I am excited to welcome Jennifer Lane to Creekside Cafe. I met Jennifer through Nancee Cain’s Cain Raisers Facebook Page. You all might remember Nancee from a previous interview. Thank you, Jennifer, for stopping by the cafe. Can I get you something from the barista?
Jennifer: Thank you for this opportunity. I’ll take an iced hazelnut coffee.
Sherri: Make that two, it sounds great.
Jennifer: How cool that you’re parlaying your journalism background into your author blog.
Sherri: I can hardly call writing for the small local paper a journalism background but I enjoy chatting with fellow writers and readers. My time with the newspaper did teach me to writing short pieces quickly, and on a schedule, as well get comfortable asking questions. Sometimes, the hardest thing is knowing which questions you should ask.
Have you been in North Carolina before?
Jennifer: I swam at a meet at UNC’s pool in college, and I’ve vacationed at the Outer Banks. I love the beach!
Sherri: I enjoy the beach too. I’m only a passable swimmer, but I’m not one to just lay about in the sand, I love to swim or walk on the beach picking up seashells.
Where are you from? Where do you call home?
Jennifer: I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio and live two hours north in Columbus. I’ve also lived in Indiana and Washington State for graduate school. My sisters live in Illinois and South Carolina, where I visit often.
Sherri: One of my sons and his family lives in Ohio but I’ve not had the chance to visit.
Jennifer: Ooh, where in Ohio?
Sherri: Bucyrus, I believe that is in the southeastern part of the state.
What type of work do you do? Has it influenced you writing?
Jennifer: I’m a psychologist, meaning I love to explore character motivation and growth. People fascinate me. We all have good reasons for what we do, though sometimes it’s a challenge to uncover those reasons.
Sherri: With your education and observations, you probably have more insight, I often feel like Dear Abby at the ABC store. Working with the public in a small town, people often tell me things they might not tell a family member or close friend. I guess it is like the bartender or hair dresser. People need someone to talk to, not necessarily solve their problems but just someone to listen. I don’t mind being that person and it gives me insight into people.
Jennifer: Listening nonjudgmentally is SO important, but we often have trouble with letting negative emotion just sit there without trying to fix it.
Sherri: Yeah, I’ve learned I can’t fix everyone’s problems, but I can listen and care. Do you craft your stories with characters first or do you have a plot and build characters to fit the story?
Jennifer: What an interesting question—I’ve never been asked that before. Characters first, for sure. I was more of a plotter when I first started writing, but now I let the characters take me on their journey.
Sherri: Do you write full time now, or hold down another job as well as write?
Jennifer: Writing is a hobby of mine. No way can I pay the bills with my measly writing income!
Sherri: Don’t I know it. I have dreams of being able to make a living with my writing. I have a great following locally but have yet to do more than build up my hopes.
How long have you been writing?
Jennifer: Although I enjoyed creative writing as a child, I never envisioned becoming a writer. Then, in my thirties, I became obsessed with the TV show, Prison Break. I found fan fiction on an internet forum, and at first, I thought, “What losers write stories about TV characters?” Fast forward a few months and of course I became one of those losers. The words flowed out of me—my first story was over 200,000 words! I kept writing and learning more about the craft, and I found a small publisher who released my debut novel, With Good Behavior in 2010. Since then, I’ve published eight novels and two novellas.
Sherri: I never knew about fan fiction until recently. I think I would have loved trying my hand at it. I used to come up with scenes for shows I liked.
What genre books do you write?
Jennifer: I write sports romance and romantic suspense with a psychological twist. What do you write?
Sherri: I write contemporary suspense with romantic elements but hope to write some historicals also. Do you plan to write any other genre in the future?
Jennifer: I branched out into psychological thrillers with my latest novel, Twin Sacrifice. I included a little bit of romance because I can’t seem to stray from that genre. I might write another thriller or venture into an entirely new genre in the future.
Sherri: What is your latest project?
Jennifer: My work-in-progress is an adult sports romance featuring coaches from rival universities. I am fortunate to have a wonderful critique partner, Nicki Elson.
