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Unearthing Intrigue: An Interview with Jennifer Bourland, author of Hidden Shadow

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Hidden Shadow is Jennifer’s first novel. Being a vivid dreamer, always intrigued by human behavior and a love for mysteries, sparked her passion for writing. Jennifer lives in Michigan with her family and two golden retrievers. She is a former art and English teacher turned entrepreneur, immersed in interior design, real estate, graphic design, and photography. Jennifer believes in the importance of kindness and the healing power of dogs, humor, and writing. She appreciates creativity, palm trees, and a good margarita.

You can buy Hidden Shadow here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

I knew pretty early on that I liked Hidden Shadow for a title. To me, it had a bit of mystery and intrigue and was ambiguous enough to represent various elements in the novel. I did, however, try to keep an open mind if another title popped in my head that would better represent the story, but as I wrote more and the story developed, I became attached to that title.

How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?

After what seemed like an eternity, through all the ups and downs of my writing sessions, revisions, and more revisions, waiting for feedback, and going through the publishing process, not to mention that it took ten years to get there, I was determined to reach the finish line especially after hearing my kids ask, “Mom, did you finish your book yet?” I wanted to show them that if you commit to something you need to see it through. I saw the idea develop into something and come to life as the interior layout was put together. This built even more suspense waiting to see it in actual print. Then it was here! The day finally came when I opened the envelope and saw the striking blue cover and my name in print on a real book. It was surreal. The day I received the hard copy of Hidden Shadow in the mail was definitely one of the highlights in my life. It was such an emotional moment and literally a dream come true. It was hard to wrap my mind around it for a minute, but it was very exciting for me to share that moment with my family and friends. I’m so grateful for all the people in my life and the team at Atmosphere Press who helped me get to that moment.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

About ten years ago I woke up from a nightmare, haunted by words of a mystery woman asking a cryptic question in a shrill voice. It stuck with me for a couple days and I was compelled to write down more of the details from my dream. After about a week I thought it might make an intriguing story. I started writing and then had an idea to turn it into a novel. I have always loved mysteries and have been intrigued by human behavior. The seemingly unrealistic idea of novel writing turned into a reality when I met two other ladies in my community, not far from my age, that had just published their first book. The idea didn’t seem so far-fetched after that. It was a great lesson in achieving goals. Just spending time with it and completing the tasks and being consistent will get you where you want to go. Even if you don’t have the motivation or knowledge of what to do, just by taking it a step at a time, the path reveals itself. You just have to step out. Then the bursts of creativity were exhilarating and energized me to do more. It was so much fun to have these ideas for plot and characters pop into my head. The story took on a life of its own. It also became a cathartic experience as a creative outlet and working through changes and challenges in my own life. I was hooked and I hope this is just the beginning of much more writing to come.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I have an eclectic mix of job experience including working in retail, dry cleaning, telemarketing, kitchen experience in college (and everyday at home), raising humans, office work, teaching, graphic design, interior design, photography, business operations, and now author. Something about me that readers wouldn’t know is that, much like my main character, I do not drink coffee. I never really liked the smell or the taste of it. Coffee ice cream is the only exception.

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

I think the most rewarding and amazing part of publishing Hidden Shadow was to see a tiny idea that literally started in darkness in the middle of the night come to light and to see people enjoy it.

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

I have several exciting projects that I am working on. I am continuing with the sequel to Hidden Shadow. The goal is to create a series of four books where the main character Sophie will explore more of her intuition. I look forward to new challenges that the series will bring.

As far as non-writing, my husband and I are starting our first ground-up build for a client. This will be a very exciting venture as we have been renovating homes and investment properties over the past several years—some of those being complete renovations—almost ground-up. So, this next step will bring new challenges and opportunities for growth. I love the creative aspect of design and, similar to writing a book, like to see an idea come to life.

How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?

Working with Atmosphere Press was a delight from beginning to end. First, what drew me in was their author-centered approach to publishing. They also offer a wealth of services from editing to promotion and everything in between. I appreciated the wide variety of books they published. If I wanted to explore other genres and publish with them, I was not locked in one direction. There was a team of welcoming, knowledgeable people that guided me through a seamless process. The amount of support was amazing and extremely helpful for being a first-time author. From Founder Nick Courtright taking a chance on my manuscript, Shelley Lee in Acquisitions, Editor Albert Liau giving great ideas and resources, Art Director Ronaldo Alves and Matthew Fielder designing an amazing cover, Alex Kale my Managing Editor keeping things moving, my proofreaders, Production Manager Erin Larson-Burnett, and to my Publicity Director Cameron Finch seeing things through to the finish line. I would recommend Atmosphere to anyone looking for a publisher. I am in the process of creating other books and plan to continue my relationship with Atmosphere Press.

You can buy Hidden Shadow here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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