Jennifer Slattery is the marketing manager for the literary website, Clash of the Titles. She writes for Christ tothe World Ministries, The Christian Pulse, and Samie Sisters and has written for numerous other publications. She has a short piece in Bethany House’s Love is a Flame (under a pen name) another piece in Cathy Messecar’s A Still and Quiet Soul and a third scheduled to appear in Majesty’s House’s Popcorn Miracles.
You can find out more about her and her writing at her devotional blog, Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud or her writing blog Words that Keep.
Jennifer, can you share with us about your recent projects?
I recently finished a six-part mini-series for Christ to the World Ministries geared toward thirteen to nineteen year olds. In this series, we discussed peer relationships from lying to bullying. I write radio dramas for each topic and another writer, Tanya Eavenson, writes correlating in-depth Bible studies called “Hear the Word.” Both programs are currently in the pilot stage, but I'm excited to see what God does, not only with this youth program, but with Christ to the World Ministries as they share the gospel of Christ world-wide. Readers can find out more at Christ to the World Ministries. We also welcome prayers and donations. God continues to exponentially expand Christ to the World—currently they broadcast in 23 different countries, many times in areas hostile to the gospel. It’s wonderful to know Christ’s saving message is being listened to by millions, often in the comfort of their own home, in areas where missionaries aren’t welcome.
That's an awesome ministry to be part of. Thanks for sharing.
Actually, writing hit me by surprise. I’ve always been very passionate about outreach. When we lived in Southern California, I was involved in children’s and family ministries and I started writing stories to strengthen or illustrate various lessons. I wrote dramas and curriculum for outreach events, along with newsletters and short stories for Sunday school classes, but I never really thought about writing for writing’s sake. Until we went through a series of moves and God placed me in a position of temporary isolation. While in transition, we started attending a home church and suddenly, my opportunities to serve dwindled. There weren’t any outreach events to plan or Bible studies to lead. Needing an outlet, I poured my passion onto the page. Looking back, I believe God used that time to awaken the writer in me.
What was the inspiration for your latest work?
For the Christ to the World material, I work on assignment. The program was chosen by ministry partners in different countries (At least, that’s what I assume).
What was the most interesting research you had to do for any of your projects?
Since this is a contemporary youth series, I spend a fair amount of time reading secular teen magazines. Wow! As a mom, some of the stuff I read shocks me! But at the same time, it reminds me of the importance of the series we’re working on. Our teens receive so much contradictory, and often damaging, information, it’s very important they learn to interpret things through a biblical lens.
Where do you go to do your research?
I pretty much stay home. I’m lucky that my editor, Dr. Art Criscoe, sends me whatever resources I need. And because our programs broadcast in 23 different countries and need to be culturally translatable, I also spend a great deal of time on the internet. My teen daughter helps a ton! I read each drama to her before sending it to Art, and she shares the stuff she hears at school. This helps me stay in the “teenage mindset” so to speak and allows me to keep the material relevant.
How do you go from an idea for a drama to its completion? Is the process the same for every drama you write? How long does it take you to write a drama?
Normally, before I write, our “contemporary youth team” at Christ to the World gets together to brainstorm our next set of topics. Art and Larry Alston, President of Christ to the World, sent us a list of topics—76 in all—and left the order of completion largely up to us. Then, once we have our six to eight topics for a mini-series determined, I start 1) researching using the material sent by my editor, perusing parenting and youth ministry websites, reading through teen magazines, and doing a topical search through the Bible and commentary sites 2) stalking my daughter and her friends and any other teens that are within ear shot 3) I sketch out a rough idea for the scenes to make sure I can carry the plot for the entire drama—20 to 25 minutes 4) I write the rough draft 5) I time it and add or shorten as needed 6) I read it to my daughter and send it to the other team members for feedback 7) I do a final edit then send it to Art and Larry
Then they do the rest like sending the scripts to broadcast partners, finding translators, voice talent, etc.
Such an interesting process. Sounds like you really enjoy your work. Are you currently working on any new book projects?
I’m always working on a large number of things at once. Right now Joanne Sher and I are finishing the first part of a two-book tween biblical fiction devotional. I’m also in the big-picture planning stage of another novel and will soon begin my next drama series for Christ to the World.
Always great to keep busy...I know the feeling. Do you have any advice for beginning writers on how to write dramas or Bible studies?
The most important thing when writing Christian material is to take the time to research it fully. Spend time reading through commentaries and analyze your ideas in terms of entire passages and the Bible as a whole. I’d also suggest writers spend a great deal of time in prayer.
What’s your writing schedule like? When do you find time to write?
I spend most of my time writing, although I do work part time doing critiques and marketing for other authors. Most of my “creative writing” is done in the morning. Evenings are spent critiquing and on Saturdays I do freelance type writing.
Do you have any writing idiosyncrasies?
Hm…. I tend to get lost in my writing world a bit and will lose track of time. One weekend my daughter and family were away and I went into my office early that morning to start on a drama. I took a break to eat sometime in the early afternoon, then next thing I knew, I glanced around and noticed it was getting dark. I’d lost track of time—like a lot of time. This can be good when I need to get writing done. Not so good when something’s in the oven or I have errands or other jobs to do.
Totally understand about losing track of time...has happened to me many times before.
Jennifer, thank you so much for guesting today. I enjoyed chatting with you and learning more about you and your writing projects.
Hope everyone sticks around to chat for a bit.