Jennifer Craven, professor of Fashion Merchandising here at Mercyhurst, recently released her second novel titled “All That Shines and Whispers.” The novel is a work of historical fiction. Broadly inspired by Craven’s favorite film “The Sound of Music,” the novel’s journey follows the what-if’s of the film’s ending.
“I always like to imagine what could have happened after the movie ended. It was so fun to play with the characters and make them different, yet still recognizable,” Craven said.
“All That Shines and Whispers,” explores the themes of betrayal, sacrifice and redemption set against the backdrop of Nazi-era Europe. Amazon defines this book as a coming-of-age story that traces the mistakes young women make stumbling towards adulthood, in pursuit of love and trust and security, and all the identities they try on in order to know themselves.
Craven’s favorite genre is historical fiction, where past lives and time periods come alive through rich storytelling and powerful characteristics, and she uses her love for this genre to write stories of her own. Craven admits that she has always been a writer and this novel was her way of expressing not only her love for the genre but, for the curiosities one has when it comes to the “what if ’s” after the end of a story.
“I’m completely in love with writing novels. I constantly have story ideas popping into my head. It’s been fun to hear from people who have enjoyed the books. That’s one of the best parts: when your words impact someone else,” Craven said.
She uses her talent to bring joy to those around her and fulfill the passion she has for writing. When publishing her first book, “A Long Way from Blaire Street,” Craven admits she had learned so much about the writing process and the industry, which has shaped her future novels. She mentions how the writing portion of her books has been easy, however, the marketing aspect has been the difficult part.
“Getting a book out into the world and marketing it is the challenge. My writing process remains mostly the same: lots of drafts, endless revisions and getting early feedback. But now I know the importance of marketing.” “Being a writer can be challenging when you want to get your works out there to people, but if you truly love what you are doing the challenge is all worth it,” Cra-ven said.
Both of Craven’s books are stand-alone novels, meaning that in order to understand and enjoy her books the audience does not need to read an entire series. None of the books are connect-ed, except for the fact that Craven loves writing about strong women and women’s issues. Craven had also made mention that she has already finished the third novel and has started plotting a fourth.
A couple of quotes that Craven had included are: “It was hard to remember a time when their lives weren’t built on secrets and lies.” “Biting her bottom lip, Lara replaced the lid and shoved the jar under her mattress for safe-keeping. The act felt deceptive. The money wasn’t hers. At that moment, she felt like a common thief.” If anyone is intrigued by these lines, you are likely to enjoy the book.
Both of Craven’s current novels can be found on Amazon and are able to be rented or purchased for one’s reading needs. Craven is very talented in many ways. Devoting her time to her students as well as her passion for writing has helped shape her into the woman that she is today. Craven is continuing her passion for writing and we are all excited to see what she has in store for us to read next.