Author Spotlight – Jen Silver
Valden says: Most of Jen Silver’s books feature women around the age of 40, sometimes older. They detail complex and richly described relationships between the very different main characters and the drama between them. She shows that women over 40 shouldn’t be written off and that they have similar needs and wants (and that includes sexual needs and wants) as much as younger women.
Jen has very kindly agreed to give away a free signed copy of Changing Perspectives or an e-book of winner’s choice to one lucky winner. Find details of the giveaway here.
We spoke to Jen about her latest book and her writing plans for the year.
Tell us something interesting about your last published book.
Changing Perspectives may never have been published. I wrote a good portion of the story in 1993. Over the years I kept going back to it. I knew it needed work to complete it – more character development, more depth to the back-stories of the main protagonists, just more of everything really. I started to do some work on it about two years ago, but I didn’t feel ready to submit it until earlier this year (2017). Maybe, having six published novels under my belt by then, I finally felt confident enough to see if anyone else would want to read it. And, thankfully, they did. My publisher, Affinity Rainbow Publications, had a number of beta readers take a look at the submission, and they unanimously gave it the thumbs up. With the help of my editor, I was able to smooth out some of the rough edges to ready it for publication.
My novels have generally featured women over forty. In 1993 my main characters, Dani and Camila, are aged 36 and 39, respectively. However, these two would now be getting on for sixty and over, so I guess they still fit the criteria.
What got you into writing?
I’ve always loved writing and had a lot of unfinished stories squirreled away in drawers. However, as an avid reader of lesbian fiction, I never thought I could be published.
Can you tell us about your writing style? How do you decide on plots and characters? Are you a planner or a pantser?
Mainly a pantser. I usually start out with a few characters and a situation, and see how it develops as I write. This can get a bit hairy in the middle part of the story. I can then see where it’s likely to end, but getting there is the problem.
One thing that helped me with this was when my mother reminded me of a piece of advice Chekhov gave to another writer – roughly translated as: Don’t place a loaded gun on the mantelpiece in the kitchen if it’s not going to be used by the end of the second act.
I started to notice the ‘loaded gun’ in TV dramas, particularly detective ones. There was often a seemingly insignificant character or incident near the beginning thatproved to be a catalyst for the main event later on. Now, when I get stuck in the middle of a story, I look back for the ‘loaded gun’ I left lying around somewhere.
If you had to do it all over again, would you do anything differently?
I would start trying to get published sooner.But maybe the time was just right for me to get going later in life.
What is next for you? What is your next project?
I’ve had another book accepted for publication by Affinity Rainbow Publications due for release in June 2018. It’s another story that has roots in the past but that’s all I want to say about it for now.
Actual story writing is in limbo at the moment. Several ideas are simmering away though, so I will be hitting the keys again soon.
VALDEN’S TOP PICKS
I am starting with the book I think is Ms. Silver’s best. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I feel that she is really developing into her craft. She set the story in the 1990’s, and for those of us that lived through that time, it is a trip down memory lane. The technology (or lack of it) is easy enough to cover, but the feeling through the book about how Dani would appear to others in that time gives you an understanding of both the environment and the way of living of an out and proud, butch woman. Women wearing men’s clothes and leather outfits are still something not often seen in small-town UK, but back in the 1990’s, it was quite rare even in cities. Dani does not apologise to anyone for her lifestyle which includes using private members clubs for SM.
Camila is a finance director for a large company and is, (as was often in the 1990’s) closeted to protect the career she loves. The book follows each of them through their personal journeys as they meet, find there is an attraction between them and work out if they have a future together. Any future is in doubt because of Dani’s love of SM,and Camila does not know what this entails. You will have to read the book to find out more!
I would just comment that the SM content is dealt with very sensitively, and did not in any way detract from my enjoyment of the book.
If you enjoy romance and golf, then this book is for you. Beth Travers is an English teacher who has been with her partner Sam Wade for fourteen years and married for two of them. At the start of the story, we find them at a lawyer’s office to finalise their divorce. Beth is pushing for the divorce, but Sam decides that six months to deal emotionally with the split is not long enough. She needs more time and leaves the office agreeing to make a new appointment. Beth told Sam six months ago that she was having an affair with Lydia the head teacher at her school, and had been, for a number of months. Lydia is not out to anyone and is concerned about how it would look for her career.
Sam is contracted to do some work at a new Golf Academy providing a week’s tuition for lady golfers, at a country estate in Cornwall. Coincidentally, Beth books herself and Lydia a break at the same location. The rest of the story is about what happens. There are numerous other, wonderfully drawn characters in this romance including some of the would-be golfers on the same break learning to play and the different golf professionals. Ms. Silvers observation of the characters is so well done as always, and her understanding of the game of golf, the Ladies Professional Golf Tour and the pressures of women golf professionals is excellent.
Head over to Affinity Rainbow Publications to pick up more of Jen Silver’s books.