An avid writer since childhood, Jenny’s career in professional writing anchored her passion and encouraged her dream to become an author—her first book, Butterfly Travels, was published in 2014. Five years later, Jenny’s children joined her in both her physical and literary journeys, sharing their family adventures with the world through Butterfly Travels 2. She has since released an empowered women’s romance trilogy, several children’s books, a fictional abuse awareness novel, and a humorous online dating memoir.
When she’s not passionately writing, Jenny moonlights as a communications consultant. With over 26 years of experience in professional writing and marketing, she provides communications support to other entrepreneurs and businesses to help lead their companies to success. Jenny also dabbles in performing arts with her daughter on stage—her favorite roles being Genie in Aladdin, Gingy in Shrek, and Mrs. Gloop in Wonka Jr. (yodeling on stage might have been her favorite part)! She claims she may not be able to sing and dance very well, but she sure enjoys being able to bring out her sass and indulge her playful side through theater.
Let’s get started with a quick rapid fire.
Q1. If you could transform into one mythological creature, which one would you choose?
A sparkly, golden-horned unicorn.
Q2. Finish the phrase “the way to my heart is…”
Through captivating my brain. Though chocolate doesn’t hurt.
Q3. Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
Extroverted introvert? I occasionally act like an extrovert, but I’d much rather be hiding away in a corner unnoticed.
Q4. Everyone has a moment in their life that changes it forever. What’s yours?
The moment that led to my divorce.
Q5. Would you rather travel to the past or to the future?
The past. I’d LOVE to meet up with my ancestors.
Q6. What is your last Google search?
The phone number for my kids’ eye doctor lol.
Q7. What object do you misplace or lose the most?
Besides my brain? Probably my phone.
Q8. What is the kindest thing someone ever did for you?
Give me a framed photo of me and my grandmother after her funeral.
Q9. If given the chance to start your life over, would you take it?
I might want a 6-month rewind to undo some weight gain, but definitely not a whole life re-do.
Q10. What is the best present you have ever received?
Allegra lol My then-young daughter knew I was suffering from allergies and insisted that my mom get me Allegra for Mother’s Day to make me all better.
Q11. Describe your style in one word.
Q12. If you were to devote the rest of your life to philanthropy, what cause would you choose?
It’s time for a more detailed conversation, Jenny.
You’ve answered our rapid fire so well, Jenny. Now, it’s time for our readers to know more about the person behind the book.
Q. Tell us something about yourself that we’d not find online.
Oh boy. You want my dark secrets? Well, I don’t go into the ocean, or really any body of water except maybe a shallow pool, because I’m deathly afraid of drowning—and of fires. I might dramatically believe I have past lives where I drowned (Atlantis?) and burned to death (witch?) to explain my irrational fears. Still trying to figure out the source of my snake panic though.
Q. Well, that will keep you in our thoughts. So, what books did you grow up reading?
My love of reading started out with Poky Little Puppy, but then progressed to Nancy Drew and Bobbsey Twin mysteries. I could not get enough of them. Then I discovered V.C. Andrews in my teens. Thankfully, books like Charlotte’s Web, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Little Women balanced out the darkness.
Q. Interesting. Has writing and publishing a book changed the way you see yourself?
Absolutely. I learn so much about myself through the characters I create and the stories I tell. I especially feel it when I write anything memoir-based, where I recall the memories, how they made me feel, and how much I’ve grown since the experience. Writing for me is like a psychological hijacking to understand myself better. It’s pretty cool, actually, to see yourself through a reader’s lens and be able to reflect back on it.
Q. What’s that one thing that influences you the most, be it the way you live your life or your writing?
Life. My life experiences come out in my writing, both fiction and non-fiction. Whether good, bad, indifferent, or wacky, there is a story in every experience that someone can relate to. I like to draw from that opportunity for relatability to connect with readers or even give them some form of comfort, understanding, or healing through my words.
Q. Now comes the most anticipated question that every author must answer. How do you process and deal with negative book reviews?
After I beat myself up for being a terrible writer? I take a deep breath and read through positive reviews, either from that book or another. Then I remind myself that not everyone will resonate with my work, and that is completely okay—this feedback is actually REAL; something I can use to better myself as a person and an author instead of just basking in praise. I end up appreciating it.
Q. What comes first for you — the message of the book or the words chosen to express that message?
That’s a chicken or egg question! Haha. They both come at the same time. Literally, at 3AM, I am jolted from a (probably not peaceful) slumber with an idea or message, then roll out of bed cursing myself as I grab a pen and paper and start writing the words that accompany that message. In full outline format. If I don’t capture it all in that moment, both are lost to me by morning.
