APW: DIY Interview – Jennifer Bull

Name: Jennifer Bull

Email Address:

What is your pen name? JW Bull

What is your blog URL?

What is your website URL?  http://www.pickintomatoes.com

What is the contact information you are willing to share?

When and how did you discover you wanted to be a writer/author?
2007. I’ve been working on a project since then and it fueled my desire to become an author. It’s kind of like an itch that needed to be scratched until the only cure was to be published.

Are you a published author? Yes

Please list your published material, with dates?
2012 – ‘Pickin’ Tomatoes’ by JW Bull

If these are books, are they still available, and from where?
Yes.  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.
The audio book is coming in September via Audible.com, Amazon.com, and iTunes.

Please tell about your first publication – what was it, when, how you felt when it happened, problems you may have had, etc.
Rejections are a part of life and how you handle those rejections can be the difference between the glass half empty and the glass half full. And the difference between publication and the trash can. People say it’s the journey, not the destination that’s important. I say it’s both. The purpose of this article is to share with you the journey of trying to get my first book published and its final destination. If I can pass along a few tips, some motivational words, a little humor – all the better. After all, life’s just plain cake without the icing of a few words.

In 2007, I began to write my first book, ‘The Chef of Hearts.’ I knew I wanted it to be about a middle-aged woman reinventing herself and I wanted it to include recipes. But beyond that, I had no clue. As the story progressed, my quirky voice emerged and the story morphed into a combination of Lucy Ricardo meets Bridget Jones. It was amazing. I could actually visualize the wacky scenes unfolding in my book. I was so excited that before the book was even finished, I sent out queries to multiple agents. Lo and behold, an agent nibbled . . . “This is indeed fun. I would like to try to sell it for you.”

In a panic, I slapped together an ending and rushed it off to the agent. Before I could even comprehend what was happening, my book was sent off to a bunch of A-list houses. The query immediately piqued their attention and they promised to read it, ASAP. And that’s when the rejections started piling up, like dirty clothes in a laundry hamper. “I liked the concept but wasn’t as compelled by the story as I would have liked” . . . .  “Thanks much for sending me this. An inventive idea, but I’m afraid that I just didn’t fall in love with it the way I wanted to” . . . . “While Jennifer’s recipes all look fantastic and the basic premise of the novel is interesting , I never developed a strong enough connection to the main character to really care about her fate or become truly drawn into the story”. . . Hmmm . . . not so good . . . but hey, I had an agent.

He could always send my book out to more houses.

More rejections arrived with similar comments but I didn’t care. It was like I was in bed with naïvety and rolling around in my fantasy dream of getting my book published. It wasn’t until I received the last rejection that I began to smell the coffee. My agent was not going to send my book out to more publishing houses and I needed to have my book edited. But I still didn’t open my eyes. I fell into the trap of thinking I could fix the book myself. Like one of those “do it yourself” projects from Home Depot. The kind of project that sits in a bag on a counter, gets shoved in a corner, and is finally relegated to the junk space in your cabinet.

Over the next few years, my dream of getting my book published sort of withered away. I rewrote the book a couple of times, never really getting it right. And then for some odd reason, I picked it up last year. I rewrote it once more, renamed it ‘Pickin’ Tomatoes’ and sent it out to multiple agents. And you know what? Once again, it was picked up by another agent. At this point, I would love to say this time around things were different, that I had learned from my past mistakes, and achieved victory – publication.

But alas, it was like that movie ‘Ground Hog Day’ with Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. I couldn’t seem to stop reliving the same situation, the same destiny – rejection, rejection, rejection . . . “a fun premise, I’m afraid I just didn’t fall in love with the voice” . . .  “when I started reading, I was captivated by the narrative voice. But as I continued to read, I got bogged down in too many flashbacks” . . . “a bit light for our fiction list” . . . “The Bull is not right for the imprint” (Got to say, that one was my favorite, by far) . . . “I really enjoyed reading this story; Ms. Bull’s writing is both touching and humorous, and her recipes sound delicious. While there is so much to recommend about this one, I’m not sure how I could make it stand out from other novels like it” . . .

Finally, I smelled the coffee, woke up and opened my eyes. This was not going to work. Ever. I had failed.

Or had I? There’s a quote from an unknown author that I love. “When you feel like giving up, remember why you held on for so long in the first place.” Why had I held on so long to my dream of publishing this book? Why did I have to settle for no? Why did I have to succumb to other people’s decisions regarding my book? Maybe it was time to take matters into my own hands and figure out what I wanted for a change.

So here I am. Will my dreams come true? I know one of them has – my book has been published. I hired a professional editor, a graphic artist, and a book formatting company and I did it myself. Will it be successful? I have no idea. But after all the frustrating ups and downs, almosts and maybes, it’s no longer about the book being successful. It’s about my personal goal to take charge of my book and my life. You can change your destiny. To me, that is success. And just maybe, I’ve found what I’ve been searching for all along .  . . the icing on the cake.

Please tell about the most memorable moment in your career.
Having two successful agents pick me up and having two successful agents discard me. Kind of like a decadent dessert that looks amazing and tastes amazing until the nausea and heartburn hit you. Leaves you wondering why the heck did you eat that? But then you remember those first incredible bites and think well, maybe the discomfort was worth it. Or not… You might just swear off desserts forever…

What problems have you encountered in your career and how did you deal with them?
Lots of stumbling blocks but I am nothing if not stubborn. ‘Can’t’ is not in my vocabulary.

What genre do you most often write?  Fiction. Humorous fiction.

What is the name of your current project?  Musical Chairs

What is the expected release date?  2013

 What is the genre?  Fiction (mystery)


I’d like to thank Jennifer for her delightful interview.  We can all learn from her experience!

You can do your own interview by clicking on the DIY Interview Submission Form page and following the instructions.  It’s easy, painless and FREE.  You can provide as little or as much information as you wish, including adding your own questions and answers at the end.  Thanks!

Happy Writing,


Janelle’s Time is NOW AVAILABLE:
It’s available as a print book,
and  an e-book for the Kindle.

It will be available soon for
the Barnes & Noble Nook.

Other sources will be available soon!

PS: Please take a few minutes to read the  Wedding Chapter – Final  from my adult historical romance ‘Janelle’s Time.’  You’ll meet Richard and Janelle Grayson, the newlyweds, AND, meet Duke Logan Conor, from Muileach Castle, Scotland (he crashes the wedding) from ‘Logan’s Time,’ Book 4.   He’s also in ‘Moria’s Time,’ Book 2.

The TIME Series – by Dayna Leigh Cheser
Janelle’s Time – Available Now at Amazon
Moria’s Time – WIP – NaNoWriMo Project, 2011 Winner
Adelle’s Time – Planned
Logan’s Time – WIP
Clarissa’s Time – Planned


Posted on August 13, 2012, in Adelle's Time, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, books, Clarissa's Time, Dayna Leigh Cheser, DIY Interviews, e-books, editing, Facebook, interview, Janelle, Janelle's Time, Kindle, literary agents, Logan, Logan's Time, Moria's Time, Nook, published, queries, self-publishing, Smashwords, TIME Series, traditional publishing, Wedding Chapter, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on APW: DIY Interview – Jennifer Bull.

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