I’m sooooo excited about today’s post! I get to introduce you to one of my amazing friends and author, Jen Atkison, her newest book, Surviving Emma, and I get to give a signed copy to one of you – it just doesn’t get much better than this!
This is Jen Atkinson. She’s such amazing, kind, and sweet soul. Jen is inspiration – not only because she’s a salt of the Earth kind of gal but because she’s a total #momboss. Seriously, I love that Jen didn’t just dare to dream of writing and having her books published, but that she had the courage to put herself out there and make it happen. I’ve got an entire closet full of dreams just waiting for a little action, and a lot of courage that are just hoping to see daylight. You know what I mean? I’m working on creating some courses to help entrepreneurs find success with their businesses in the online world. I’d also love to have something published someday. What about you? Anyways, I asked Jen if she’d answer a few questions for us to help you get to know her a little better. Here’s what she had to say….
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I remember telling Mrs. Welling, my second grade teacher, that I wanted to be a writer one day. Around that same time I shared a little story with a family friend, a day later she brought me a spiral notebook with Garfield on the front. She said it was a place to write my stories. That little bit of faith in me took off. I filled the book with my second grade thoughts and stories.
What would you say is your interesting quirk?
I’m strangely motivated by numbers. If I keep track of how many words I wrote that day it motivates me to do better the next day or at least just as well. It’s how I wrote my newest WIP in only five weeks.
I also have constant conversations in my head! Haha! My characters seem to have things to say and if there’s a quiet moment—the shower, the car, in bed at night, they start talking until I get their words written out.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
The longer I write and publish the more I realize how much I need other people. You absolutely cannot write a quality book alone. I think we think about an author with their laptop and that’s it… but really, without friends to talk scenes out with, experts to learn from, skilled editors, proofers, and cover designers your book is just a mediocre story inside your computer. Writing is a process and it’s one that involves the author and many more!
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have written nine books, Am I 30 Yet?, Then Came You, Knowing Amelia, Untouched, Unknown, Undone, Surviving Emma, Paper Hearts, and one children’s book Jonny Rats.
I honestly don’t know how to pick a favorite! I love them all and for different reasons. I can maybe narrow it down to three—Knowing Amelia, Untouched, and Surviving Emma.
I wrote KA the year that I lost my beloved mother. My heart was broken and it took me a long time to finish that story, but when I did, a part of my heart was woven into the pages.
Untouched was my first YA story. It had the romance that I love, but a touch of the paranormal as well. It was so much fun to write and my heart fell in love with Thankful and Liam. I had also really gotten into family history that year. So, as kind of my own personal game, I gave every character a name from my personal family history.
Surviving Emma sat on the back burner while I finished the UNTOUCHED trilogy. But Emma’s life, future, and voice continued to talk to me. Emma was different than any character I’d ever written before. She was sassy, she was harsh, she was like a lit firecracker with everyone waiting and watching for the explosion. Holy moly, she was fun to write! The last scene between Emma and Carter sat molding inside my mind for a good couple years before I ever wrote it out.
Who is your favorite character that you’ve created?
Oh gosh… this is hard! Probably, Liam or Emma, they are both more complex characters and, for different reasons, were so fun to write. Often with Emma, I’d ask myself—what wouldn’t I do and then I’d know what Emma’s next move would be. Liam was just so mysterious and unique, and attempting to put myself in his shoes to figure out his thoughts and actions was challenging—and so much fun.
If you could ask your own interview question what would it be and how would you answer it?
If you could meet another author—living or dead—who would it be?
I would meet Jane Austen. She is kind of the guru of all things romance. But Jane was also so forward thinking. She knew women didn’t have the rights they deserved and her books portray all of that. Jane is proof that you can think open mindedly and fall in love.
What do you love most about Surviving Emma?
Emma! The change that comes with Emma is important. Emma proves that we can all change for the better, that we can grow and love and be who we’re supposed to be, despite the circumstances we’re dealt.
