Tuesday, October 20, 2015

An Interview with Jennifer Lyon/Jennifer Apodaca

By Pamela James
MM2: Jennifer, give us your backstory. When, why n how did you begin your writing career?

Hi everyone! So nice to be here!
To answer your question. I began seriously writing after I married and had three small children. My husband went back to school to get his Masters’ degree, and I returned to college to get my B.A. in Marketing. However, my true passion was writing, and with time at a premium, I had to choose between my degree and writing. I chose writing, however it wasn’t an easy road. It took me eight years of collecting rejections on five manuscripts before I sold. Passion and stubbornness (I‘m a Leo, so very stubborn, LOL) kept me going, along with a very supportive family. Now I’m very glad I didn’t give up. I have a career I love!

MM2: Where is your favorite place to write?

Usually my huge oak desk in my office. I love that desk as I bought it with my first advance and there’s plenty of room to spread out notes. However that office is downstairs in an open space so sometimes it’s a little too noisy. I also have what I laughingly call my “corner office” which is just a comfortable chair in the corner of a bedroom where I work on my laptop if I need more quiet.

MM2: What advice do you have for writer's who want to write a series?

If you are writing a series with a single character protagonists who narrate every book, like a mystery series, then the hero/heroine must have a strong personality that resonates with readers. And they need an overarching story question that will weave through every book…something he or she is trying to achieve or solve that keeps the reader engaged and invested in them. It will make the reader care – even it’s something as basic as trying to find out who their real father is. It has a way of creating a connection between the protagonist and the reader.

In a series featuring a group of characters, each one getting their own book, it’s the same concept structured in a different way. So for my Once A Marine series, all the men are former Marines working for a security agency. The main story question arcing through the series: How will each of them overcome what is essentially PTSD to find their happily ever after. Yes, it’s pretty simple but it creates a cohesion in the series, sets up reader expectations and there is a strong bond between the men from serving together in the military and seeing things that most civilians just can’t really understand. However, each individual books should have its own unique twists, while still answering the same story questions.

This is the quick version of my answer J

MM2: How many books have you written?

I think the last count was 22 or so books and novellas. I’ve written for Kensington books, Ballantine (a division of Random House) Entangled Publishing and self-published. Ironically, my most successful books to date were self-published.

MM2: What are your future writing plans?

Right now, I’m planning to continue my paranormal Wing Slayer Hunter series, and I’m currently getting the backlist ready to relaunch. I’m excited about that, I always loved those books.

And I’ve just started working on a new series featuring a rock band that I’ve had in mind for years. It’s a spinoff of my Plus One Chronicles series, but this is a new set of characters with very emotional, sexy stories. The first book is a poignant story of reunited love and forgiveness set against the backdrop of the rock world. The hero learns that dreams always come with a price.

MM2: Take us thru a typical working day?

When I start a book, I work probably six hours a day on average. Often it’s slow and frustrating, with more procrastination then actual writing. By the end of the book, I’m up at 5am working every minute I can, breaking for meals and life’s demands, then going back until about 8 or 9 at night.

MM2: Now for some fun. What is your favorite meal, movies/s, song, tv series, do you reread your favorite book?
Meal: Lobster

Movie: I’m too indecisive, LOL!

Song: For a long time it was Demons by Imagine Dragons. Now it’s Take Me To Church by Hozier.

TV Series: Um…Dance Moms? Yes I know, it’s sad. I love watching the kids dance though.

On re-reading, I don’t re-read a lot, but right now I’ve picked up OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon. I read that over a decade ago and loved it.

MM2: What would your characters tell us about you?

That I’m relentless and change my mind too many times. They know this from experience as I rewrite their scenes over and over. In my defense, I’m really trying to help the characters tell their story in the best way possible. However, I’m pretty sure I annoy them. A lot!

MM2: What would you like to say to your readers?

Thank you for giving me and my books a chance! Without readers, I wouldn’t be able to do the job I love.

MM2: What is the best writing advice you have received?

The only person standing in your way is you. That was from a writer friend of mine and it makes perfect sense. If you want it, make it happen. Don’t let anyone stop you, or make excuses, just get out of your way (with excuses and reasons why you can’t) and do it. Yes it’s hard, yes there will be setbacks and failure, but life is full of challenges. The only one who can let others or circumstances stop you, is you.

MM2: Who would you like to thank for helping, mentoring, inspiring you?

There have been so many generous people in my life, I couldn’t name them all, including my husband and family. The ones I would like to thank today are those who blazed the trail before I came along: Linda Howard, Nora Roberts, Julie Garwood, all those amazing authors who I discovered as a teenager and young woman. Through their books, I met these incredible heroines. Life didn’t happen to them – they happened to life. I learned from those fictional women and their authors. They truly inspired me and I am grateful to each and everyone one of them.

MM2: Last question is...leave us with a writing quote.

Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.
― Stephen King
Thank you so much to Pamela and Terri for having me here on Mayhem and Magic!


  1. Jennifer - I think tht writing advice can apply to all aspects of our lives!

  2. Jennifer,
    I enjoyed your interview. You gave great advice.

  3. Love your interview Jenn. It should be noted that along with the Leo characteristics you mentioned we are quite successful ☺️.


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