Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?
I was born Jenna Kay Armour, born in Gainesville Georgia. I grew up with three older brothers that tortured me to no end. I met my husband Rocky in high school (He was a Senior, I a Junior). We got engaged when I was a Senior and married at age twenty. That’s when I became Jenna Kay Pridgen. I went to beauty school and became a cosmetologist. In between that time Rocky and I had three kids, two boys and a girl, born 2002, 2005, and 2007. After I had my third baby I decided to retire from the hair business and stay at home with the kids. When I’m not writing I’m busy being a wife, mother, maid, taxi, daughter, sister, and everything else.
Where you born writing or was there an “ah ha” moment when you knew that writing is what you were meant to do?
There was definitely a big “ah ha” moment. When I decided to stay at home I felt driven to do something, but didn’t know what. Being a mother and constantly surrounded by kids is emotionally and physically draining. There were times I felt I needed to go back to work, but not back to hair. I felt God tugging at my heart and I prayed for a year straight for God to let me know what He wanted me to do. Oh, did I mention I love Jesus? 🙂 Well, with all my praying and everything else in life, we found out my daddy had lung cancer. He battled it hard for a year and a half, but sadly passed away on January 24th, 2009. Now here’s where it gets weird: On April 24th, 2009, three months to the date of my daddy’s death, I woke up knowing what God wanted me to do. He wanted me to write. It was five in the AM and I woke up my husband and told him my news. But he’s not a morning person, so he didn’t share my enthusiasm. Of course now he’s my biggest fan, alongside my mama! The days that led ahead were full of brainstorming and coming up with ideas. I have always believed in guardian angels and about the spiritual battle going on everyday (yes, I believe there are demons, too). So I knew I’d write about spiritual warfare, angels, and demons. And the story just came to me—I let God take control.
Where are you at in your process?
Well, “clarity” is my first book published and the first in the Seer Society Series. I’m almost finished with the first draft of the second book in the series “broken”, which I plan to have out sometime in the Fall. I plan a four or five book series, a prequel, a spin-off of some new characters that are introduced in “broken”, and then some children’s books.
Who do you like to read?
I love YA! My list is huge but here’s a few:
Claudia Gray’s Evernight books, Twilight books by Stephenie Meyer, I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore, Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments, Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers, This Present Darkness by Frank E. Peretti, Lauren Kate books, Becca Fitzpatrick, The Fallen by Thomas E. Sniegoskie, Books by Maggie Stiefvater, The Tattooed Rats by Jerry Jenkins and John Perrodin. . .Whew, the list goes on. I have so many favorites I don’t think I could ever pick one! When I read a book I generally find something I like about the book and the author, no matter what.
RAVE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO:
THE ART OF WRITING:
Are you a pantser (fly by the seat of your pants) or planner?
Oh, definitely a planner! I make many, many outlines throughout the actual writing of the book. When I feel lost or completely blank I get a blank piece of paper and write the whole outline of the book from beginning to end. I’ve learned not to push myself because I’ve found when I don’t get anything accomplished. It’s better to pace yourself and let the story slowly unfold through your pen and onto paper.
How do you write?
I write on my bed, listening to music. The more noise the better. I used to go to the library with my headphones but stopped because too many people would bother me. Not that I’m anti-social, it’s just when you’re getting into your zone you don’t want any interruptions. Of course at home I get plenty of interruptions from the hubby and kids, but I’m use to those types of interruptions.
How many backups do you have? Have you ever lost any of your words or stories?
Not yet! Don’t jinx me! JK ;}
Do you write in tiny stretches throughout your day or do you set aside blocks of time?
I usually write real early in the morning or real late at night. I always take a pen and notebook wherever I go, though, just in case inspiration hits. I’ve been known to write at basketball and baseball practices, out at dinner, and in the car, just to name a few places.
THE JOYS OF RAISING A CHARACTER
How do your characters come to life?
Like I said, I let God take control. Let’s just say the main character in “clarity” was not the main one in the beginning. The first draft of the story the characters had different names, the story took place in a different setting, and the story line was completely different. The second draft changed it all. I wrote “clarity” three different times. Yes, sometimes after I write and read it I can’t believe they’re not real. Sometimes I wonder who is writing the story, even though I know I wrote it. If this doesn’t make sense I’m sorry. It’s hard to explain, because when I go back and read what I wrote it’s hard to believe it can out of my brain. I surprised a lot of people with my imagination—trust me on that!
BELIEVE ME IT’S REAL EVEN IF IT IS FICTION
World building is an art form, even if you book isn’t science fiction or paranormal. How do you make your world believable?
I tried to stick as much to the facts as possible, along with the Holy Bible. A lot of what I write is speculative, a kind of “what-if” situation. Most people believe in God, and the Holy Bible talks about Seers, Prophets, Angels, Demons, and Spiritual Warfare. I’m trying to keep it very close to the facts, but to get readers thinking on all the stuff that is still unknown to us humans.
Where do you get your ideas?
Some come from dreams, sometimes from nightmares, sometimes from people watching, sometimes from sermons. Random thoughts happen all the time, sometimes creating the entire beginning, middle, and end of a book or series.
What keeps you going?
Faith, family, and friends. Without them, what else do you have?
Who do you go to for support when you’re feeling miserable about your book (come on we all have this moment)?
My mama. She’s very encouraging and talks me through it. Sometimes my husband, but most of the time he’s so blunt I get angry with him.
Do you love it or hate it?
HATE IT! So lucky to have someone to help me with that. I once heard an author (I can’t remember who) saying that she was an editor’s worse nightmare, which totally shocked me because she’s on the New York’s bestsellers list!
Talk about some of the emotions you went through (or are going through) that you have experienced.
Gosh, let’s see. . .depends on the day I’m having and the mood I’m in. With “clarity” there was excitement, happiness, stress—the whole “Why am I even trying when it could go nowhere?” mess. I still have feelings like that, not knowing if or when the books will soar off across the world and into everyone’s hands, but I know I have to try. I’m not giving up because I feel deep in my heart that I’m doing what God wants me to do. He is my strength and comforter, and without Him I could do nothing.
How many times have you wanted to chuck your computer at the next person who asks how it is going?
A million to a zillion time! LOL!
How do you deal with writers block?
I close my laptop, put up my notebooks and pens, and take a couple of days off.
Is writing a novel easier or more difficult than you thought?
Well, now that I’ve wrote one and published it I think the marketing of it is a lot harder than the actual writing!
What is one piece of advice that you have received that you thought was good?
That even if it does fail I’m not a failure. If my series touches just one life, then I’ve done my job.
What advice do you have for others that are considering joining you on this rocky path?
To not get down and give up. There are many obstacles to overcome and many people who may expect or want you to fail. Surround yourself with real and genuine people, the more positive the environment the better!
Where do you see yourself in one year?
In one year I hope to have three of the books published in the series.
How about 5?
Wow. Maybe employed by a publisher and writing five books a year. The sky’s the limit!:)
Tell us where and how we find you. Twitter, face book, blogs, websites, etc.
I’m also on Goodreads, Shelfari, Twitter(clarityjennakay, jennakaypridgen)
My book, “clarity” by Jenna Kay, is available on Amazon for e-book and paperback, and also Smashwords, Books-a-Million websites and Barnes&noble websites.