You’ve got another book about to launch….tell us about it!
Paper Hearts is my newest work, it’s a YA romance and will be available on Amazon on July 7th. I wrote Finn & Esther’s story during social distancing. We were all home-schooling, so I’d set up the kids and then go get my 3,000+ words in each day. I felt like I was just compelling the words and the story every day and in the end I had to reread what I’d written—all 79,000 words—to realize it was good. In fact, my amazing Street Team has said it’s possibly my best book yet. It was strange to me that I didn’t realize that until it was written. It’s one of my many quarantine blessings! Here is the blurb:
She’d dreamt of him.
Esther had been dreaming the same dream for weeks. Visions and emotions filled her mind at night that strangely felt real. After the loss of her parents, she’d been raised by her aunt. The dreams began the day her elderly aunt also died—leaving Esther seventeen and very much alone. Esther told herself she was used to being alone—that she liked it even. Which is maybe why moving in with her uncle and his family, who are practically strangers, feels scarier than the reoccurring dream, or the thought of ending up alone. Soon, she’ll be ten hours from the only home she remembers, and the one person she has left in the world—her best friend.
Finn doesn’t care about any of that.
He’s got bigger problems. Being sick and angry never gave him much time to think about anyone else. How could it? He’s dealing with smothering parents who are clearly in denial about his life and a body that’s trying to give out on him. Why can’t everyone just accept what is and let him live the way he wants to?
When Esther and Finn’s worlds collide, fact and fiction begin to blur. Signs of Esther’s dreams are all around them. For the first time in a long time, Esther doesn’t feel like loneliness is her only future, and Finn starts to believe he may have more than video games and just another hang-out night with his friends to live for. Will Esther’s dreams lead them to their saving grace, or will it just be another heartbreak?
Ohhhh….. I can’t wait to get my hands on it! What about you? If you’d like to stay updated and in touch with Jen, you can find her on Facebook, here.
Back to Surviving Emma
Are you wondering what Surviving Emma is about? Here’s the blurb from the the back of the book… Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. Sometimes it’s a complete disaster. A beautiful, unpredictable, life-changing disaster. Life had chosen to pummel Emma Sunday. She didn’t have a choice in her non-existent mother or her cruel drunk of a father. She didn’t mean to get pregnant at seventeen. She didn’t plan on being a single mom. It all just happened. Seven years later, life is still beating Emma. Life can abuse her all it wants though, the only thing Emma cares about is her Dakota. Her girl is brilliant and kind. She deserves the life that Emma couldn’t have. Dakota will be happy and successful—Emma will make sure. But Emma never planned on Dakota’s happy and successful life including nosy Aiden Carter, who despises Emma but adores Dakota. The new Deputy has done everything in his power to let Emma know he doesn’t like her… until he unexpectedly begins to like her. Carter tries to help Emma believe in herself and live for not only Dakota but for herself. But it’s hard for Emma to believe in anything but Dakota. And it’s impossible for her to trust her plagued life when her heart starts falling for Carter. She’s never had anything go her way—so why would this be any different?
Surviving Emma is receiving wonderful reviews. “An amazing story of growth, love, and devotion, served up with a side of sass and humor. A thoroughly satisfying read with a whole lot of heart.” -Julie Wright, author of Lies Jane Austen Told Me
I’ve read several of Jen’s books, and love them all. So far, Knowing Amelia is my very fav (seriously could not put it down!) – but I’m excited to see if Survivng Emma takes it’s place or not. You can grab a copy for yourself here. If you’d like to throw your name into the hat to win a signed copy for yourself, use the form below to enter.a Rafflecopter giveaway
I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a book to read! Happy Reading!
***This giveaway opens immediately (US only, please) and closes at 12:00 AM 7/8/2010. Winner will be announced here on the Rafflecopter form, contacted by email and has 48 hours to claim their prize by responding with their mailing information or another winner will be drawn. A copy was provided to giveaway, but my opinions remain my own. Good luck:)!