Jennifer Theriot hails from the Great State of Texas. She is a career woman, working as CFO of a Texas based real estate investment firm. Working in her capacity as CFO, she felt something was missing and discovered her passion for writing novels–mostly at night and on weekends.
In her limited spare time Jennifer enjoys being outdoors; preferably somewhere on a beach curled up with a good book. Spending time with family and friends, watching a baseball game and enjoying a good bottle of wine are usually on her to-do lists. Jennifer is also ‘MiMi’ to three beautiful grandchildren and a mom to three grown children, all of whom she adores. Theriot is an admitted music junkie, loving every type of music, which takes up most of the memory on her iPhone. She listens to music from sun up to sun down and her love of music is reflected a great deal in her books.
Jennifer took a chance that there could be an interest in romance with middle aged couples who are finding themselves at a crossroads and wrote her debut novel Out of the Box Awakening, which centers on the hope of finding happiness and passion through unexpected heartache. It emphasizes the need for family and friends as Jennifer has learned in her own life. The book has been described as “Mature Sexy” by one reviewer.
Her second book in the Out of the Box series titled Out of the Box Regifted has just been released and she is currently working on the third book, Out of the Box Everlasting. 2 Novellas from her other character’s POV are planned as well.
What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book(s), but nobody has? Write it out here, and then answer it.
What age group of readers do you hope to attract with your books?
Since my books are primarily about middle aged lovers, I’ve purposely included a cast of younger people to make the books appealing to all ages (18+) There’s a rock band of tatted up musicians and the women they love. While I would say the book caters to the middle aged crowd, you can’t isolate the readership to that. I’ve had readers of all ages read the book and they all loved them!
What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine or do you have any weird, funny, or unusual habits while writing and what are they?
I write when I can….I try and write a little each night, since I do work full time at my day job. My mind works all day long and I can’t wait to get home every night, pull out the laptop and hit the keyboard. I curl up in my chair, laptop in lap and surround myself with my characters. It’s funny because on the drive into work each morning, I’ll pass something or hear a song and one of the characters tells me what he or she wants me to write. Songs play a huge part in my writing. I’ll hear a song and immediately think of a scene to incorporate with the song.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Writer’s block? Seriously????? My mind is in overload 24/7 and it’s all I can do to keep up with my thoughts. Sometimes, I have to journal them until I can get to a keyboard.
What is the single most important piece of advice for aspiring authors?
Never say never! If you have a story line, and a passion to write, start developing it. Nothing is impossible! If you read the letters in impossible….it really reads I’M POSSIBLE! Believe in yourself…don’t ever stop believing!
What are your current/future projects?
I’m currently working on the final book in my Out of the Box series, Out of the Box Everlasting. I wanted my series to spell the word ARE, so named the books in that order so the reader would know the order of the books (Awakening, Regifted, Everlasting) After that, I’ve got a book planned from the POV of my favorite character Todd O’Malley planned. From there, I’ve got another book planned – also about a middle aged lady who falls for a much younger man.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
I LOVE to read romance. While I love the romance novels about the younger kids, I felt that the middle aged audience was overlooked. I wondered what it would be like to write about couples my age (I’ll be 60 this year). We’re overlooked I think. Middle aged couples still enjoy romance, and good sex, so why not write about it? Younger folks are doing it, but we’ve been doing it a lot longer and are much better at it (*wink wink*)
What do you think is the future for independent authors and do you think it will continue to be easy for anyone to be a published author?
Personally, I like being an independent ‘Indie’ author. I love the freedom it affords…. Don’t get me wrong. If a publisher offered me an incredible retainer along with a film deal, I’d be all over it. But to remain independent and write/publish on my own terms is so satisfying. I can pick my own cover, sell my books for whatever price I want to sell them for, give them away as I see fit. Call me a renegade I guess;)
Are you traditional or self-published, and what process did you go through to get your book published?
I’m self-published. Once I started writing, my son helped me format and upload to the different platforms (Amazon, Create Space, Smashwords and the like) I discovered through the process that I really needed a professional formatter because my son has a family and a full time job, so didn’t want to burden him with my work. I’ve found an amazing formatter and a cover artist, both of who I adore!
