’s life was her job, and she spent even most of her free time working towards higher achievements there.
As for me, I was also working my dream job, a position that I ironically referred to as “Dream Destroyer.” That wasn’t the official nomenclature on the door of my office, though, as the truth would have likely scared any and all clients away. The friendlier title assigned to me was Assistant to the Bridal Events Coordinator.
I had applied fresh from college with little hope of getting the position, stepping into the regal downtown hotel for my interview and feeling as though I had shrunk three feet by being in the very presence of such elegance. Surely, I thought to myself, only THE most talented and experienced coordinator could get a job here! I hadn’t counted on being the last of twelve girls hired that year alone, thanks to the gruesome nature of the job. Unbeknownst to me that day, they were fully booked for the season, were in desperate need of some naïve help, and were ready to take just about anyone. My boss, THE Bridal Events Coordinator, greeted me that day in a full pink suit, fresh corsage on her lapel, spike heels on her feet, and hands full of bling. Big, huge, gigantic bling. Her hair was exquisite, her makeup flawless, and her smile so warm and tender.
She had me fooled.
“Dear Miss Fisher,” she said, holding out a hand to me delicately. “I’m Evelyn Primrose.”
I must confess, I didn’t know whether to shake her hand, kiss her 3-carat emerald cut engagement ring, or curtsy. I managed to firmly shake her hand in my own, then on her invitation, followed her to her office, a feminine space dominated by floral furniture and her own amazing bridal portraits. Evelyn had been stunning even then as a debutante set to wed the mysterious Mr. Primrose, whom I had never met. (And whom I suspected was actually a Mr. Butts or Mr. Snarflehock, names that Evelyn would have traded in during office hours for the impossibly feminine and genteel Primrose.) On that fateful day that I interviewed, stars in my eyes, she laid the job out for me with a genuine smile – assist brides in planning their dream weddings, walk alongside the wedding couple as they made decisions for the reception, act as the middle man between vendors and brides, and (she said this with a flourish) exude elegance that befits such a fine venue.
It was perfect. Perfect, perfect, perfect. I would have told Evelyn anything she wanted to hear. Do I know every kind of flower type ever seen under the sun? Absolutely, Mrs. Primrose. Can I sew up twenty layers of silk and tulle in ten minutes? Most certainly, Mrs. Primrose. Was I willing to be a team player in this bridal machine we were running? Without a doubt, Mrs. Primrose!
And so I began, quickly discovering that it was Evelyn’s job to dream big with the brides, to suggest the vendors, to show them how extravagant their big day could be, and to fill their heads with impossible fantasies…. before sending them to the face of hard-cash reality, yours truly. I had only wanted to have the fun of planning a wedding without the work of a marriage. What I got was akin to couples’ therapy as I broke the news to dazed brides and grooms that while, yes, those peonies that grow naturally in Bali (and nowhere else in known civilization) were exquisite, they did nevertheless cost a fortune. And while, yes, the dance floor we could offer looked like something your Uncle Bubba could set up for you with no problem at all, we would require that our people do it and that it would cost you $300 for set up, $300 for tear down, and, my sincerest apologies, $300 for repair work later at the very least. (Even if you didn’t do anything to it!) Oh, and our most efficient meal (Evelyn frowned on my more honest word “cheap”) would still cost $50 a head, even though it likely only cost us $2 a plate to make. I was the number cruncher, the business end of the deal, and many times, the great consoler of all manner of hysterical brides.
My dream job was a big nightmare most days. It paid the bills, though, and paid them well enough that I had paid off all of my student loans in record time. With that monkey off my back, I was saving up for a real home… if my little clunker car would just live a little bit longer. I anticipated being the Dream Destroyer for many, many more years, as it was a good job with the opportunity for advancement, for one day being THE Bridal Events Coordinator. And hiring some other poor schmuck to do my job.
It didn’t take me long at my job to realize that no one expected me to last very long. All of the other assistants had quit within a month of taking the position, but six years later, I was still there. Evelyn liked my tenacity, and God bless her, I liked Evelyn for just having the guts to be Evelyn. It couldn’t have been easy to send the wolves to me every day, but she did it without reservation, noting that even the unpleasant parts of wedding planning were crucial to a truly successful event. When things got really rough for me, she was a shrewd businesswoman who could come to my defense when it looked like I was going to literally be in the middle of a knockdown drag-out between brides and grooms. “Savages!” she told me once, after a particularly belligerent bride had attempted negotiating with me by screaming in my face. “As if they could ever have their hootenanny of a wedding here!” If for no other reason, I loved her for being able to wear a Chanel suit and Jimmy Choos while saying the word “hootenanny.”
The memory made me smile as the seconds ticked by to midnight.
Happily Ever After
Cammie Evans was a girl with a plan from the moment God called her to be a foreign missionary. After several years spent all over the world, though, she finds herself with a new assignment that leaves her questioning all that she once thought to be true about life, love, and calling.
David Connor was always the weird kid in the youth group, never destined to live up to his father’s expectations. After several years of working to find his own significance in Christ and his calling as a foreign missionary, he finds himself asking hard questions about who he is and what God wants from him.
As their lives change and the past becomes part of the present, can Cammie and David help one another find their own happily ever after?
Amazon (Happily Ever After) – FREE!!
More About the Author
Jenn Faulk is a native Texan who enjoys reading and writing chick lit. She’s a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom, and a marathon enthusiast who loves talking about Jesus and what a difference He’s made in her life. She has a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston and a MA in Missiology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Connect with Jenn and her books
For a complete list of all of Jenn’s books, visit her website: www.jennfaulk.com
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Jenn is offering an ecopy of her first book, Resolutions, featured on today’s blog to one (1) winner. Please follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below.