About Jeanetta Britt:
Bestselling author and award-winning poet, Jeanetta Britt, graduated with honors from Fisk University and The University of Michigan. She completed a successful executive career in Dallas, Texas, before returning to her native Alabama to live and to write Christian Fiction novels and Gospel poetry. “Of all the things in the world, the love of Jesus means the most to me,” she says. Her southern roots are reflected in her imagery, characters, and delightfully witty storytelling style–filled with juicy drama and edgy suspense lurking around every unsuspecting corner–exciting the senses and inspiring the soul. Jeanetta is also a sought-after inspirational speaker by youth and adults, alike. An avid gardener and community advocate, Jeanetta founded Twelve Stones CDC, a non-profit organization that operates two community gardens in rural Alabama. “We provide free, fresh food for our community and an opportunity for our youth and senior citizens to form that vital intergenerational bond, and get some free exercise and sunshine, too.” She smiles. “No rules–just love!”
What inspires you to write?
I can’t help but write. It’s like fire shut up in my bones. In fact, I don’t write until I have this overwhelming urge to spill the words that have been building up inside of me. Then I write until I’m empty again. I feel like sometimes I’m merely a conduit through which the words flow and the stories and poetry form, but it’s my privilege be a part of the process. I enjoy it immensely. I find it to be my purpose and my passion. And I’m deeply touched when others enjoy it–are blessed by it–as well.
Tell us about your writing process.
The process depends on the story. When I wrote the three-book, ‘Lottie’ Series, I didn’t use an outline because it was more or less a straight line (admittedly with lots of twists and turns) through Lottie’s life journey. But when I wrote my latest, Living in the Seventh Day, I needed an outline of sorts just to keep me straight since there are three distinct stories intertwined into one. Jasmine, Leeza and Cristal are three unique and dynamic women who meet by chance, connect, and then their lives spiral off into their own personal drama. So, in order to keep the characters straight and to identify points where their lives would intersect again, it required and outline. I basically just scribbled it on a piece of white paper in three columns. And as the story grew and took shape, so did the outline. I see an outline as a tool and nothing more. It’s not a requirement if you can keep the time points, intersections, twists, turns and characters in your head–and I usually do until they’re my best friends, and I become exhausted with them. Then it’s on to some new friends, some new stories. That’s why I love writing fiction!
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don’t talk to my characters, but they certainly talk to me. It’s like a movie in my head. I usually start out with a frame of a story–something I want to say or a set of circumstances I want to explore–for the benefit of my readers. Then it’s get out of the way and let the characters have do their thing! I use a lot of dialogue in my writing, which means the characters are telling the story from their point of view and from their personalities (not mine). I’m a consummate people watcher, so I can see or hear what the characters are saying or doing at any point in time. And I think it’s important that the characters tell the story. The author’s hand should be invisible, I think. If the characters can’t tell the story, or arrive at the desired conclusion, then it’s time to rethink the story, or add some more characters to help them get there. And it’s important to throw in a few surprises, too…wink-wink!
What advice would you give other writers?
Just write. Don’t think about it. Don’t plan it. Don’t angst over it. Just write. Get in front of your laptop and let the words flow until you’re dry. Then examine the words, the concepts, the ideas, the scenes that were in your head, and see how they fit together to tell the story you want to tell. Sometimes, in the course of it, you might find that the story has taken off in another direction. Let it. That’s what cut/paste is all about. Scenes or words or ideas I don’t know what to do with, I just cut and paste them to the bottom of the file. Sometimes they get used; sometime, not. Just let the words flow, not worrying about ‘rightness’; and then fix it, perfect it. I don’t think you can write a perfect first draft…pssh! Who cares? Enjoy the process of writing, and the story will find you.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I’m an Indie publisher and proud of it! I decided to be an Indie publisher almost from the start. I like to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ through my stories, and one or two people might get ‘saved’ along the way. I want the artistic freedom to share that in whatever way I choose–mystery, love story, suspense, drama–but with me, it’ll always be intense. Because I believe that people who like fiction want to, first and foremost, be entertained. So the idea is to get your point across while the reader is laughing, or crying, or shaking their fist at you–but, most of all, feeling. Besides, I enjoy the publishing process. I like getting it all ‘right’ in the end (spelling, punctuation, chapter headings, etc.). Of course, I have editors and proofers, and the like. But I like getting my hands dirty with all parts of the process. Honestly, though, the marketing piece is the one I like the least. So I’m always looking help in that area. Thankfully, making a mint is not my bottom line; sharing the stories…is.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think it’s wonderful that the log jam has burst and all sorts of writers are getting an opportunity to get their words and ideas in print. This has kind of put a crimp in the old guard, and I think it was probably time for it. Gatekeepers are good, but often, they keep the ‘good’ from ever seeing the light of day. I think an open marketplace in artistic areas is far superior to stifling raw, and sometimes awesome, talent. And with fewer middle-men, the payout may be fairer, too.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?: Christian Fiction, Poetry, Women’s Fiction, True Love, African American Literature & Fiction
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print