As the popularity of My Interview With... is increasing I have decided that I'm going to have to also increase the regularity of interviews. So here's another interview for the month of June, this time with the new Sci-Fi and Fantasy author, Jenna Whittaker.
So far she has self-published two novels, Dreamscape, and Watership, and at the moment she is working on two more.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Really, I’ve been writing all my life. I never completed a novel—just a few short stories—and it took until about 2014, when I was 19, to finish my first! I had worked on a 2nd in the meantime, so published them both together in early 2016.
What are you working on right now?
I currently have 2 WIP novels—one a dystopian post-apocalyptic novel with the first draft completed that I am beginning editing this month, and the second a fantasy (kind of sequel to my first published novel, Dreamscape) that I am days away from finishing the first draft!
How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I like to try to not only avoid the clichés (if it’s boring to write, it’ll be boring to read!) and instead turn them on their head. I like to put a unique twist on ideas, most of which come from an amalgamation of snippets of overheard conversation, movie quotes, and my dreams.
Why did you choose the genre you write in?
I’ve always written fantasy, but most recently started to venture into post-apocalyptic/dystopian/sci fi, and may even do steampunk (some of my books have steampunk aspects, but not enough to put in that genre) in the future. I find my ideas are much more creative when not restricted to dragons and magic, and instead exploring whatever genre fits the story!
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I usually work during the day and do my writing—about 500-800 words, or editing a chapter or two—in the evening, before dinner. On the weekends I like to get my writing out of the way first!
How much research do you do before and during a writing project?
A LOT, like I imagine most writers do. I don’t do fully in-depth world-building unless the novel calls for it, but I do double-check that my assumptions (regarding travel, cultures of that time period, what would or could be scientifically possible) are grounded in some sort of reality. With the fantasy and sci fi genres, though, reality can be stretched.
How does your writing process work?
Hmm…I put on music, sit down, and write! My stories start from, as I said, snippets of conversation and scenes or lines from a dream. I write them all down in a document on my computer, and when I’m inspired and have an idea what to do with them, I start developing the book! I start from those ideas and then jump in to conversations between characters that lead to—and show me—the story. My books are primarily character-driven, but those characters are put in some awful and otherworldly situations.
Who are your writing influences?
Pretty much every fantasy author ever. I read a lot of them as a kid, and while I don’t have much time for reading now—as much as I’d like, anyway—I still do enjoy fantasy/sci fi/steampunk etc. Too many authors to name individually.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I’m an artist! I draw and paint—for myself, for art galleries/shows, for friends, for concept/UI artwork for games, and commissions for pets and portraits. I love doing artwork every day as well.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I haven’t heard much, yet. I have a few reviews, though, and it seems people really enjoy my work! I do need to work on my pacing, unfortunately this has been a common theme. I tend to rush a little through the story, mostly because I’m excited to tell it! Each book gets better and better as I do them, though. Practice makes perfect!