Spotlight on debut novelist, Jennifer Fromke
One of the reasons I started this blog was to share books and authors with others. And I especially like to introduce new authors to my readers, so today I am happy to help my readers get to know more about Jennifer Fromke and her debut novel, A Familiar Shore
Tell us about your favorite book as a child and your favorite book as an adult. Can you see a connection between those books?
My favorite books were A Little Princess and The Secret Garden, both by Frances Hodgson Burnett. My favorite books of late (I’m afraid this changes as I read) are by Kate Morton: The Forgotten Garden, The House at Riverton, and The Distant Hours. And obviously, yes, there are strong similarities! All take place in England, and all of them involve an old and (except for one) huge house/castle-esque dwelling. I love the mystery and intrigue possible when you mix England, the past, and a stunning old house.
And they involve gardens! What is your favorite Scripture? Do you also have a favorite Scripture that encourages you in your writing?
I’ve spent a lot of time in Revelation over the years, somehow God seems to keep bringing me back. I taught a Bible study on this book, even wrote a study on the book. So one of my favorite verses comes from Rev. 21:5. It reads, “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
I keep coming back to this verse for several reasons. 1. Look at the world. Sadness, sickness, strife, lies, decay, bad choices everywhere you look . . . and God gives us this promise: I am making everything new. Not, I am gonna fix you up. Not, I’m gonna slap on a new coat of paint. But He tells us He is going to MAKE everything new again. This verse holds such promise! Such hope! 2. God told John to write it down because His words can be trusted and they are true. I’m not sure about anyone else, but if there are words guaranteed to be true, I’m gonna hang my life on them. So little turns out to be all that’s promised these days. But God’s words are true. 3. God told John to write. He didn’t tell him to remember or think about it. God told him to write. And I love this. I’m not saying I’ve ever taken dictation from God, but the idea that He values the written word, encourages me as a writer. I believe God called me to write and I want to write the words He’s ordained me to write.
My husband and I both love Revelation. Perhaps because it describes the place where we all want to go. If you could go to any place in the world to research/write a book, what setting would you choose?
Probably northern Michigan. I just love it there. I return every year, and my heart is sort of locked on the area. It’s a part of me already, but I’d love to soak myself in the atmosphere as I write about it. But if I had to choose a place outside my knowledge base, it would probably be England. I visited there once in college, but I’d love to spend a month in a country castle. Or a week in the city, walking the streets of Cheapside, rounding Piccadilly Circus and lingering in Trafalgar Square. I would also love a few more days in the museums there.
I often wonder if I would write if I had to do it the old-fashioned way without computers and spell-checks and email. Is there anything about technology that you don’t like? Or anything about it that you feel enhances your writing?
I can remember writing plenty by hand – and I also remember learning to type on a real typewriter. There’s something wonderful about looking at the bottom of your hand and seeing it smeared with graphite from sliding across a page of penciled thoughts. But I would never trade technology – ever. When I remember the painful process of white-out and retyping, or when I consider the thought of mailing a complete manuscript – printed out – to a publisher, one at a time . . . I cringe. I’m not sure you could pry my apple products from my fingers anyway. I’m quite addicted.
Me, too! As a writer how have you had to grow and stretch out of your comfort zone?
I think the first big leap was showing my work to someone. When I started out in my first critique group, I would spend hours editing my work before I sent it off, worried they would find me a fool. Now, I shoot my first drafts off to my crit partners and expect them to tear it apart. I think I’ve developed a thick skin, and at the same time, I’ve come to crave criticism from people I trust. It makes me better and that’s what I’m constantly striving for – betterment. This has blended into a second stretch and that has to do with rejection. No one likes to get turned down for anything. But now I’m learning that if I don’t submit my work, it will never get accepted, but I can count on it getting rejected. It’s just part of the process. There is probably only one publisher out there right now who needs what I have to offer. I can research and scan websites until I go blind, but until I send it in, I’ll never know. So I’ve gotten used to the idea that my work will be rejected, but with that knowledge, I rest in the idea that it may also be accepted by someone too. And just because I’m rejected by one publisher does not mean my work is horrible. It means that publisher didn’t need it today. How many vegetables do you reject when you grocery shop? Lots! But it’s not because you hate all the vegetables. It’s because you only needed a few today.
Great analogy! What advice would you give to a beginning writer that you wish someone had given you?
Attending writing conferences will help you grow by leaps and bounds, and they are an excellent resource for meeting compatriots walking the same road toward publication.
Do you want to add anything about your book such as how to order it?
I’d love to! The book takes place over Memorial Day weekend, so this is an excellent time of year to read it! I think it will be great for summer reading. The water theme throughout will complement any time spent on the beach, at the lake or poolside.
The back cover copy reads like this: Meg Marks is a young lawyer raised off the coast of the Carolinas. An anonymous client hires her to arrange his will, and sends her to meet his estranged family at their lake home in northern Michigan. After a shocking discovery, she finds herself caught between his suspicious family and a deathbed promise her conscience demands that she keep. Will she sacrifice her own dreams for revenge, or will she choose something more?
A Familiar Shore is available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.
Thanks so much for having me on your blog!
Thanks for visiting and letting us in on the inside scoop about your book, Jennifer. I can’t wait to read it!