Friday, July 11, 2014

INTERVIEW WITH SUNNI JEFFERS


Award-winning author, Sunni Jeffers is setting course for a new life adventure. After ten years as a navy wife and mother, they moved to Denver, Colorado to manage the family security business. When her children left home, she began writing books. In 1992, Sunni and her husband moved to the Great Northwest to raise cattle, timber and hay and to give her the time to write stories of other women and their struggles and victories. Now Sunni’s fourth adventure has begun. She and her husband are exploring the US and Canada in their motorhome. As they travel, she continues writing heartwarming cozy mysteries and stories of delightful women living out their faith as they face challenges and adventures in everyday life.


INTERVIEW WITH SUNNI JEFFERS

S.S: How long have you been writing?

I started writing in 1988, after I took a two-day class on writing a romance novel with my sister. She wanted to write. I didn’t have a clue. Ten years later, I won the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award for Best Unpublished Inspirational Novel. It was my third completed book. It was finally published in 2001. Since then, I have had fourteen books published.

S.S: Do you write full time? If the answer is no, what else do you do? If you are a full time author, what other jobs did you have in the past?

I’ve been a Jill-of-all-Trades. Nurse’s aide, florist, sewing instructor, seamstress, and school bus driver. I spent eighteen years as a business owner/office manager/bookkeeper in a security business, then nineteen years as a cattle/hay rancher with my husband. During the last twenty years, I have written full time and part-time. I write part-time now. We are living the retirement dream of traveling half the year in a motorhome. I write while we travel, but take plenty of time off to explore and to play.

S.S: Tell us about the moment you finally felt like a “real author”?

I didn’t feel “legitimate” until my second book was published and I had a third contract. Even then, I wasn’t confident that I had a career.

S.S.: Who has been your greatest supporter as an author? 

Definitely my husband. He was proud of me when I started and every step along the thirteen years before my first published book came out. He read every word and did his best to help me. He sacrificed so I could attend conferences and classes and spend hours alone writing. Without his encouragement, I might have given up a long time ago.

S.S:  Do you write in any other genres? If so, what?

I have written romance, contemporary inspirational series (Americana) and cozy mysteries. I’m leaning back to romance and romantic suspense, and plan to write several historical romance series.

S.S: How does your faith play into your writing?

All of my writing – even my new book, which is more of a secular book than an inspirational – are written from my world-view, which is definitely Christian. It is who I am. I can’t write from a view that I don’t believe. In each book, I seem to learn a spiritual lesson along with my characters. Those lessons aren’t planned. They just happen.

S.S: If you couldn’t write, what else would you want to do?

I love to travel. Fortunately, I get to do that and write, also. I love research and history. When I visit someplace new, I always think of stories I’d like to write about the history of the place or something in the setting.

S.S:  Tell us about your current release.

My most current release is All Sewn Up, a cozy mystery for Guideposts Books series, Secrets of the Blue Hill Library, writing as Emily Thomas. It’s the first time I’ve had to use a common pen name. 
 
S.S: Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

This is part of an ongoing series about a small town in Pennsylvania, and a beautiful Victorian library bequethed to the town. The stories are collaborative efforts between  the editors and the authors.

S.S: What is the main thing you hope readers remember from your story?

Giving is a gift to the giver, as well as the receiver. It’s a lesson I learned from my mother, who was always giving of her time and talents to help someone.

S.S: Who is your favorite character in this book and why?

Anne, the librarian, is a delightful character with big heart and a large dose of creativity and curiosity. 

S.S: What are you working on now?

I’m glad you asked. I’m finishing the final edits on a book that captured my imagination many years ago. Brush of Angel’s Wings is a romance, a suspense thriller, a book with love and angels and genetic engineering. It should come out in August. It will be available on Kindle and also in print through amazon.com.

S.S: Any writing goals you still hope to achieve?   

There are many writing goals still out in front of me. A romance series to complete—Rocky Mountain High, with book two ready for an editor. Two historical romance series in proposal state—The Solomon Brothers, and Angels in White. A romantic series in a small river town in Washington State—2nd Chance Ranch. Besides those, I have several stories floating around in my head.

S.S:  Now let’s get a little personal. Name two things on your “bucket list” that you haven’t done yet.   
 
My husband and I are living our 4th life together. We’ve gone through one bucket list and fulfilled all but one dream. To live aboard a boat. Not sure I still want to do that for a long period, but I’d love to try it out for a month or two. I’d love to charter a boat and travel up the Inland Waterway from Texas up to the Great Lakes.

