Welcome to Thanks for stopping by Thursday with a special
Writer-In-Progress interview with Jennifer Reynolds!
Jennifer Lynn Powell Reynolds is a native of North Alabama. She is newly married. She and her husband tied the knot on Friday, September 13, 2013. Jennifer has a Master of Fine Arts degree from National University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Alabama.
Writing has always been a large part of her life. In high school, her local newspaper published a large number of her poems, and she won numerous poetry and short stories awards. Since high school, she has worked on a number of different projects, but her focus has mainly been on acquiring her degrees.
She finished the first draft of her first novel, a post-apocalyptic piece titled Alone, around the time she graduated with her B.A. Since then, she has written numerous other novels, short stories, and poems.
Aside from spending her days immersed in the fictional worlds she creates, she works part time at Stained Glass Artistry.
You can find Jennifer’s links in the Luck of the Irish Giveaway below!
Who, What, When, Where, Why, & Future Questions:
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve known most of my life that I wanted to write, to tell stories, but it wasn’t until I picked up my first Stephen King novel, The Dark Half, when I was twelve that I understood how possible that dream is. King’s writing style showed me what kind of storyteller I wanted to be, and helped me push myself toward that goal.
How long have you been writing professionally?
My first novel, Alone, came out in January 2014, but before that, years ago, a number of my poems were featured in local newspapers and in a few anthologies. I also wrote a creative non-fiction piece about my grandfather’s experience in the Air Force during WWII that a WWII magazine my grandfather subscribed to published. I took a break from writing shortly after high school, but a few years into getting my bachelor’s degree, the idea for Alone popped into my head. I completed the novel in time to graduate, but it wasn’t until after I received my MFA in Creative Writing that I decided to publish.
What genre of books do you write and why?
So far, I’ve written a post-apocalyptic piece, a supernatural romance, and a suspense thriller, so I would say I’m all over the board when it comes to genres, though a number of my future pieces are more in the romance genre.
Who do you write about?
I try to write about strong women, or women who don’t know how strong they are until their backs are against the wall and they either have to learn to fight or they die. In the beginning of Alone, Eve is a college student with only a vague idea of what she wants to do with her life. By the end of the novel, she has survived a plague, the death of one husband, a miscarriage, a would-be rapist, and has become the leader of one of a few small groups of humans who have survived the plague. In the beginning of Shifter, Abby is an overweight, self-conscious, recluse who barely escaped an abusive relationship. By the end of the novel, she is trying to get herself in shape and healthy, she has fallen in-love, and has learned how to fight for what she wants even if she is a mere human going up against a powerful witch and furious werewolves. In HIM, Amy has always been a fighter, but when her molester begins to threaten the people she loves, she sets out to the truth to people who will believe her or die trying.
Describe your writing area as it as right now? OR What’s within five feet of you right at this very second?
My writing area is a cramped mess. My house is a small, stone cottage, so my bedroom is my office. I have a corner desk where I set up my laptop, my ergonomic keyboard and mouse, and my second monitor. I have jars of pens and pencils scattered about and photos of my husband, my nephew, and my inspiration for Abby, hanging on the wall. My desk is tall and made up of number of sections. On the top shelf or section, my electronic picture frame is cycling through photos of my wedding. Beside it is a picture of my deceased father and my uncle. On the second shelf sits my collection of Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy novels next to copies of my own novels. The third section is my writing area, underneath there are more shelves of books and random electronics. I sit with my back to my room so that I can ignore the world and write, but if I turn around, I see two large bookshelves full of Stephen King, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Madeline L’Angle, Kelley Armstrong, and many other hardbacks. Hardbacks and my weakness.
My next novel, Him will be released on February 28th!!! And it’s available now for pre-order at Amazon and Smashwords!
Amy Roberts has a secret, a secret she has carried with her all of her life, a secret she has told only one other person. For her honesty and bravery, she received a slap across the face and a warning that if she ever spoke the words again, there would be hell to pay. Now that she is older, smarter, braver, she will let nothing stop her from escaping the sadistic man who swore her to this secret and to a life full of hidden truths and false smiles, of abuse and denial, of pain and loneliness. He, on the other hand, will stop at nothing to have her or kill her; he doesn’t care which comes first.
