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Interview With Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Jennifer Hudson Taylor has been writing for a long time and has just been blessed to have Highland Blessings release from Abingdon Press. This book has a unique setting and scenario which have the potential to really carve a niche out for this budding author. I have the feeling this is just the beginning for Jennifer and look forward to seeing what comes next for her!

I love the setting and premise of Highland Blessings, how did you come about choosing the time and place that you did? It is absolutely intriguing!

I've always loved the images and photos I've seen of Scotland's moors, peatlands, lochs and the remnants of bygone castles, warriors, and lasses. So I created a place in the highlands from pure imagination. I wanted the time period to be after William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. Originally, the book was set in the late 1300's, but I kept running into issues with certain words not being developed in the English vocabulary at that time. Moving the time period to a century later worked much better.

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
Besides perseverance and sheer stubbornness, I believe it was God's chosen path for me that was so significant. Each writer may have the goal of publication and then other subsequent goals thereafter, but our journey to getting there is filled with different roads from various starting points--some longer, others shorter, many are bumpy, a few are smooth. God may need to teach one patience, one wisdom, others may need to work on pride. For me, it was a number of things--patience, perseverance, wisdom and humility.

You wouldn't think a poor girl from the south would need a lesson in humility, but I did. My parents taught me the American dream--if you work hard enough, study hard enough, fight hard enough, stand your ground long enough--you can achieve anything you set your mind to do. The problem with this mentality is that it takes God completely out of the picture. I kept trying to do things on my own and in my own way. I needed to step aside and let God be God in my life.

What's your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
I don't get to write at home during the day. I work outside the home. It is so very hard not to be tired after a full day of work and then have to come home write, blog, critique, edit, research, promote, etc. I simply push through and keep making myself go, go, go. I know no other way, while I wait for God to open up doors that will one day enable me to write at home.

And how do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
Ever since I decided to dedicate my writing to God, my faith impacts my work very much. It may not be very noticeable to some as my work isn't preachy or heavy on salvation scenes in every novel, but I pray about my writing, I depend on God to finish it, and I know I'm called to plant biblical seeds so that the Holy Spirit will do the rest.

What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing career?
While the writing journey has been long, I'm newly published in fiction so I don't have many published moments. However, the call I received from my agent on my birthday that I had sold Highland Blessings to Abingdon Press was quite overwhelming. I was on my lunch break waiting at the drive thru at Arby's. I had to pull out of line so I could talk coherently to my agent. It was a wonderful moment.

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
God must be spurring me. Back when I was writing from sheer willpower, I gave up and stopped writing for 3 years. A woman at church prayed for me and 6 months later, the desire to write came back and hasn't left me. Ideas come from everywhere--conversations, articles, photos, dreams, real life, etc.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
I'm not sure what makes me unique, I only know what I try to accomplish. I stopped getting caught up in all the "writing rules" and simply started writing again. I try to concentrate on the story, the characters, and the emotion, and I don't worry as much about the mechanics. I try to go for depth in a story that will move a reader through a series of emotions. I want my readers to get angry, cry, laugh, care and feel what my characters are feeling and experiencing. I never want to carry my readers through a series of events just to keep action going--they must be moved and FEEL something.

Finish this question. My goal with writing for an audience is to...make readers feel immersed in the story to the point where they don't want it to end.

Any parting words?
Always be open to learning and growing. God can use us far more than we can imagine if we keep a strong, but humble spirit. Blessings to everyone! And thank you ACFW for featuring me!

Thanks for sharing with us, Jennifer!

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