Chatting with author Jennifer Slattery

Hi Jennifer! It’s wonderful to have you visit us. Thank you for coming to chat.

Congratulations on your upcoming newest Love Inspired novel, Building a Family, can you tell us what it’s about?

Hi, Stacy! Thanks for asking. Building a Family is set in a small, fictional town located in the Texas hill country. It involves two children, one a toddler, the other an infant, who were abandoned by both parents. Their bio-dad, an irresponsible bull-riding alcoholic was never very active in their lives, and their mother, who often pinged between sobriety and drunkenness, largely kept them isolated. When her toddler son is found wandering on a dirt road, authorities are called and they discover the children have been left home alone in a house that clearly reveals their mother’s addict behavior. Child Protective Services get involved and place the children with Noah Williams, their uncle on their father’s side.

When Kayla Fisher, the children’s aunt on their mother’s side, learns of this, she makes an emergency trip to Sage Creek, hoping to discover CPS has removed her niece and nephew in error. What she discovers regarding her sister, however, breaks her heart and spurs her to action. She’s not sure she trusts Noah, whom she remembers as a wild, party-chasing bull-rider, to care for the children. She sticks around to keep an eye on Noah and begins to research guardianship options. Meanwhile, she finds her heart being tugged toward the man she may soon find herself in a custody battle against.

This sounds like a book that will tug at your heartstrings! Do these characters take inspiration from someone you know in your life? And since one of them is a craftsman and the other is an interior designer, I’d imagine you are creative in not only your own writing but another form as well.

Normally, I would say yes, but this time both characters stemmed from my imagination alone. Readers met Noah briefly in my last release, Hometown Healing. As I wrote that story, I knew I wanted Noah to reemerge at some point, and Building a Family seemed a great opportunity for him to do so. In answer to your second question, actually, I’m not, but my husband and daughter are. My husband loves woodworking and has developed quite a talent for carving. My daughter is artistic in numerous ways. I love seeing their art because each piece reveals a bit about themselves. I’ve also long appreciated art for what it reveals about God. I believe when we create, we are reflecting the most creative Creator that ever existed, and to me, that’s a beautiful thing!

That's wonderful that your family is so creative. Art does take on many different forms, in your particular artistry writing, are some of your other novels storylines based on real-life events?

I think I add bits of past experiences into all my stories, though those experiences serve more as springboards than roadmaps if that makes sense. They spark ideas, then my muse takes the idea and runs—and dips and jumps and skips—with it.

I love this, creativity does spark from many different things. Another aspect of your creativity is your ministry program, Wholly Loved, we’d love to hear more about this ministry you created.

Sure! Wholly Loved exists to help women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ because we believe when we do that, everything changes. We’re able to heal from our past, find freedom in our present, and take bold, faith-empowered steps toward the glorious calling God has crafted for each of us. We strive to lead women toward freedom and impact in numerous ways, from conferences and retreats (where we partner with hosting churches in the Nebraska area and nationally) to devotional material. We have a blog that presents weekly inspirational messages, Bible reading plans on the YouVersion app, and more.

That's amazing that you're able to help so many people. Switching gears somewhat, do you have a routine when you're writing? Is there something you always must listen to, snack on, or drink?

I need complete silence when I write. I’ve tried listening to inspirational music, but find it distracting. I drink coffee pretty much all day, though I opt for decaf after 9am. I’m not much of a snacker, either, at least, not when I’m writing. But I have a fierce ice cream addiction and have been known to skip dinner to leave room for my creamy pleasure!

I'm right there with you on the ice cream aspect. Dessert first, lol! Is there a setting you haven’t written into a story that you’d like to include? Also, a specific type of job a character might have.

This is a great question I haven’t thought of before. I’ve really fallen in love with Texas so I might stay there for a while. But I’m currently writing a story set on a horse ranch, with a horse-training hero, and that’s been fun. A LOT of work, research-wise, but really fun. One of these days I think it’d be fun to write a story (short or novel-length) set at a ski resort. J

Happy to hear you love my home state, Texas is really a great place to live or use as a setting for novels. Speaking of which, you've written many wonderful ones, do you have one piece of advice for a new writer?

Don’t quit. I think a lot of writers come in with unrealistic expectations. They don’t understand the years of hard work that are usually required before one receives their first contract. Then, when rejections hit and years pass, they get discouraged and quit. If I can give two pieces of advice, my second would be, get connected with a writing community so that you can gain support and encouragement and learn from others. That’s so crucial!

Very true! There's a bond within the writing community that's hard to beat. As we close our time together, could we have a hint as to what you’re working next on your writing?

Yep! I shared a bit above, but my current WIP is set on a somewhat dying horse ranch my heroine inherited from her great uncle. She’s fighting to keep it alive while raising her daughter but struggles to find consistent help. When a horse rescue operation brings the person she once loved to the ranch, she discovers she hasn’t gotten over him like she thought she had. Though she wants to avoid him, she needs his help in order to save the eighteen abused horses brought to her stables and that are now under her care. But she refuses to fall for the cowboy a second time.

Thank you, again, for joining us today. I wish you all the best with your writing and speaking engagements.

Can love for two little matchmakers unite their reluctant hearts?

Worried that Noah Williams is still the reckless bull rider she remembers, Kayla Fisher is convinced he isn’t the right person to care for their orphaned niece and nephew. Now she’s back home, determined to fight for custody. But Noah is a changed man, and he intends to prove it. When Noah and Kayla start falling for each other, could raising the children together be the perfect solution?

Buy it HERE

 Jennifer Slattery is a writer and national speaker who has addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and other writers across the nation. She maintains a devotional blog found at Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud and on Crosswalk. She has a passion for helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Love Ministries, she and her team partner with churches to facilitate events designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Contact her HERE to book her for your next women’s event.


  1. Thanks so much for hosting me on your site!

    1. You're welcome, Jennifer! Thank you for stopping by! I wish you the best with your newest release.

  2. Hi Stacy and Jennifer, I loved learning about Jennifer and her stories. I also love the idea of a ministry that helps women grow into who they are in Christ. As a lifelong horse trainer Jennifer's wip caught my attention! Good interview. Thank you for sharing with us.

    1. Hi Barbara, Appreciate your kind words, happy to see you visit. Thank you for doing so. Happy to see you also enjoyed it. : )

  3. Hi, Barbara! Thanks for popping in, and for the encouragement! Horse training? How fun! I would love to spend a day (or week!) in your shadow! :)


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