Author Jillian Kent is outgoing, robust and makes everyone she meets feel at ease. A gentle sense of humor, and quick laugh made her an interesting and easy interview. Although she writes inspirational romance, don’t let that fool you – Jillian knows and often explores some darker areas of life. Get to know author Jillian Kent!
First, tell us a bit about yourself. Where you’re from? Past jobs, awards, the usual bio stuff.
My hubby, Randy, and I have lived in Cincinnati, Ohio for 31 years. We have two grown daughters, one little dog and four big cats. My eighty –six year old mother lives with us too. I was born in Florida and raised in Pennsylvania. I went to college and graduate school in West Virginia and spent a semester in England where I fell in love with the country and its incredible history.
I’m a full-time counselor for nursing students and have a master’s degree in social work. I’m fascinated with human behavior and how our minds work. I wanted to escape from today’s world of mental health problems and explore what might have happened in a lunatic asylum in Regency England to better understand how far we’ve really come in understanding psychological issues today. I’ve been writing for years and the journey to publication really is a rollercoaster ride.
I want readers to escape into the past with some very unusual characters. My hope is that you’ll find faith for the future when life just gets to be too much. I think you’ll enjoy this journey. If you want to read the first chapter of my novel, Secrets of the Heart, Book One, The Ravensmoore Chronicles, please visit my website at http://jilliankent.com/books.html You are also invited to join in the conversation on my blog anytime, read my writing tips, sign up for the newsletter I haven’t written yet, and have fun exploring.
What do you write?
I write my passion. I love my day job as much as I love writing. I’ve been a social worker for 31 years and so has my husband. We met in a Social Work and Law class in graduate school and haven’t been apart since. I love history, sociology, psychology, anthropology and more. So rather then write contemporary books I like to escape into the history of another age and explore their problems in society through the eyes of characters that can bring that time to life and take you on an adventure that’s as close to time traveling as I can manage.
Actually it was Madeline of Secrets of the Heart. That girl just would not cooperate. J I’ve always found it more difficult to create heroines than heroes, but I think that’s changing now.
What characters are lying on your “office floor”? Why didn’t they come to life on the page and do you think they ever will? Or why not?
Let’s see. They really aren’t on the office floor but stuck in a drawer and in my head. Some of them are great characters, but their stories need some work. I hope to bring one of those stories to publication in the future. A few of those characters were in contemporary novels that I wrote. I just don’t think I’m ready to publish contemporaries yet. Maybe some day, but not now.
How much time does it usually take you to write a book?
The first book I ever wrote took me a year. I didn’t know if I could write an entire novel. I decided to write one page a day for a year. I did it! Now that has nothing to do with the rewriting process. I wrote Secrets over a period of ten years when my children were little. Now I have a publisher depending on me and am writing entirely too fast. I wrote my second book, Chameleon, in less than a year. Chameleon will come out in May 2012. So after I finish book three which should come out in 2013 I hope to get a bit more time to develop my stories in order to avoid burn out. I love the revision process which is very important and I like to take my time but there are schedules and deadlines that must be kept.
Any funny “researching your book stories” to share with readers?
I love quotes. I don’t remember what year I discovered this quote but I think it’s one of Mark Twains best and very good for all of us to remember if we write fiction.
“The people in the story (characters) shall be alive, except in the case of the corpses, and the reader should be able to tell the corpses from the others.” Mark Twain
What do you find is the hardest part of writing?
All of it. Seriously. If I narrow it down to one thing I’d have to say writing to deadline and still doing an excellent job. I love a challenge and publishing is very challenging.
If you could be one of your characters for a day which character would it be? Why?
Devlin Grayson, Lord Ravensmoore. He’s awesome. He’s a compassionate man of nobility who doesn’t take his position in society for granted but is willing to be looked down upon in order to fulfill his calling.
Who is your favorite hero that you’ve written? Why?
Devlin Grayson, Lord Ravensmoore. He takes risks in a world where few would try to emulate him.
Who is your favorite fiction hero written by someone else? Why?
Sherlock Holmes. He’s got a passion for solving crimes yet struggles with addiction which makes him very human no matter how analytical he strives to be.
What do you think makes a good hero?
A hero has to be someone the reader wants to spend time with, who harbors secrets about his past that we may never completely come to know, and kisses better than you could ever imagine. J
If you could have dinner with any writer living or dead, who would it be and why?
Okay. I’m going to cheat here. Living writer would be Dennis Lehane. I’ve enjoyed Dennis’s books and talked with him at the author party for Books by the Banks. He’s so talented. He thinks about dark things and even though I write romance I think about dark things too. I’d just love to have dinner with him and his wife. You can always get a better glimpse of someone through their spouse, in my opinion.
Dead writer would be Emily Bronte.
Name your five favorite authors. Yes, only five!
I’m sure I’ve answered this differently in the past. J Today I would say: Dennis Lehane, Harlan Coben, Francine Rivers, Diana Gabaldon, and Julia Quinn.
What authors are in your TBR pile?
James Scott Bell, Jodi Picoult, Dennis Lehane, Julie Lessman, and Tamara Alexander.
Do you have a secret talent readers would be surprised by?
I rode in 4-H and Pony Club and in three day eventing as a kid. That’s dressage, stadium jumping and cross-country for non-equestrians. I was lucky enough to have an aunt who supplied the horses and expertise on the farm in Pa. where I grew up. I haven’t ridden for years now but would still enjoy a leisurely ride through a beautiful forest.
What is the one question you never get asked at interviews, but wish you did?
Why do I write inspirational fiction? Along with the personal fascination of how we think, and why we do the things we do comes the question of how God influences our choices and how he effects or doesn’t affect our behavior. Why we believe or don’t believe in God. This helps me explore my personal journey with God (along with my characters) and come to a better understanding of who I am and who I want to be in Christ.
I blog on my website at www.jilliankent.com, the Wordeserve Water Cooler with my agency mates at http://wordservewatercooler.com/ and Just the Write Charisma with my Realms buddies at http://justthewritecharisma.blogspot.com/
I also write and host other authors at a column titled The Well Writer for the Christian Fiction Online Magazine at http://www.christianfictiononlinemagazine.com/brilliant_well.html
And yes, I’m participating in NanoWriMo this month. http://www.nanowrimo.org/