Author Interview: Jen Simmons

Jen was legitimately the first author friend I made. I asked a question in an author group on Facebook, and she was one of the only people to respond to me. The rest is history. She is an awesome person and madly talented. We’re both starting out on our author journey, but I can’t wait to see where Jen goes.

Jen Simmons Interview

What’s you favorite holiday?

Christmas! Seeing family is the best! And yes, I am one of those who decorates in November and doesn’t take anything down until the end of January (sometimes February)

Have you ever cosplayed? What? If not, do you have a dream cosplay you’d like to do?

Ok, I had to look this up haha! No, I have never cosplayed and I can’t say I would. I’d have to think about that one!

Where are you from? 

Originally I am from Texas but currently I live in Northern Colorado. 

What’s your favorite thing to do for relaxation?

Read or write next to a body of water. I’m not picky. Just plop me down next to a lake, ocean, or pool and I am prime relaxed!

Any favorite hobbies?

Reading, writing, watching movies, camping and drinking champagne. I feel like I’m a pro at that! Oh, and I LOVE bowling!

How long have you been writing?

My first novel, Shipley’s Secrets, took me two years and it published in December 2019. So not long at all! I am loving the experience and can’t wait to write more!

Are you able to write full time or do you also have a job/career?

I wish!!!

But no, I am an RN and a fulltime nursing leader in healthcare. Very busy so it can be hard to find time to write, but I always try! I hope one day my writing improves enough for this to be my day job.

Is there a particular genre that you write?  Or more than one?  What led you to there?

Shipley’s Secrets is YA Romance, it’s sequel is too. I’d like to write some new adult and romantic suspense. Also I am hoping to write something risk-a! Something that will turn heads and be a bit controversial. We shall see!

Shipley’s Secrets wrote itself really. I had a totally different outline and story but as I started writing, Malcolm would not get out of my head so he got to tell his story first! And I am SO glad he did!

Do you use friends or family as characters in your work?

Sort of. I used a couple of names and mannerisms of family but didn’t dedicate one personality to any one person. I think all friends and family inspire each character. Just bits and pieces of many different views and thoughts of each of the one’s I love most.

What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult? 

I only read Nicholas Sparks books until my daughter was older, then I fell into Fifty Shades of Grey and oh boy! My life changed.

I’d say today my biggest inspirations are Meredith Wild (not just in writing but her business sense too), Colleen Hoover and Pepper Winters. I’ve just started reading Tarryn Fisher and OMG she is growing on me daily!

Has anyone in your life influenced you or encouraged you to pursue your interests of writing? (teacher, family member, friend)

My daughter wrote a book when she was like 10! It was never published or anything but even at a young age, she was motivated to entertain through words and she inspired me to at least see what I could get on paper. Then after I wrote the first part of Shipley’s Secrets and my husband read it, he gave me the courage to put myself out there to finish writing it. Because of him, it turned into an 86,000 word novel that has been loved by so many so far. Without his support, I’d just be a nurse bossing around other healthcare professionals. Now I get to create worlds and experiences that I get to share! It’s amazing!

What is your favorite aspect or writing? Your least favorite?

It’s so hard after a long day to come home and write. I have to get into a zone and stick in that zone for hours to actually get anything done. I am a procrastinator. The worst kind of procrastinator.

I love when I finish a chapter that is so good I’m crying aloud or so excited to write the next one that I am seriously giddy. It’s that feeling that even though I am the one writing, I want to know what happens next because it can change depending on what the character has going on.  

What aspect of writing would you most like to improve on? 

Structure. I struggle with knowing if I have put the words on paper in a way for others to understand. My punctuation is shit too, so that I can improve on for sure. I need lots of editor help just make sure sentences sound ok and not stupid.

Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?  (Food, drink, silence, noise, location, scented candles)

A cold drink. Nothing with alcohol at first, it distracts me terribly. At the end of writing session, I’ll reward myself with a glass of champagne. While writing, Dr Pepper or hot English Breakfast tea are my go to.

Also I have to listen to music! All kinds but country is what is most frequented on my playlists.

Is there a common theme or item that appears in each of your work?  

