Welcome Jennifer Uhlarik

July 6, 2016

I hope you had a nice 4th of July. It seems hard to believe we are in a new month already. :)

 

 Today I'd like to welcome Jennifer Uhlarik to my 'love of story' feature. What is the farthest place from home that you've traveled?

 

I’m not sure which would qualify as the farthest, but I’ve traveled to London, England, on my honeymoon with my first husband, and I went to Hawaii on my honeymoon with my second husband. Given that I’m in Florida, both trips were very long, but I loved them both and hope to get back to both places one day.

 

LOL. Many years ago I sat in an airplane in England while waiting for new passengers to come on board. I guess that doesn't qualify. :) How did you develop a 'love of story'?

 

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love stories—whether reading them or creating them. I loved the nightly ritual of my mom reading to me, or the weekly trips to the library for new books. When I was five years old, I would sneak out of bed at night to “write stories” (which consisted mainly of drawing pictures) about earthworms and other creatures that captivated my imagination. As I grew, I would dream up elaborate stories to incorporate as I played pretend with my friends. However, it never really occurred to me that this “love of story” was anything other than normal childhood stuff until I turned twelve. It was that age when playing pretend was no longer cool, when girls start getting more interested in makeup, boys, and more grown-up things. I felt sad that I no longer had an outlet to release the fun stories floating in my brain until a friend of mine announced to me that she was writing a novel. It was that moment that something clicked with me. I could still dream up great stories, but rather than acting them out with my friends, I needed to write them down. And for years afterward, I carried those large multiple-subject spiral notebooks around with me, scribbling stories in them in between classes at school or anytime I had a free moment. So the love of story was always there, but I had to find the right outlet.

 

So it's a good thing your friend told you about writing a novel. :) What does your writing space look like?

 

At the moment, my writing space is a mess—we had a bathroom leak that traveled under my office wall and ruined my bookcases and carpet. The space is a 12x15 foot bedroom with 3 dusty blue walls and one dark blue accent wall. I have a small desk and 2-drawer file cabinet settled between the two windows at the front of the house, a printer stand in the corner to my left. We will be replacing the ruined carpet with new laminate flooring, and we’ll be getting two bigger bookcases to accommodate my growing collection of research books. I also have a couch in the room where I can sit and read or just stretch out while I think through plot problems on a story I’m working on. (And yes, the occasional nap happens on said couch.)

 

Sorry to hear about the bathroom leak. We had that happen to us a couple years ago. What a mess. Where do you get ideas?

 

For me, ideas come from all sorts of places. I can read a book while researching for one story, and one sentence or phrase will catch my attention and send me shooting off on a new story idea. I can watch a movie and I’ll start mulling over the historical setting and other fun ideas that could come out of that time or place. I even got a whole novel idea from something my former sister-in-law said years ago. She’d been working on a cruise ship and thought she would miss a family get-together. I was surprised to find her there after all when we arrived, and she explained that she got her work done more quickly than expected and “jumped ship” at the last moment. While I knew what she meant by jumping ship, my brain saw a much different picture—someone jumping from a moving riverboat in the Old West. I spent the remainder of the night mulling that picture over until I had quite a plot cooking. (The story is still in progress all these years later, but I WILL finish it one day!)

 

 Sounds like an intriguing idea. :) What is your favorite Bible verse and why?

 

Luke 1:45—Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord told her will be accomplished.

 

Someone spoke this verse from the pulpit of my church many years ago when I was trying desperately to cling to God in a difficult season of my life. As soon as the verse was spoken, it lodged in my heart and has never left. It became the lifeline that kept me sane and gave me the strength to hang on. That difficult season did finally resolve, but the verse has remained special to me because it keeps me focused on listening for the voice of God, seeking scriptures for His promises, and focusing on those things.

 

What a beautiful verse. What do you plan to work on next?

 

Barbour Publishing just gave me a contract for another 9-in-1 collection called The Secret Admirers Romance Collection, which will be published on May 1, 2017. My story is titled The Outcast’s Redemption. When cattle begin disappearing from area ranches, fingers automatically point to Lucky Tolliver, a local ranch hand who spent time in prison in his youth for a loose connection to a cattle rustling gang. Maisie Blanton, the daughter of a disgraced lawman, takes up the cause of the quiet but affable ranch hand, but as the evidence mounts, will she also turn against him?

 

It looks to be a fun read. :) Apart from writing, what is your favorite creative outlet?

 

I enjoy crafts and have done a multitude of different once. Painting, knitting, crochet, sewing, and the like. My latest non-writing creative passion is paper quilling—rolling thin strips of paper into coils, which can then be combined into different things—hearts, crosses, animals, insects, letters and numbers. If you’re interested, I have lots of Pinterest boards dedicated to paper quilling, so you can get an idea of the various things that can be made with this medium.

 

I've seen paper quilling before but have never tried it. Where can readers connect with you?

 

My website can be found at www.jenniferuhlarik.com. I have a Facebook author page at www.facebook.com/JenniferUhlarikAuthor. My twitter handle is @JenniferUhlarik, and my Pinterest board is found at www.pinterest.com/JenUhlarik.

 

Thanks for stopping by today, Jennifer. I look forward to reading your novella. What questions do you have for Jennifer?

 

Just a reminder that all comments this month will be entered into the July drawing for Karen Witemeyer's new book, No Other Will Do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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