Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Tenacity Interviews - Jill Nelson

Welcome Jill Nelson to The Tenacity Interviews - the interview series that lifts you up, gives you courage to pursue your dreams, and inspires you to find the hope that lies within you.

By day, Jill Nelson serves as manager of a senior apartment building at her local health care complex. By night, she morphs into a wild and crazy writer, itching to share with readers all the cool things her characters are telling her. She and her husband have been married for over 27 years. They enjoy life in rural Minnesota, where they raised four children and now have a grandbaby on the way.

1) How did you know you were going to be a writer?
My very special 6th grade teacher helped awaken the dream on the inside of me by reading to her class each day from wonderful, imaginative novels. I was already a voracious reader, but somewhere in the process of being read to I realized that I didn’t want just to enjoy good books, I wanted to be the person who gave that joy to others. After that, I gave myself as much to writing as to reading.

2) How do you define “success” for yourself?
I count my success in lives enriched and people helped through my tales of adventure, seasoned with romance, humor, and faith. You can find out more about these books at

3) What did you do to celebrate your first sale?
I was at a writers conference when I got that call, so I was surrounded by fellow scribes who truly understood that “moment.” When I got back to my hotel room, I called my whole family, and we all rejoiced. One of the first things I bought with my advance money was a laptop computer. I rarely go anywhere without it.

4) Who believed in you the most? What role did they play in your ability to keep going?
Through grade school and high school, my dad was the one who encouraged me the most by his constant faith that I could “make it” as a writer. Unfortunately, he passed away when I was eighteen. My mom has always been encourager too, but nowadays I get a lot of my moral support from my husband. Ironically, he isn’t much of a reader himself, but he loves that I’m a writer.

5) How did rejection affect your tenacity?
In the time before I had lived enough life to develop a decent degree of self-confidence, rejection discouraged me to the point of stopping submissions for long periods of time. The more I grew in the Lord, the less I needed the affirmation of an acceptance to encourage me to persevere. The writing became a fire in my belly, put there by God. There was no stopping me any more, and consistent persistence eventually paid off in a career.

6) Is tenacity something you learned along the way? Or does it come naturally to you?
LOL. I think I answered that one above. It was definitely a learned trait . . . or should I say “developed,” since it wasn’t a mental process at all, more like spiritual.

7) What advice do you have for a writer who is facing “no” right now?
Thank God! If the answer is “no” on this project or with this particular house, the Lord has a far better “yes” down the road. One of the keys to successful tenacity is faith in a good God with a good plan designed just for you. Tell yourself that truth—over and over if you have to—when that rejection comes and your emotions are stinging.
Saying "Thanks" for an answer we didn't want to hear? Ah, the bible says, "Give thanks in all things." Great advice for finding the tenacity we need to keep on with our dreams.
I bid you good writing.

1 comment:

Joanna Mallory said...

Jill, thanks for these words -- especially the encouragement to trust in a good God who has a good plan for each of us.

I'm glad you persevered -- I've enjoyed your To Catch a Thief series and am watching for your new novel. Any day now, right?