Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Jennifer Echols, Young Adult Author

It's with great pleasure I introduce the funny and talented Jennifer Echols. Southern Magic is proud to call her one of our own!  Jennifer will be dropping by to answer any questions you have about writing Young Adult books or about the wonderful job she does in writing humor. Personally, I believe people who write romantic comedy are super intelligent. Yes. I'm green with envy.

When did you start writing fiction?

Grade school. My grandmother was an unpublished writer. I had her as an example, so it never occurred to me that writing was something I couldn’t do.

Why did you join RWA?

I joined in 1998 or so because I was so frustrated trying to get published, but I was too defensive about my writing to go to a local chapter meeting, and there wasn’t much activity online. In 2004 I made a renewed effort to publish a new manuscript. This time I decided that since what I had done before didn’t work, I would change what I was doing. I rejoined RWA, participated lots online, and actually went to meetings. And voila, I got a new agent in February 2005 and sold in July.

What was the most important thing you learned from being in a RWA chapter?

Other writers go through the same emotions I do and are just as frustrated and just as elated. Nobody else really understands, and to me, going to Southern Magic meetings each month is an invaluable rejuvenation and renewal.

Who influenced you the most?

My critique partners, Victoria Dahl and Catherine Chant. Even people who don’t want critique partners need go-to writing friends to whom they can spill their guts.

What reference book or website can you not live without?

The dictionary. You would be surprised how many writers don’t seem to open it, but I just sent back the second pass of my July release, LOVE STORY, and I made good use of it!

If you were to give advice to a newbie romance writer, what would be the most important thing?

Make sure you are writing every day, not just talking about writing or reading about writing or thinking about writing.

The least?

The little stuff like formatting, minutiae of grammar, that sort of thing. Your manuscript needs to be correct and presentable in general. But an agent will represent your work and an editor will buy it because they love the story, not because you did or didn’t use “whom” correctly.

If you had anything you could do over, pertaining to writing romance, what would it be?

I would have joined RWA and become an active member sooner, and I am not just sucking up on an RWA blog, I swear.

What is your favorite type of book to write?

As long as romance is the focus, it has a happy ending, and it’s funny, I’m there. So I write YA romantic comedies, YA romantic dramas with a lot of humor in them, and adult romantic comedies that don’t get published. Someday...

Now for the most important question - what do you believe makes a man sexy?

I am a sucker for a sense of humor--obviously!


Callie James said...

Hi, Jenn! Do you still get nervous when you have a new book coming out?

I love your work! Always makes me laugh.

I have an industry question, too. Do you know the difference between an Assistant Editor and an Associate Editor?

Lexi said...

Big fan of yours, Jen. I heard you speak several years ago at the library in Wetumpka and was heartened (and a little dismayed!) at your journey to publication. I forget how many books you said you'd written before you sold, but it inspired me to keep on plugging. Glad to see you enjoying a much earned success and may it continue!

Jennifer Echols said...

Callie, I get stressed, not nervous. I would be nervous if I was scared of getting a bad review. Now I KNOW some people aren't going to love the book, but as long as I love it, it's easy to let that go. I get stressed because I get inundated with e-mail and requests for publicity stuff when I have a book release soon, but my regular workload doesn't change.

I assume an assistant is lower than an associate. That's how it works with professors. ;)

Jennifer Echols said...

Lexi, thank you so much! What a fun day in Wetumpka with Deidre Knight, Kelley St. John, and Wendy Wax, and Tammy Lynn was so kind to set that up. The number of books I wrote before I sold was