A second item on my bucket list is travel, which is unending. I dream of visiting Israel and the Bible lands. With the conditions in the world, I hope that will be a possibility someday.

S.S:  What is the silliest thing you have ever done? 

Go rattlesnake hunting in Montana. Insane. We bagged 26 rattlesnakes, 9 blue racers and 4 king snakes. They all went into a large glass cage in the local utility district office. They would be used for educational purposes at the local schools, then released.

S.S: What is the hardest thing you have ever done?

I’m still recovering from the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I wasn’t alone. My husband and I cared for our son-in-law during his last months battling cancer. He passed away in May. This was an emotional and physical and spiritual journey that held many heartaches, but also many blessings. We saw first hand how God is always faithful and present and how we can trust Him in all things.

S.S.: Where can readers find you on the internet?


S.S.: Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I love to connect with readers. Please come visit me on facebook. I’m in the process of revamping a very out-of-date web site and blog, so stay tuned. I’ll share on facebook when they are up and running. 

If you'd like a copy of Sunni's book, ALL SEWN UP, leave a comment, along with your contact information. We'll draw a winner on Monday!

 

63 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing. Always love a chance to learn about an author. centraleast2 at gmail dot com

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  2. I look forward to reading "All Sewn Up"!

    clkane58@gmail.com

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  3. Enjoyed reading about the author. The book sounds like a fun interesting read

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  4. I thank you for the wonderful interview - I especially liked hearing about the "rattlesnake capturing". Sorry about your son-in-law. This is the first time I heard of you and so would love to win your book!
    flowersmarylou85@gmail.com

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    1. Thank you Mary Lou. We video-taped the hunt. Fascinating, but I'd never do it again. It was in early spring, so they were just waking up and coming out of their dens.

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  5. Really enjoyed the interview, Sunni! Funny and moving at the same time. Thanks so much for sharing with our blog readers!

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    1. My pleasure. I'm enjoying all the comments.

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  6. I really enjoyed the blog and getting to know Sunni Jeffers. Your books sound wonderful. Enjoy your travels Sunni.
    Blessings
    Diana
    joeym11@frontier.com

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  7. Thanks for sharing. Sounds like a book I'd like to read.
    steveandellengray@yahoo.com

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  8. Thank you for sharing. Another book that I need to read.
    CherylB1987@hotmail.com

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  9. I enjoyed this interview. I just finished reading Rosemary for remembrance and loved it. I would love to read this book.

    wwchildren at gmail dot com

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    1. Thanks Wilani. I loved writing for Tales from Grace Chapel Inn. I did five books and two novellas for that series.

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  10. Thank you for sharing your personal story. I am sad to hear about your son-in-law but will pray for you and your family as you continue to put your trust in Him that can help you the most.

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    1. Thank you, Dawn. I appreciate your prayers.

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  11. I am adding this to my read list! Thanks, Kristie Porter tklovenest @ aol.com

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  12. This sound very interesting. I would love to win. Please enter me.

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  13. What a wonderful interview. I had never heard of Sunni Jeffers before but really enjoyed getting to know a little about her. I had also never heard of the Secrets of the Blue Hill Library series put out by Guideposts. Both this author and this series have caught my interest. I would love to be winner of this book.

    debbiewilder (at) comcast (dot) net

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  14. Sounds like a good book. I'd love to win it. Haven't read any of the Guideposts mysteries and I'd like to try them.
    catbooks72(at)gmail(dot)com

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  15. I love mysteries but don't believe I've every heard of the Guidepost "mystery" series. I have a feeling that these would be right up my alley. Think it's great that you got to reprise your kids and then start your writing career. Live really doesn't ever end, does it? And that 's wonderful too!! Ronnalord(at)msn(dot)com

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    1. Ronna, there are many Guideposts cozy mystery series. I've written for Mysteries of Sparrow Island, Mystery and the Minister's Wife, Miracles of Marble Cove, and Secrets of the Blue Hill Library. There are others that I haven't been part of. One about quilters. One about a bookstore. One about a choir. I'm sure there are others.

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    2. Wow!! I've been missing out. I'm going to hopefully " friend" you on Goodreads and see what books I can add to my list. This on sounds great!!

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  16. For those of us at a "certain" age (golden) I saw this on a friend's Facebook page today. It's appropriate for anyone at a crossroads in life. "GET YOUR FIRE BACK. IT'S NOT OVER UNTIL GOD SAYS IT'S OVER. START BELIEVING AGAIN. START DREAMING AGAIN. START PURSUING WHAT GOD PUT IN YOUR HEART." I don't know who the author of the quote is, but it's excellent advice. I am in transition mode myself. Caring for our son-in-law was all-consuming. Now I'm wondering what is next in my life. Writing a new book and series, for sure, but there is more. A ministry? Something new to learn? Somewhere new to go? I'd love to learn to create art, though I can't draw well. I saw a lot of interesting mixed media painting in galleries in Canada and Arizona, and I'd love to try my hand at some, just for fun.

