Today I want to introduce Jennifer Peer! Jennifer, tell us a little about yourself.
Writing allows me the freedom to express my creative side and love of all things romantic; and I do enjoy everything about that first moment of attraction leading to the next. There is a never-ending supply of love stories out there waiting to be told. I like to intersperse them with a little edge since I also love a good thriller.
I have two big addictions- Numero uno is my Corgi Dexter. He is my shadow, and it only takes one look from him to make me smile. He is a bit of a goofball.
Next is coffee in any format. We’re talking beans, drinks, chocolate, etc. It doesn’t matter if it is hot or cold, with cream, sugar or black- I just love the smell and flavor.
Full disclosure, I may also be a little addicted to candles and of course- books.
I am with you there on the coffee front! And books, of course. That goes without saying. I have a black cat named Bob who is my best friend and that’s not at all weird for an adult female to claim, is it? (haha) So, what genre(s) do you write in?
I write romantic suspense, although I am currently working on a new Paranormal Romantic Suspense Series.
I love me some paranormal books! Are you traditionally published, independently published, or both?
My first novel, True Beginnings, was an Indie Publication. My newest release, The Last Bloom, is a traditional release through Boroughs Publishing Group. It was just released on August 10th.
What made you choose the publishing path you’re on?
I chose to publish on a traditional track this time to see if the experience would be better for me. I knew that I would learn a lot by going through a house and to be honest, I needed to learn a lot. It was also a different experience for me to have not one but two editors and a third set of eyes to work through the manuscript. Three rounds of edits and I was happy with the direction we headed.
I can relate to that. I have always been an independently published author because I have control issues when it comes to my book and its packaging, but I’ve been wondering if I might be able to compromise and do traditional for a change. Why did you choose to write in the genre you’re in?
I love romance novels, but I also love mystery and suspense. If an author can add some humor in there too, I’m hooked. I have always aspired to create something that a reader could escape into- something that would suck them right into my character’s situation. It took me a long time to sit down and just do it. I always knew that I had to combine my love of suspense with romance. My female characters are not shrinking violets though, they can hold their own most of the time.
I love a good strong female lead! When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I had always been an avid reader. True story, we didn’t even have a television growing up, just music and books. We used to go to the drive-in a lot because I was in Arizona at the time. Imagine my shock when I went to my grandparents’ house in NY for a summer and got to watch television. By the time I was heading back home, I was hooked on my grandma’s “stories”. After that I knew I wanted to write, scripts, books, poetry, etc. I started by writing lyrics because I was a vocalist. I had written short skits or improv routines as I also did theater. Eventually, I turned to poetry and created mini stories in that format before graduating to creative writing and newspaper articles in college. It took me a long time to write that first novel but it’s never too late.
So you’re a singer and a writer? That’s so interesting! It sounds like you’ve tried your hand at ever form of creative writing out there! Tell us a little about your writing processes and your writing space.
I get ideas, little snippets of things floating around. Eventually they grow and I start to expand on them. When my first character captures me, I develop their background. I generally have an idea that grows, and I write it all down.
Once I have the character in mind and feel I know who they are, naming them is the last step. To me every name is deliberate. There is always a reason for the choice. In my first book, my heroine’s name is True Saoirse McLaren. Yes, she’s Irish. Her first name is a family name (my great grandfather) that I always loved. Her middle name is Gaelic for “Freedom”. Knowing her back story, you understand that she was born in Ireland and her name means ‘True Freedom’ which is what she has been struggling for since she escaped from Ireland with her parents and paternal grandmother after faking their deaths. She has lived in the shadows ever since.
As far as my writing space, I have a ‘Library’ in my house that is my space. I have decorated it and created an area that is essentially me- eclectic and varied with a hint of French Provencal. It seems to be where everyone congregates so I guess my cozy and comfortable definition was achieved. I write at night since I work full-time during the day, so candles are a must depending on my mood- and music.
Sounds like you are a very organized writer. I like to be too, though it doesn’t always work out that way. I even designed a novel notebook to keep all my notes in, organized so I can go back and reference everything, but even that ends up a mess somehow. I absolutely love the sound of your writing space! Mine is vintage in style, mostly 40’s type era. Eclectic for sure, though! What are your favorite books to read?
Some of my favorites are Janet Evanovich (anything but especially Stephanie Plum series), Heather Graham (Krewe of Hunters), Jeffrey Deaver, The Kellermans, Patricia Cornwell (Kate Scarpetta), and John Sanford (Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers). I am also really loving Tricia O’Malley’s various series right now (Althea Rose and Mystic Cove right now although Siren Island will be next). I enjoy Alice Hoffman (Any of the Magic Series) and Amy Tan (anything). You also can’t go wrong with Toni Morrison (Beloved, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, etc.) or Deborah Harkness (Discovery of Witches). I am also part of some First Reader Teams for various authors and enjoy reading new author works because I know how hard it is to get the reviews.
As you can see, they all fall into their own categories. I enjoy reading most things (not instruction manuals- sorry).
I love Alice Hoffman’s Magic series too! I read through all three last fall and can’t wait to read her latest release in a few weeks. What does marketing look like for you? Are you an avid believer in social media or do you like paid advertisement more? Do you DIY or do you have someone else or a company handle it?
This was a very time-consuming process for me. One of the most important things I have learned by going through the traditional route is that you must build your brand- yourself. I have been very active on social media and launched countdown videos for my latest release because most publishers want you to market yourself and your book.
Much as I would love to hire someone to do that for me because it takes so much time, I just am not at that stage. Writing full-time is my first goal so right now, there is a very small shoestring budget. Meaning not much of one at all. I’ve gotten creative though. If you create a video using a free app like Animoto on your phone, and upload it to TikTok (full disclosure, my son had to teach me how to use it), you can then post the same video to Instagram (story and post) and when you post it on Instagram, you can also post it to Facebook and Twitter. I generally create a new post on Twitter though and upload the video because it comes from Instagram as a link. When I discovered this, it saved me a ton of time.
I am horrible with Facebook. I am also horrible with doing blog posts on my own website because I haven’t yet figured out how to link them to anything else. I also haven’t been able to build a subscriber list yet (I have a handful currently). My followers are on social media for the most part (Instagram and TikTok).
Social media is a nightmare! The more you can streamline it like you have figured out how to with cross-posting, the easier it gets. It can be a rabbit hole of never ending marketing and interacting and posting though if you’re not careful. If you have to do any research for your books, how do you like to accomplish this? What is your organization of research like? How long do you usually spend on research?
I research the web, social media, state and city sites, and random things that probably have me on a list or two (how to build punji pits comes to mind as does wiring a shower to electrocute someone through the floor). I bookmark a lot of sites and will eventually keep a list of websites on a spreadsheet or a word doc just so I have standards to go to.
There really is no timeframe for me as I constantly research while I’m writing. Something will pop into my head, and I’ll need to figure out how to make it happen. Off to Google I go to find an answer.
I keep notes, names, timelines, etc. in a small, thin notebook for each novel I am working on. My current novel is being bulleted in a pale pink “Shine Bright” notebook which amuses me as my main character is a Seer/Psychic/Green Witch. The Last Bloom was notated in a Red leather-bound journal which is ironic if you look at the cover of the novel.
Website spreadsheet! Why didn’t I think of that? You really are organized! Which of your books is your bestseller and why do you think it is? What do readers say they like about it?
This is a hard question for me. Being a new writer, I think The Last Bloom is a great novel that keeps readers engaged. I’ve had comments that it’s a one or two sitting read, even if that means you’re up until 4 in the morning. To me that’s the best kind of praise I can receive. For that reason, I feel that would inch this book above my Indie publication.
I also think that there’s such a quick pace in The Last Bloom, it draws the reader in, and they feel the tension that Calliope experiences. She has moments where she is just on edge because she is waiting for the killer to strike again and when she finally starts to let her guard down, he senses it and hits.
Sounds like it’s gotten a lot of good reviews so far! Tell us a little more about it.
The Last Bloom is about an odd love triangle. First, we have Calliope Laurent, an author who writes under a pseudonym because she is a very private person. She writes twisted thrillers with serial killers. We meet her as she’s freaking out because there is a constant stream of roses being delivered. The thing is, she isn’t dating anyone, and the cards are creepy.
What we learn is that the roses are from a stalker who has become a serial killer. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, so he decides to court her by gifting her bodies set to match the final scenes of her novels.
Enter Sheriff Brady Harrison half of her protective detail. He’s taken with her immediately and she feels the same attraction. Brady is there to do a job, so they engage in flirtation and witty banter to pass the time and keep Calli distracted from the rising body count. It’s a forgone conclusion that the killer means for her to be his prize, but he’ll have to get through Brady first.
That is super creative and creepy! Of all the characters you’ve created, who is your favorite? (I know, it’s like choosing a favorite between kids)
Wow, I love all of my characters as you can guess. I think that I am feeling the culmination of my favorite things rolled into one character with my newest creation Cerulean (“Ce”). There’s just something about her that just draws me in and my goal is to capture it and share it with my readers. They can then love her as much as I do.
If you would like to find out more about Jennifer Peer and her novels please check out the links below. Give her a follow! And thanks for stopping by and learning about a new author. Who knows, they might just be your next favorite! Happy Reading!