Interview with Jennifer Lauren - Runner Up in the Quarter 3 Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest with "Tennis"

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Congratulations to Jennifer Lauren and "Tennis" and to all of our contestants in the Quarter 3 2022 Creative Nonfiction Contest!

Jennifer's Bio:

Jennifer is an award-winning writer and former attorney who is working on her second novel, a story of two families caught up in the Satanic panic in the 1980s. Her first novel, Everything We Did Not Do, is about the missteps one woman makes in her search for justice and the devastating consequences to another. She is currently seeking a publisher. If you are interested, please contact Emily Williamson of Williamson Literary at

Jennifer still lives in Austin with her husband, two teens, and too many pets. Even though she’s gone back to yoga a couple times a week, she is still playing tennis. She gets a little bit better all the time. Reach her at

If you haven't done so already, check out Jennifer's award-winning story "Tennis" and then return here for a chat with the author. 

WOW: Congratulations on placing as a runner up in the Q3 2022 Creative Nonfiction ContestThank you for writing this essay - what is the take-away you'd like readers to gain from Tennis? 

Jennifer: I’m in my mid-forties, which is coming up on the age in which society thinks you should politely disappear into a cottage with books, tea, and far too many cats, emerging only to give friendly advice and homemade cookies to teenagers and twenty-somethings when they’re dealing with angst. The older we get, the less relevant we are. Someone should write a novel about the invisible older woman, but it may be too short – it's possible no one would notice she was gone.

All of my essays feel a bit self-centered to me, even if I hope my themes speak to women on a universal level. But in this essay, I am not the hero. The older ladies are – these tough as nails women who still have perfect hair and a killer swing, and who seem to know all the secrets of survival. I’m lucky to know them. Anyone would be lucky to know them. I hope society’s tendency to look right through them is starting to change.

WOW: I'm glad you have decided to fight against societies wish for us 40 somethings! You're a support for the rest of us - so let me ask, who is your support - what have you found to be most supportive in your writing life as well as in life in general?  

Jennifer: I do not deserve my husband, who encouraged me to quit my job and focus on writing. He seems genuinely happy to overlook the dirty house, grab takeout when I’m caught up in a project, and celebrate the small victories. Most importantly, he treats my writing like an actual job, even if right now it pays negative money. And he listens to me talk about imaginary people without calling a shrink.

Someday I will let him read my books. Maybe.
WOW: That's adorable - you're a lucky woman and he's a lucky man! What advice would you give to others (specifically female authors) when it comes to self care?

Jennifer: As women, we tend to see our time as someone else’s property. My advice, for what it’s worth, is to see your time as your property first, and everyone else’s claim as a distant second. If you have a partner, expect him or her to take care of themselves. As your children age, expect them to take care of themselves in age-appropriate ways. Then, let them do what they can in whatever unpredictable, messy ways they are able. Just expect them to clean up their messes.

Of course, not everyone is blessed with a partner or productive children. If you’re in that sweet spot with babies at home, if you’re a single mother, a military spouse, caring for a sick spouse or aging parents or whatever reason you simply have no ability to find time, just know it gets better. Lean on your friends when you can. Get enough sleep. Breathe. And if you have extra time, silence your “shoulds” and do whatever makes you happy. Even if that’s just a nap.
WOW: It definitely gets better - like fine wine - right? What’s next for you? What are your writing goals for what's left of Summer 2022 and beyond?

Jennifer: I’m working on a legal thriller, Play Me Backwards, based on the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, when hundreds of daycares across the country were shut down based on little more than collective hysteria. My goal is to finish Play Me Backwards by December. In addition, I’m trying to write and pitch essays, enter contests, and generally treat writing like a real job.

The first page of Play Me Backwards was just honored by the Gutsy Great Novelist Page One Prize. Awards like that, and recognition from Women On Writing, are amazingly motivating when you feel like giving up and getting a day job. Check out my first page here:

WOW: Congratulations again Jennifer and thanks so much for taking time to visit with me today! I have a feeling our readers will be hearing more from you - so I'm going to tell them to remember your name! (wink wink) Thanks again! 

Interviewed by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto who is busy raising kids and cattle amongst other odd jobs - follow her in instagram 


Renee Roberson said...

Congratulations, Jennifer! I have family that lives outside of Florence, TX, so I know how fickle the weather there can be. I hope you and your family are settling in and I loved your essay. As an almost 46-year-old woman I can relate to so much of it. I also can't wait to read your two novels and wish you the best of continued success in the coming year!

ChrisLauren said...

Thank you Renee! I actually love the weather, now that it's not freezing for weeks at a time. It's so much better than ten months of rain. It is harder to get motivated to write, though. The pool/tennis courts/hiking trails/live music/amazing people here always seem to be calling.

Take care!

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top