My guest author today is one I wish I had met in person by now. I have known Jen FitzGerald through online forums for a few years now, and I’m happy to introduce her and her writing to all of you. Let’s take a peek at her bio and then we’ll get to the interview.
Jen FitzGerald has loved romance since her Winnie-the-Pooh days. Christopher Robin and Winnie-the-Pooh have always been platonic soulmates. As a teen, Jen cut her romance teeth on Silhouette’s teen romance line and Danielle Steele books concurrently. She’s still an avid reader, but these days, Jen has added writing romances of her own to her list of fun things to do.
Jen lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with her husband and dog. Their three children are now adults and out terrorizing the world at large instead of them. When not working her day job, Jen spends a lot of time reading, writing, watching hockey, and perusing her social media platforms of preference. She also enjoys music, cross stitching, and chatting online with writer friends.
Betty: When did you become a writer?
Jen: I’ve been writing for over a decade. Started off writing (JAG) fan fiction many, many moons ago.
Betty: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published?
Jen: I’ve only been (self) published since Thanksgiving of 2017, so over ten years. But in that time, I wrote a ton of fan fiction and churned out four or five books.
Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?
Jen: I read so much and so fast that titles and author names don’t stick in my head for very long. Characters resonate with me for sure and so the fan fiction I read inspires and awes me on a daily basis. I re-read favorites a lot, hoping that my work will improve by sheer osmosis.
Betty: What prompted you to start writing?
Jen: The notion that I could do better than what I was reading. Little did I know how hard it really was.
Betty: What type of writing did you start with?
Jen: Romantic MF fan fiction.
Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?
Jen: I struggled with this question a bit. It’s a bit wide open and Betty suggested I have fun with it, but I really couldn’t come up with anything to make y’all laugh. So the real answer is that I fell in love with reading Male/Male romance about 2013/2014 and eventually tried my hand at it. I’ve been firmly entrenched in the genre ever since. As for why…well, the whole fantasy of two sexy men expressing their love for one another aside, there are a lot of different issues facing people who fall under the queer umbrella. That added a bit of a challenge to my writing.
Betty: How did you learn to write? A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else?
Jen: Mostly books and programs through my local writers group. Conferences when I could afford them. And reading–lots and lots of reading.
Betty: What do you wish you knew before you started writing/publishing?
Jen: I don’t think there’s really anything. It took me such a long time to publish, and publishing had changed so much from the time I first started attending writers group meetings. I had a grasp on everything in as much as one can before making the decision to self-publish over trying to get into traditional publishing. The rigors and the deadlines scared the pants off me for a long time, although I definitely do better with outside deadlines now-a-days.
Betty: What other authors inspired you (either directly or through their writing) to try your hand at writing?
Jen: As I mentioned, I started off writing fan fiction and I still read a ton of it, so my writing is heavily influenced by it.
Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today?
Jen: A group of friends and I were sitting around after our writers group meeting one afternoon, and someone said, “What if we all…?” The idea resonated with me and percolated, and the next month, after writers group meeting, I asked if anyone wanted to pursue the idea. Everyone was onboard so we hashed out the idea and I dove right in to writing. The original group idea fell apart, but I had a book and a town and a plan, so off I went. There are now six books in the series, and I’m hoping for at least one more.
Amputee Scott Hudson returns home to Ten Rigs and takes over the local animal shelter. For six months Ben Thompson has watched Scott work wonders with the kennel and the dogs, admiring his focus and dedication. Can Scott overcome his injury and all that it entails, physically and emotionally, to find love with Ben?
Scott walks in a circle as he works to catch his breath and Ben follows him with his gaze. The man is fit, that’s for damn sure. Six months of minor construction work and building maintenance as well as kennel cleaning and dog wrangling have kept him in shape. Ben knows for a fact that he works out too. Just then, Scott lifts the bottom of his tee shirt and wipes his face with it. Ben’s eyes are drawn to the barely outie belly button and the smattering of dark hair that surrounds it and trails southwa—
“Thompson, you really need to keep your man crush off the court,” says Dooley.
Ben wrenches his eyes away from Scott’s abdomen to catch Dooley’s smarmy smirk before snapping his gaze to Scott’s. He feels the weight of five pair of eyes, but doesn’t care. He only has eyes for Scott, who, at the moment, only has eyes for him. Everyone else fades into the background. Scott’s eyes have gone wide and the color on his face has deepened although probably only Ben realizes the man has just blushed. Ben holds his gaze for what seems like minutes and then finally shrugs. His feelings haven’t really been a secret, although he’d have much rather revealed them to Scott in a less public forum. But the knowledge is out now and there’s no taking it back. Ben doesn’t want it back, truth be told. He’s tired of waiting for the right moment that never seems to come.
** The book is free and, as a side note, all the nookie happens in the epilogue if that’s not your cup of tea.
Thanks for sharing a bit about your path to publication, Jen! There are definitely many roads that writers can follow to achieve the dream of publication.
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