AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Jennifer Mueller
Joyfully Reviewed welcomes Jennifer Mueller!
Tell us a little about Her Father’s Daughter, what inspired you to write the story?
The basis of it actually came a long time ago, I was young and wanted to have a character named after me, Gwenhyfer is of course the very old start of Jennifer. From that I came up with the story, With the Saxons still trying to keep the Normans out of England, a wounded Norman finds his way to Gwenhyfer’s door only to find that not all Saxons are enemies and not all damsels are in distress.
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
No, I’m completely a pantser. I usually just have a character or time period in mind and research it until a character forms. Once I have that I start writing what would they do, what could happen in that time and place. I like to be surprised as much as the reader about what will happen.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
I’d written historical almost primarily to start anyway. I tried to sell them as that, but only after many rejections did my first publisher put them out as romance and the rest is history.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
I have so many that it’s like asking to choose a favorite child, I really love Sasha Stanton in a mystery series I’m getting ready to shop around shortly. Look for more information on Never Turn Your Back on a Wolf and its sequels. Eve Cadogan in Havana Holiday is a favorite, Tanley Balaton in A Sailor’s Wife. Emmaline in Ghosts in the Night.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
Elizabeth Cavanaugh, the book isn’t published yet, but I spent years writing her. There have been so many versions of that story and then I wondered what she would be like in the modern day and Sasha Stanton came from that thought. I’ve been working on those for something like 20 years now.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
The main characters usually are completely fictional, but side characters often might be based on real people. The only time I’ve ever really done it was basing Maya Montgomery in Ancient Walls on a good friend of mine. I hadn’t told her I was using her though and when she said hey I got a kindle I’m going to start getting your books I had to admit to her what I’d done and hope she wasn’t offended since it was mostly the bad time she had with her ex. Fortunately she loved the story since she got a happy ending even after the mess with the former man.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
Not having something to write. I love having a world in my head to build and when the story ends if there isn’t something new I get depressed even.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya in the late 90’s where I met my husband and watched the American Embassy in Nairobi blow up.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Oh goodness I don’t know. Cream Cheese Danishes probably.
What TV Show are you addicted to?
Doctor Who, I’m not usually a science fiction sort of person, but I’m addicted to it. Not the old ones so much, but the new ones definitely. David Tennent all the way. I just wish they did more historical based stories, even if they have the fantasy elements I don’t mind, but I would love more historical variations.
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
No as long as I have an idea I can really get going without much of anything as long as the nugget to start with is there.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
They might not have a theme song but especially historical, I’ll often play music from the time to get the feeling. Havana Holiday had lots of dancing so there was Latin music for tangos playing. A new story that I’m hoping to send out soon Death Beside the Salish Sea was set during WW2 so I was playing swing. It gets a little harder for far back historicals though so many times I’ll just put on some classical. Never Turn Your Back on a Wolf had Etta James and Nina Simone.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
That might be hard to answer, I might have a face in mind, but once I get the character set I don’t look at it much and it starts veering off. I’m not sure I can name them anymore.
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
That was back in 2005, I’ve been writing a while and it would have been my husband. I still lived in Minnesota then. I’m in Washington State now. I’m sure the neighbors thought it hilarious when I received my copies of my hardback book A Ruined Season and I was jumping about in the driveway.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
Oh it must have been about 18 or 19. Diana Gabaldon’s first came out about then.
What author causes you to go fan girl squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
I haven’t read much of late, I start something and end up getting ideas for my own story instead.
If you still have one of those pesky ’non writing’ jobs what is it?
No, I’ve been a stay at home mom since 2000, I’d like to get out and work again, my daughter is 13 now, but when it’s been a while finding a job isn’t so easy.
Do you have a favorite movie you have seen in the last few months and/or an all-time favorite?
With writing a regency I’m watching lots of Jane Austen. The last few months, it helps get the old fashioned British speech in my head more than a Kansas girl usually has.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
I have a rather spicy regency that starts in Venice with a blind hero and ends up in England when he finds out he’s a Marquess, the message telling him was sidelined so he never got it until 9 months later. I have quite a few I need to find publishers for, Death Beside the Salish Sea a WW2 spy mystery, Never Turn Your Back on a Wolf series, 4 mysteries all tied around one woman trying to keep a town from dying. Then I’ve a couple other historicals that could go out. I think I need to submit more than write for a little while.
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
Hmm I’ve never thought about that before.
How do you pick your characters names?
Baby name books, websites especially for names that are more ethnic, just wherever sparks an interest.
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
Usually I think I go for the steady growth side unless it’s a little short story, but there would have to an attraction at first sight or there’s nothing to work with. So it’s probably a bit of both.
Where can readers find you?
I have a website at www.jennifermuellerbooks.com I just updated it all with a whole new look but the buy links aren’t quite ready yet. But stop by and have a look anyway, hopefully I’ll have it finished soon.
Twitter I’m jennifermuelle4
And for the silly side
What is your favorite type of chocolate?
Key lime truffles from Godiva