USA Today bestselling author Jennifer St. Giles, aka Jennifer Saints and JL Saint, has won multiple writing awards, including the Golden Heart, the National Reader’s Choice Award, the RT Reviewer’s Choice, and the Daphne du Maurier. Jennifer writes in multiple genres, including romance, paranormal, contemporary, historical and military and time travel. She believes fervently in following your dreams and never giving up.
Daily Dragon (DD): What inspired you to start writing, and what was your first sale?
Jennifer St. Giles (JSG): I grew up a voracious reader and leaned toward creative stuff (art, music, writing, poetry) but had no focus. In my mid-twenties, I learned an author whose hundred plus books I enjoyed had died years before I’d been born. Stories from her heart had bridged generations, time, and death to reach my heart. I knew then that I had stories in my heart that I wanted to share. Fast forward ten years through several different projects between historical and contemporary suspense, I completed my first novel and sent that baby out, sure it would be a bestseller. Nine years and over a dozen stories later, in 2004, I made my first sale to Pocket Books, The Mistress of Trevelyan, a gothic historical.
DD: You write under three different names. How did that come about?
JSG: I started my career as Jennifer St. Giles, writing gothic historicals. Pocket Books requested I switch to contemporary werewolves and I developed the Shadowmen Series. While under contract with them, I wanted to self-publish stories I’d written earlier for a more sensual line. So I had to publish those under a different name. I chose Jennifer Saints. Then when the economy hit the bottom in late 2008–2009, the publisher let me go. After that happened, I was told the Jennifer St. Giles name was dead (no publisher would take it on), so I sold two military romantic suspense books under the name JL Saint. Now that I Indie publish, I have kept all three names: Jennifer St. Giles—historical and paranormal; Jennifer Saints- sexy romantic suspense; JL Saint—military romantic suspense.
DD: What draws you to paranormal romance?
JSG: I love paranormal romance because it opens an entire universe of possibilities on how love and good can conquer evil. Being able to write stories that delve into the mysteries of the spirit world and explore characters free of human limitations lets my imagination soar. I love it.
DD: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing those series?
JSG: Time to write! LOL Between my job, family, and trying to have a life, I don’t have a much time to write as I would love to have. My dream is to write full time. Being able to explore different worlds and tell different stories brings me joy and great satisfaction.
DD: What inspired your Silent Warriors military series?
JSG: I wrote Collateral Damage with our military soldiers and their families in mind. They sacrifice so much and get so little thanks. I wanted to write stories that showed their courage and the hard choices they have to make. But I’m not a war zone writer, so I came up with plots and situations that brought them home.
DD: How did you do the research for those books?
JSG: I did the best I could through the internet, through books, through reading top writers like Brad Thor, Andrew Peterson, Brad Taylor, and AJ Tata. When I could, I had authors who write in the genre read my book for any glaring errors in my weapons or technical information. My dream would be a direct source.
DD: What do you find appealing, as a romance writer, about Dragon Con?
JSG: Dragon Con is filled with readers and lovers of story who have open minds. I have been going for a number of years and people come back every year to get more signed books.
DD: Which of your characters was easiest to write, and why?
JSG: Anne from The Mistress of Trevelyan. She enters a home torn by tragedy and becomes the healing balm as she uncovers the truth of what happened in the past.
DD: Which of your characters has been the most difficult to write, and why?
JSG: Not so much a character as a book, but I think it is because I want it to be perfect and making it happen has been hard. A Rose from the Grave is a paranormal time travel that I wrote before and have expanded into a series concept to republish.
DD: What advice would you offer to aspiring writers?
JSG: Never give up on your dreams. Be the last man standing! Don’t let perfection get in the way of creativity. Make your writing a reality one step at a time.
DD: You’ve won a number of writing contest from the Romance Writers of America and its various chapters. What do you think is the benefit of entering these contests, and is there a downside?
JSG: Chapter conferences and contests paved the way to my becoming published. In 2002-2003, I won three major awards in three different genres that were all judged by editors at the same publisher. I had previously met an editor at conferences with that publisher, so I contacted her and let her know of my winning manuscripts. She asked to see them and they bought one.
DD: What charitable work do you do, and what draws you to it?
JSG: For a number of years with the Rising Phoenix Charitable Foundation we’ve raised funds to help shelter abused women, their children, and their pets. Breaking the cycle of domestic violence and helping women to realize their self-worth, that they and their family matter and have a choice in life, is so very important.
DD: What’s next for you?
JSG: This year, I plan to have Bewitching the Wolf out after I finish Merry, Did You Know? A Christmas Anthology. In 2017 I will have A Rose from the Grave out as well as What didn’t Happen in Vegas, a novella in my Silent Warrior Series, a novella in my Weldon Brothers Series, and Hayden’s Hell Exposed Series Case File 2.
For more information on Jennifer St. Giles and her writing, you can visit her website, jenniferstgiles.com. When her schedule permits, you can also find her in the dealer’s room at booths 1223 and 1225 with sixteen other author guests.