On a private island off the coast of South Carolina, Amy finds the courage, the desire, and the despera-tion to break her silence and to fight back. Finally, spilling her secrets to the only two people who care enough about her to listen and believe her, Amy decides that she has had enough and now is the time to show the world the monster behind the man. The problem is: can she survive long enough to tell the world what she knows, or will the he have what he has wanted for the better part of eighteen years.
Join Amy on her journey of self-discovery and survival, and see if you are brave enough to face the monsters that haunt your dreams.
Pre-order available at Smashwords & Amazon!
Or win your own copy in the giveaway below!
Do you work from an idea of a story or a character?
I work from either an idea or scene. With Alone, this vision of a woman with a small boy on her hip, looking on as her city burned wouldn’t leave me, so I had to find out what happened to her. With Shifter and HIM, I simply woke one morning with the idea of their stories, so I pulled out my laptop typed up their outlines, and the next day started writing. Resistant, my current work in progress came to me as Alone did. I can’t tell you the scene, as it is a version of one of the sex scenes in the novel, but the image stayed with me until I made myself sit down and figure out how the character ended up where he was doing what he was doing.
On average how many hours per day or how many words so you write in a day?
When I’m writing, I try to write between 1,000 and 2,000 words a day. I don’t always manage, especially on days when I’m doing a great deal of research. If I’m not currently writing anything, I try to stay in the creative mode by editing a chapter or two a day or rereading some of my old work.
When do you like to write, are you an early bird or night owl?
I prefer early mornings or late evenings. I can’t seem to focus during the day. My brain is busy trying to remember all the errands I need to run, the groceries I need to pick up, etc. Before I start my day or after I take care of grownup things, I do my best writing.
Do you listen to music when writing and if so who are you listening to now?
I actually prefer the quiet, but when I do listen to music, I listen to mostly Metallica, Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails, Pink Floyd.
Did anything inspire your latest work-in-progress or about-to-be-published work?
HIM, my upcoming novel, was inspired by all the brave men and women that have come in and out of my life over the years and told me how they’ve survived some of the most horrific acts of violence and abuse. I wanted to show the world just how disturbed some people can be, but also how strong those who have suffered at the hands of such people can be as well.
Who are the authors that have inspired you over the years and what is about their writing that spoke to you?
Stephen King has been my biggest inspiration. At a very early age, I fell in love with the worlds he creates and the stories he tells. Over the years, others have fallen in line with him. I love Douglas Adam’s humour. Sherrilyn Kenyon’s mythology and strong women. J.K. Rowlings magic and real-world characters. Every new author, new book I read inspires me. Seeing the worlds, the lives, the characters, the situations, that each author brings to life is amazing and makes me want to add all the stories that float around in my head to the mix.
What are your favourite books and who are your favourite authors in your genre?
In the post-apocalyptic genre, I love Stephen King’s The Stand. In the supernatural romance, Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Night Play is my favorite. Precious by Saphire inspired me the most while writing HIM.
What book is beside your bed at the moment?
I’m currently listening to Visions by Kelley Armstrong. White Horse by Alex Adams is the paperback on my desk that I hope to start it soon.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?
I would love it if Melissa McCarthy played me. She is beautiful and secure in who she is. She is funny but can also pull off serious and emotional.
If you had six months with no obligations or financial constraints, what would you do with the time?
Read and write. I have a ton of books on my kindle that I’m afraid I’ll never get to, and almost as many works in progress that I would like to at least get to the first draft.
If you had only six months left to live, what would you do with the time?
As my as I love to write and to read, if I had six months to live, I would spend every moment of it with either my husband or my mom.
If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be and why?
Elvis Presley. I really want to have a friend peanut butter and banana sandwich with him, then hear him sing Blue Christmas.
Controversial one … paperback or eBook?
Hardback. All of my favourite books I try to find in hardback. Ebooks are cheaper, portable, and a great way to find new authors, but once I fall in love with an author, I want all of their books in hardback.
If you could give one piece of advice to any aspiring authors out there, what would it be?
Write. Write every day. The more you write, the more you learn. The more you learn, the more you grow to love what you do, and when others see your passion, the more eager they are for the worlds you create.