B.K.: Describe your writing style in 3 words.
Jennifer: To the point. Or at least that's always the goal in the back of my mind. I've been told I write with a simplistic voice, though a vivid one, and I love that thought. That words can take a Reader and put them there, in whatever scene the Writer's painting. Which may mean, you don't necessarily have to write like Michelangelo, but maybe you just need to draw like Picasso. What did Hemingway say? "All you have to do is just write one true sentence." Yeah, easier said then done, but hell yeah! what great advice! If there's one thing I'd want to encourage other Writer's to do first in pursuit of this thing called writing is; to know your writing style and then own it. Don't wish you could writing like so-and-so, or such-and-such, but write like you. You have the voice you have for a reason, so use it, be true to it.
B.K.: What book character would you be, and why?
Jennifer: This is a hard one. I would have to say I will be the main character in that future novel I have yet to write - haha! And I bet you can't wait to read it now. ;)
B.K.: If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
Jennifer: I would travel at least 40 years into the future (2054?) just so I could come back and tell everyone what it was like. I think because I've always been fascinated by the future and have been ever since I was a small child. I mean, the past is the past, but the future has yet to be written. The possibilities are endless!
B.K.: What would your ten-year-old self say to you now?
Jennifer: You were fearless.
B.K.: Who is your greatest influence?
Jennifer: In my personal life; I'd have to say my Brother, but since we are talking about writing, I would first tell you the Poet, Billy Collins, and then secondly, and probably more unexpectedly, Dolly Parton.
Billy Collins, because the man will write about anything (have you ever read 'Taking off Emily Dickinson's Clothes?' if not, a must), because sometimes his work is serious (Now go read "Litany'), and sometimes not, but I appreciate that. His is an honest voice I can relate to (or in other words, true to he is), and everything is fodder for writing. Plus, who doesn't love a writer with a sense of humor? But something else that impressed me about Billy in an interview I read once of his is, is that, though he writes everyday, out of all the poems he writes (say in a given month), if he gets two or three "good" poems out of the bunch, then its been a good writing month - and I've never forgotten that. I guess because I took that to mean that not everything we write necessarily needs to be a masterpiece, but out of everything we do write, as long as we keep writing, there's a small chance that some of it will be. What matters is that we keep doing what we love to do, because we have to, for no other reason except that, like all Artists, we feel compelled to, whether we write like Michelangelo or draw like Picasso.
And as far as Dolly Parton, she just reiterates exactly what Billy said. Though a Writer of Songs, I've heard/read that she too writes a song every day; approximately 365 songs a year, year after year, but let me ask you this; how many of those ended up on a record? So in other words, keep doing what you're doing; know your voice; be true to it; and write, write, write!
B.K.: What/who made you start writing?
Jennifer: Compulsion. I don't know how else to describe it. I won a young Author's award in middle school - somebody thought I had a voice I guess. Stopped pursuing the fiction. Lept into some really bad, hormonal poetry in high school; thought nothing of it, and then kind of forgot about writing altogether as a young adult. But writing came back to me with a vengeance in my thirties and hasn't yet left me alone, though, it's definitely taken me down some unexpected roads. I guess I say that because, though I dove head first into writing fiction, and wrote a lot of short stories I still feel really strong about today, my voice started changing through the process. About two years in everything I was trying to write started coming out too lyrical for fiction that I finally just had to give in to the voice that was demanding to be: a Poet. And who would've ever thought a Poet? For now; a Poet. And when I say compulsion, I guess that's what I mean. It's that Poetic voice that wants to be heard, that demands to be heard, or what compels me to pick up my pen daily. And I keep hoping that one day it will allow me to write fiction again (that other voice), and I think it will, in the right season, but for now; it's this; this Poetry that open windows and doors that no other form of writing can; that reaches deeper, digs deeper; that teaches the Writer and the Reader at the same time. Yeah, what an honor! And I'll say it again; know your voice, be true it; and write! write! write!