Writing, and dragons, and legends, oh my!

J.F. Jenkins is the queen at multitasking and I am so excited to interview another Minnesota native! 

Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about yourself? 

I live in Minnesota. I spend most of my free time exploring the area and looking for new adventures.  If I’m not doing that, I’m playing a video game or reading a book. Otherwise I’m working as a barista in the local coffee shop. I make my life exciting.

Were you born writing or was there an “ah ha” moment when you knew that writing is what you were meant to do?

There wasn’t a moment I had where I just sort of knew, but no matter how tough it go, I just couldn’t stop. Eventually I got good enough to be picked up by a publisher.

Where are you at with your writing?

I just published my first novel in February.  My second has been picked up as well, but doesn’t have a release date just yet. I’m currently writing on sequels, and am about halfway through both of them for my two series.

Why don’t you tell us about your current project?

I’m currently working on the sequel to my Dragons Saga novel “Legend of the Oceina Dragon”. It’s a companion book of sorts, because it’s not a direct sequel. Full of romance, adventure, and betrayal, this book follows the journey of twin brothers fighting for their nation. It’s titled “Legend of the Inero Dragon”, and I’m quite pleased with how this story is coming out.

Here is a trailer for the first book!

To buy it, click here >>

 Why do you write your specific genre?  Have you ever thought about dabbling in others? 

I write in several different genres. I love playing around with different styles and different stories to see what happens. I’m not sure if all of it is good, but it’s definitely a lot of fun. Plus it’s good practice! I read everything, so I like to write what I read!

Are you a pantser or a planner?

I do a little bit of both. I have a rough outline that I work with, but I also provide myself with wiggle room and the ability to change the outline as needed. I want to make sure I don’t leave things out. I also want to allow for some awesome plot twists that are lurking in the shadows.

How do you write?  Do you listen to music?  Sit on the couch?  What works best for you?

I’m usually in my laz-e-boy chair. Usually it’s the afternoon when I do my best writing because my brain is the most awake and I’m feeling the most motivated. The distractions are also less since I only have to worry about my son getting in the way of my work. I try to keep it as quiet as possible when I’m actually working. Otherwise I tend to get lost in the music.  If I have music going, it’s instrumental and soft. I only listen to music with words when I’m plotting.

Do you write in tiny stretches throughout your day or do you set aside blocks of time?

I tend to do it in tiny stretches throughout the day. I try to finish a few chapters by the time I’m done for the day.

How many backups do you have?  Have you ever lost any of your words or stories?

I’ve lost whole novels actually.  I try to back everything up on my email, google docs, and a flashdrive, but nothing is ever certain and I’ve learned that the hard way.  Which reminds me, I need to back up my stuff again soon….

How do your characters come to life?

It starts with a plot idea. Most of my plot ideas are like: “What if a boy/girl had THIS happen to them?” And then it goes from there.  The characters build themselves in the plotting stages and really flesh out as I write.

Where do you get your ideas?

Most of my ideas come from dreams. They’re usually very vague, but then I start to put everything together again and flesh it out after some thinking sessions.  Some of them are based on real life experiences as well.

What keeps you going when you are feeling down?

The fact that I just have to get the story out. If I focus on doing that, then it’s a lot easier if I’m working on something without the feedback.

I also have an amazing beta reader who is always there to cheer me on no matter what happens.

Do you love it or hate editing?

Hate it. I can never see the things I need to in order to fix my work which is why I pass it on to someone else for help, but even then that can be rough.

Do you ever surprise yourself when you write?

Always!

What have you learned about yourself through your writing?

That I have a lot of patience!

Is writing a novel easier or more difficult than you thought?

Easier actually, and more gratifying.  Once you finish, you know you can do it again and again.

What advice do you have for others that are considering joining you on this rocky path?

Just keep writing.

Where do you see yourself in one year?

Having at least two more books out, maybe three!

Books or sites you have found helpful…

Twitter is super useful, even more so than facebook, and it has a lot more freedoms! I also use babynames.com a lot, and the typical dictionary.com/thesaurus.com.  Wikipedia can be your friend too if you use it correctly.

Can’t get enough of J.F. Jenkins? 
Twitter: @jfjenkinstweets

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jfjenkinsauthor

Website/Blog: http://jfjenkinswrites.wordpress.com

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