Have you ever changed a title, book cover, or even the content of your book after it was published? What was that process like?
I’ve stayed with my original book covers. From the get-go, I knew what I wanted to portray in the covers, so stayed with it. I did have someone edit my first book and re-published it. Being a self-published ‘virgin’, I realized after it was first published that you do need the editor and proofreader in addition to beta readers. I utilized all three in my second book before publishing and I can tell you that’s a MUST!
What opportunities have being an author presented you with and share those memories? (i.e. travel, friends, events, speaking, etc..)
Receiving an email from a reader who identifies with your characters or tells you that your book made her feel good about herself is the BEST feeling! I’ve done book signings and to have fans connect with your or recognize you from your picture on the book cover is pretty freaking amazing. As long as people keep encouraging me to write, I will do so.
What are your marketing, advertising, promotion strategies and which one(s) have worked the best for you? If you had to share your most valuable promotion tip, what would that be?
The marketing end of being an author to say the very least is daunting and overwhelming. I’m not the best at that…I’ll admit. I’m learning day by day how to best market my books. I’ve come up with some book related SWAG – that’s probably the most fun for me. If someone would come to me and say “Let me market your books” I’d say hands down “You’ve got it!”
I am in a Facebook group of 23 wonderful authors and we brainstorm regularly. It’s like a sorority and there is a wealth of information that is passed between us.
If you are a self-published author, which platform do you prefer? (Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu, Author House, or something not mentioned), and why?
I would say that Amazon is probably the best known platform; however I know that a lot of readers use a Nook or like to read on other platforms, so I’ve opted to use Smashwords as well.
What field or genre would you classify your book(s) and what attracted you to write in that field or genre?
My genre is romance and I guess you would classify it as Women’s Fiction / Romance. I’m trying to find the perfect classification though. Boomer Lit? I have no idea ha-ha!
What do you do if inspiration strikes in an inconvenient place like (car, restaurant, bathroom/shower, etc..) and how do you capture that moment before it gets away from you?
You wouldn’t believe what I’ve written thoughts on…toilet paper, envelopes, my hand, my leg some of which while driving. And I’ve used some pretty innovative writing instruments (lipstick, eye pencil). I do have a nice leather fleur de lis journal given to me by a dear friend and I’ve written an incredible amount in that as well. Transcribing my scribble? Ehhhh….sometimes a lot gets lost in translation;)
Do you have a target amount of words/pages for each of your books or do you just know when enough is enough?
Personally, I like to read longer books. When I purchase books, I look for 250+ page length. My first book was 143,700 words to be exact and that was long. My second book topped off at 105k so I’m trying to limit myself to not more than 110k words. Sometimes it’s hard though. If these darn characters would just give me a break sometimes….it’s all character driven!
Sometimes, I just have a heart to heart with my characters and tell them that I’ll get to that in the next book…..
How do you think you have evolved as a person/author because of your writing and do you believe your writing has helped others, how/why?
I can honestly say that writing has helped me as a person. It’s brought me out of my shell and I’ve learned to enjoy life more. I don’t stress out as much as I used to and I feel so much better about myself. I would hope that my writing has helped women my age feel better about the aging process and to feel good about themselves too.
How much influence do you believe a title, cover, content, page numbers have in purchasing decisions of potential buyers/readers?
I know that a cover is possibly the most important stab you have at a potential reader…There are so many romance novels out there with sexy covers, but I’ve shied away from it for my books. A good synopsis is paramount! After the cover, the synopsis is your second way to get that reader to buy your book. I know the reviews play into the equation as well…
As for page numbers, that’s just a personal preference. Some readers like the short novellas, some like the longer 250+ page books like I do.
Do you believe there is value in a Press Release, have you used any press release service, and what have your experiences been?
I have not used press releases other than when I do a book signing. I’d like to explore that though….
Do you believe there is value in a review? Do you believe they are under rated, over rated, or don’t matter at all?
Reviews are good and yes, I think they help a reader decide whether or not to purchase your book. I look at reviews probably secondary. The synopsis and cover are what initially draw me in. I won’t lie to you though…there is nothing better than to wake up to a glowing 5-star review of your book. It’s euphoric!
What are your thoughts on authors doing review swaps, paying for reviews, or reviews that just don’t seem right for the book?
I’ve never paid for a review and would never do so. I don’t believe in it. I’ve done review swaps and some of them have gotten me less than 5-star reviews but that’s okay. I believe a review should be written according to the reader’s honest opinion of your book. When my second book came out, I purposely solicited those who gave my first book a low review and asked if they would consider reading the second book. I was pleasantly surprised when they messaged me back and said they’d love to read it. I acknowledge each review and thank the reader for their time and I truly appreciate the feedback. As an author, how can you get better if you don’t listen to what the reader says? Sometimes it hurts, but I take it as constructive criticism. I’ve got a pretty thick skin…..
Do you believe there are competitors or general readers out to sabotage authors with bad reviews and what are your experiences with this?
Yes, and I’ve come across it. I dismiss it though. I had one reader offer to take my book and ‘make it better’. I asked her how many books she had published and when she told me that she was working on her first book, I respectfully declined and thanked her for her generous offer;)
I’m fortunate to have had only a small handful of hurtful bad reviews and I justify it by saying they aren’t worthy of reading my characters. You can’t let people get you down! Negativity is NOT in my vocabulary.
Have you ever had an interesting, funny, or even bad experience during a live interview, reading, event, or autograph session?
I had a lady come up to me in the restroom of an author bash while I was washing my hands and asked “Aren’t you Jennifer Theriot?” My immediate sarcastic response was “Who wants to know?” We laughed and she told me she recognized me from the cover of my book and seeing me on Facebook. To-date, I’ve not had a bad experience thank God! I’m sure I will but so far it’s all been good!
If you have multiple books published what do you feel is your greatest work, why?
While my first book is closest to my heart, I feel the second book was actually better written. I had an amazing beta reader for book 2 who actually kicked my butt! She knew how to pull it out of me and was relentless in getting me to give it what she calls the “Jen touch”.
What is the intended audience for you book?
While I hope to attract the middle aged boomer lit crowd, I love the fact that my books also cater to the younger crowd.
Give us a fun fact about your book(s)?
My main character Olivia befriends a tatted up rock star who is patterned after Adam Levine. He is a bad boy rocker with a heart of gold. Their friendship is golden. While unlikely, the book shows how friends and family sustain you in times of heartache.
What makes a good story, why?
I think having characters a reader can identify with are the best. I have so much fun developing my characters and giving them a personality. I put each of them to the test with the other characters. “Are they worthy?” is a question I ask the other characters. They tell ME if that character stays or goes. More often than not, a character I’m thinking of developing gets the boot from the ‘elder’ characters.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
Names are HUGE! I’ll hear a name on TV or remember a name from someone in my past and develop a personality around the name. I have to admit that I read the obituaries every day and *sheepishly hangs head*, I’ve gotten names from that source…..
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I do read the reviews and yes, I respond to them. I appreciate a reader number one, purchasing the book and number two, taking the time to write a review. You can tell who really is sincere in their review and who just wants to slam your work. I respond to the ones I feel have truly put their heart into writing the review and personally thank them. That’s just how I roll….
What is the easiest/hardest scene for you to write, why? (Love, action, fight, death, racy, controversial, etc…)
The romance and sex scenes are easiest for me. I’m a flirt by nature, so bantering back and forth with my characters is so much! Secondary, I would say tender situations…the tear at your heart, make you cry moments are just as rewarding.
What are your thoughts about eBooks vs. print books?
For me, eBooks just work. I read on the Kindle app from my phone. I’m guilty of reading while stuck in traffic, in a waiting room, enjoying a pedicure or riding in the car. For me it works, because I ALWAYS have my phone with me. Many people prefer a good old fashioned print book but for me, the eBooks rule!
What is your most/least favorite part of the writing process, why?
Marketing is my LEAST favorite part. I much prefer writing to the marketing end of it. Unfortunately though, you write your book and it doesn’t immediately sell….you’ve got to get it out there.
Purchase Links for Out Of The Box Awakening
Purchase Links for Out Of The Box Regifted