communities in Idaho and Montana. My family moved more than 20 times as I grew up. Born the fifth of eight children, I grew up with a ready supply of playmates who are still among my closest friends. I married Boyd Hansen and we became the parents of five children of our own and three foster children.
We’ve made our home in Utah since our marriage.
I graduated from Ricks College in Idaho, then continued my education at Westminster College in Utah after my oldest child was married and my youngest was in high school. I have been a receptionist, a model, a Utah House page, freelance magazine writer, newspaper reporter, editor, librarian, mother and grandmother.
Numerous first and second place writing awards from the Utah and National Federation of Press Women
including the 1978 Second place national award for Page Editing were highlights of my journalism years.
I was the 1997 third place winner of the URWA Heart of the West Writers Contest. In 2008 I received the Bronze Trumpet Award from my publisher, Covenant Communications, and in March of 2008 I was honored by the LDStorymakers at their Whitney Gala with the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award.
I have been active in community affairs. In addition to numerous responsibilities in the LDS church, I
served a term on the Kearns Town Council, and two terms on the Salt Palace Advisory Board, and was a delegate to the White House Conference on Libraries and Information Services.
All of our children are now married and have so far provided us with ten grandchildren, eight grandsons and two granddaughters.
Deirdra: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
Jennie:When I was seven years old I read an article in a farm magazine about a cat. I thought my cat was a lot smarter than the one I read about so I wrote an article about my cat and sent it to the magazine. A few weeks later the magazine sent me a check and published my story. There was never a time after that when I didn't want to be a writer.
Deirdra: What is your writing and educational background?
Jennie: My educational background involves ten different schools. I have degrees in English, Communications, and Business from Westminster College. The magazine I wrote that first article for invited me to write occasional stories for them until I was eighteen. In high school I helped start the school's first newspaper for which we received a state award. I wrote a few articles for newspapers and literary magazines while in college. A few years after leaving Ricks College, I went to work for Stahle Publishing ( aweekly newspaper consortium) as a reporter and eventually editor. I also did some free lance writing with articles appearing in the Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News, AP, and several magazines including The Ensign. I joined the National Federation of Press Women and received numerous journalism awards from them and from the Utah Press Association. My first novel was published in 1993 and I just signed a contract for my twenty-second novel. I also have short stories in several compilations. In addition, I write a weekly review column for a national LDS online magazine, Meridian.
Deirdra: What makes you passionate about writing?
Jennie: I love books and stories. My mother and my older sister and brothers read to me when I was little and taught me to read. I thought it was the most remarkable thing to be able to do. I had rheumatic fever later as a child and spent a long time recovering; books were my greatest friends. I also became interested in politics and the workings of communities at an early age. Together with my interest in writing, I turned to journalism. It was only when my growing family interfered with my mobility to cover news stories that I left journalism and went to work for the Salt Lake City Library System. I loved being around books, but the little bit of technical writing I did at that time and an occasional magazine article didn't satisfy my need to write so I began a novel and have been writing novels ever since.
Jennie: I used to get up at five o'clock in the morning to write before work, then write late at night. Now I don't work outside of my home and my children are all raised and on their own, so theoretically I can write when I want. It really doesn't work that way though, I serve two days a week in the temple, then have just four days to shop, clean house, garden, be a wife, mother, and grandmother, and read a ton of books which I review for Meridian Magazine.
Deirdra: Where do your ideas come from? How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?
Deirdra: What do you hope readers will get from your books?
Jennie: I hope they'll be entertained, that they'll see the possibilities in our own culture, that they'll be more tolerant of people who are different from themselves, and that their faith in God and our older Brother will be reaffirmed and strengthened.
Deirdra: What’s your secret to making the character’s in your books come to life?
Jennie: In my head they are real, so all I have to do is pay attention to their emotions, actions, and preferences. It also helps to keep a character notebook where I record every character's name, physical description, and special characteristics.
Deirdra: What is your favorite snack to have while you are writing?
Jennie: Chocolate chips and raisins, but I really am trying to avoid snacking.
Deirdra: Besides writing what other talents or hobbies do you have?
Jennie: Who has time for hobbies? I love the outdoors and look forward to fishing with my son-in-law. My husband and I like to garden. I enjoy plays, Jazz basketball, and spending time with my grandchildren.
Deirdra: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?
Jennie: Read! Write something every day. Get involved with a critique group, a guild, or writers' group of some kind. Follow the submission rules most publishers post on their web pages.
Deirdra: What are you working on now?
Jennie: I have a murder mystery under contract with a tentative release date about a year out and I' working on a pair of companion historical westerns.
Deirdra: Where can our readers go to find your books and order them?
Deirdra, This was a really great interview, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Jennie sounds like she's a thoughtful author as well as a very nice person.ReplyDelete
Wonderful interview. Another new author to me.ReplyDelete
Re-reading this a few months later I see a need for a couple of updates. I now have eleven grandchildren, another little girl. And my murder mystery If I Should Die has been moved up to this June. Thanks for notifying me that you were re-posting this and thanks for the lovely comments.ReplyDelete