Jen Stephens grew up in a small Ohio town where, at an early age, she developed a passion for writing. In elementary school, she participated in Young Authors contests. In high school, she wrote her first novel. At the University of Toledo, she majored in elementary education with a concentration in English and the humanities.
Now a teacher, the mother of two daughters, and the Publishing Liaison and Event Coordinator for Writing Career Coach, Jen writes in her “spare” time. Her first novel, The Heart’s Journey Home, released in February 2010. The Heart’s Lullaby, the second book in her Harvest Bay Series, released earlier this month.
The Heart’s Lullaby is your sophomore release. What, if anything, was different about your writing experience this time around?
The Heart’s Lullaby was difficult for me to write because of the subject matter—topics I’m not experienced in. I had to really use family members and friends who had experience in the areas of infertility, military/PTSD, adoption, foster families, etc. Also, it’s much different working on a deadline. Slightly more pressure.
What’s your writing routine like? I know you sometimes write on your smartphone, which fascinates me. How much of the book was written on that tiny keyboard?
I try to write when my two girls are in bed so usually from about 8pm-ish for however long I can stay awake, usually about midnight. Sometimes I call it a night sooner. Sometimes I pull an all nighter, rarely though since I need half a brain to teach! Haha!
In between those times, yes, I do work a lot on my phone, like if my girls have a doctor appointment or during quiet time while my girls are in Sunday school. Sometimes, I wouldn’t be ready to quit writing, but I’d want to lay down. Or I’d be ready to quit and lay down, but I’d lay there with my mind running a mile a minute. I’d say at least one-quarter of this book was written on my phone. When you are a mama and a teacher, you figure out how to utilize every opportunity to get a few more words in, especially when you are on a deadline!
Here’s the back cover blurb: After two years of trying without success to have a baby, Elizabeth Truman learns that her husband may already be a father. While he bonds with the son he never knew he had, Elizabeth’s increased desperation to have a baby of her own causes her to choose a path of deception. When it dead ends in despair, however, she questions both her faith and the faithfulness of the Lord.
Amy Beauregard arrives in Harvest Bay with her ten-year-old son, harboring secrets that could destroy her chance at happiness, and the conviction that God has long since abandoned her. But while she picks up the pieces of her shattered life, things start to fall into place that she couldn’t have predicted.
With Thanksgiving approaching, an unexpected visitor and a strange twist of fate remind both Elizabeth and Amy that even in the darkest times God is guiding His children, drawing them together in a way neither could have imagined. Will their renewed faith be strong enough to lead them through another crisis—or will
The Heart’s Lullaby be left unsung?
Besides entertainment, what do you hope readers will take away from it?
I hope my readers will get a sense of hope, especially if they are experiencing a trial of some sort. Even when we can’t feel Him, our Lord is with us working out ALL things for our good and for the good of all those that love and serve Him. I read a saying just today. I don’t know who wrote it, but I could relate well as a teacher and a human being: If you feel like you are going through a trial alone because you can’t sense God’s presence, remember the teacher is always quiet during the test.
Detours in life can be frustrating—kind of like plot twists in the stories we write—but the outcome is often more intriguing than our original plan. Can you tell us about a recent “detour” in your life—or in one of your character’s lives—that taught you something?
As a matter of fact, my two daughters and I moved back “home” this summer. It has been a HUGE adjustment for all three of us, but it taught me the true meaning of fully relying on our Lord, which, I won’t lie, is sometimes scary stuff. It’s taught me that I’m stronger than I give myself credit for. But it’s also taught me that it’s okay to be weak every now and then.
What’s next for your Harvest Bay characters?
The next book, TENTATIVELY scheduled for sometime in 2014, features Jane and Ian Garner, who were minor characters in The Heart’s Journey Home and details some serious marital struggles they go through. And that’s about all I have right now.
A few fun questions…
What’s the title of the last GREAT book you read?
I’m in the middle of Home Front by Kristen Hannah right now. She’s fabulous and so is this book.
Which Bible story or verse best describes your faith journey?
Isaiah 40:31 “But he who waits on the Lord will renew their strength. They will rise up on wings like eagles. They will walk and not grow weary, they will run and not faint.” (Quoted from memory so it may not be 100% correct, or may even be more than one version put together. Ha!)
This verse is my favorite and describes my faith journey, because I’m not a patient person by nature, but every time I have meditated on the Word and waited for Him, ESPECIALLY with my writing, He has come through.
What’s your current favorite song on the radio or your mp3 player?
Hmmmm . . . Depends on what I’m doing. If I’m writing, it’s anything Jim Brickman. If I’m working out it’s Titanium by David Guetta or Payphone by Maroon 5. If I’m just chillin’, it’s Could Not Ask For More by Edwin McCain.
Thanks, Jen! It’s nice to have you back at DivineDetour.
Thanks so much for having me, Kathy! It’s always good to visit DivineDetour.
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