Each Monday I would like to take some time to get to know some of our favorite authors. My hope is that this will help readers connect with the authors.
Today I would like to introduce you to: Jennifer Q. Hunt!
Jennifer Q. Hunt is a new to me author. One of my bookish friends suggested that I interview her. I’m always happy to meet new authors! I really look forward to getting to know her here and to learn more about her books!
Jennifer Q. Hunt grew up in the Atlanta area, where she currently resides again after a ten-year absence. She has been married to Christopher for eleven years, and they have two girls and two boys, all under age 10. When she is not busy homeschooling, baking, or trying to keep up with mountains of laundry, she enjoys a good book, a long walk, or a large cup of tea.
To help us get to know her, I have given her some questions and here are her responses:
Q: How long have you been writing?
A: I’ve been telling stories for as long as I can remember. In fourth grade, I had two friends who always sat next to me at lunch, and I would tell them a continuing story each day; years later, I used to go for a daily walk with my much younger brothers, and I’d tell them a continuing story, sure to leave them hanging at some really intense part! So storytelling is something I’ve done my whole life. As far as the craft of writing, the first book of my Sorrow and Song series was actually birthed from a story I wrote my senior year of high school. Throughout my twenties and thirties I worked in different vocational ministry fields where I often did ghostwriting and/or editing. This was great preparation for my current work as a novelist.
Q: What are you currently working on?
A: My work in progress, In the Night Season, is the third book in my Sorrow and Song Trilogy. It’s set primarily in World War Two, although there’s quite a bit of backstory that happens in the mid-1930s. I’m learning a lot of interesting things from my research. For example, before the U.S. ever entered the war, Boston, MA, was a hub of antisemitism and pro-Nazi sentiment; the Germans were actually funding a clandestine operation to try to move public opinion against the Jews and enact violence against them. But ultimately, the historic setting just plays into the overall theme, which in this book is about truth and identity.
Q: What are some of your writing must haves? (Drink, snack, supplies, etc.)
A: I have four children ages 3-9; I homeschool, so they are with me 99% of the time. I have edited with a kid on my lap, composed intense scenes while a kids’ show played loudly in the next room, and written late at night when I could barely keep my eyes open.
Motherhood is an interesting part of my writing journey. I wrote most of my first book, Some Through the Fire, long before kids, and it was not a huge deal to reformat that finished work and put it on Amazon Kindle back when the indie author option was still fairly new, in 2015.
But I had three babies in three years, moved cross-country when they were 4, 3, and 18 months, and then had a fourth child when my oldest started (homeschool) kindergarten. So I thought that writing was one of those things that was really, really far off down the road. However, I was working a great freelance editing job that I could do a lot of the work on my phone (often while breastfeeding my baby!) Then to supplement that when the work slowed down, I did some ghostwriting of these mail-order bride novellas, and I remembered how much I loved writing fiction. Still the thought of writing my own real novel again seemed impossible. But I read Jennifer Fulwiler’s One Beautiful Dream where she talked about how instead of her many little kids being a hindrance to her dreams, she learned to work together as a family, adjust expectations, and use the limitations to become a better writer.
We were going through a terrible time with my husband’s job; we couldn’t pay our mortgage and we were struggling just to buy groceries. We were out in Kansas City, away from all of our family and lifetime friends. Writing my second book, Great Waters, about a young married couple facing the Great Depression together, was not just a challenge to see if I could write a book again; it was therapy for me, a way to process what we were going through. It’s not our story, but I tapped into the emotions of our experiences to bring to life what the characters were experiencing.
I researched and edited on my phone apps while putting kids to bed or when I was up in the middle of the night with one. And I found that, as Fulwiler had said, having all the kids and distractions actually made me better as a writer. When I wrote Some Through the Fire I was very idealistic, not just in what I wrote, but in my writing process. Great Waters is more real and gritty, just like my circumstances when writing it. I didn’t have the luxury of the perfect environment; I had to get it done with what I had. In the end, I think it was a stronger story because of that.
Q: What is your favorite time period to write about? Or read about?
A: I love the World War One era to the Roaring Twenties because you have so many major events in succession; it was such a turning point for our society, where the old and new really collide. But I also really love the Revolutionary War, and it’s a lifelong dream to write a book set in that era.
Q: What are some of your favorite books?
A: I love historical fiction that is immersive, where you really feel as though you have stepped into the past. Some of my favorites that I’ve read over this past year are Roseanna White’s Codebreakers series; Sarah Sundin’s Sunrise at Normandy series and her standalone When Twilight Breaks; Laura Frantz’s The Lacemaker and The Colonel’s Lady and An Uncommon Woman; Rachel Scott McDaniel’s Above the Fold and The Red Canary; Kelsey Gietl’s Unsettled Shores.
I have saved my favorite question for last!
Q: What would you like readers to take away from your books?
A: First and foremost, I’d like them to walk away with a clear understanding of the Gospel. I had a coworker years ago who told me that she really came to understand her faith after reading a popular Christian fiction series. That really struck me and helped me to see the difference Christian fiction can make in a person’s life.
It’s also super important to me to have characters who really are living out their faith, and that includes wrestling with some of those deep, hard questions: Can I trust God in the midst of suffering? Can I find freedom from guilt and regret over my past? What about relationship conflicts or health problems or lost dreams that never get resolved? What about when I’m angry with God because I feel like He’s failed me? What about when I’m ashamed because I know I’ve failed Him? Christian fiction has such opportunity to help readers work through their own questions and emotions in their walk with God, to provide not just clean entertainment, but really to impact the reader in a lasting way. I had a reader tell me once that after reading one of my books, it made her hungry to get into her Bible. If something I write can point someone to God’s perfect Word, that is the greatest thing I could accomplish with any story.
To connect with Jennifer, please click on any of the following links: her website, Facebook, and Instagram.
I’m also featuring her book, Great Waters. It has a new cover and I have to say that I just LOVE this cover! I can’t wait to read this one! Be sure to add it to your Goodreads shelf!
About the book:
Can Russell and Katie’s love survive through the family conflicts, heart-wrenching losses, and dark secrets that threaten to drown them both?
Haunted by the tragedies and mistakes of his past, Russell Carver has nonetheless managed to build a successful—if lonely—life for himself in his native Boston. But when he meets lovely, vivacious Katie Sweet, up from Atlanta to visit her grandmother, Russell’s stoic life is turned upside down and long-abandoned dreams are reawakened. Russell will do anything to protect and provide for this woman he adores, but neither of them can imagine the great waters of calamity that will soon rush against them and shake their fledgling relationship to its very foundation. As the nation is plunged from the Roaring Twenties into the Great Depression, destroying their hopes and dreams, will Russell and Katie find the strength to fight for what they cherish most?