Life Coach Magazine

Jennifer Fromke on Living the Writing Dream

By Writerinterrupted @writerinterrupt

Jennifer Fromke on Living the Writing Dream

Jennifer Fromke won the 2010 ACFW Genesis Award for Women’s Fiction. That novel, A Familiar Shore, released in March 2012 from Write Integrity Press. When forced to separate from the laptop, Jennifer can be found with her nose in a book, one hand around a latte, and the other hand sometimes stirring something on the stove. Soul food for Jennifer includes laughing with her family, teaching Bible studies, and talking about books with anyone. She grew up in Michigan, and writes from North Carolina, where she and her family await their annual escape to their favorite lake “up north” in Michigan.

Wood paneling lined the walls of my dad’s office in the basement of my childhood home. About halfway up the wall, a “secret” door blended into the paneling. I used to climb into the attic space there, with a blanket and a pile of books. Commence: hours of reading beneath a naked light-bulb.

Books have always been a passion of mine and I’m only a little ashamed to admit I often insist people read books I love. I used to think authors must be the most interesting people on the planet, and I dreamed of one day becoming interesting enough to write something.

When I reached my early twenties, I heard someone say that no one can possibly write a novel before the age of thirty-five. They simply wouldn’t have lived long enough to say anything worthwhile. Believed the lie. Writing dream shelved.

Fast forward fifteen years, three children and two moves crossing multiple state lines, and the idea of writing a book resurfaced. When thirty-five popped up in my rear-view mirror, I started to write. A friend invited me to attend the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. Insert life-change here.

At the conference I learned what it meant to be a writer, the key elements of a plot, how to develop characters, and much more. Best of all, I met other writers. I connected with them and maintained the relationships via email. I found a critique group and received feedback on my writing. Milestone: I started calling myself a writer.

I began a novel whose plot I developed at the conference. In 2010, I entered the manuscript into the ACFW Genesis contest to get some feedback. Surprise! My manuscript won the women’s fiction category. Unfortunately, the manuscript was not finished when it won the award. I worked quickly to finish so I could send it to the agents who requested it, and I didn’t hear anything back from them. Timing fail.

A year later, I’d sent queries to several agents, and many of them requested fifty pages. I received some good feedback, but nothing ever blossomed into an offer for representation.

Meanwhile, I heard about a brand-new publisher soliciting direct queries from writers. I decided to give it a try. She sent me the best rejection I’ve ever received. Her company’s mission statement stated they would publish only evangelistic/Christian fiction. While my story is clean enough for CBA, there is no outright Christian theme or subplot. My Christian values inform the story but they are not projected on the page. But the publisher loved my story. Heart encouraged

Six months later, the same publisher emailed me, asking if the manuscript was still available. She remembered the story (still loved it!) and explained that she opened a second publishing company with a broader mission statement. Hope realized: debut novel published in March, 2012.

I’ve recently finished the first draft of a second novel. The editing process is underway . . . and I’m living the dream.

Jennifer Fromke on Living the Writing Dream
A Familiar Shore tracks a year in the life of Meg Marks, 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?

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog