J.R., or Jen as friends call her, has always been an avid reader, oftentimes reading five to six books a week. When she was a kid, she found a huge box of old paperbacks at a neighbor’s garage sale. She offered the woman a quarter for the entire haul, and then went home and locked herself in her bedroom so her younger brother couldn’t interrupt her while she read. This fueled her love for romantic fiction and inspired her to try her hand at writing. In 2013 Jen started writing fan-fiction, and then began creating her own original stories in 2014. Currently, her favorite genre to read and write is contemporary gay romance.
J.R. Barten was born and raised in Iowa and now resides in the Twin Cities of Minnesota with her partner of seventeen years and their two beloved rescue dogs.
CC: Where do you get your ideas?
JRB: Let me just say that I have way more ideas & WIPs than I can handle! I used to come up with ideas all the time when I was in the car commuting to work, but now I work from home, so mostly they pop into my head either in bed when I’m trying to fall asleep or when I’m out walking the dogs.I’m always trying to put a different twist on the expected, so some of my stories come from a basic theme but then I try coming at it from a different angle.
CC: Have you written characters that are someone you know?
JRB: Well, not exactly but close. I draw inspiration from situations that have happened to people I know or a specific memory I have of them. In “Drawn Together” (my story for Don’t Read in the Closet event 2015), one of my MCs had a couple characteristics that were based on my best friend from college. “Playing the Part” started as fanfiction loosely based on a couple on the soap opera, Days of Our LIves. Then my latest book, Unf;nished, was more of a tribute to my wife who has bipolar disorder. Some of our life experiences impacted scenes in that book.
CC: Are you working on another book?
JRB: Always! Ideas come easily but the discipline to sit down and type them up- not so much. I had a bad case of writer’s block earlier this year due to moving and lots of other life changes, but now I can’t seem to get enough. Some days I’ll write for 8-10-12 hours at a time and into the night…and I love that feeling of being so wrapped up in your book world that you can’t stop. As for my next book, I am toying with the idea of making “Unf;nished” into a series, so I’m starting to write book 2 to see if I’m feeling it. Otherwise, I have a sequel to my very first novella, “Back in the Saddle”, that I’m working on as well as another fun project that’s tentatively titled, “Tales of an Overeducated Pornstar”. At least one or two of of these will hopefully come out yet this year.
CC: Favorite quote?
JRB: I consider myself to be a quoteaholic! Ha – I think I just made up a word! I love them and have tons saved. I can’t pick just one, so here are a few of my very favorites:
JRB: Yes! 🙂 Of the three, coffee is what I enjoy most. I don’t go a day without at least a couple of cups, and I love everything about it…the smell, taste, and the way it makes me feel. It’s more than the caffeine for me…although that certainly helps!
Stop by next week, when we’ll delve into the mind of Rick R. Reed.