 Yes and I can’t figure out why but I think it’s going to be military related! My first two have Marine Corps affiliated story lines.

What have you learned the most from being in the writing business?

It’s hard. Damn hard and you have to be willing to sacrifice the little time you have to write. If you work fulltime that is 😊

Marketing sucks lol. Not really, I love that part, I’m just not very good at it and it also takes time. I just don’t have enough hours in the day.

I’m always curious to know the answer to this question because people seem to have such different opinions I find it fascinating. Traditional publishing or Self Publishing? Why?

Right now? Self Publishing. I can make my own deadlines and not feel guilty if I don’t meet them. I want to traditionally publish one day, I just want to have a really good manuscript to query with first. I’ve learned so much with Self Publishing. I think I will always do a little of both. 

Tell us about your latest work:

I am writing the sequel to Shipley’s Secrets. Shipley’s Sins. I am so freaking proud of this duet! Blurbs below!

              Shipley’s Secrets-Available now on Amazon

Growing up in foster care, Malcolm has never known his birth family. The first twelve years of his life is riddled with trauma and abuse. His only dream in life is to make it to eighteen years old so he can join the military and change his fate. When Malcolm’s placed in the care of a new foster home, he meets Adler and Sal. Three boys having grown up with no family, no connections and no hope of a steady life, they find something in each other they never thought they’d have. Family. After a horrific trauma occurs in this new foster home, Malcolm, Adler and Sal are thrust into uncertainty and an indefinite separation from each other. That is, until an unlikely savior steps in.

Trauma brought three boys into the lives of the Keating’s. The love they carry as brothers will guide them into the life they’re meant to have. Their shared dream of joining the military just a short time away. Loyalty to each other and their newly built family is the glue that binds all those dreams together. But with loyalty and the need to protect each other, comes secrets.

Clara has had her own fair share of trauma. After a life altering event, Clara vows to move on with her life and be happy despite all that is stacked against her. When she meets the mysterious Malcolm, her curiosity about him leads her to an unlikely turn of events. And a life she never expected. Which way will her heart sway? Will the path it takes tear apart a brother’s bond? 

Will all the secrets kept between these lives break the loyalty of this family?

                                 Shipley’s Sins-Coming Soon

Malcolm’s secret love for his brother’s girl has the power to destroy their strong bond. But the love these two brothers have is too strong to let anything come between them. After thirteen weeks in boot camp, Malcolm returns home with his brothers to heartache and despair. His need to protect his family intensifies his determination to succeed in the military and has him forming bonds and relationships that could ruin the very family he strives to protect. 

As his continued secrets turn to sins, he makes decisions that will alter the very life he cherishes.

All Sal wants is to be with the love of his life, Clara. After losing his mother so young, he holds Clara close to him as they start a life together. Sal equally loves his brother Malcolm, but will the love tangled between these three lives be the destruction of their relationship? And will Sal and Malcolm’s bond survive the years of secrets and sins between them? 

Clara has had enough pain and loss in her short eighteen years of life. The fear of losing someone else she loves causes her to keep the love she has for Sal, and the devoted friendship she has with his brother Malcolm, close to her heart. But will the decisions Malcolm make to protect Clara and Sal be the very thing that tears them apart? Can their love for each other stand the ultimate test and survive the continued suffering their lives have always endured?    

How did you decide on your story plot?

It decided for me! seriously! I had a whole different story planned for Malcolm but he took over! These books are all him, Clara and Sal’s doing.   

Describe how this method works best for you. Outline or ‘seat of the pants’? 

Seat of the pants for sure! I have outlined both of these books and not used hardly any of the outline! I have a feeling that will be how all my books will come about. And that’s ok with me!

Do you have a favorite scene you’ve written? What makes it special? 

Yes. In Shipley’s Secrets the scene where the boys come home to find a terrible tragedy had happened. I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t go into detail but this scene is moving, sad, suspenseful and has you cheering for the good guys all at the same time. Grab tissues because it’s a tear jerker

Interested in learning more about Jen and her work? You can find her at the links below.



Jen’s Junkies-Facebook Group

Jen Simmons-Facebook Author page

Photo and cover art can be sent in jpeg format. 

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