One-on-One with Christian Romance Novelist: Jaycee Weaver

Posted on November 29, 2018 by Justin Serrano

Jen Weaver, known as Jacyee Weaver in the book world, doesn’t need an introduction around here! We are so proud that Jaycee calls Harvest her home and uses her gift of writing to bless us and so many others around the world. She is an incredible romance novelist with a knack for telling stories that reflect real life and the everyday struggles of relationships and the Christian life. Once you get a hold of one of her books, you won’t want to put it down!


Jaycee Weaver lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her amazing husband, three daughters, a crazy shih-tzu, and a dwarf rabbit. When she’s not writing, she’s probably in hot pursuit of her 90 million other hobbies or shuttling the kids around. Jaycee loves to read books in multiple genres, drink too much coffee (honestly, when are they going to make the coffee IV a real thing?!), sing, take landscape and floral photos, sew, cook, bake, and craft nearly anything. She considers herself a recovering perfectionist and sometimes hot mess. She does her best to live her faith in action, being open, honest, and real; letting God be Lord over the good, the bad, and the ugly even when it’s hard.


How did you get started on a path to writing?

I’ve always been an avid reader as well as a highly creative person. Even as a kid, I remember loving to write on any surface I could get my hands on. In fact, my dad once made me write, “I will not write on anything but paper,” a hundred times after finding my handiwork. Writing everything from stories to essays was always something I looked forward to. For me, reading and writing are completely intertwined.

Ultimately, though, what lead me to the path to publish my writing was rediscovering my love of reading after a long hiatus to finish college, get married, and care for my three kids when they were small. Now that they are older, my time is a little more flexible and I am fortunate to have an amazing husband who values my desire to predominantly be a stay at home/work from home mom. In 2016, an idea for a book began bubbling over in the back of my mind and I just couldn’t get past it until I opened up Word and began typing it all out. It was both been a terrifying and a gut rush all at the same time.


Why Christian romance?

Simply put? I love it. It’s my favorite genre. I also love a good mystery or suspense, but I always enjoy an element of romance to the story. I grew up in a Christian home and was fortunate to be exposed to a lot of Christian YA fiction, so when I rediscovered my love of reading, it only made sense I’d seek out Christian books. Not to mention, after picking up a few mainstream books with covers that appeared sweet and harmless, only to have to delete a story a few chapters in, I realized it’s safer to stick with faith-based fiction for the most part. Now I’ve learned the code words authors use to promote clean books, but I find that most of the time, even in those stories I want to smack the characters upside the head and shout, “Y’all just need Jesus! You can’t solve this yourself!”

As to why I write Christian romance, I need to explain my heart for the genre. For too many years, the romance genre, even Christian romance, has relied on the false assumption that you can’t have a romantic story without sex unless it’s set in an Amish village or historical era. Contemporary Christian romance has long been dominated by a handful of authors who write beautifully, but tend to have relatively flawless characters who live an unrealistic, perfect version of faith. Temptation, addictions, pain, grief and abuse are taboo unless briefly mentioned in the character’s tragic backstory. A character might, one, have been a lost and sinful person, but when saved, everything comes up roses for them. This is so far removed from reality that a lot of readers give up and return to mainstream fiction because at least it’s honest.

Now that I’m both reading and writing a lot in the genre, I’ve discovered there are hundreds of authors and thousands of readers who feel the same way. We want to read and write powerful stories that reflect real people and real struggles, with grit, honesty, failures, and pain, but also reflect our very real and mighty God and the amazing ways He works in everyday life–but with a happy ending more often than not, because we also want to read and write hope. Love makes the world go round. Most of us enjoy a good love story, especially women. But as believers, we need to know there are great love stories out there where characters have chemistry and spark and even serious issues, but how do they handle it all in a godly way? It’s inspiring to know that perhaps even teenagers might read my stories and connect to my characters, seeing how they handle dating and sexual temptation in a way that honors the Lord, but still feels authentic. Even Christians struggle. I firmly believe Christian fiction shouldn’t shy away from that.


How many books have you written and which one is your favorite?

So far I’ve published four books. I’m in the middle of writing two more. The first two are full length novels, and they hold a special place in my heart for a multitude of reasons. The first book, What Could Be, is a little lighter and sappier perhaps than the rest, but most of my readers find it relatable, especially the college-age readers. Whatever Comes Our Way is a little grittier, with some more difficult issues, but I love the complexity of its characters. The latest two books are novellas, meaning they’re easy to read in a couple hours or less. Adrift is quickly becoming a reader favorite because Erin’s struggle with grief feels deeply personal and resonates with readers. It’s the shortest book, but probably the most emotional. My newest book, Love, Laughter, and Luminarias, is a Christmas novella that is so much fun, but full of heart!

An author friend of mine wrote that her favorite book is the one she’s currently working on. I’d have to say I agree with that. There’s something so wonderful about the writing process, so that means that What Makes a Home, the third full-length novel in my Everyday Love series, is my favorite. Jobie starts out an entitled, self-absorbed, free-living mess and it’s been so much fun breaking her down and revealing God’s heart to her. And Caleb from my first book gets his own story (spoiler, sorry!), and that makes me supremely happy because I do adore him completely. I’m also working on a novella in a similar vein to Adrift, but with fire imagery, and have plans for at least one more if not two. Book four in my Everyday Love series is already ruminating as well.


What is it about New Mexico that inspires you?

I moved here at fourteen and a half after growing up in a small town outside Las Vegas, Nevada. I was bullied quite a bit in fourth grade and all through middle school, and when I finally got the nerve to be the person I always knew I was inside, that small-town mindset felt almost oppressive. When we had to move here for my dad’s job, I was ready to start fresh. I think that played a big part in my heart being ready to love this new, strange place. I went all-in, learning my city and in high school falling in love with the Spanish language and culture.

That love has only grown in the last 25 years. Now, there isn’t much about this place I won’t defend like a big sister whose sibling is being picked on. Sure, it has its flaws and heartaches, but those things don’t define us. There’s so much to love about New Mexico, especially the kaleidoscope of cultures and languages and traditions. And the food! Oh, the food inspires me so very much. And probably number one on my list are the Sandia Mountains. I never want to live on the east side again because I’d lose my precious view of those mountains! They may not be the biggest, but the colors and the way they change from day to day never ceases to amaze me.

I love how much there is to see and do here, whether it’s a local festival like the State Fair or the Balloon Fiesta, or my favorite, the Southwest Chocolate and Coffee Fest, or a drive through Jemez and around the Valles Caldera. I love how New Mexico celebrates the arts and always puts a local flair on everything that passes through. I’m constantly inspired by the sky and the brilliant colors that streak across the sky daily, though never in the same way. I love chile season and how important we are to agriculture across the region. I love the accessibility to the outdoors, whether walking, hiking, biking, fishing, camping, or just looking.

I love how fiercely we defend our state, even if we’re the first to complain about its problems. God has called me to walk that middle line between opposing and often contradictory things, and so perhaps that’s the crux of it for me. This place is such a balance of polarities and that right there speaks most to my heart. This place is home and God has heard me more than once agree that if He moves me, I’ll go, but I really, really don’t want to.


As a romance novelist with a strong faith background, how do you hope nonbelievers will approach your love stories?
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I make no bones about where I stand, so I’m pretty sure nonbelievers will read the Amazon descriptions and know up front what my books are all about. I hope they won’t dismiss me off hand, as just another Pharisaical Christian afraid to dirty her sandals, and give my books a chance. I hope they’ll see God’s heart in my stories and maybe see that not all believers are self-righteous, hypocritical jerkwads, even though we’ve all encountered our fair share of those. I hope all of that will soften their hearts and open doors that might not have been opened otherwise, because contrary to what a lot of people think, God does speak through fiction. Loudly.


Why do you use a pen name?

Haha! That’s an easy one. There’s a pastor’s wife somewhere in Texas (I think) already named Jen Weaver who was publishing before me. Besides that, growing up Jenny C among all the other Jennys was so annoying. I used to imagine I had a cool name like Jaycee, which was a play on my initials. This way, I get to live out my childhood fantasy and still honor my given names.


How long does it take you to write a book?

This varies from book to book. My first book took a year, the second only six months. Adrift was written by hand over the course of several months while working on other projects. LL&L? God placed a promise in my heart that if I would fast from reading for a week He’d give me that book faster than I’d ever written anything else. First draft took two weeks and editing one more. It was crazy!


What is the most difficult part of your creative process?

Um, real life keeps interrupting and it has to come first, dang it. Haha!


How do you come up with characters? And how do you name them?

There is literally no process to this. A lot of authors joke around that the characters just show up one day, dictating their story and it’s just our job to play stenographer. Most of the time it’s exactly like that. They even name themselves for the most part. Occasionally, I will read through a list of names until one jumps out at me and it feels like they’ve started shouting in my ear, “Yes! That’s it!”


What is your favorite book? Author?

I could no sooner choose a favorite book than I could a favorite child. Truth. And if someone forced me to choose a single favorite author or die? I’d die, because I can’t. I have a list of favorite, and they’re nearly all indie authors because I’m finding I love their stories so much more and they’re far more authentic than a lot of what the big publishers put on the market. To name just a few, I highly recommend Jenn Faulk, Sarah Monzon, Jennifer Rodewald, Crystal Walton, T.I. Lowe, Toni Shiloh, Pepper Basham, Krista Phillips, and Melissa Tagg. I devour nearly everything they put out, but I also closely follow at least two dozen more.


With the release of your latest book, Love, Laughter, and Luminarias, what do you hope your readers will enjoy most?

Christmas is full of chaos and commitments and stress amid all the family, traditions, and joy. My hope is that readers will take just a little time to breathe and enjoy a lighthearted, feel-good book that might bless their overworked spirit even just a little. Garrett and Nina are fun, quirky characters who make me laugh and I think they’ll stand out to readers. But also, I use the tradition of the luminarias to point readers to Christ and to what God is doing not only in Nina’s heart, but what He wants to do in all our hearts this time of year. One reviewer told me I pack a whole lot into such a short book, which I think is definitely a good thing!


To learn more about Jaycee’s books, visit her Amazon page, or click on her books below!

You can also learn more about Jaycee by visiting her website, liking her on Facebook, following her on Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest!


Love Jesus. Love each other. Love your city.
Harvest, Go be the Church!


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