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Monday, 18 August 2014

JENNIFER SIVEC

AUTHOR INTERVIEW
WITH
Jennifer Sivec


PLEASE WELCOME THE AMAZING AUTHOR, JENNIFER.


Hello Jennifer

Tell us a little about yourself ?

I’m a full time career woman and Mom to two crazy boys. It seems as though I’ve always been a late bloomer. I got married in my thirties, had children in my thirties, and published my first book after forty.

But I’m a firm believer that life happens the way it does for a reason, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve always been a passionate reader and writer, and I’m so happy to get write books, and that people actually read them.



How would you describe your books?

I tend toward more dramatic stories and struggle with comedy.  I like intricate storylines but if I had to use one word, it would be “emotional.”



What genre is your work mainly?

Do you tend to stay in the same vein or are you hoping (If not already) to explore new ventures?

I’ve been told it’s difficult to categorize my books into a specific genre.  I would put them more in dramatic fiction, but they are often generalized as “chick lit.”  

I am currently working on a fantasy series which was actually the first book I started.  It’s hard to say where my writing will go, I just write what calls to me.

I would love to write a romantic comedy, but I just can’t write funny. I guess you never know, right?



Share with us a quote from one of your favourite characters in your books?

I don’t have a favorite quote, but this is a small excerpt from one of my favorite scenes in Leaving Eva. It really shows the love between Adam and Brynn, but also alludes to the struggles they will have in the future.

Leaving Eva~Brynn and Adam had gone back for the wedding, and they were going to stay with Adam’s Momma and Daddy.

They had so much fun on the drive down, laughing the whole way.

“You know what I love about you?” he said suddenly very serious.

“That I’m stunningly beautiful, and so much smarter than you are?” she said striking a cross-eyed pose from the passenger seat.

He taught her how to be silly and there were times when she was even good at it.

“I love that I can completely be myself with you. Good, bad, stupid.

I love that you accept me for who I am.”

He was sincere and she felt herself go limp inside.

She felt the same, but she wasn’t so good at always saying things from her heart.

She wanted to be, but it didn’t feel natural letting it go.

Adam was looking at her, waiting. His eyes were not on the road and he was making her nervous. He was imploring, pausing, waiting. Brynn said nothing.

“Um, eyes on the road there, handsome,” she finally said feeling awkward.

She knew that the moment had passed. Her opportunity to tell him how wonderful he made her feel, and how he made her life worthwhile was gone.

Brynn always hesitated and missed the moment.

The words didn’t slide off her tongue directly from her heart as his did.

It was a constant problem for her and she wondered once again how she got so lucky to have someone like him love her so much.



Is it hard to come up with new ideas and / or plots?



I take a lot of notes. As something strikes me, I write it down.

I have a lot of different ideas at this point, but I always go with the one that grabs hold of me and won’t let go. I haven’t faced a situation where I have struggled to come up with ideas, yet.



What inspired you to write your first book?

I’ve always dreamed of writing a book. It was always on my “bucket list,” but I was never able to see it through, allowing myself to get distracted or discouraged. Then someone close to me reminded me that following your dreams can be as simple as taking the first step, so I did it.



Who is the easiest character to write for and why, hardest and why?



The easiest character to write for has been Eva/Brynn, from my Eva Series.

She is a lot like me and we’ve shared some of the same experiences, so it was easy to share her pain and express her struggle toward being open to love.



Without giving anything away, what is/are your favourite scenes in your book(s)?

It’s hard to choose what my favorite scenes are.

But the part in Losing Eva where Adam evolves into someone we never imagined him to be, sticks with me.

Choosing what my favorite scenes are.

But the part in Losing Eva where Adam evolves into someone we never imagined him to be, sticks with me. It’s real and raw and it inspires us to imagine our own limitations and capabilities when faced with the direst of circumstances.



Do you have any hobbies?

Between working full time, writing, and spending time with my family there isn’t a lot of time for hobbies. I love to do anything creative and anything that involves my husband and children.



Do you have a specific writing style?

Readers and reviewers have noted that my writing style is different for them to digest, at first. But after they get into it, they understand it more.

I think the rhythm of my writing is a reflection of what goes on in my head, which is how I intend for my books to read. I’m definitely more comfortable writing in third person, though I realize that first person stories give a more personal perspective. I sometimes struggle with telling a complete story from one character’s POV.



How did you come up with the title?



Titles and names are difficult for me. My husband named our two boys and our one dog. I just struggle with the gravity of picking a title that represents the entire story. I chose “Leaving Eva” and “Losing Eva” because they were simplistic, yet effectively described Eva/Brynn’s journey in both books. “I Run to You” was inspired by the Lady Antebellum song, and Alyssa’s struggle to lean on Landon.



How much of the book is realistic?

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?



The underlying message I’ve always read, been given, and discovered about being able to tell a good story is to “write what you know.”

While my books aren’t autobiographical, there are certainly elements of truth from my own life and the lives of those who are close to me woven throughout.



What books have most influenced your life most?

I’ve loved ready classic novels all of my life, and remember reading Maya Angelou at a young age. I have read and re-read so many books over the years, that I can’t just pick one of them.



If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?



I absolutely adore my sister-in-law, Tara Sivec.  She’s encouraging and positive, and has always answered any question I’ve ever asked her no matter how silly or small. She reminds me to follow my heart in my writing and I love that.



What book are you reading now?

I JUST began The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, and before that I read Divine Merit by V. Cantrall, which was a great fantasy read!



What are your current projects?

I’m currently working on my first fantasy novella, which will be part of a series. I also have the first book in a drama series that I am working on as well. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I think I would have made it a little longer and expounded on the story a little more. Otherwise I’m very happy with it.



Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember.



Can you share a little of your current work with us?

My fantasy series is tentatively titled “The Lost Children.” Like most, I loved fairy tales as a child. This series has the classic elements of Good VS Evil, and has several underlying themes that carry the momentum of the story; a mother’s love, forgiveness, and overall justice.



Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?



Time.

I am challenged with having enough time to write.

The summer is especially difficult with our busy schedules, but my goal is to get up an hour earlier at least four times a week and begin my day by writing. So far, it’s been working.

I find that I get extremely pent up and frustrated when

I’m not able to write, especially when I’m toward the end of a first draft.



Who are your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

This is such a hard question. I don’t have a specific favorite.

I’ve had various favorites over the years; Judy Blume, Anne Rice, Stephen King, just to name a few.

I love the honesty and originality in their story-telling.



Who designed the covers?

I Run to You was designed by Jennifer Givner at Acapella Book Cover Design.

My Losing Eva cover was designed by a long-time friend, Stacey Ketcham.

At some point, I plan to have the Eva series re-done, but that probably won’t happen until I release the third and final novel in the series.



What was the hardest part of writing your book?

I think the hardest part of writing my first book was just believing that I could do it and finish it. I have started several novels throughout the years, but never saw them through to the end. Completing Leaving Eva was bittersweet.

But when it was done, I realized that I had learned a lot about myself while I was writing it.



Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learned that you must always have an editor!

I wrote and released my first book without one person reading it, other than myself.

I wish I would have shared that process with others, but I was terrified to share my writing prior to releasing it.

It was the most baffling situation. I was so afraid of what others would think, yet I was releasing it into the world. I’ve learned to trust myself and others, and have found some wonderful beta readers and an incredible editor who challenge me to improve my writing.



Do you have any advice for other writers?

Just write. If you want to do be a writer, then you have to write!

Don’t worry about whether it’s good or bad, or if anyone will read it. Write for yourself.

You can fix anything in the editing process, but you won’t have anything to fix if you don’t just sit down and do it.



Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.

There are countless books and authors that you can choose. It is both an honor and a privilege that you choose me, and I am incredibly thankful and humbled by that.



What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?

The Eva series required a lot of research on abuse and self-mutilation.

The research was sad and difficult to digest, but it was integral to telling the story.

I wanted it to be real, but not over the top. It was a challenge to be able to tell a story about something so ugly without turning the reader off, completely. It’s a harsh storyline, but unfortunately, it’s a reality for many.



What is your favourite genre to write?

I don’t really have one, yet. I write whatever inspires me, even song lyrics and poetry.



What is your favourite genre to read?

I read anything I can get my hands on, so I’m not picky as far as genre goes.



