When Jennifer contacted me asking if I’d be interested in reviewing her book, I was ecstatic. I love sci-fi, not just novels but sci-fi anything, and here was what sounded like a fascinating sci-fi series that I hadn’t seen before. But I didn’t stop with just reading and reviewing the book. I thought I’d ask if she would be willing to do an author interview, something I’ve never done before. I think you’ll enjoy her answers!
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself; your background/where you grew up, where you live now, etc.
I originally came from Ashland , Ohio . When I was about seven, I moved to Indiana . At fourteen, I moved to Minnesota . Five years later, I was off to Illinois . I’m now in Indiana again. I’ve always loved animation. Most of the stories I come up with I visualize as animations, not all but most. I wrote a short book in fifth grade as a class assignment, but back then I lacked the discipline to write most of my ideas down. I just kept them in my head and would try to nurture them there. In high school, I wrote a couple short stories. I got encouragement from one of my teachers, Mr. Warner. That’s when I first started seriously considering writing my ideas down. The idea of being a writer occurred to me in fourth grade but actually doing it was another matter. I started writing with regularity in college. I’ve written other short stories and books, but Nocturne’s Reaping: Prelude is the first I’ve published.
2. How did you come up with the idea for the Nocturne’s Reaping series? When did you start to write it?
The concept for the series as a whole came from a two-part dream I had. The first part is actually a scene in the first chapter of book two, which is entitled Dirge. Dirge is about the aftermath of Leader Monrage’s actions at the end of Prelude. It takes place on the colony discussed at the end of the book and has a lot of dystopian elements. Both parts of the dream were about the nebula reapers. The second part of the dream featured the narrator, Aurore Bertrand, who takes on a bigger role in the story later on, and her unique interactions with the nebula reapers. I had actually been working on Lark’s back story as a separate story originally but integrated it with the other parts of the series. Besides dreams, I also use music to help me visualize characters and scenes for use in my work. I try to capture the feelings I have about the ideas and expand on them. Originally, I thought I might make Prelude into an anime-style graphic novel, but the backgrounds would have beyond my skill level in drawing. Plus, I would have lost most of the narrative. I made a note in the notebook I wrote Prelude down in that I had already begun writing Prelude in March 2012.
3. Who is your favorite character in Prelude and why?
Originally, I thought I would say Lark, but I think it’s actually Aurore. I’m currently writing book four, and she’s in that one a lot. I like the complexity of the character. I like it when stories and characters feel like a puzzle you have to put together. In terms of main characters in Prelude, I like Lark the most. She’s emotionally honest, and I can feel her pain. Plus, I think she shows a lot of strength in adversity.
4. How has your faith influenced your writing, if at all?
Certainly, I feel blessed to have survived the massive stroke I had last year and recovered from it as well as I have. I mean, I can still write which is a blessing in and of itself! I basically suffer from a genetic mutation called homozygous MTHFR which makes me prone to blood clots. I really was close to death, and there’s no other explanation for how well I’m doing besides God. Certainly that experience made me more motivated to finish editing my book and publish it. I also feel there is a spiritual reality underpinning everything in life, and God is the major part of that.
5. Why did you choose to write a sci-fi series? Do you have any favorite sci-fi authors, TV shows, or movies that you were inspired by?
I think science fiction allows you to explore scenarios while not being restricted to your current technological reality. You can also introduce new settings without having to deal with specifics of history or topography. I like delving into the intentions of characters, to feel out where they’re coming from. I liked the episode of Star Trek called “Operation: Annihilate!” where a parasitic creature controlled people by inducing pain. It was interesting to see how the characters reacted and ultimately overcame it. That’s the type of scenario I enjoy, where the setting and situation can be derived from the imagination and the human reaction can be explored. I love Fahrenheit 451. I read it before I started writing. I read The Hunger Games series in July 2013, and I found it to be inspirational. I watched Star Trek re-runs as a child. I seemed to gravitate toward the episodes that explored emotions and character development. I have to say the Alien franchise had an effect on me. I was horrified by the second film. That scene where they found that woman attached to the wall was unforgettable.
6. What kinds of things do you blog about?
Right now I blog mostly about writing and Nocturne’s Reaping. I also write about The Hunger Games series and movies. I am participating in the 2015 Library Challenge, so I write about a local library. I have some book reviews posted of books I’ve enjoyed. I’ve been reading the Bible, and when something stands out as particularly meaningful to me or where I’m at in life I’ll post a quote of it on my blog.
Note from Christina: You can find Jennifer’s blog here!
7. Do you have any advice for writers looking to self-publish, or publish their work in general?
I think it’s important to give yourself time to let your work evolve, to give yourself a chance to be inspired by new possibilities. You have to eventually let your work go, but it should be because it feels complete to you not because you are frustrated by the length of the writing and editing process.
If you have to sign a contract that requires you to sign away rights to your work, you should probably consult a lawyer familiar with intellectual property. Even hiring someone in certain countries to translate your book into a different language could entitle that person to rights to that version of the work. Trademarks, copyrights, font licenses and taxes can be complicated issues.
I’m trying to remind myself that it is inevitable that someone isn’t going to like my work. I don’t know of a thing in existence that everyone likes. On the other side, how great is it when someone does find meaning in your work. That makes it worth the effort.
I hope you enjoyed this interview/post! If you did, leave me a comment below! I hope to do more posts like this in the future when the opportunities come.