Sherri: Is Nicki also a published author? How did the two of you meet?
Jennifer: Yes, Nicki writes contemporary romance—I love her “It Series” starting with When It Hits You. Nicki and I met through Omnific Publishing (where I also met the lovely Nancee Cain!)
Sherri: I believe Beta readers and critique partners are vital to us being accomplished writers. Learning to take criticism and address plot holes or other issues makes us better writers.
What do you enjoy about writing?
Jennifer: I love immersing myself in narratives, losing myself in the plot and characters. It’s a path of self-discovery. I also enjoy refining the craft of writing.
Sherri: I think you hit it on the head when you said, self-discovery. We learn more about ourselves as we study others. I hate to use the over-used term of ‘finding ourselves,’ but I think that is a very real part of what we do. When we empathize with others, we discovery our own capacity for love and acceptance, and learn to accept ourselves.
Do you have any other hobbies or interests, besides writing? Do these show up in your writing?
Jennifer: I was a college swimmer and volleyball player, and I have a blast swimming laps and playing rec volleyball in addition to all kinds of exercise (walking while listening to audiobooks or podcasts, cardio machines, weight-lifting). My sports romances lean heavily on my Sporty Spice interests. I also enjoy traveling and spending time with family, and it’s intriguing to explore family dynamics in my stories.
Sherri: My hobbies tend to be more sedate. While I love swimming and walking, I don’t do nearly enough of it. I enjoy dancing and singing too but other than reading and writing, I consider cooking my favorite hobby. I love to discover new recipes. I’m an avid Food Network fan. Do you have a favorite food/recipe?
Jennifer: I love Asian cuisine, including Japanese, Thai, and Chinese food. I’ve become obsessed with my Instapot, and here is one summer recipe for Hawaiian Chicken Tacos that turned out pretty well: https://pinchofyum.com/instant-pot-hawaiian-chicken-tacos
Sherri: I will have to check out the Hawaiian chicken tacos, unfortunately half my family can’t eat pineapple, but I love Asian cuisine. One of my daughters-in-law is Cambodian. She cooks Thai and Chinese. She has even introduced me to Indian food. My daughters-in-law have spoiled me, both my oldest and youngest cook for me and I love learning new recipes and sampling new foods. My oldest son has even taught me to eat Sushi, something I never expected to like.
What are your writing strengths and weaknesses? What seems to come easy for you and what do you have to work harder to get right?
Jennifer: I’ve been told that I write good dialogue, though I have to be careful to balance dialogue with exposition so as not to write an entire novel full of character conversations only. I find life so interesting and complex that sometimes I bring too many issues into my stories. I want to learn to write more concise plots while keeping layered characters.
Sherri: Who are your favorite authors or genres?
Jennifer: Pamela Clare is my favorite romantic suspense author. Her I-Team series wows me with its careful research and swoon-worthy heroes. Elle Kennedy writes hilarious sports romance, and Colleen Hoover’s contemporary romances really shine. I also enjoy thrillers from Nelson DeMille.
Sherri: I’ll have to check out these authors. Wow, I think we’re about out of time. It was so good to have you stop by. I do hope to chat with you again.
If you enjoyed my chat with Jennifer Lane, follow her on social media and you can find her books at through the links listed at the end of this interview.
I hope you all will stop by again, you never know who will be stopping by Creekside Café.
Jennifer Lane, Author
Sports Romance and Romantic Suspense With a Psychological Twist
Twin Sacrifice Psychological Thriller
Blocked New Adult Volleyball Romance
Aced (Blocked #2) New Adult Sports Romance
Spiked (Blocked #3) New Adult Sports Romance
Streamline New Adult Swimming Romance
Swim Recruit New Adult Novella (free!)
With Good Behavior (The Conduct Series #1)
Bad Behavior (The Conduct Series #2)
On Best Behavior (The Conduct Series #3)
Facebook: Jennifer Lane, Author Jennifer Lane
Goodreads: Jennifer Lane