How long have you been writing?

I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing, other than when my children were small babies. Otherwise, I’ve been writing all of my life. I’m more comfortable writing the important things, the difficult things, than I’ve ever been speaking them.

It’s how I cope and express, it’s how I remain standing when I shouldn’t be able to.



Do you have a favourite movie?

I love the movie What Dreams May Come.

The story is incredible and tragically beautiful. I find movies about deep, heart-wrenching love, completely irresistible. I love the message that true love can overcome anything, even hell.



How difficult is it to come up with one of your amazing plots?

My plots are borne of ideas, then the characters create the rest. I just have to listen and they typically tell me where they want to go.



How about characters? Are they easily born and developed?

The characters evolve as the story does. They are easily born, but not always easily developed.

Sometimes they need a nudge or a kick in the right direction.



How long does it take you to complete a novel from concept to completion?

Each book has been different. It’s taken anywhere from a few months to almost a year.

I have a tendency to get too eager toward the end, and rush the endings.

My beta readers have called me out on that several times. LOL.



What was you first published piece?

And how was it to publish your first ever book?

Leaving Eva was my first published piece. I would love to say that it was exciting and exhilarating, but in all honesty, it was horrifying. I felt like I was walking completely naked in the middle of Times Square! I honestly thought I was going to hyperventilate. I’ve never felt so bare in all of my life, realizing that people were actually going to read the words I had written. It’s an intense feeling to lay open your soul for others to see, I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to doing it.



Have you ever trashed a novel or story before or after finishing it, feeling it wasn't turning out as you planned?



I don’t know if I’ve ever given up on a story completely.

If I’m not feeling it, I put it aside and archive it for later.

I’ve done that several times, knowing it just wasn’t right for me at the time.



Do you have a special time or place to write?

I typically write early morning or late at night. Unless I’m off during the work week, I don’t get to write very often during the day. But there are those rare occasions when the kids are in school and hubby is at work that I get to write all day. Those days are beautiful, but few and far between.



Any funny experiences or quirks you'd like to share with your readers?

I’ve told this story before, but the first story I ever wrote was in the fourth grade.

I wrote it with another girl, and when we were done we folded it up and threw it in the trash. Our teacher found it and called our parents and we got in big trouble. The entire story was full of nothing, and I do mean nothing, but profanity. We had basically written a story about a guy who went to the (blankety-blank) beach with his (blankety-blank $%$%$, blankety-blank) and that was the entire story! I should of known then I was going to be a writer!



Which one of your awesome books would you like to see made in to a movie?

I would love to see the Eva series made into a movie. It’s dark, intricate, and dramatic and it doesn’t necessarily have a happily ever after ending, so it would be perfect. And I love the characters so much, I think they would translate well into a movie.

The characters are so human, that you can’t help but imagine yourself in their shoes and think about what kind of person you would be if you had lived the same life they did.



What is your favourite band or artist?

I can’t say I have one favorite, but I love P!nk, Adam Levine, Eminem, Imagine Dragons, and Sara Bareilles, just to name a few.


What is the worst job that you have ever done and why?

The worst job I ever had was as a telemarketer!

I hated the job and only did it for a summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college.

The company was good and the people were nice, but I just hated calling strangers and trying to sell them things.

I was the worst!! There was a dialogue you were supposed to follow and a rebuttal if they declined, but I always just said

“Okay, thank you, have a nice day,” and hung up! I don’t think I ever sold one thing!



Do you ever get ideas at random moments, and if so how do you hang on to them?

I do! I write them down as fast as I can!!



Can you write on demand and under pressure, or do you need time and space before the creativity starts to flow?

I’ve never had to write under pressure. Since I’m an Indie, I don’t have anyone setting deadlines for me, which is ideal for me and my busy life.

I have written when I’ve pushed myself, but I don’t typically do my best work then.

I do find that the exercise of writing does usually start things flowing though.



How would you overcome writers block?

I walk away. When I was writing Leaving Eva, I walked away from it for months at a time until I could “feel” the story working for me again. If the flow and ideas aren’t there, I’ll let them sit and work on something else. I don’t try to force it because I know there’s a reason it’s not flowing at that time.

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