Jennifer Shelton is the author of With Wondering Awe.
LDSP: Apparently, I am just way too predictable. Not good. Just to keep you on your toes, I'm going to randomize every question for the rest of the interview. So...uhm...What is your favorite Christmas memory from your childhood?
Jennifer: My mother was raised Catholic before she joined the Church when I was six. She taught us O Come All Ye Faithful in Latin. One Christmas, when I was about ten or eleven, she found a book at the library that had all the verses of that hymn in Latin. My mom taught us the song. To this day, we always sing that hymn in Latin on Christmas Eve.
LDSP: What a nice tradition. *awkward seque* When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Jennifer: It must be when my article was published in the New Era.
LDSP: That's great! What books have most influenced your life?
Little House on the Prairie series. It was reading those that inspired me to write. Reading Jack Weyland’s early works made me want to write for the LDS market.
LDSP: Weyland was one of the first to really develop the LDS fiction genre. And speaking of Santa, when and how did you discover the truth about Santa?
Jennifer: I was nine years old and my younger brother told me. He was almost eight at the time. Naturally, I didn’t believe him. On Christmas Eve, after we had gone to bed, he came to my room to prove to me how wrong I was. We walked part way down the stairs and peered between the bars of the banister. There was my mom with a large garbage bag removing colorfully wrapped presents and placing them under the tree. Needless to say, I was devastated.
LDSP: When and why did you begin writing?
Jennifer: I was about nine years old. I loved books and telling stories to my younger siblings. My passion for writing grew as I got older.
LDSP: What was the best book you’ve read this year?
Jennifer: Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen. Her writing style differs from modern writing, and I was pleasantly surprised by her wit.
LDSP: Do you see writing as a career?
Jennifer: As a matter of fact, I do. It’s been a part of me for so long, although this Christmas story is the first thing I will have published since my New Era article. I’ve submitted a few manuscripts in the past, which have been rejected. Luckily, it hasn’t discouraged me from writing. If it had, I would never have entered this contest.
LDSP: I'm glad you have that attitude. Keep writing. Keep submitting. Are there any new authors that have captured your interest?
Jennifer: Holly J. Wood. She wrote Invaluable which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was written for the youth and, wanting to write for them myself, I found it very interesting.
LDSP: What kinds of Christmas stories do you like best?
Jennifer: I love romantic Christmas stories, like the ones shown on the Hallmark Movie Channel. Anita Stansfield wrote a few that I absolutely loved.
LDSP: And that's it for now. Thanks for the interview!