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    1. Sunni, thank you for that quote. It is something I need to put into my every day life. My degree is in Psychology and Social Work and I'm not using my gift right now. I am a manager working in retail. I do like my job but I do miss my job when I was a Psychosocial Rehab. Specialist. I guess it us never to late to one day to go back to school to get my masters degree. So sorry to hear about your loss of your son in law. I will keep your family in my prayers.

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  17. Thank you for the introduction to Sunni Jeffers. I enjoyed her wonderful interview and appreciate the opportunity to win a copy of her book!

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

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  18. I enjoyed the interview, and learning more about you, Sunni. I don't think we've ever met, even though we're in several of the same groups. I've always felt you're a beautiful person inside and out. This interview just confirms it. I pray God's blessing on your writing--and any artistic endeavor you try. Again, if you ever come through Lake Charles, Louisiana, holler at me!

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    1. Thanks Jess. I will. It would be great to sit across from you and have a cup of coffee. And maybe a beignet. :)

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  19. I love your books and am so excited that "Brush of Angel’s Wings" is coming out. I so enjoyed reading the manuscript years ago. I hope your travels bring you our direction.

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    1. Hey Cindy, waving at you! We'll get there one of these years.

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  20. I enjoy books about librarians...I have a few in my family. =) This one looks intriguing. Keep on writing. Sandy (thewiggys8@msn.com)

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    1. Love librarians! My mother was a library assistant when I was in Jr High and High School. I spent many hours in the library. Never dreamed, back then, that my books would one day be on the shelves. :)

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  21. Curious about why you wanted/had to use a pen name and why that particular name?
    ~Prayers and blessings!
    Emily
    emily@raisingstickyhands.com

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    1. Hi Emily, that was a decision of the publisher, not the authors. Guideposts Books does what is called continuity series. Various authors write the books in the series (like the Nancy Drew series). Instead of listing each author, they come up with a pen name for that series. I won't use that name myself.

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  22. Hi, Sunni! Thanks so much for the interview. My sister is a librarian. :)

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    1. I've always thought librarians are special people, as well as very blessed to work among all those books. Good for her! I hope she has lots of time to read all those books.

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  23. Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us. It is always interesting to learn about authors and what makes them tic.

    Nancydarby2007@yahoo. Com

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  24. Good afternoon Sunni! I am curious about your name and the spelling of it. Very unique! You are a new author to me and winning a copy of, All Sewn Up, would be great. I cringed when I read that you went on a rattlesnake hunt in Montana. I am scared to death of snakes! So sorry to hear about the loss of your son-in-law to cancer. I know first hand how difficult caring for and losing a precious dear one to death is. I lost a husband to brain cancer 11 years ago. I was by his side constantly and was by his side when he drew his last breath. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

    Blessings!
    Judy B
    judyjohn2004(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Thank you for your prayers, Judy. I appreciate it. Hard for us, but especially hard for our daughter and two granddaughters. My name was given to me when I was 17 and working as an aide in a hospital. I was the nighttime orderly on the weekends, and would open the blinds of a men's 13 bed ward in a solarium at 6:30 in the morning so they could have bed-baths and brush teeth before breakfast. They started calling me their sunshine. It evolved into Sunni, and it stuck. My real name is Naomi, which few people ever pronounced correctly.

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  25. Glad I got to learn more about Sunni from this interview. The book sounds like one I would love to read. I think Anne the librarian would be an interesting character to read about. So sorry about your son in law. Prayers for strength and also I dont think I would ever be brave enough to go rattlesnake hunting.

    marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com
    Maryann

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    1. Thank you for the prayers. I have a healthy respect for snakes, but grew up around them. I'm not afraid to pick up a harmless snake. We wore high cowboy boots and jeans, jackets and leather gloves and used long poles with ends that could clamp around their necks (not that snakes have necks). We were pretty safe as long as we were observant.

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  26. Thank you it looks great
    trichie@windstream.net

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  27. The book sounds awesome! a_stonecipher@yahoo.com

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  28. Sounds like a great book! :) d_stevens310 @ live.com

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  29. I enjoyed reading about your life. You've had several interesting experiences.

    I'd like to take the opportunity to try to win you book. It does sound quite good!

