About Jennifer Frank:
Physician by Day…Writer by Night. My love of writing grew out of the many meaningful moments I’ve shared with patients – some joyful, often emotional, always special. My initial essays, appearing in medical journals and literary magazines, allowed me to work through the ups and downs of a medical life.
As an avid reader, I adore a great story. Eventually, I decided to create my own. Not a planful writer, instead my story develops as I write, so I am often as engrossed with what will happen next as if I was reading a book created by someone else. My characters are my favorite part of any story I write. Too bad I will never meet them in real life!
When I’m not stamping out disease or coaxing patients to eat their veggies and not composing the next scene, I am kept busy with my four crazy nutballs – my children and my wonderful and supportive husband.
What inspires you to write?
My fiction writing is inspired by the voices in my head. I may hear or read about something, even a snippet of an event and my mind starts weaving together the missing parts of the story to answer all the questions I have. Why did it happen? How did he feel? What happened next? How did it change her life? That’s why I write – to fill in the gaps in the stories I see unfolding around me.
When I write narrative essays, I am inspired by deeply meaningful interactions that I’ve had with patients. During the writing process, I can explore these moments that touch me, change me, and challenge me.
Tell us about your writing process.
I like to write a novel the way I read a novel – one page at a time, wondering what is going to happen next. Sometimes I have great bursts of energy and the story just flows out of my mind, more like I am documenting something that I am watching unfold before me. At other times, writing is a discipline, and I feel totally uninspired. In those moments, I commit to writing 500 or 1000 words and just put down sentences without judging the quality. Sometimes this process will lead to new ideas that take on a life of their own.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I can’t say I talk out loud or hear them talk to me. However, I do get inside their heads and eventually can sense what they will say or how they will say it. This may be a function of being a physician. I hear patients’ stories all day long and enjoy exploring motivations and how circumstances play out differently for individuals.
The feeling of observing my characters is one of the more surprising experiences I have as a writer. Without expending concentrated effort, I can switch back and forth between dialogue using different voices, speaking styles, and expressions.
What advice would you give other writers?
To write about what you feel and think. Write about experiences that touch you in some way. Explore your feelings through the writing process. And, most importantly, write for yourself first. You should fall in love with what you write.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I struggled with how to best go about publishing my debut novel. I explored literary agents, self-publishing, small publishing houses, and big publishing houses. In the end, I decided to stay traditional and go with a publisher. The publisher I chose is a small publishing house which emphasizes author involvement in the entire process.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
It is an exciting time. Doors have been thrown open wide to writers, and there are so many avenues to write and find an audience. I do think successful big publishing houses will learn to adapt and some will become defunct. There will always be a need and demand for publishers and agents, but those authors who are brave enough are able to go at it on their own with the amazing resources available out there.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Women’s Fiction,Mystery
What formats are your books in?: eBook