Interview with mystery author Jennifer-Lynn Keniston

Today’s
special guest is Jennifer-Lynn Keniston. We’re chatting about her new mystery
novel, Afta-U.
Welcome, Jennifer-Lynn. Please tell
us a little bit about yourself.
I was
raised in Hanson, Massachusetts. I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English,
with a concentration in writing and a minor in philosophy, from Plymouth State
College in New Hampshire. I then went on to receive a Master of Arts degree in
English from Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts. During my
undergraduate years at Plymouth State, I had a number of articles published in
the school newspaper, “The Clock.” I have always been an avid poet, and even
had entries published in some of Poetry.com’s book compilations:
Twilight Musings, 2005, “Garden Of Eden”
The Best Poems & Poets of 2005, “Kodak Moments”
The International Who’s Who In
Poetry, 2005
,
“Birthday Morning”
Collected Whispers, 2008, “Point Sebago”
Away from
my literary pursuits, I have worked as a project manager for
over eleven years, and o
btained my PMP certification (Project
Manager Professional). Currently, I work as a project
manager for a company that provides cloud software products for call centers at
small, medium, and enterprise companies.
In addition to working full time, I also run my own business, Ansel
Resume Resolution Services LLC, writing resumes (as a certified resume writer)
and cover letter packages, and offering tutoring and professional writing
services. In my spare time, I am a certified Spinning instructor and teach
Spinning classes (indoor bike classes).
I now live and write in Concord, New Hampshire, sharing my home with two
Maine Coon Cats.
Please tell us about your current
release.
My debut
novel, Afta-U, was officially released
on November 24, 2015. My book publisher is Tate Publishing. The story details
everything that happens after the death of a little girl named Hope, at age 11.
Hope’s best friend Jean, who is now almost 40, narrates the story. Jean
Cartwright Rhodes returns to her hometown with her husband and daughter, twenty-nine
years after the tragic death of Hope, when she inherits the house her friend’s
family once lived in. Now, years later, she finds herself haunted by a dark
truth — and by the specter of Hope herself. The Afta-U is both a literal and figurative boat that quietly
immortalizes Hope, since Jean is haunted by her past and hasn’t come to terms
with it. Afta-U unfolds as a
psychological chess match, a complex web of intrigue, unexpected relationships,
lies, and devastating secrets as Jean struggles with the impact of decisions
she made long ago on all the lives around her. When Jean confronts and tries to
come to grips with Hope’s killer, she finds herself waging a personal battle
between madness and redemption.
What inspired you to write this
book?
When I was home working on my
personal computer and preparing to take the Project Management Professional
examination, something inside of me made me bring up a blank word document on
the computer screen. I typed the name of my grandfather’s boat as the title Afta-U, and then proceeded to fill up
half of a page with an introduction to a story. That paragraph is still in the
novel, but is after the new opening paragraph. I had no idea where the story
would go and who the characters were. I’ll confess, I do not write from an
outline unless I’m forced to do so, even when writing research papers, etc. I
do the outline last and then edit and move parts of a paper or story around. I
do have more of an idea where my second story will go, but I will most likely,
write this second one all out of order again and then bring it all together
later in the process. The idea and name for the second novel surfaced before I
was even halfway done with writing this first novel. This first book was much
more of a personal novel, even though it is completely fiction.
Michael’s smile broadened. “It seems you’re surprised to see me, Jean.
Don’t tell me you thought that they’d leave an eleven-year-old boy locked away
forever.”
What exciting story are you working
on next?
I am
working on a poetry compilation called “Breadcrumbs” and also on my second
novel entitled Fresnel Lens. Some of the characters from my first novel
carry over into this second novel. However, it is almost a standalone story,
set in the fictitious towns I’ve created named Nain Valley and Graytown. It is
more of a mystery where Jean is unaware of the underlying mystery and helps to
unravel and solve it. This time around, it isn’t personal for Jean.


When did you first consider yourself a
writer?
To be
honest, I always considered myself to be a writer. Personally, I have been
writing poetry and short stories since I was a child. But there was a pivotal
moment when I was in junior high school, when I worked on writing what ended up
to be approximately a handwritten 25 page story, of a woman who wanted to
become a doctor. I would write a few pages and bring these pages into school for
a few people to read. There was a girl named Sarah, who was extremely
supportive and excited to read the pages. She motivated me to want to write
more and share it with her and others. But it was when I first received a
sample printed book of Afta-U from
Tate in the mail for me to review for layout and format, that the dream to
become a published writer really began to feel real to me. Now I am excited to
share the story with others and hope they find enjoyment for the 4-5 hour
commitment they are investing in reading it. I joke around that I’m hoping no
one would prefer to put down the book and go and clean a toilet! I’m hoping
many readers will embrace and love my book and when finished, will be
disappointed that it ended, finding themselves anxiously awaiting the
completion of my second novel.
Do you write full-time? If so,
what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do
you find time to write?
I do not
write full-time. I work full-time as a project manager for a
company that provides cloud software products for call centers at small,
medium, and enterprise companies. In addition to working full time as a project
manager, I also started my own business in 2014, Ansel Resume Resolution
Services LLC, writing resumes and cover letter packages, and offering tutoring
and professional writing services. In my spare time, I enjoy instructing
Spinning classes (indoor cycling classes). My goal is to get up an hour earlier
each day and start out my day writing for an hour. On weekends and days I am
able to start even earlier, it would be a blessing to write longer.
What would you say is your
interesting writing quirk?
I just
sit down and write. I do not work from an outline. Characters appear to me and
basic story ideas. I then work to chisel and perfect the characters and
storylines. I write the story out of order and then work to bring it all
together.
As an idea
comes to mind, I frantically search for a piece of paper, a receipt, or a
napkin to jot it down on. I have many small pieces of papers crinkled up with
scribbled ideas on them, stuffed inside my computer bag that I often reference.
As a child, what did you want to be
when you grew up?
I think I
was born wanting to be a writer. However, there was a time when I wanted to be
an archeologist. That is why Jean, in a childhood flashback, expresses an
interest in becoming an archeologist.

Links:
Buy links:
My author website – (check for an author signed copy promotion where you can buy hardcover and softcover): http://www.jenniferkeniston.com/afta-u/
Tate Publishing’s website where you can buy hardcover, softcover, and a digital download copy:  
Amazon.com (hardcover and softcover):  
Thanks for being here, today, Jennifer-Lynn!

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