Interview with Jennifer:
1.What inspired you to write Flawless?
“When I sit down to write, I have only one motive: to be as truthful to myself, my feelings and my message as possible. To know that my work helped someone else live a more fulfilling life is the greatest of honors and an awesome responsibility.”
2. How long did it take you to write the whole book?
“It took me two years to write FLAWLESS and another year to edit it. I was so obsessed with it being EXACTLY what I'd envisioned that the process took far longer than I'd anticipated and I actually had to cut out large portions of the book. The book is so long as it is, I needed to make it more concise. And I think the editing really did make it better.”
3. Was/is there anything in particular in your life that inspired an event or character in the novel?
“As for inspiration, there were many sources. The group of friends was based on my own tightly-knit group of high-school pals; they are friends I have to this day and I feel that the connections I made then helped mold me into the person I became. I never underestimate the power of friendship. I feel one person in your corner, having your back, encouraging you--even fighting with you at times, can help change your destiny. There was also the feeling of being an outsider looking in: what if a person who appeared to have it ALL actually had so little? It's intriguing, don't you think? How we dismiss a person who appears to be so fortunate but really is so needy? And in the beginning Lia dismissed herself too! It took her years to address her problems and understand how vital the relationships in her life were to her HAVING a full life. Fortunately I never had to deal with the horrible things in life that Lia had. But I have had plenty of difficulties, as I suspect we all have, and I think it is the tough things in life--and the suffering--that create the compassion within the person. I am lucky enough to be able to express my compassion through writing.”
4. Was there anything that helped you get into the writing groove/process when you were creating Flawless?
“I never really understood much about "writer's block" or having to get into a writing groove. I thank my lucky stars that I have always written. I wrote my first book at age 8. I spent my early twenties on the staffs of "Redbook" and "Woman's World" magazines writing and then wrote articles on a freelance basis for many years before attempting FLAWLESS. It's not that I like to write. I need to write. I don't know how to live my life any other way.”
5. How did you go about creating the characters?
“When I am plotting, creating characters and scenes, I feel more like a medium than a writer because the characters just come to me. I know it sounds strange, but I start thinking about a character and the next thing I know, she's sitting on my shoulder whispering her lines into my ear. I honestly feel like it's a group effort! Weird, huh?”
6. If you were Lia how do you think you would have coped with her troubling past and promising future?
“If I were Lia, things may not have turned out so well for me. I tend to shout out my feeling first and really think about them later (I know I endowed her with that trait in the beginning too, lol). I've never been great at keeping my emotions in check. I think that's what makes me such an emotional writer but perhaps harder to deal with on an interpersonal level, ha, ha.”
7. Who is your favorite character and/or was your favorite character to write?
“My favorite character in the book is--who else? WILSON. He is so perfect and so wonderful. He is based on a good friend in my own life and it comes right back to what I said before--good friends can change our destiny. Just look what "Wilson" did for me...inspired me to write a book!”
8. Do you have any idea if the rabbit facts in your book are true? Do rabbits actually act like that (just curious because I kind of want one now)? ;)
“Now, to answer my favorite question about the rabbit facts: yes, I researched and found nearly everything I wrote about Mr. Peppers to be true. I also know it to be true on a more intimate level because I have a Holland Lop-eared named Jiggy. She is absolutely darling and I am completely in love with her. She acts very much like a cat. I was shocked to learn how cuddly she was. It never occurred to me that rabbits were so affectionate. Her favorite thing to do is sit with me at night getting petted and watching TV! But a word of warning: if you get one, don't place her outside in a cage. She has to live with you or her social skills will be stunted. Jiggy has her own room and we kiddingly call her the "Princess Bunny." One fact I did have to stretch: life span. Hollands generally only live 5-7 years, not 10 like Mr. Peppers.”
9. What’s the moral of the story?
“The moral of the story is simple: give of your talents, skills and feelings and use your suffering to alleviate others. When you offer it all up to the universe it comes back to you amplified by thousands. It's only when we can place the most vulnerable facets of our lives into the hands of others--and risk potential rejection--that we gain inner power. And the most powerful force we have is within us: the power to choose. Choose to be happy.”
10. Do you believe if a person finds their right meditative state they may find answers or be enlightened of a burden they carry? Whether it’s a loved one who’s past away, or something from their past that needs to be reopened?
“I COMPLETELY believe in the power of meditation. I also believe in tapping into the good within ourselves to find the answers we seek. Perhaps my favorite book of all time is "The Power of Your Subconscious Mind," by Joseph Murphy. It sounds as though you would really like this book. I relied on a lot of internet sources as well when I was researching the ways to deal with PTSD. In addition, I had written a freelance article on PTSD a number of years ago which always stayed with me and I was glad to lend Ruth the information from my own article in her dealings with the treatment of the disorder.”
11. Finally, what do you hope people will take away from after reading Flawless?
“What I'd most like people to take away after reading FLAWLESS is a feeling of hope. I think that despite all the tragedy, it is a very hopeful book!”
I have to say that I completely LOVED Flawless! After reading it I felt like I had really lived all those years and those memories were all mine. The author brought tears to my eyes with her writing and story. Yet, I have never in my life read a book and taken away so much from it! I feel like I have a whole new percpective on life. Flawless was kind of eye opening for me. Being a huge reader, I’ve always loved escaping reality and into a new world. But never have I read a book that felt like I was living reality in a new world. I applaud Jennifer on her talent and amazing novel!
I rate Flawless: 5/5 cups of coffee! It was Flawless ;)