Friday, August 01, 2014

BEYOND I DO - Jennifer Slattery - One Free Book

Readers, we have another debut author today.

Welcome, Jennifer. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
A lot. I think there’s probably a smidgeon of me or my experiences in every novel, though specifics get blurred. For example, I’ve always felt compassionate toward the homeless, prefer tennis shoes over heels, and romantic, tree encased log cabins versus towering cathedrals. Oh, and we both had a teacher named Mrs. Eldridge who made a lasting impact on us. In those aspects, we’re like twinsies! But in many ways, we’re very different, especially in regard to romance! I knew my husband was the one right away, whereas Ainsley, well, let’s just say, she’s got a pretty bad case of cold feet.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Quirky or plain insane? I’ve got lots of examples of the latter. Hahaha. Let me see… quirky… Does romantic quirkiness count? I have this funny habit of rubbing my husband’s head when I’m feeling affectionate. And occasionally confusing him with characters in my book. And talking to myself. A lot. Then there’s all the weird facial expressions I make while writing. Can I claim an overpowering sense of imagination?

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
Initially, it wasn’t even on my radar. It grew out of my involvement with church ministry—children’s, women’s, family, and outreach. At first, I wrote to supplement programs or lessons, then one day, as I was praying over a storytime script for the children’s ministry, it hit me, “I really enjoy this.”

It truly was an ah-ha moment when I realized storytelling was what I’d been created to do. However, I fought the call to write as a vocation for a loooooong time, wanting to do something with a steady paycheck. But the more I fought God, the more miserable I became until I finally surrendered. My first contract didn’t come for until some time later.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I am an ecclectic reading addict. There are very few genres I don’t enjoy, though I’m very much a fan of Christian fiction. (I’m uncomfortable with sexual or violently graphic novels.) Lately I’ve read a couple of wonderful modern-day tellings of fairy tales. I also enjoy historical, the issue-driven fiction of Kathi Macias, and a fair number of young adult books like the Maze Runner.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
By maintaining a morning quiet time with God while drinking a ginormous cup of heavily–sweetened coffee and sharing loads of laugh-out-loud moments with my hubby and our teenage daughter. Oh, and devouring the occasional Enjoy Life candy bar.

I’ve never heard of that kind of candy bar. How do you choose your characters’ names?
I love stalking my friends’ Facebook walls, searching their friend lists. I’ll also use people from my past, my husband’s work, and my daughter’s school. In Beyond I Do, my debut novel, the heroine is named after a very sweet girl who was in my husband and my Sunday school class while I was writing. In my second novel, releasing in 2015, the name just came to me; I felt like it was a perfect fit to the character.

I’d love to schedule the 2015 release on my blog, too. What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
This is hard. Maybe finishing my first novel? Back in the early stages of writing, I determined to always finish what I started as I worried otherwise, it’d become too easy to make a habit of quitting. Or in a more generalized way, completing that which I set my mind out to do, whether it takes days or years.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A dolphin. They have so much fun, and they get to spend their life at the beach. Well, within earshot of it, anyway. J Let me know when you get that.

I got it. What is your favorite food?
This changes. Right now I’d say frozen yogurt, though I suspect I enjoy the event more than the food, if that makes sense. I’m a big social eater, and it’s all about the atmosphere and friends. I especially love our family’s Sunday tradition of foregoing dinner for fro-yo out, loaded with lots of toppings of course.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I’d say maybe insecurity. It’s easy to read someone else’s work and think, “Wow, they’re so gifted. I’ll never be able to write like that.” Then to look at your own writing and think, “This stinks. I should probably shred it. Or burn it and stomp on my computer.”

But then I’d remember, God called me to this, opened these doors for publication, and will carry me through. That doesn’t mean it will be easy or that I don’t have LOTS to learn, but it takes the pressure off and brings it back everything back to obedience.

Tell us about the featured book.
I’d love to!

Will seeing beyond the present unite Ainsley and her fiancé or tear them apart?

Marriage ... it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignites a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Absolutely. However, this may change ever so-slightly once final edits are done.

Ainsley’s stomach churned as she eased into the Whispering Hills Apartments’ parking lot. Broken beer bottles and other trash littered the ground. A few tenants had draped sheets across their windows. Other windows were boarded up. One was busted in, shards of glass held in place by silver duct tape.

Please tell me this isn’t where Marie Nelson lives.

Ainsley compared the address Deborah had given her to the rusted numbers on the complex in front of her. This was the place. And from the looks of it, the very place Ainsley shouldn’t be, at least, not alone.

Her phone chimed, making her jump. She glanced at the screen. Her fiancé’s number flashed. Cutting her engine, she answered. “Hey, Richard, what’s up?” She shoved her purse and computer case under the passenger seat.

“Where are you?”

 “Doing a favor for Deborah. Why, you need something?” She grabbed her pepper spray from the glove compartment.


As if she hadn’t talked about the woman countless times over the years. “Deborah. Eldridge, the one who told me about Christ.” And kept her from going completely insane or spiraling into rebellion when Ainsley’s home life fell apart. “Sometimes I wonder if you ever really listen.”

A pack of muscular and hard-faced men gathered around a navy pick-up watched her, causing her already queasy stomach to cramp. There were four of them, two dressed in black with thick chains draped across their neck. The largest was covered, neck and arms, with tattoos. She looked away, suddenly acutely aware of her shiny Honda Accord and department store garb.
Oh, Lord Jesus, please keep me safe.

“That Deborah. Right.” A keyboard clicked on the other end of the line. Richard was probably working on final edits on his book. “Now I remember. So you’re in Smithville?”

“Not exactly. More like…” She scanned her surroundings again, her gaze lingering on a used diaper decaying on the ground ten feet away. “More like… the Admiral Boulevard area.”

Richard made a choking noise, as if spewing coffee. “You’re where? Please tell me you are not in the crime center of Kansas City.”
Used by Permission. Beyond I Do: A Novel, by Jennifer Slattery (New Hope Publishers, Birmingham, AL)

Interesting. How can readers find you on the Internet?
They can visit my blog at , they can connect with me on Facebook at or on Twitter at

Thanks for having me, Lena!

My pleasure, Jennifer. I can hardly wait to read your book.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Beyond I Do -
Beyond I Do - Amazon

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:


Diana Gardner said...

Portsmouth, VA

Jennifer Slattery said...

Hi, Diana,

Thanks so much for stopping by! I see your from Virginia. How has the summer been there? Hot? I've driven through Virginia once. Wow, what a beautiful state!

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to read the rest! :-)

Lydia R. Collins

Jennifer Slattery said...

Hi, Lydia,

Thanks for participating in the drawing, and best of luck to you! :)

Unknown said...


Melanie Backus said...

Would love to read this one! Thank you, Lena!

Melanie Backus, TX

Jennifer Slattery said...

Hi, Sierra, good luck in tje drawing! :)

And good luck to you, as well, Melanie! I love Texas! Though I bet it's a tad hot there right now, huh?

Jennifer said...

Yay Jennifer! So excited for you!!!

Library Lady said...

I am intrigued by the title of Jennifer's book, "Beyond I Do".
It would make a great wedding gift for a bride to be who loves to read.
Thanks for entering me in your giveaway.
Janet E.

Jennifer Slattery said...

Thanks, Jen! You've been such a sweet support to me!

What a great idea, Janet! I love wedding books. Well, I love weddings period. And true love. And roses. And chocolate, and first dates, and second dates, and... hahah.

Good luck to both of you ladies!

Mary Preston said...

Such a pretty cover & this does sound very interesting.

Mary P


kam110476 said...

Hi Jennifer & Lena! Beyond I Do is already so intense and that's only page one! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!
Kristen in OK
kam110476 at gmail dot com

sm said...

For sure marriage is more than a wedding. Our son's first wife wanted a wedding and 3 years later couldn't stay in their marriage. Immaturity and wrong motives was the problem, it seems. It was a real heartbreak for him. Love to read your book. sharon, CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Jennifer Slattery said...

Thanks, Mary! I love the cover, too! I felt it fits the book so well! :) And I love flowers.

Kam, thanks for the encouraging words! That first page came from two experiences I had serving in urban ministries. The first was when our church decided to host a VBS at a local low-income apartment complex. We started with a barbecue kick-off the Sunday before. While our husbands grilled hot dogs in a common area, a friend and I decided to go knock on a few doors, hand delivering invites.

Well, all the doors were inside the complex, and once we got inside, I had a sense of how very vulnerable the other woman and I were. The hall was dark, and we really had no idea who lived behind each door we were about to knock on. (Yes, I have a very over-active imagination, and when triggered by fears, it can produce some whopper what-ifs!)

Behind one of the doors we knocked on lived a very loud dog with a very deep growl. A man soon answered, blocking the dog from lunging out--at us. The man was maybe 170 pounds, not wearing a shirt, and quite frankly, didn't appear pleased to see us.

Another part of the scene came from another apartment complex I often visited. Our family reached out to and mentored a girl who had come from the refugee camps in Kampala.

Her apartment complex was low-income, and it tended to be a bit "rougher". Every time we'd go to pick her up, people would stare at us, as if they were wondering what we were doing there.

Both experiences really told me more about me. I spent a good chunk of my time much too removed from poverty, and I needed to learn to break down whatever barriers existed between me and the folks living in different environments.

Sharon, I'm so sorry to hear about your son's experience. :( It sounds like he has a great support in you, though. May God grant him healing as he moves forward.

Good luck to all of you in the drawing!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great read for our church library. Thanks.

Julie (WI)

Bonnie Roof said...

Lena, thanks for the interview and the opportunity to learn more about Jennifer and her writing. "Beyond I Do" sounds like a book full of troubled relationships and one that I would love to read. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.

Louisville, Kentucky

Vera Godley said...

This truly sounds interesting.

Vera, NC

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Sharon Richmond Bryant
Conway, SC.

Jan H said...

I liked the first page. A true friend will go out of her way to help her friend. I would love to read the rest of her story. Jan in sunny West Texas

Jennifer Slattery said...

Hi, Julie, thanks for stopping by, and best of luck to you! :)

Bonnie, I love reading (and writing) relational books as well. Thank you for the kind words regarding the novel's premise.

Thanks, Vera! It was great fun to write.

Hi, Sharon! Glad you popped in, and best of luck with the drawing.

Hi, Jan, so very true! Good friends are worth their weight in gold covered chocolate! :)

rubynreba said...

Wishing you much success with your debut novel. I know it sounds good to me!
Beth from Iowa

Anonymous said...

Shelia from Mississippi

Jennifer Slattery said...

Thanks, Beth! Best of luck to you in the drawing! I really enjoyed writing it. :)

Sheila, thanks for stopping by!

Enjoy the last remnants of summer, ladies! We're already starting school registration here in the midwest. Oy!

Abigail Mitchell said...

Enter me!
Blanch, NC

Unknown said...

I love the cover and the title. Congratulations on your book. It sounds very interesting.
Tonja in VA