I love being able to share new writers with you. Today I’m featuring my friend Jennifer Waddle. Jennifer is a fantastic author whose books are geared toward both children and women of faith.
Her children’s books are filled with lots of humor and wit, and have me laughing out loud even as an adult. Especially her Brad Finkley series, if you are raising boys, they will love these books.
1. What made you first realize you were a writer?
I’ve been writing on every scrap of paper I could find since childhood. Poems, stories, and diary entries were things I started with. Then, in High School, I took an advanced Composition class and realized that writing was a passion.
2. How long have you been writing?
I’ve been seriously writing since about 2013. (roughly 5 years)
3. What is your writing background?
In 2013, I wrote a women’s Bible study on the book of Haggai, called A Careful Look at The Way We Live, and began teaching it at church. It wasn’t published. I simply printed it and put it in binders for the participants of the class.
After that, I met another author at church, and she encouraged me to self-publish. That’s when I hired a formatter to help me publish my women’s Bible study called Scarves of White: Replacing Our Issues with the Covering of Christ.
4. Where do you get your ideas?
My ideas come from the Word of God and from life experiences. I love to turn everyday incidences into stories or lessons for life.
THE WRITING PROCESS
5. Do you prefer to write fiction or nonfiction? Why?
I prefer to write nonfiction for adults and fiction for kids. Because my heart is to encourage women in faith and life, my works for Christian women are nonfiction pieces.
As for kids, I love to tell stories, making them up as I go. I enjoy writing funny, laugh-out-loud books that even kids who don’t like to read will enjoy.
6. What was the process of writing your first book like?
My first book was a Bible study, so I spent a lot of time reading and re-reading the Scriptures. I looked into the historical background of the text, as well as the geographical places mentioned in the Bible. It was fascinating!
After my study and research, I formed an outline with chapter titles and main ideas. Then, I began writing as the Lord inspired me. I didn’t necessarily write the chapters in order.
If I felt stumped on chapter three, I would move to chapter five. I try not to let writer’s block get the best of me. If I’m struggling with one project, I move on to the next.
7. What is the message you hope people will receive from it?
In all of my non-fiction works, which include Bible studies, devotions, and personal growth books, my foundational message is to make the Lord and His Word central to everything you do in life.
8. What is your favorite part about writing children’s books?
I love making myself laugh! Often, I use funny experiences that I went through as a kid, or that my own kids went through. Once I let my imagination run, I get lost in the story and have a blast writing it. It’s like therapy to me!
CHARACTERS AND GETTING READY FOR PUBLICATION
9. Do you have a favorite character that you like to write about specifically?
My favorite kid’s book character is a young boy by the name of Brad Finkley. This 11-year-old kid always finds himself in a dilemma and has to be creative in order to solve the problem.
His kid sister always gets in the way and causes him a lot of grief, but in the end, he realizes that he loves her no matter what. Brad Finkley is a funny kid with a dry sense of humor and a big heart. This has been the most fun book series to write!
10. How do you go about your editing, interior formatting, and cover design? Can you recommend anyone you work with?
I personally go through 3 self-edits, before I let anyone else read it. Then, I send my story to a small group of beta readers who give me feedback and point out any errors they see. Finally, I send it to an editor on Fiverr. Her name is Editor Nancy, and she is excellent at what she does.
For children’s book formatting, I use the Kindle Creator, which makes it fairly easy to select book size, fonts, and insert images. It’s important to include jpegs that are 300 dpi for quality.
For my non-fiction books, I send my word document to be formatted for Kindle and print to a guy on Fiverr. His name is Psalmyy
My amazing husband, who does photography and graphics, creates my book covers.
11. When you aren’t writing, how do you spend your time?
I love anything creative! Before I started writing full time, I was a singer/songwriter. I still play, sing, and fill in on church worship teams from time to time. Recently, I’ve taken an interest in faux calligraphy and brush lettering. I’ve also been dabbling in Gouache paint. So fun!
With one son left at home, (my other three kids are grown and married), our mornings are spent homeschooling. I also have four grand-kids who I adore spending time with.
And almost every evening, my husband and I enjoy quiet moments on our back deck with a beautiful view of the Rocky Mountains. My cup overflows!
12. What is your next book about?
I admit I have several books in the making. 🙂 My new kid’s book series is about Yum Cat, a dumpster cat that is adopted by the trash man and his family. It’s a funny, rhyming book that my daughter Hannah is illustrating. We are having a blast co-creating Yum Cat, and it’s going to be super-exciting to launch.
The non-fiction book I’m working on is a 21-day devotional for mothers of prodigals. It’s called, “Waiting at The Window with My Running Shoes On.” This book is near and dear to my heart as I wait for my prodigal son to return to the Lord. I pray it will be a huge encouragement to moms!
13. What are some of your favorite books and who are your favorite authors?
My favorite kid’s books are the Fly Guy series by Tedd Arnold, Little Critter by Mercer Mayer, and the Amelia Bedelia collection by the late Peggy Parish. Such clever writers!
As for non-fiction, I am LOVING anything to do with entrepreneurship. So far, Chris Ducker’s Rise of the Youpreneur and Christy Wright’s Business Boutique are at the top of my list.
14. What are you reading currently?
I am currently reading Raising World Changers in a Changing World by Kristen Welch, as well as the business books I mentioned earlier.
15. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Yes! Here are my top tips:
• It’s never too late to become an author!
• Write every day BEFORE checking email or social media.
• Try to get something published, even an article or two, to establish your platform.
• Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance in EVERYTHING you write.
16. What has been your biggest obstacle as an author?
Marketing is my biggest obstacle. I absolutely hate the promotional side of things. I just want to write, write, write and have someone else promote. Maybe someday I’ll be able to hire a marketer for my books.
17. Are you glad you went the self-published route? Why or why not?
Yes, I am very glad I went the self-published route. I think it’s a fantastic way for writers to share their words with the world. However, I would be open to trying a traditional publishing route if the right opportunity came along. It would be wonderful to have someone else do the promoting!
18. What is the one thing you have to have to write? (Coffee/something to eat/music/silence, etc)
Every morning, after my personal Bible study, I start writing with my cup of coffee and protein bar in hand. I find that a “little something to eat” helps my brain kick into gear. And when I feel stumped, I stop and pray for help. So, to sum it up, I need God, coffee, and my protein bar. 🙂
19. When is your ideal time to write? (Morning/Afternoon/Night)
I write the best first thing in the morning. I am almost always done with my “work for hire” jobs by 9 or 10 a.m. Then, I spend short bursts of time throughout the rest of the day writing creative material and working on my own stuff.
Jennifer Waddle is best known for encouraging Christian women in faith and life. She is the author of several books, including Prayer Worrier: Turning Every Worry into Powerful Prayer, and is a contributor for WomensMinistryTools.com and Crosswalk.com.
Jennifer is devoted to mentoring women through the Word of God, and offers real encouragement for real life. She resides with her family near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—her favorite place on earth.
You can find free resources at Encouragement Mama or find her books here. Jennifer is also available, via email, at email@example.com. She reads every single email that lands in her inbox, and would be honored to pray for your requests.