Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Author Spotlight - Jennifer Probst

We're delighted to welcome New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Jennifer Probst to the minxes today! Here are her answers to the minx questions...

What is your writing process?

I get lots of coffee, put one child on the bus, drive the other, come home and write. Pick up second child, get him lunch, write. Serve child’s needs for several hours and try to write. Pick up first child from school, serve snacks, write. Get dinner, greet husband, pour wine, write. Homework, baths, cleaning up, watch hubby settle down in front of tv with a relaxed expression, and I write! There is no other process I believe in then something to drink, my Ipod, and something to type on. The rest is all extra!

Everyone who writes knows it's not easy - what methods do you use to keep at it on days when it would be so much easier to go shoe shopping?

I go shoe shopping first, then write! Balance is always my target and my goal. I do my best day to day – some are better than others due to family demands, but I write every day without fail. How? I groan, complain, tell my hubby to kick my butt, sit and stare, change my songs, but at the end of the day, I make sure I know it’s my job to write. That’s the only way I can do this full time.

Keeping fit: Do you have an exercise regime to counterbalance all those hours sitting at a computer?

Walk back and forth to the kitchen for more coffee? (Hangs head in shame) Sorry. Umm, to be totally honest, I used to go to the gym three times per week, and then my schedule got nuts and my physical regimen is suffering. Your question has inspired me to go back to the gym. After all, I’m still paying membership fees! I adore doing yoga too and believe it’s wonderful for clearing the mind.

Do you believe in writer's block?

Absolutely. I’ve had it and it sucks. Sucks big time! But I get through it by gritting my teeth and forcing my way through the hard stuff. Eventually I get out of the block and burst out the other end!

Have you ever used an incident from real life in a book? If so, did it get you into trouble?

Yes, I’ve used something that happened and twisted the situation into a fictional story. It did get me in trouble, a tiny bit, when a family member recognized the incident – lol! But it worked out fine in the end and we all laugh about it now!

In what way is being a published writer different to how you thought it would be?

It’s just as exciting as I always thought, especially when a reader tells me how much he or she enjoyed the book. Having my name in print and finally being able to share my stories with someone other than my desk drawer or close friend is a dream come true. I don’t think I realized the extent of the business part of writing, and how busy your schedule can become. I laugh when people say I work from home so I must have plenty of free time! I think I work harder now writing full time than when I had my day job, but I’m much happier because it’s like having my own business. It’s also quite overwhelming to realize you don’t just write one great book and sit back with a smile. You have to keep writing great books and that can cause a muse to go on strike with fear – lol!

Promotion is no longer a dirty word. In what ways do you strive to reach more readers?

Promotion is key in this business besides writing a great book. I do social networking and I did it way before my books were published. I started slow, gained friends, supported people and followed blogs. I was a friend – not a writer yelling “Buy my book!” Who wants that type of friend? When the book released, I had a blog tour set up, some advertising , and sent it to many reviewers.

What is your top promo tip for other authors? 

The most important is to have a platform. You don’t have to be good at everything, but make sure you are either steadily blogging, twittering, using facebook, youtube, pinterest, or a combination. You do need a great website – that’s a basic. And be generous– I am a true believer in karma!

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned to trust my gut. I knew this was a great story and I never let myself give up. I believed there would be the perfect editor/publisher out there that would believe in this story like I did, and finally it came true!

What was the most fun part of writing this book?

The characters! They took over the book for me, and I couldn’t wait to see what they would say or do next. I laughed out loud when I wrote it and shook my head at their antics, so the book came alive for me. How much fun is that!

And just for fun: what would your hero’s honeymoon destination of choice be?

Rome. I think he’d love taking Alexa to Rome to view the architecture and enjoy the scenery. Nick’s not the island type to just sit on the beach and sunbathe – he needs to be doing something engaging. He’d also know Alexa would love the romance of such an ancient city. Of course, when they get back to the hotel, that will be a whole other part of engagement for him – lol!

The Marriage Bargain

A marriage in name only...

To save her family home, impulsive bookstore owner, Alexa Maria McKenzie, casts a love spell. But she never planned on conjuring up her best friend's older brother—the powerful man who once shattered her heart.

Billionaire Nicholas Ryan doesn’t believe in marriage, but in order to inherit his father’s corporation, he needs a wife and needs one fast. When he discovers his sister’s childhood friend is in dire financial straits, he’s offers Alexa a bold proposition.

A marriage in name only with certain rules: Avoid entanglement. Keep things all business. Do not fall in love. The arrangement is only for a year so the rules shouldn’t be that hard to follow, right?

Except fate has a way of upsetting the best-laid plans…

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Jennifer Probst said...

Thanks so much for hosting me today!

Victoria James said...

Hi Jennifer!

Thanks so much for posting such detailed thoughts on your writing process as well as your promo tips! As soon as I finish my current WIP, I've got your book in my TBR. I can't wait!! Congrats on your success!

Romy Sommer said...

Thanks so much for being here today Jennifer, and congratulations on the phenomenal success you're having with 'Marriage Bargain'.

I love reading about other authors who don't exercise often. It makes me feel so much better about my own measly one yoga class a week. And all the coffee!

Rachel Lyndhurst said...

Coming in a bit late here, but lovely interview, Jennifer! We lead very similar lives by the looks of it, except I have no coffee here ... Will try not to get breathless walking to the kitchen to get some! Yoga sounds nice - might try that.Might ... xxx

Catherine Coles said...

I love your answers to the Minxy questions!

Thank you so much for being with us and many congratulations on becoming a bestselling author! Looking forward to the next book :-)