1. Jen, tell us a little about your book Until Dawn: Last Light. Do you have a favorite scene?
Until Dawn: Last Light is a paranormal romance/urban fantasy blend about a woman named Zoë who’s struggling to accept her immortality – and the end of the world. For the past six years, Zoë has been anything but “normal,” let alone human. The story follows her as she’s thrown into this war that’s been waging in the shadows for over a thousand years. Through the book, Zoë must find a way to become what she’s meant to be, joining the other Chosen to save what’s left of humanity. When the endless night falls over the Earth, the reader will find out if Zoë will be able to save the one man who reminds her what it is to be human or if will it be too late. It’s really a story of death and despair, love and longing, hope and hopelessness, and the ability to survive and keep going even when it seems impossible – when you want nothing more than to give up.
As far as my favorite scene goes, that’s a tough one. Almost as tough as making me pick out a favorite character – or child. I wrestled back and forth with this one, but I think it’s going to have to go to a scene from the end of chapter twenty-one. I can’t exactly explain it without giving anything away to new readers. It takes place in Zoë’s bedroom chamber in the castle in England and, let’s just say, it got a lot of great reactions out of readers and I had a blast writing it.
2. How long did it take you from your initial idea for the book until you actually started to write it?
I actually had a dream about the book while driving to the coast one afternoon – don’t worry, I wasn’t the one actually driving! That had to be back in my senior year of high school. I jotted down some notes back then and kind of put the project on the back burner for a while. I think I started writing the first draft (which was awful mind you) about a year or so later. From that point it probably took me about four years to finish the entire book. There were a lot of breaks in between each draft and the story has transformed drastically from then to now; in fact, it’d probably be unrecognizable.
3. What draws you to writing?
I’ve always been very passionate about writing; that is, aside from when I was younger and my dream was to have giant zoo in my backyard! I started at a very young age with poetry. That continued up until sophomore year of high school when one of my English teachers assigned us a short story project. I got the highest grade in the class and realized how much fun it was to create my own worlds and characters – I got to be the one to control how everything ended. It was exciting, to say the least! Shortly after that I started my very first novel about a group of kids that fell into a lake with an eerie history and started passing that out to my friends. When I saw their reactions and their need to know what happened next, I just knew that I had to write. And I have ever since!
Hm, come to think of it, I wonder if I still have that short story and novel anywhere. They’d both make for some fun YA books!
4. Which author do you find the most inspiring?
I’ll probably get a lot of crap for this, but as far as “most inspiring” goes, it has to be Stephenie Meyer. Not for her writing but for what she accomplished as a first time, debut author. She really achieved that goal that we all aspire to when we first start writing. We all want that major book deal, having millions of readers, seeing our characters portrayed on the big screen – we want our books to be read and loved and talked about. That could just be me, haha.
As far as writing goes, it’s a tie between Charlaine Harris; I’m a sucker for those bloodsuckers of hers, and Francine Rivers, who’s Redeeming Love influenced me to dabble in the world of romance.
5. Favorite position when writing- recliner, couch, bed or straight backed chair?
I really enjoy writing while lying down in bed. It’s peaceful – perhaps a little too peaceful, haha. I usually get quite a bit for about the first 20-30 minutes before falling asleep. Maybe I just have one super comfy bed! As far as a productive position, it’d have to be snuggled up on the sofa with the laptop either sitting in my lap or, preferably, on a TV tray. As long as I have some great music play, I’m not too picky.
6. In your off time, what do you do for fun? Or is there such a thing as off time for you?
Hm, what is this “off time” you speak of? No, I actually do get off time, during which my brain is still going over new ideas for stories and characters. I guess that switch is hard to turn off for writers, I’m sure you know what that’s like, Shannon.
With how much of my time is spent sitting in front of a computer screen, I like to be as active as I can during my off time. I love water sports (swimming, wake boarding, etc.) I’m also big into rock climbing. As of late, if I’m not typing away at the computer, you could probably find me at my local rock climbing gym or in Yosemite 800 feet up on a mountain. There’s something extremely peaceful about being that high up. It is the ultimate escape.
5. Biggest supporter of you and your writing.
I’ve got some phenomenal friends that have supported my writing from the very start. Along the way, I’ve met some other authors that have also kept me going. My boyfriend has proved to be one of my biggest supporters. Not only in writing but also in life. Anytime I find myself at the end of my rope, ready to just give up, he’s been there to tie on a few extra feet. There was also another person who, in the early stages, made sure that I didn’t give up when I was going through the dreaded query process. This old friend gave me a framed picture, which I keep on my desk to this day, that reads: Persistence – now that we’ve exhausted all possibilities…let’s get started.
|This is Jen, ain't she cute? :D|
Right now, I’m really trying to focus on finishing up the Until Dawn series. Still playing with where I want to end it off, not sure if I’m ready to say goodbye to Zoë and the other characters just yet. Also, I might be doing a back-story for the Until Dawn series of the first Chosen, but that’s still on the shelf for now. I do have a handful of ideas jotted down for other novels, one of which would be told from a male character’s point of view. I’m really looking forward to diving into that one.
For now, readers can look forward to Until Dawn: Into the Dark, coming in Winter 2012!