Q. How has your professional or daily life influenced you as an author?
My non-author career has given me countless unexpected tools to help me as an author. Things you’d never think would be important, like customer database management, learning hmtl coding to build websites, marketing techniques, or the importance of white space in design. Being able to see myself pull all of these random skills together into a cohesive work amazes me sometimes. Learning the skills didn’t make sense at the time, but I feel like there was a higher power slowly instilling a foundation over all these years for me to be an author.
Q. What does literary success look like to you?
Reaching someone who needs to hear that message. Truly. While being a best-selling author would be a dream come true, fame and money is empty if no one has a deep connection to the work. I want someone to feel like they are not alone, and either laugh about it or give themselves permission to grieve and heal from it. That’s a powerful accomplishment—to make someone feel it in their core—and it’s greater than any tangible measure of “success.”
Q. Let’s talk about your latest book. Tell us about it.
I surprised myself wanting to write something like this, actually. It kind of just happened. While I was taking a class on character development, I met this man online, who was also a writer (an erotic one). He asked if I’d be interested in helping him with “research” for his next book. I declined his offer—but then realized he had a point; all of these online dates I was going on were possibly great research material for future characters in my novels. And so, Dear Bumbling Boy was born.
I documented all kinds of dates I’d been on, how I felt about each experience, exposed their classic one-liners, and then determined what kind of character they could potentially be in a future book. From scammers and gaslighters to sex-obsessed men and a few Mr. Nice Guys, it’s an adventure into all the personalities I encountered in online dating—sassy side comments and illustrations included. It was both fun and cathartic to write. I just wanted readers to be able to laugh at their own experiences with frogs that never turn into princes.
Q. What part of the book did you have the hardest time writing?
I usually don’t struggle writing a whole book. It pretty much flows from my outline. Where I do struggle, however, is after it is done: I start second-guessing myself. Did I write enough? Did I say instead of show too much? I read it so many times that I get blind to it, and that’s when I get other readers and editorial feedback to finetune it. Then I have to let go of my perfectionism. THAT is my biggest challenge. No doubt all artists can relate to that!
Q. As a fiction writer, what comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?
The plot. I typically envision the whole story from beginning to end and outline it, then I build the characters into the plot. I mean, obviously I know the main characters at a high level, but sometimes the side characters that end up in the book surprise me. I guess I’m a story-driven person, so once I understand what it is I want to tell first, then I can create who will be telling it.
Q. How do you develop your plot and characters? What is your writing process like? Are you more of a plotter or a pantser?
Oh, I am undoubtedly a plotter. In every aspect of my life LOL. It’s innate to me—the outline reveals itself, and then I can get into more of an “in the moment flow” once that is done, if that makes sense. And I know some authors work in different sections, but for some reason, I tend to work from beginning to end. Sometimes as I am writing, I’ll get an idea for something to happen later or a backstory to bring up, and I’ll jump to a future page and jot that note down so I don’t forget it, but then I will come right back to where I was and continue writing chapter by chapter. And sometimes I will read the already written chapters multiple times before I can continue on with the next one just to remember everything that happened.
Q. What are some of the best feedback or reviews or critiques you’ve received that has truly left a mark, and how has that impacted you as an author?
The reviews that share how my books have affected someone personally are what touch me the most. When I see someone say they can completely relate to what it’s like to date some of the characters in my most recent book and not feel alone, or read that I inspired someone to take action through my travels or life lessons, or hear a fellow abuse survivor share that she’s thriving now but wish she had my [Beat Me With Your Words] book back then for self awareness–that means the world to me. It keeps me fueled to write from my most authentic self and gives me the courage to tackle even the most difficult of topics. I started out just wanting to write for fun. Now, I find myself wanting to write for a purpose.
Q. What’s the best feedback or advice you’ve received in your life, and how has it changed your perspective?
Be authentic. I always try to be anyway, but sometimes, it is too easy to get swept up in the “perception” you want to convey, especially in this era of viral social media influencers. I have to stop myself from trying to give the audience what I think they want instead of just giving them me. Even if something I do or write doesn’t catch on, I’m proud that I was myself. In the end, you can only connect to others by being real, and that’s something very important to me. I’ll take 5 invested readers over thousands of perceived fans any day.
Q. It’s been fun. Now, before we wrap this up, do you have any suggestions to help budding authors to become a better writer? If so, what are they?
OMG, yes! Please, please, please—get yourself a good proofreader. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read a book with an amazing story but couldn’t fully love it as much as I wanted to because of countless spelling, grammar, and formatting errors. Even polished writers need someone to double check their work. Our collective purpose is to write the story; please let someone clean it up for you so you can put your best foot forward. Otherwise, write from your heart, and don’t ever let anyone tell you that you aren’t best-selling author material. We all have a story. Tell yours.