It’s a privilege to feature Jennifer Sienes today. We share the same publisher, and we both write women’s Christian fiction. Her newest release, Night Songs, is the first in the Bedford County series. We get a behind-the-scenes peek at how Night Songs was written, about the setting, and the faith journey within the story. In addition to the interview, learn “About the Author” and my review of this wonderful book. At the end, be sure and enter for a chance to win an ebook copy of Night Songs.
Hello, Jennifer. Thank you for joining me today.
Q: What is your process for writing time slip? Do you write all scenes in one time period together or in the sequence they appear in the book?
A: The books I’ve written with a time slip aren’t the same as what I’ve seen other authors do. I use the time slip as a backflash to flesh out the story as a whole rather than switching to a different world view. Same characters, just previous years to add depth to their relationship. For example, in Night Songs, the main characters have known each other since childhood, but the story starts when they’re adults. The time slip adds a dimension to their past relationship so that the reader can get a deeper connection to their story. I write mostly in first person POV, but the time slips are always in third person POV. And I am definitely a linear writer—I can’t even jump ahead one chapter until everything beforehand is done.
Q: How did you choose Tennessee for the setting?
A: We moved from Northern California to middle Tennessee about four years ago this summer. I was born and raised in the Bay Area, so this was quite a change. I fell in love with everything about the south—the smells, the summer storms, different birds, magnolia trees, humidity…you name it. I knew right away that I wanted my next series to be set here. It’s not only the setting, but the tone and culture that’s different. Everything is a little slower and a little kinder. You can’t walk into many places of business without seeing scripture on the walls and/or Christian music being piped through the speakers.
Q: Charlie and Derek deal with a lot of guilt and loss. Did you find these concepts and scenes easy or difficult to write?
A: I have dealt with a lot of guilt and loss in my life, so it’s pretty easy for me to write. It’s not easy on my heart, but the emotions are close enough to the surface that I don’t have to go mining for them.
Q: What kind of research did you have to do for this book?
A: I did a lot of research on missionaries even though very little of it is actually in the book. I also did some research on the military to get a sense of what Derek might have faced in his career. Again, not a lot needed to be used in the book. I’d rather over research than not. The vintage store and interior design came by way of my own experiences. My sisters used to tell me I should have gone into that line of work myself. Vintage stores are a big thing here, so I’ve spent enough time meandering through them to know a thing or two about them.
Q: What would you like the reader to take away from reading Night Songs?
A: That even when we turn away from the Lord, He never leaves or forsakes us. It’s like the prodigal son—the Father is just waiting for us to come back to Him. And with all my novels, I want the readers to see that no matter how bad things get, there is always hope of something better when we put our faith in Jesus. It might not happen the next day or the next month, but God’s timing is perfect.
Q: Is Night Songs part of a series? What can you tell us about the next book?
A: Night Songs is Book 1 in the Bedford County Series. I’ve just turned Book 2 into my publisher. It’s called Shadow Dancing and is about a married couple who have to learn to trust in the Lord as they grieve a terrible loss. That’s a pretty basic synopsis—there are many layers to the story and to their relationship that play into it. Although this is a series, each novel can be read as a stand-alone book.
Q: Where can we find you and your books?
A: My website is www.JenniferSienes.com. I have a weekly blog, monthly newsletter and a Facebook Reader’s group. I’m also on Instagram and Twitter. All my books are available on Amazon or can be ordered through Barnes & Noble.
About the Author
Jennifer Sienes holds a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in education, but discovered life-experience is the best teacher. She loves Jesus, romance and writing—and puts it altogether in inspirational contemporary fiction. Her daughter’s TBI and brother’s suicide inspired two of her three novels. Although fiction writing is her real love, she’s had several non-fiction pieces published in anthologies including several in Chicken Soup for the Soul. She has two grown children and one very spoiled Maltese. California born and raised, she recently took a step of faith with her real-life hero and relocated to Tennessee.
Get Jennifer’s Book Here
Jennifer, thank you for spending time with us today and sharing your heart.
My Review of Night Songs
This latest novel from author Jennifer Sienes, Night Songs, oozes with folksy, Southern charm. I felt right at home in Tennessee with vivid settings and richly crafted characters. The story might be a little gritty if infidelity is a trigger for the reader. But, while there’s some wrestling with God, His love shows up time and time again. If I hadn’t had to get at least some sleep, I would have read it in one sitting. I highly recommend Night Songs.
Enter the Giveaway
Leave a comment and click the link to enter to win a free ebook copy of Jennifer’s Night Songs. Entries close May 7. Winner announced May 9.