Friday, December 21, 2018

Q&A with Jennifer Wilck


Jennifer Wilck is the author of the new novel Learning to Love, the third in her Serendipity series, which also includes Addicted to Love and Five Minutes to Love

Q: How did you come up with the idea for Learning to Love, and for your characters Dina and Adam? 

A: The idea for Learning to Love stemmed from the other books in the series (although each book can be read as a standalone, there are a few recurring characters in the “friend group” who become the hero or heroine for the next one).

Adam was a brief love interest for the heroine in book 1 (Addicted to Love) and was the best friend of the hero in book 2 (Five Minutes to Love). I always wanted to write a book for him—in the other books, he’s a bit of a player, and I wanted a chance for him to be redeemed. Hopefully, readers come away loving him as much as I do.

As for Dina, she’s actually based on the character of Spenser Reid from Criminal Minds. For anyone who doesn’t watch that show, he’s a genius with a photographic memory and he is constantly spouting facts about almost everything. I thought that would be a great character trait for Dina, especially since she does that when she’s nervous. And I love smart heroines.

Q: The novel takes place in New Jersey. How important is setting to you in your writing?

A: Setting is very important in my books. I think where people live and grow up has a great influence on their behavior and their characteristics.

In this series, the characters are professionals and young and are tied to the Jewish community but in a very modern way. Therefore, I needed to situate them in a city or a large-sized town for this to work. Putting them in a small town in the middle of the country probably wouldn’t be as believable.

Having grown up in New Jersey, I’m familiar with the commute to New York and where young people who don’t necessarily want to live in New York City, or can’t afford it, might live. So I incorporated Morristown, which has a train directly to New York—and an active Jewish community—into my story.

Q: Do you usually know how your novels will end before you start writing, or do you make many changes along the way?

A: I’d love to be one of those writers who sets up an outline ahead of time and just follows it from beginning to end. Unfortunately, my brain doesn’t work that way.

So I usually “see” a scene or a conversation in my head and write it down. Depending on how meaty that scene is, I determine whether or not I can make a full story out of it.

Once I know that I can, I start at the beginning. I usually see my heroes first and then develop my heroines as their opposite—it adds more conflict and tension, and makes their interactions more interesting.

Because I write romance, which has to have a “happily ever after” or a “happily for now” ending (just like mysteries have to end with the crime being solved), I know the ending. I just don’t always know how they’re going to get there.

Q: What role do you see religion playing in your novels?

A: I love writing Jewish characters. I think it’s important for readers to be able to see a variety of people and cultures in what they read. And while I personally do enjoy reading about cultures and religions different from mine, I also really like being able to relate to the characters in books.

Additionally, I want to slip in the religion in such a way so that it’s not didactic and it’s not something odd. Just as in other books where the hero and heroine might get married in a church, and therefore you know their religion, I want to do the same thing with my Jewish characters.

So I’ll have them attend Shabbat services, or prepare for a seder, without necessarily making their religion the theme of the book.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I’m currently working on a four-book series about men who are at the top of their respective fields, have more money than they can possibly spend, and form an investment group where they fund philanthropic endeavors. And, since I write romance, of course, they meet women who challenge them.

Additionally, I’m in the planning stages of a Jewish series (I do write both Jewish and non-Jewish romance) taking advantage of the themes of each of the Jewish holidays—so rebirth/renewal for Rosh Hashanah, atonement for Yom Kippur, etc. Those themes work really well in romance and I’m looking forward to writing them.

Q: Anything else we should know?

A: My latest book, Learning to Love, came out Nov. 28 and is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks. It’s the third book in my Jewish series, Serendipity, but as I said above, they can all be read on their own. Here’s the blurb:

Dina Jacobs is a single librarian who has never fit in due to her off-the-charts intelligence, frizzy hair and rounder-than-socially-acceptable figure. She left her past behind until she receives an invitation to her ten-year high school reunion, and all her insecurities return.
Adam Mandel is a single corporate attorney who just missed his third deadline at his father's law firm, the law firm where he is up for junior partner. With his reputation on the line, Adam needs all the help he can get to convince his father that he deserves the promotion.
When Dina and Adam run into each other on a deserted road, Dina thinks Mr. Flashypants can't possibly be interested in someone like her. Adam thinks Dina is just the person to help him improve his reputation. Lies and insecurities force them to take a look at themselves. Can they trust each other to look beyond the surface?

I love keeping in touch with readers, so you can find me here:


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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