Jen: Nebraska is a “fly-over state.” So, politically, that means we are basically irrelevant. We are also a great plains state, so not a whole lot of tourism happening either. However, with feet on the ground, I can tell you that it is a place of strong people where family is important, agriculture means livelihood and not something that is just theoretical/intellectual debate, and both success and crisis is a community affair. The broad plains are big and can seem empty. But the sunsets are vivid and unhindered. The wheat fields are inspiring. And the clean air minus light pollution allows for some breath-taking star-gazing. Moving to rural Nebraska from Denver was quite a culture-shock, but I promise you, God-willing, I’d never go back. I like not being afraid to make eye-contact, feeling good about letting my girls go out on a run on their own, knowing who my neighbors are, and going to hometown football games.
PM: Wow, you should be on the promotion board for Nebraska….makes me want to move there! I mean that in a wonderful way….I find Florida too hot for my liking! Do you write stories more from your own experiences, or do you spend a lot time doing research on the type of characters your creating?
Jen: A whole lot of both. Some stories have snippets of my life and experience in them. Others demand some intense and time-consuming research. It just depends on the project.
PM: When do you find the time to write? Where is your favorite place to write?
Jen: The most successful writers, I’m told, are consistent with time/place/quantity of writing. Unfortunately, every time I think I find my stride with that consistency, my life shifts (I have four teenage kids), and I must figure it all out all over again. I do best if I can write in the mornings, and my favorite spot is on a big, overstuffed chair in my living room. But as I said, that isn’t always what happens. I’ve written in coffee shops, McDonalds, in the car using Notes on my phone, in the stands for track or swim meets, and in my car waiting out start times for cross country meets. So. Someday I might make it to that successful consistency I keep hearing about. For now, though, I’m gonna roll with the life I have now.
PM: I see you write Young Adult Dystopian fiction as well as Contemporary Romance, do you have a preference for which you prefer to write?
Jen: I loved writing those dystopians. They were extremely challenging, and I loved having my kids interact with me on those stories. I also wrote a portal fantasy (Emerald Illusion), which was super fun. It’s definitely a different kind of writing, and switching is a challenge, but I very much enjoyed it.
As far as preference… no, I’m not sure I’d say I prefer one over the other. Story is story to me; I’m not real picky about what kind as long as it’s gripping.
PM: Do you have any family pets that currently own you?
Jen: Haha! Yes. They own us. And we kind of have a zoo. Four horses, I-don’t-know-how-many chickens, five ducks, two bunnies, two dogs, two cats, and a parakete (I was tempted to put a partridge in a pear tree, but that would not be true).
PM: If you could be any character in fiction, whom would you be?
Hmmm… I don’t know on that one. I kind of like my life in reality… Who would you be?
PM: Nice, way to throw it back to me, lol! Okay….I would want to be Claire from Valerie Comer’s Farm Fresh Romance series. Claire is all the books, but her starring role is Wild Mint Tea, and I just adore her, their lifestyle and her love of cooking! If we were to open you your refrigerator right now, what would we find in it?
Jen: Somehow I knew you were going to ask me that! You would find a total mess, that’s what (scary/shocked face). There’s about four or five dozen eggs in there (my daughter needs to sell some), several containers of yogurt, though I can’t tell you how many or what kind because I’m not sure who has had what in the last 24 hours; cheddar cheese sticks, because I love those things; milk, orange juice (my daughter is convinced that life cannot be happily-ever-after without orange juice); chocolate milk (I have a house full of runners/swimmers); some spinach from my mom’s garden, some blueberries for my cereal… and whole lot of other odds and ins that are all mashed in there to make me look like a disaster. Welcome to the real Rodewald house. Marie Kondo would die.
PM: That sounds pretty typical for a household with four teens – no shame, lol!! I found you by reading The Carpenter’s Daughter, and truly adored that book (look for my point of view post on it in the future)! But let’s say I have never read any of your books, what would you recommend as a first time reader of yours?
Jen: Thank you—and I’m glad you enjoyed Sarah’s story! <3 Actually, I’d probably recommend The Carpenter’s Daughter—it’s one of my faves and still deeply resonates with me. Or, maybe Emerald Illusion, because though it is my least popular book (it’s a little crazy how people sort of freak out when you put the words Christian and Fantasy together), I loved the journey I was required to take to write it, and the shift in view that I’ve had because of that story. But really, I loved every journey—even the hard ones that required way more of me than I’d signed up for, so I’m honored when readers take a chance on me with whichever of my works.
PM: How can readers keep up with you and your new releases?
Jen: Ah. So good of you to ask. I have a newsletter I send out at least once a month (often twice). You can find the sign up at https://authorjenrodewald.com/ and click the join now. You’ll also get my newsletter exclusive book It Will Be Forever, which is not currently available on any retail sites. Or, you can follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/authorjenrodewald
PM: Ah, I am reading that as we are chatting – such a wonderful story! I highly recommend! Finally, coffee or tea? Cream, sugar?
Jen: Coffee. Every single morning. With Creamer, no sugar.
Thanks so much for having me, Paula—it’s a pleasure to chat with you!