Photographers capture moments in time, whether they photograph people, events, nature or objects. Their photos evoke emotions. A baby or a puppy makes you smile. The ocean crashing against the shore fills you with wonder. A war image might make you cry or strike out in anger. While a picture might be worth a thousand words, it’s the feeling you get when you see the photo that provides that connection, that makes you care.
Writers do something similar. We use words to create images and feelings. Sure, we can tell the reader what is happening—John walked across the room—but it’s the emotions we evoke that keeps that reader turning the page—John’s footsteps echoed across the floorboards in the empty house as he waited for his wife to return. One of the first things we are taught is to “show, don’t tell” and the words we choose help us to draw the reader into the story, rather than leaving him or her on the sidelines.
When I toured the old Victorian mansion that was for sale, I could feel its history seeping out of the walls and floors. I could visualize the people who had lived there. Although I couldn’t buy the house, I wasn’t ready to give it up yet, so I decided to use it as the setting for my newest book, In the Moment. A setting that draws emotions out of the reader is my way of photographing a particular landscape. And giving that setting meaning to a particular character will automatically make the reader understand that character’s motivation and desires.
A house steeped in traditions and time is the perfect setting for a heroine who is looking to put down roots, and it’s the perfect conflict for a hero that is running from attachments of any kind. For me, as a writer, being able to remember what I loved about that particular mansion gave me pleasure every time I described a room in my character’s house. It drew me in as much as I hope to draw the reader into the story. It gave me a model from which to paint my pictures. And as an added bonus, it gave me a unique perspective when creating my hero, a war photographer.
So while some might say that pictures and words go hand in hand, I would also say that they are two sides to the same coin. Both evoke emotion and both draw the reader or the observer in.
Jennifer started telling herself stories as a little girl when she couldn’t fall asleep at night. Her favorite stories to write are those with smart, sassy, independent heroines; handsome, strong and slightly vulnerable heroes; and her stories always end with happily ever after.
In the real world, she’s the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men she knows. When she’s not writing, she loves to laugh with family and friends, is a pro at finding whatever her kids lost in plain sight, and spends way too much time closing doors that should never have been left open. She believes humor is the only way to get through the day and doesn’t share her chocolate.
She writes contemporary romance, some of which are mainstream and some of which involve Jewish characters. All are available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
She can be reached at: