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Getting Published, with Jean Tennant: Episode 1

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With author Jean Tennant



Welcome to our very first reality show!

In “Getting Published” we’ll follow the efforts of various writers as they work on their books, look for agents and publishers, go through the publishing process, and embark on their marketing. We’ll look at their proposals, query letters, and marketing plans and share in their reactions as they hear, or don’t hear, from agents and editors.

During the journey, we’ll ask for your comments and make them available on the show and our blog. In that way, even though each series is one writer’s story, their work will become a kind of collaboration between them and you, our listeners. We hope that the show will provide insight into the publishing process and help guide you in your own efforts.

Shows will be posted on a semi-regular schedule—whenever our writers have something to report or listeners have offered feedback—but not less often than once a month.

Our first writer is Jean Tennant, who says “I feel like I’m being given a special gift to take part in the beginning of something that might–you never know– become a trend in podcasting. I’m nervous about it, nervous about the possibility of failing so publicly, but have decided it’s all about taking risks, and putting yourself out there.“

Jean is a native Californian transplanted to the Midwest. She was first published twenty-five years ago when she started writing for “The Trues”–True Romance, True Confessions, True Story, etc. From there she moved on to short stories, essays, and finally, novels. Her first, a Silhouette YA titled Playing House, was published in 1986. Six horror novels then appeared in quick succession between 1987 and 1992. She has adapted one of them, Wild Card, into a screenplay. Though out of print, her books are still available through under the name Jean Simon.

After more than a decade of devoting herself to freelance work, and as a news correspondent for the Sioux City Journal, Jean has returned to the tough, time-consuming, frustrating, and ultimately rewarding world of novels. Her soon-to-be completed work is Karaoke Nights at the Twilight Lounge, which takes place in the fictional town of Hudson Valley, Minnesota, and explores the friendships and loyalties of women, with a sprinkling of infidelity and murder thrown in for good measure. She’s also at work on a thriller, tentatively titled Mount Hope, which she hopes to have completed by early 2007.

Jean is a member of the Arts on Grand Writers’ Group, which meets twice a month in Spencer, Iowa. She also enjoys word games and puzzles, and is a member of the American Cryptogram Association. She lives in Iowa with her husband, and a terrier named Kirby Puckett.

In episode 1 of “Getting Published, with Jean Tennant,” we introduce Jean, her book, and her goals, including:

  • What Jean’s book is about
  • Why she has returned to novel-writing after years in journalism
  • How her current novels are different from the ones she wrote in the eighties
  • Where she is in the process
  • How she approaches writing and editing
  • Why she has chosen to tell this particular story
  • How she came up with her characters and plot and made sure they were fresh and original
  • How she came up with her title
  • What her writing and publishing goals are (you’ve got to hear her elevator pitch!)
  • How she feels about the possibility of failure
  • Why she doesn’t want to self-publish.

We invite you to offer your feedback on Jean’s prologue by commenting on our blog and/or writing to Paula B. at paula at writingshow dot com.

Next time, Jean explains how she’s approaching looking for an agent. We’ll also be posting a sample of her query letters and chapter one of Karaoke Nights at the Twilight Lounge.

Interviewee: Jean Tennant
Host: Paula B
Date: September 11, 2006
Running time: 48:04
File size: 35 megabytes
Rating: G
Jean Tennant’s Web site:

9 Responses to “Podcast: Getting Published, with Jean Tennant: Episode 1”

  1. DanielS Says:

    I’m not usually a big fan of prologues, but this one gripped me. It took about a page before I even realized no names were used and now I can’t wait to read the book to learn who these people are. Will more of this author’s books be put online at this site? I haven’t listened to the interview in full yet, but will.
    Daniel Stravarus

  2. Administrator Says:

    Hi, Daniel,

    Yes! We will be posting the first few chapters of Jean’s manuscript plus sample query letters to agents.

    Thanks so much for the feedback. Jean is going to be thrilled!

    Best regards,
    Paula B.

  3. Betty Taylor Says:

    I am a member of Jean Tennant’s writing group. I am constantly impressed with her ability to develop characters, create plots and scenes, and use dialogue. I find her beginnings as a writer of the “trues” to be quite intriguing. I have read parts of her manuscript and predict great interest in her work. I look forward to hearing more from her, both in person and with Paula.

  4. FFLynstrom Says:

    This was a great interview and I really enjoyed hearing from someone who wants to write more about my home state (you betcha!) This is a great idea, I can’t wait to see more of it.

  5. FFLynstrom Says:

    This was a great interview and I really enjoyed hearing from someone who wants to write more about my home state (you betcha!) This is a great idea, I can’t wait to see more of it.
    Faith Lynstrom

  6. Administrator Says:

    Hi, Betty,

    Thanks so much for stopping by. I predict great success for Jean. And we all get to be a part of it!

    Paula B.

  7. Administrator Says:

    Hi, Faith,

    I’m glad you enjoyed Jean’s first interview. Just wait for episode 2! (grin) It’s already been recorded, so I can say with authority that you will not be disappointed.

    Paula B.

  8. Kristy Says:

    Hello. I bumped into this interview accidentally on itunes and now I have to wonder, where have you been all my life? There’s so much information on your website that I never even knew was there before. As an aspiring writer I’m especially pleased to have found it, and to see this new Reality Show you’re doing. It’s better than a soap opera. I can’t wait to find out what happens next. I’ve talked to some people in my dorm about it, we’re thinking of organizing regular ‘listening parties’ for your podcasts.
    Kristy M.

  9. Administrator Says:

    Yikes, Kristy–you really made my day! I’m so glad you’re enjoying The Writing Show!

    Let me know what sorts of topics and guests you’d like to see, as well as Web site features. Speaking of which, we’re planning on launching a writers’ workspace in the next few months, where you’ll be able to work in private or public and get and offer feedback. We’ve also got more reality shows in the works.

    Paula B.