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  30. What an interesting life you've led! I'm so glad you decided book writing would be a part of it.

    kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

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  31. would love to win. angelachesnut246@gmail.com

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  32. I enjoyed learning about your life. How interesting and wonderful. Your book sounds fascinating. Thanks for this giveaway and best wishes. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  33. The book sounds awesome!

    Ember99@hotmail.com

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  34. "My most current release is All Sewn Up, a cozy mystery for Guideposts Books series, Secrets of the Blue Hill Library, writing as Emily Thomas. It’s the first time I’ve had to use a common pen name."

    Hi Sunni, I want to ask why an author writes under a pen name and not their own? Thanks. I am a historical fiction reader/reviewer. I would like to try your "cozy mystery" ~ happiness in your travels and be sure and take your sewing machine ~ you can always find a stash of cotton fabric! hugs ~ Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

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    1. Hi Kathleen, there are many reasons why an author would choose to use a pen name. Sometimes it's because his/her real name is long or hard to pronounce. Sometimes an author will use a pen name in writing in a different genre, so readers won't get confused (like mysteries and paranormals and YA's which have a different audience). Sometimes, as in this case, it is the publisher's choice, so a series with multiple authors will have one author name.

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    2. Thank you; like Carolyn Keene, mysteries from my eagerly reading from book to book in my youth. Kathleen

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  35. Enjoyed the interview very much. I'm looking forward to All Sewn Up. Enjoy your travels in that motorhome. rttl@mosquitonet.com

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  36. Can I just say that Sunni is living my dream? The very idea of traveling in an RV for half of the year with my husband sounds live a little slice of Heaven! I have also loved the idea of living on a house boat. In the long run though, I want a garden so part time in a motor home would be a dream.
    Thank you for the interview. Sunni, I was immensely blessed by the snippets of your life and your writing journey. I am sorry for the loss of your son-in-law. Please know that your family will be in my prayers.

    God bless you.

    KellysShining(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. I'm amazed how many people are living in RVs full time. We have spent 17 of the last 24 months living in our motorhome, and it's actually quite comfortable once you get used to the smaller space. But no garden. I had a big garden at the ranch, and loved canning my own produce and all the fresh salads, but Farmers Markets are great! My husbands motto is, "You can do anything you want--you just can't do it all at once." Our adventures span 47 years so far. Many of those years were hard work, long hours, no vacations, and everything else that goes with raising a family, running a business, caring for aging parents, etc. Thank you for your prayers. They are appreciated!

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  37. Sunni, You sound like such an interesting person and I am thrilled to know about you and your book. Your many adventures sound amazing and now the motorhome life. I love to travel myself and my husband and I have had many a good trip in our motorhome.

    Thank you for the opportunity!

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. Hi Melanie. Waving at a fellow traveler! We've met some wonderful people on the road. Who knows? Maybe our paths will cross someday!

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  38. Thank you for the interview with Sunni Jeffers. I also love to travel and traveling in a motor home is on my bucket list when I retire. Don't know if that will happen but it is a dream. I would love to win her latest book, All Sewn Up. rsuebell1973@yahoo.com

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    1. Rebecca, I hope you are able to realize your dream. With used RVs and lots of State and National Parks now offering hookups for RVs, and businesses like Walmart and Cabella's letting people stop overnight, and BLM land allowing RV parking (no hookups), travel is getting more affordable. Our country is amazing to see and our people are wonderful. Traveling has helped restore my appreciation of our country and our freedom.

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  39. Would love to read your book, Sunni! Sonja.nishimoto at gmail dot com
    I always love to read books by new authors and hope to have a chance to do so.

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  40. I just want to say thank you to Suspense Sisters for having me visit, and to all who stopped by and all who left comments. I enjoyed meeting each of you, and look forward to connecting with some of you on Facebook. Have a joyous summer!

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  41. Hi Sunni, I just loved reading your interview and "catching up" with you after so many years. I remember you talking about that angel book that you'll finally be publishing. Kudos for your writing career--so many books published. I could be jealous, but I had a wonderful career as a children's librarian. I'm "retired" now and am working on my writing, although like you, we're using this time of our life to do some traveling. In our case, we do it in the airplane my husband built. Hugs, Sunni.

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    1. Hey Cathy, thanks for stopping by. You were a big part of those early years of writing for me. We attended some great conferences and writers' meetings together, and I thoroughly enjoyed those times. What a wonderful career--children's librarian! Imagine the minds and imaginations you were able to influence and encourage! And what a fun way to travel. I hope you have many fabulous adventures with your plane.

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