Meet author Jennifer Wright
Jennifer Wright has been writing since middle school, eventually earning a Master’s in Journalism at Indiana University. However, it took only a few short months of covering local news for her to realize writing fiction is much better for the soul and definitely way more fun. An Air Force wife, she spends most of her days corralling her two children and one grumpy old dachshund. She currently resides in New Mexico.
Tell us about your newest book:
If It Rains is a story of resilience and redemption set against one of America’s defining moments―the Dust Bowl. It’s 1935 in Oklahoma, and lives are determined by the dust. Fourteen-year-old Kathryn Baile, a spitfire born with a severe clubfoot, is coming of age in desperate times. Once her beloved older sister marries, Kathryn’s only comfort comes in the well-worn pages of her favorite book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Then Kathryn’s father decides to relocate to Indianapolis, and only the promise of a surgery to finally make her “normal” convinces Kathryn to leave Oklahoma behind. But disaster strikes along the way, and Kathryn must rely on her grit and the ragged companions she meets on the road if she is to complete her journey.
Back in Boise City, Melissa Baile Mayfield is the newest member of the wealthiest family in all of Cimarron County. In spite of her poor, rural upbringing, Melissa has just married the town’s most eligible bachelor and is determined to be everything her husband―and her new social class―expects her to be. But as the drought tightens its grip, Henry’s true colors are revealed. Melissa covers her bruises with expensive new makeup and struggles to reconcile her affluent life with that of her starving neighbors. Haunted by the injustice and broken by Henry’s refusal to help, Melissa secretly defies her husband, risking her life to follow God’s leading. Two sisters, struggling against unspeakable hardship, discover that even in their darkest times, they are still united in spirit, and God is still with them, drawing them home.
What inspired you to write If It Rains?
My husband is an Air Force pilot and, back in 2014, he transferred to a base in southern New Mexico. It was a completely new experience for someone like me who was born and raised in the Midwest, especially when I witnessed my first dust storm. My background is in journalism so I am a naturally curious (or nosy, depending on who you ask!) person to begin with, and I was soon down a rabbit hole of dust storm research that eventually led to the writing of ‘If It Rains.’
What genre do you focus on and why?
I write Christian historical fiction because I love the experience of traveling through time within the pages of a book. History is so much more than facts and figures; it is real people living real lives during extraordinary times. Even fictionalized accounts of historical experiences add a level of depth and understanding to past events that would not be possible otherwise. Through my books, I hope to encourage people to discover more about the richness of history while also illustrating the timelessness of God’s grace.
Why do you write?
From the day I learned to read, I have always been a bookworm. When I became a military spouse, books were the one constant in a life of incessant change. This deep love and respect for books and their authors created a desire in me to write one of my own—so I did! It took over ten years for me to score a publishing contract and, during those years of rejection, it was the belief in my dreams that kept me going, as well as the longing to show my children what it means to pursue your goals, even when it’s hard or seems impossible.
Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?
If It Rains is a dual-timeline story. One of my protagonists, Kathryn, is named after my husband’s grandmother, with whom he was extremely close (and who is the middle namesake of my daughter!) The other protagonist is Melissa, which is the name of my maternal grandmother. She was a major influence in my faith journey during my childhood.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?
I spent many years writing during my children’s naptime, but I’ve just entered a new season in which both my children are in school full-time! Now, I drop them off at school around 8:00 and come home to write. I usually have a word count goal (anywhere from 2,000-3,000 words) for the day rather than a set amount of time. Sometimes I get it done in a few hours; other days, I’m writing right up until it’s time to go pick my kids up from school and replace my “author hat” with my “mom” one.
What is the hardest part of being an author?
I think the hardest part of being author is simply getting the word out about your book. There are so many books out there demanding readers’ attention, and it’s difficult to find ways to differentiate yours from the pile.
What’s the best part of your author’s life?
I absolutely love engaging with fellow readers and writers. I’ve been given the opportunity to chat with authors whose books have inspired and encouraged me, as well as “fan girl” with readers over novels we love. Book people are my people, and being able to connect with them has been the most rewarding part of this journey so far.
What’s one unusual fact about you?
I have traveled to fifteen different countries, lived in three of them, and called four different states home. Perhaps one of these days I will find a place in which to settle for more than a few years at a time!
How have you changed or grown as a writer?
The way I draft is completely different now from how I did it when I first started. I used to try so hard to have a “perfect” manuscript on the first try, which often stifled my creative flow. I’ve learned, when writing a first draft, the goal is simply to get the story from my head onto paper; making it “good” comes later. So now, when I’m writing, I just…write.
What is your favorite pastime?
I love reading, of course, but I also enjoy hiking and camping. Put me in the mountains with our RV and a few good books, and I might never come back down.
What are you working on now?
If It Rains is my debut novel, but I am currently working on a coming-of-age story set during the Trinity Test in 1945. It is entitled Come Down Somewhere and will be released by Tyndale House sometime in 2022. More information about it will be available in the coming months. In the meantime, you can find a preview of the first chapter at the back of If It Rains. J
Link to book: https://www.tyndale.com/p/if-it-rains/9781496456847
Social media links: Follow me on Twitter: @JennWright18 or keep up with the latest news on Facebook: www.facebook.com/JenniferWrightLit
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