15 Aug 2015

Author Interview / Jen Brewer

Learn the importance of the words you repeat each week. This inspirational book helps you better understand the Young Women theme by breaking down each section and sharing the story of how and why the theme was created. Discover your divine potential and how important you are in God’s plan! Thought provoking and uplifting, this book offers new insights for parents, leaders, and all young women.

1. If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why? 
     Oh, so many come to mind!  True story - I was reading The Great and The Terrible series by Chris Stewart, right before he came and spoke at a Time Out For Women in my area.  I finished one of the books that had a complete twist and tragedy happen to one of the main characters.  I was so mad, I could hardly stand it!  (I didn't even see it coming because it wasn't on the last page, so it totally caught me off guard!) (see answer to question 6 to help that statement make sense).  After he spoke we went to break.  I stormed the stage and almost tackled him, telling him he was in such big, fathead trouble!  I couldn't believe he had killed off one of the characters!  And yet, I was in complete awe that he was able to do so.  He said that when he had started that book, he hadn't planned on that part at all, but it just kind of came to him and morphed into the story line. Since it is so hard for me to write tragedies as twists, this would intrigue me about working with him to really see up close how him mind works while he unveils the story line in his books.

2. What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write? 
     Ha!  I don't think there is a typical working day for me.  As the mother of 7 small children, I focus on raising my kids, and simply make writing fill in the gaps.  For example, right now I am typing the answers to these questions while waiting for my preschooler in her swimming lesson session.  I also do much of my writing while waiting in school pick up slots.  We have a kids care at the gym where I teach, so when I am really needing to hit a writing deadline, I will do a quick workout, then slink into a corner and write as much as I can before the childcare time runs out.  I try all the time to tell myself that I am going to stay up and write after the kids get to sleep, but 9 1/2 times out of ten, I am so brain dead by then that I end up starting blankly into the computer screen until I finally just let it go and hit the light.  For the most part, carving out time in the early morning works to type, before I get to greet the smiley, messy haired kids who are ready to hit the ground running once again.

3. What is the hardest part of the writing for you? 
By far, the hardest part for me is after the initial 'dump'... after I have just let everything fall out of my brain, and then I have to go through and do the editing and reorganizing of everything.  This is torturous and tedious for me, which is why to me a good editor is worth their weight in gold!

4. When and why did you first start writing? 
I have always had book swimming inside my head.  I am constantly making analogies and narratives about every day life.  Since getting my degree in nutrition, I have given many seminars on healthy living and found myself answering the same types of questions almost every time.  For some years I had my first nutrition book swirling inside my head.  Then my husband started telling his patients that his wife was writing a book about the topics that they would ask him.  I decided I better get that book into physical form!  One year I set it as my new years goal to have the book finished before the year was out.  That year I also got invited to speak at BYU-I Education Week and they said that I could bring any of my books to the bookstore during that week.  Boom!  I had my definite end goal of having the published book in my hands.  That was a fast and furious 6 months, and though there was no blood, there was plenty of sweat and tears that went into getting that first published copy of the book, but the feeling of holding that first published piece in my hands was beyond thrilling!  In an instant, I was hooked.

5. How did you come up with the idea for the book your book? 
The book We Are Daughters of Our Heavenly Father was a book that had been swirling in my head for quite some time - I just needed it to marinate for a while.   As a mother, I have become more and more sensitive to the deceptively sly ways that Satan is trying to get his hooks into the youth of the world.  I feel really strongly that he has them, especially the young women, firmly in his cross hairs.  As my oldest daughter has been growing and nearing her young women years, I have been searching for things that I could teach her to help her combat the many lies of Satan as she navigates the societal snares of what 'womanhood' is all about.  Then it hit me.  Everything she (and every other woman, for that matter!) needs to know is right there, packages so beautifully in the young women's theme.  I realized that those lines were so incredible, yet because we stand and say them every week year after year, they become just words to repeat before moving on to the rest of the lesson.  I decided to write a book that would help us stop at each and every line and really dive into the true meaning embedded in it.  
   In a nutshell, this book is everything that I want to sit and tell my daughters about what being a truly amazing daughter of God really means, and that is means so much more than what the world would have them believe.

6. Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now? 
I LOVE reading.  I have been known to get so caught up in books that I will stay up into the wee hours of the morning to get to the end.  I do have one caveat, however (warning, this may completely discredit me in many peoples eyes!!) for every book that I read, I HAVE to read the last page first.  Ever. Single. Time.  I cannot handle the stress of not knowing if everything will turn out okay... or if it doesn't, at least being able to prepare myself for the tragedy that is awaiting the starring role.  Once a good friend was letting me borrow a series to read.  As she handed me one of the books, she said I could only borrow that book if I promised that I wouldn't read the last page first.  It is the first (and last!) time I had ever done this, and it was the worst book reading experience ever!  I think I got two ulcers just living through the stress of the middle conflicts!  
    I think this is why I love the gospel so much.  In it, we know the end.  We know who is going to win.  Our main issue is whose side we will be on when the end comes.  We may have to go through a bunch of muck in the middle, but the last page has already been shown to us.  If we just stay on the right side, there is no way we can't come out on top.
    I just finished reading (well, listening to... since I am neck deep in motherhood with all of the running kids from one activity to the next, I have accepted the fact that I I want my love affair with books to continue, audio needs to become my new best car-friend.  Also, it's great for working out - I can't tell you how many times I get to the end of my run and am at a good part in the book, so I keep going just to hear the next few pages!) The Boys in the Boat.  Wowza.  That was such an incredible story.  It's one I never even heard about before my mom chose it for our sibling book club.  I loved it and learned so much about perseverance, work ethic, and forgiveness.  I am also slightly obsessed with WWII, so the inferences of the war weaved into it were fascinating to me.  Loved the book!

7. Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers? 
The best a dive ever is to just jump.  Just start.  Start now.  Write it down in any haphazard way that it falls out of your brain.  Just get the words on the paper.  I have been through both Self Publishing and Publishing company ways of getting a book published, and had great experiences with both.  Don't let the whole picture seem daunting.  Just start with the words.  Get them down.  Then take it one step at a time.  Break it up into small chunks, set yourself deadlines and go for it.  Every author started with a simple thought that let to another, and then another.  Start where you are, but do something with it.  Don't let your book get buried with you.  In the end, it will be so worth it!!