About the Author
Jennifer Rodewald is passionate about the Word of God and the powerful vehicle of story. Four kids and her own personal superman make her home in southwestern Nebraska delightfully chaotic.
Born in Colorado, she experienced both the seclusion of rugged mountain living and the busy streets of a Denver suburb during her growing up years. Somewhere in the middle of college, she married a Husker and found her way back to the quiet lifestyle of a rural area, which suits just fine.
Blessed with a robust curiosity, Jen loves to research. Whether she’s investigating the history of a given area, the biography of a Christian icon, or how nature declares the glory of God, her daily goal is to learn something new. Aiming to live with boundless enthusiasm, her creed is vision, pursuit, and excellence.
Jen lives and writes in a lovely speck of a town where she watches with amazement while her children grow up way too fast, gardens, and marvels at God’s mighty hand in everyday life.
1. How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you?
I’ve written for as long as I can remember. It became my form of journaling as a child. But, as I share in a blog post called Lessons In Fiction (you can add the link if you’d like ;) ), I wasn’t sure writing fiction was a path I should pursue. Stories kept pressing in on me, however, and my Superman (the hubs) continued to encourage me to write. Nearly seventeen years into our marriage, and he is still my biggest fan, they man who pushes me when I say I’m done, that I can’t, or this is just silly. So, he’s a huge inspiration for me. But the biggest inspiration, I’m learning, is the Spirit of God. He teaches me through story, and I am ever longing to know Him more, to hear what He wants me to learn, and to be useful for His kingdom.
2. What is your current WIP? What can you tell us about this project?
I have several WIP sitting in my hard drive right now, but the one I’m preparing the most intensively right now is a follow-up to my debut novel, Blue Columbine. I’m keeping this one pretty close right now, because I believe the story will be most effective if it unfolds for the reader without spoilers, but I will say that the connection between Red Rose Bouquet (the current project) and Blue Columbine is a minor character turned major. Cheryl was Andrew’s Ice-queen ex-girlfriend we met in the early part of Blue. She has a story, and I have been softened by her telling.
3. What does your writing process look like?
That depends largely on the book. Could be because I’m still fairly new at this, I don’t know. But it could be that every story is unique, and my life isn’t static. Four active kids and a husband whose job is fairly demanding my world fairly chaotic, as I’m sure most can relate to. On the whole, however, I have a loose plot worked out before I start writing, and pretty much always, that plot shifts as the characters show me their story more in depth.
4. Where is your favorite place to write?
My laptop pretty much stays in my newly acquired office, which I’m loving. But, my iPad or notebook travel with me in the car, and I get a lot done as I’m playing taxi and waiting for my kids and their activities.
5. What authors have inspired your writing?
Hmm…that’s a tricky question. Honestly, I don’t read as much as other writers I know. Though I love story, I’m an extremely slow reader. Combine that with motherhood, writing—and all of the other things that go with writing—and just life beyond stories, and that means I get maybe two books a month read, if I’m lucky. So sad :(.
For years I have read Lori Wick. I loved her stories, and would read them over and over again. I loved that she provided Godly friends and role models through her characters. But I don’t think I write like her.
John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress amazes me. It is so rich in Scripture. Though I don’t write like him at all, and my stories are nothing of the same class, I think he taught me how deeply the Word of God must be written in our hearts.
More recently, Tammy L. Gray and Katie Ganshert have challenged me through their books to face the things I don’t want to face, and to write with risk and honesty.
6. What inspired the idea for The Carpenter’s Daughter?
That’s a long story, which I share here (“How I Met Sarah Sharpe” see below), but the gist of it is, I had my own Subway experience, and it made me think, what if…
7. What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
I’m a gardener. Love my hands in the dirt (gloved, though, because I am actually tactile defensive). My favorite smell is freshly cut grass, and I spend hours dreaming up new landscaping schemes.
I also love watching my kids do what they do. I have a runner, a couple of swimmers, a couple of soccer players, and all four play the piano. One of my favorite things ever is to see others (my kids, but not only them) do what they do and enjoy the presence of God in their unique gifts. It simply thrills me, inspires me, and makes my heart rise with joy and praise.
Thank you so much for having me! :)
How I Met Sarah Sharp
The birth of a book…sometimes it comes from a hard day’s work.
Let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time my husband and I embarked on a DIY project. Okay, so we’ve done a lot of them. But this one…oiy. We designed and were prepping to pour a new, large, two-tiered concrete patio off the back of our home. The whole project was, uh, fierce. Ground prep (done by hand) forms made of both concrete blocks and wood, and then actually pouring the concrete.
Have you ever poured concrete? Worse. Job. Ever. No kidding. It is H-A-R-D.
So, somewhere in the middle of this project, which took months, we were working until hunger demanded us to stop. Around seven or eight in the evening, I think. Guess who is supposed to be in charge of food? Me. Yeah, the girl in ripped, nasty, out of fashion jeans, a baggy T-shirt left over from her high school days complete with soaking wet oh-my-goodness-she-stinks pits. I hadn’t planned ahead. We had nothing ready to kill the howling of our stomachs. Propelled by a hungry husband, four “starving” children, and my own demanding stomach, I hopped in the car and headed to Subway.
Yep. Just like that. No shower. Not even a glance in the mirror. Didn’t even think about it until I garnered some looks from the sandwich store’s patrons. And when I say looks, I mean the kind that make you think your really actually not human, because no one is that cruel. Are they?
Life goes on. Got my four footlongs and headed home for some grub and a much needed stand under warm water.
Except somewhere between Subway and home I met a new friend. Her name is Sarah, and she lives in my head. She’s a construction girl, and a good one. She knows how to work. How to build. How to create.
But she does not know herself.
And here’s the interesting part. She had a Subway experience of her own. Some well-dressed, put together lady whispered a name about her. Loud enough for everyone in the room to hear.
One word can change a life.
Sarah’s was never the same.
Her story has changed me. How I see others. What I think about myself. I can’t wait to share it. Because in the end she finds out something really important.
She discovers that truly one Word can change a life.
One word can change a life…
Sarah Sharpe has grown up as a carpenter’s daughter, knowing only the rough and work-heavy world of her father’s blue-collar profession. Abandoned by her mother as a baby, she’s lived twenty-one years content to drive nails at her dad’s side. Following her father into the world of construction was a natural path, and she took it without a second thought. But a harsh comment about her “butch” appearance sends her on a search for identity.
Enter handsome and easygoing Jesse Chapman, the roofer she meets on her first foray into volunteer work for Homes For Hope. In every way, the quirky man is her opposite—confident, a people kind of guy, and most importantly, happy. His likable qualities continue to draw her in, and for some reason he keeps coming back to her. But they can’t be more than friends—he’s made that crystal clear. Except for a handful of times…and the confusion is driving her crazy.
Sarah’s quest for self-definition becomes more tangled than she ever imagined, and she discovers that the journey will take her deeper than clothes and makeup. Filling the void in her heart becomes an obsession she cannot escape. How far is she willing to go to discover who she really is?
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