In the Spotlight feature kicked off in April 2015 and is an opportunity for authors, editors and publishers (basically anyone in the book industry (yes, even bloggers!)) to connect with fans. There is an option to do an interview, guest post, feature a book sale or book release or a cover reveal. Best of all, it’s free! All you need to do is click on the image to reserve your spot!
Now on with the show!
In the Spotlight with Jennifer Lesher
Welcome to Second Run Reviews, Jennifer! Thank you for being In the Spotlight. I appreciate you stopping by and answering a few questions. So let’s get things started
In a tweet (140 characters or less), tell us a bit about yourself.
Novelist. Airplane mechanic. Ex desk rat. Graduate: school of hard knocks. I find beauty in the difficult spaces. I really like airplanes.
I’m glad someone likes airplanes. After two disasterous back-to-back business trips, I am not a fan of airplanes or airports. I was my worst experience to date and normally I love flying.
Please tell a bit about your journey to becoming a published author. What’s been the best things about it and the worst?
I have wanted to write fiction for a living for most of my adult life. After letting life get in the way for too many years, I started participating in NaNoWriMo, where I learned to turn off my internal editor and just get the words onto the page. My NaNo efforts led to the draft that eventually became Raising John. I was very passionate about this project and was encouraged by many friends to seek publication, which led me where I am today, published by Booktrope imprints and working on my next novel, a sequel to Raising John.
The best part is realizing that I can actually do this – I can sit down and write, and produce an actual novel, with character, a plot, the works!
The worst part is … well, there’s no really bad part, but getting the word out about the book and finding ways to market effectively is an ongoing challenge.
NaNoWriMo is a great motivator for many people. I’ve heard of authors finishing a draft during November. I tried to participate this past year as a blogger. My goal was to write one post a day. Then I got sick. I’m hoping to make that goal this year.
Tell us a bit about your latest release. What inspired you to write it? Why should fans of Second Run Reviews consider reading it.
Raising John is about a very privileged middle-aged man who causes a drunk driving accident that kills a young single mother and orphans her only child. It asks the question: “how do you go on living when you have done the unforgivable?” It explores the long term effects of his behavior on everyone around him, and chronicles his redemption as the tragedy finally forces him to examine the way he has been living.
I grew up with an alcoholic father, who was never interested in any sort of recovery. He had a bad habit of driving drunk, despite efforts to get him off the road. As an adult, I found myself wondering…what if? That was the germ of the story and it just continued from there.
It’s a gripping story that will have you feeling for all of the characters as they confront tragedy. But, it’s not a nihilistic story. It’s a story about redemption and how people come to see what really matters in life.
Some readers have wished for more of the story…they want to know what happens to the characters after Raising John ends. My current work in progress is the sequel. It explores John’s efforts to find his biological father.
Sounds like a powerful novel and a deeply personal one.
What types of books do you enjoy reading the most? What three books to you find yourself recommending to your fans over and over?
I enjoy reading literary fiction, well-written mysteries. I love a good story and I’m picky about writing style.
I have tackled a couple of Steinbeck novels—The Pearl and Grapes of Wrath. Those are definitely novels that stick with you.
What is your current obsession? Any secret obsessions you would like to share?
Airplanes used to be my secret obsession until I outed myself 3 years ago, left my software job and went back to school to become an airplane mechanic. That kind of exhausted my secret obsession supply for the decade, I think.
Facinating! I’m sure jumping from software to mechanic was a huge change, but it is great that you are pursuing a career you are passionate about outside of writing.
What is one question you wish I would have asked, that I haven’t?
Why did you end Raising John the way you did?
Without giving away too much of the plot—I ended it that way because I wanted to make sure that Robert (the alcoholic) had truly changed and redeemed himself. One way to show that he had really changed was to show him accepting what life handed him, without feeling victimized and without trying to manipulate others to give him his way.
Oo, intriguing. I definitely want to check out Raising John now.
Any last thoughts or wise words you want to pass along?
Time will pass no matter what, so make sure you spend yours doing the things that are important to you. Even if you can spend only 30 minutes a day pursuing a goal, do it – you will get there a lot quicker in 30 minutes a day than you will if you never start.
That is excellent advice and I hope everyone takes it to heart. Thank you for being In the Spotlight this week and I hope you’ll come back and fill us in on the sequel to Raising John!
Synopsis: How do you go on living when you have done the unforgivable? Robert Lewis isn’t surprised to wake up in the drunk tank. He assumes that, as usual, he’ll sleep it off, then return to the routine of golf games, broker meetings, symphony dates and nightcaps that make up his life.
Then his lawyer delivers the news: Robert is responsible for an accident that has killed a young mother and orphaned her young son, John. Robert is quickly yanked from his life of privilege and sent to prison to atone for his crimes.
Defiant at first, Robert believes he’s better than his fellow inmates and that unlike them, he has no room for improvement.
But, as the months wear on, Robert’s fellow inmates push him to confront his actions and the choices that brought him to prison.
Meanwhile, as John grows up under the care of his maternal grandmother, he must come to terms with losing his mother and decide whether he can forgive the man who destroyed his childhood.
Spanning three generations, Raising John tells the story of John’s bittersweet childhood, the history of the mother he never knew, and of Robert’s collapse and redemption.