It’s Author Interview Thursday! If you’re a songwriter and/or love country music, then you’re in for a big treat today. Our special guest moved to Nashville to follow her dreams to become a songwriter. Despite the hardships and setbacks she experienced along the way, she’s living proof that dreams do come true! She co-wrote the chart topper, ‘She Wouldn’t Be Gone‘ with Cory Batten that was performed by American country music singer, Blake Shelton. The song was Number One on the Hot Country Songs Charts in February 2009. She also writes children’s books and I’m so delighted to have her on the hot seat today. So without further ado, please join me in welcoming Jennifer Adan.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspires you to write children’s books?
I have been writing since I was nine years old. I started writing songs and poems, which led to short stories, screenplays and novels. I wrote my first children’s book, I Don’t See Heaven in 2004, when my grandfather passed away. I was so inspired that I wrote it in about thirty minutes. My sister’s best friend Liz was inspired by my story and wanted to draw pictures to go along with it.
What can a reader expect when they pick up a Jen Adan book?
For this current book, readers can expect a light-hearted explanation about coping with a death. It doesn’t go into specifics because I didn’t want the story to be too deep. As for my future children’s books, I will keep the light heartedness of the overall feeling. As for my novels and how-to books, I plan to make them sarcastic, layered with humor and an underlying serious nature.
What in your opinion makes a great children’s book?
I think a great children’s book consists of the author’s ability to relate to the child, get down to their level and not preach to them, but meanwhile providing a story that will make them feel a connection. It has to have a sweet tone with some humor, some lessons and some form of emotion that will make them feel something, or make them question and come to their own conclusions about the world.
What has been your most successful marketing method for promoting your books?
Connecting with the public on a personal level. Reaching out to people personally, or through social media and also word of mouth.
What were some of your favourite books as a child?
My favorite books as a child were The Giving Tree, Love You Forever, Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day, Goodnight Moon, Harold and the Purple Crayon, The Snowy Day, and Winnie the Pooh.
What mistake(s) have you made while publishing your books that you would advise other authors against?
Well, being the first book I’ve had published, it’s all a learning experience. There’s not one piece of advice that I would advise against, but I would say to make sure you have all of your stuff organized so it makes the publishing process go smoother.
Most people probably know you as a songwriter. What would you say are the similarities and differences between writing a song and writing a work of fiction?
My songs mostly consist of heartbreak, man hating, angry songs (haha) but I also have some sweet, positive songs as well, just not many. My books, especially my children’s books, are light-hearted, happy and anti-hate, pro love. My other works of fiction can vary because of the theme of each book, but I feel like my books and my songs are polar opposites.
Your song ‘She Wouldn’t be Gone’ for Blake Shelton hit the Number One spot on the Hot Country Songs chart. Can you tell us about that moment when you heard the news and how you felt?
Well, the first time I heard Blake was going to cut the song, my co-writer Cory called me and told me that some guy named Blake Shelton wanted to record it and I flipped! Then, what seemed like a couple weeks later, I received a phone call from Scott Hendrix at Warner Brothers saying they were going to release it as his first single. At the time, I was working as a receptionist at a real estate company and got the message on my lunch break. I freaked out, called Scott back and I’m pretty sure I cried.
What in your opinion makes a great songwriter and what can someone do if they want to sharpen their song writing skills?
A great songwriter express their life experiences effectively through their music. They are able to portray a certain feeling, whether it’s happy or sad or heartbreak or anger in such a way that the listener has to stop what they are doing to listen and feels so connected to it that they are convinced the songwriter wrote it about them. A great songwriter brings passion and truth to their lyrics and music and blends so perfectly that people remember them and want to hear more. Diane Warren is a huge role model and hero of mine and I believe that she is a great songwriter.
How do you reward yourself when you’ve completed writing a song or achieving a specific publishing goal?
Nothing! ha-ha! I just keep writing and when I write something I’m proud of, I share it with everyone, whether its a song or a piece of writing.
What book or film has the best dialogue that inspires you to be a better writer and why?
There are so many books and films that inspire me, but I am a huge Disney fan and so most Disney movies inspire me, especially the old school ones like Mary Poppins, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid, Lion King, Aladdin, and then other movies like The Blind Side, 42, Pursuit of Happiness and tons of others!
Toy Story or Shrek?
What should a first time visitor to Nashville, Tennessee do while there?
Go to the Bluebird Cafe! It’s my favorite place in Nashville to hear amazing songwriters sing their songs and it has great food and the atmosphere is amazing. I am not a big fan of downtown honky tonks, but everyone should go there as a first timer. I also suggest going to Loveless Cafe. It’s the best down home cooking you will get in Nashville! Their biscuits are soooooo good!
Can you tell us about an awkward/unforgettable experience you’ve had with a fan?
I received a letter in the mail from a fan in Florida. I don’t know how he got my address, but he did and he hand wrote me a letter saying he wanted an 8X10 photo of me and he kept writing me letters. It was a little strange.
What can we expect from Jen Adan in 2014?
A lot! I am going to be a writing machine and put out another children’s book and more music and I am currently working on a screenplay. This is the year of finishing projects so everyone should get ready!
Where can fans and readers of your books and music discover more about you and connect with you?
My website www.jenniferadan.com has all of my social media links and it has a list of my upcoming events.
Any advice for authors or songwriters out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry?
Never give up! If this is what you want to do and if this is your passion keep going! Don’t let the world harden your heart and make you biter and jaded toward the industry. The entertainment industry is tough and you have to learn how to swim with sharks and develop a thick skin and just keep pushing through. If one door doesn’t open, try another and another and another and if that doesn’t work, get a ladder and go through the window! Network and talk to everyone and use your resources to keep learning about your craft and talk to as many people as you can, take classes, go to conferences or workshops, travel to as many places as possible and read as many books as possible. And make sure you never give up!
Thanks for ending the interview on such a positive note. I wonder what would have happened if you had given up after some rejections. I also have to agree with you on the power of networking. You just never know who you could meet that knows someone or has the power to open doors to launch you into your destiny. You can get a copy of Jen’s book by clicking the link below. I’ve read it and it’s good!
I Don’t See Heaven by Jen Adan
Below is the music video of the Number One Song ‘She Wouldn’t Be Gone.’
Great interview! That is so cool that you had your song sung by Blake Shelton. Good luck in your future endeavors.I will be checking our your book to see if it would be good for my bibliotherapy resources.
Thanks for stopping by Donalisa!
It was a pleasure to interview Jen and I know she has more Number Ones and great achievements within her. By the way, her book is really good.