A Dozen Apologies Spotlight: Author Jennifer Hallmark

2014 February 15

jenToday, the author spotlight is on Jennifer Hallmark: writer by nature, artist at heart, and daughter of God by His grace. She loves to read detective fiction from the Golden Age, watch movies like LOTR, and play with her two precious granddaughters. At times, she writes.

Her website is Alabama-Inspired Fiction and she shares a writer’s reference blog, Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas…Oh My! with friends, Christina, John, Ginger, Dicky, and Betty. She and Christina Rich share an encouraging blog for readers called The Most Important Thing.

Jennifer and her husband, Danny, have spent their married life in Alabama and have a basset hound, Max.

Jennifer’s short story, The Game, was published in Harpstring. (Blog host note: This wonderful story is well worth the subscription price).

Hi! Jennifer Hallmark here. Pull up a chair and let’s talk about A Dozen Apologies. Fay says you want to know how I found Russ Farlow. Give me a moment to pour me another glass of sweet tea. Would you like a glass? Now, where were we? You want to know more of how I created Russ Farlow, veteran and poultry house manager, extraordinaire.

When I first received the e-mail from Tracy wanting me to take part in this romantic comedy novella, I was thrilled and terrified. Could I write a hero? A likeable hero at that? I wasn’t sure, so I started with the occupation for Mara. I needed it to be different and pride-busting, so I instantly thought of my old job, poultry farming.

Owning a small farm is a wonderful career and life choice, but the work is hard and full of moments that entertain others. So, I’d have Mara work at a chicken farm. Next, I dug through first and last name websites until I came up with Russ Farlow. Then it hit me that it would be Russ’s farm or at least in his family. So the pieces were coming together and I could see glimpses of the big picture.

I went back to Mara and found her at her parent’s home and started observing what she was doing [in my mind, of course]. I realized she would call Aunt Ruthie and Uncle Joe and they would let her stay with them, saving her money and getting her to Russ’s farm. Doesn’t everyone have an Aunt Ruthie?

Then I had to have Mara and Russ meet. In the south, diners are common so Russ would be there with other farmers and workmen on his lunch break. I pictured him sitting there in his Alabama t-shirt, Roll Tide, hair shortened since college and that cute little beard. Add a little weight and muscle since college and there he sat, Russ Farlow.

I noticed he didn’t get up when Mara entered the picture. What was up with that? He was a southern gentleman. I delved deeper into his past when I noticed he walked with a limp. I found he’d been in the Army and the loss of his lower leg came as a result of a stray bullet. His company was out on patrol and by the time he received medical attention, it was too late to save it.

He received the Purple Heart, but that didn’t help his emotions as he went through rehab and adjusted to his new life. The poultry farm his mother and stepfather owned seemed like a good place for him to hide and recover while he wrestled with feelings of sorrow, anger, and loss.

When I write, all my characters have some sort of disability. In my earliest days of writing, I noticed this and whether my characters were in a wheelchair, had a lost limb, or asthma, they had something physical to struggle with. This probably happened because growing up, my brother and I both had EBS, a skin condition not noticeable but painful with easily blistering hands and feet. Couple that with the fact my father was confined to a wheelchair when I was seven with a condition similar to Muscular Dystrophy, and, well, there you have it. Characters born that face extreme odds with an attitude of hope and moving forward encouraging others around them.

I’m glad to see you’re smiling. All the characters in A Dozen Apologies are unique and distinctive, and we hope you feel a little better after reading our book. More tea? I’m so glad you stopped by and asked about Russ. He’s special to me. And I thank Fay for sending you my way. Come again!

A DOZEN APOLOGIES FINAL FRONT COVER (282x425)About A Dozen Apologies:

Mara Adkins, a promising fashion designer, has fallen off the ladder of success, and she can’t seem to get up.

In college, Mara and her sorority sisters played an ugly game, and Mara was usually the winner. She’d date men she considered geeks, win their confidence, and then she’d dump them publicly. When Mara begins work for a prestigious clothing designer in New York, she gets her comeuppance. Her boyfriend steals her designs and wins a coveted position. He fires her, and she returns in shame to her home in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where life for others has changed for the better.

Mara’s parents, always seemingly one step from a divorce, have rediscovered their love for each other, but more importantly they have placed Christ in the center of that love. The changes Mara sees in their lives cause her to seek Christ. Mara’s heart is pierced by her actions toward the twelve men she’d wronged in college, and she sets out to apologize to each of them. A girl with that many amends to make, though, needs money for travel, and Mara finds more ways to lose a job that she ever thought possible.

Mara stumbles, bumbles, and humbles her way toward employment and toward possible reconciliation with the twelve men she humiliated to find that God truly does look upon the heart, and that He has chosen the heart of one of the men for her to have and to hold.

Today and tomorrow, be sure to download your free copy of A Dozen Apologies.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. February 15, 2014

    While I’m sort of partial to another of the ADA authors :>}, I really did like your character and writing style. As a military vet with roots on a northern Maine potato farm (yes we also had chickens) I could identify with this guy. Here’s wishing you the best in your future writing career.

  2. February 15, 2014

    Great job Jen! Very insightful glimpse into the inner workings of your mind 🙂

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS