#Author Spotlight Interview: Jen Winters

Where are you from?
Right now, I live in a small town a few miles Northwest of Omaha, Nebraska called Valley. Awesome! Once upon a time we were neighbors…well state neighbors, I grew up in Missouri.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written a crap-ton of books, but I only have one novel published and one novelette. My favorite? My current WIP is my favorite. I think that is true every time I start a new project, haha.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Absolutely! My best friend in middle school and high school was a writer and we started writing together. I don’t think I’ve stopped since then. That’s cool.

What are your current projects?
I am working on three WIPs concurrently. The sequel to Kissing Demons is called Falling Angels and the third in this trilogy is called Raising Hell. I also have a short story that doesn’t have a title I’ve been calling The Dragonswan Sisters that I am posting chapter by chapter to my blog.

What books have most influenced your life most?
Very interesting question. The most influential book has been the Bible. I got my degree in Biblical Text because I loved that book. Beyond that, Piers Anthony’s Centaur Aisle was the first time I experienced a love story and I’ve been reading them since. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaimon gave me a love for blasphemous comedy and convinced me that God has a sense of humor. And Garth Nix’s Abhorsen Trilogy showed me how excellence in writing is an event in a reader’s life that won’t soon be forgotten. Interesting…I will have to check some of these out.

What inspired you to write your first book?
Don’t laugh. Wait, ok. Please laugh your head off. My Little Ponies inspired my first book when I was in high school. Yep. My Little Ponies. I didn’t even own a single toy and I had never seen a single episode of the show. I experienced them vicariously and that experience inspired me. I think that is a sweet inspiration to start with. And logical as you stated you were in middle school when you started writing. Who cares where your inspiration comes from, as long as you are inspired to write.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, but it becomes more apparent in Falling Angels, and is the entire point of Raising Hell and I don’t want to give away any spoilers. Shhh…I’ll keep your secret. lol

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Scrounging up the money to pay for the edit. I was dirt poor and I had been abandoned to life as a single mother by my ex. I did it, though. I found an editor who took payments, even if they were ten bucks at a time. That was the first book. The second one is killing me because I am doing something completely new to me: writing from a man’s POV. It’s been a challenge and I am currently waiting on a Beta reader to tell me if I’ve met it or not, haha.

What book are you reading now?
Aha! I am reading indie authors exclusively this year and I am reading Hidden Carmina by Adri Sinclair which is a better story and has better characters than Twilight. I loved Twilight, but this one is better in every way. I am also reading Nwa Pante Rising by Kawanee Hamilton and it is exciting, but I’ve only read the first few pages so far. Both sound exciting!

Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Good question. I suppose you can say I do, though it doesn’t feel like it. If I get stuck on one book, I just move on to one of my other works until the right words come to me. I am never blocked such that I stop writing altogether. Lucky!

What is one random thing about you?
My favorite words to say are flabbergasted, baffled, and befuddled. I don’t know why. I just like how they sound coming out of my mouth. It’s odd that they are synonymous and doesn’t bear thinking on. It is odd that they are synonyms, but you are right they are fun to say!

What is your preferred medium of writing?
I write both on my computer and in a notebook. Raising Hell is in a notebook right now, whereas Falling Angels is on Scrivener, and The Dragonswan sisters are on Word.

What does your writing process look like?
I sit, I write, I agonize over what comes next. I get up, I lay down and then I follow my brain around until I have an outline for what comes next. It’s not exactly a process that works for most people, but it works for me, haha.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?
I don’t think so. I mean, I write my sex scenes in the middle of the night, in the dark, with a silly grin plastered on my face and my cheeks burning with blushes. Does that count as weird? I think what makes it a little out of the norm, is writing those provocative scenes as if you were a kid sneaking porn in his room lol.

How important are names to you in your books?
I research every name I use. I am a firm believer in the meaning of a name influencing a person’s personality and life. I make up some names, but for the most part, I use names that mean something to the characters.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad?
I do read every review. I love the feedback, good and bad. I do not comment on them because I am not sure about the etiquette of that.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
*cough, cough* finding beta readers who can give a proper critique. Not to toot my own horn, but my betas get caught up in my stories and forget to critique. I do have a couple that are worth their weight in gold to me, though. I wouldn’t exchange them for a long night with Channing Tatum. Poor Channing, he’ll just have to find another way to spend his nights!

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?
I paid to advertise on facebook. It was worthless. I will never do that again. I’ve wondered if it would be worth it…guess not.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?
I’ve had the same mantra for more than a decade: Be who you are. I sometimes stray from these words and it never turns out well for me, but as long as I am following them in earnest, I am happy. Right on! Be YOU!

What is your favorite book and why?
Allow me to be blunt with you. My favorite book is mine. I wanted to write it, I put myself into it, I made it be what it is, and it is by far my favorite book out there because it is mine. That is deep and amazing.

What is your favorite quote?
I’m not a quote person, haha. I have plenty of favorite scriptures, by far my most favorite is the original Greek of Philippians 1:21 Ἐμοὶ γὰρ τὸ ζῆν Χριστὸς καὶ τὸ ἀποθανεῖν κέρδος (For to me, to live is Christ, do die is gain). My next tattoo with be these Greek words. It’s a beautiful sentence and it sounds lovely when read aloud.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yes. As a writer, I want to say, keep writing and write every day. As a reader I want to say, hire an editor.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I have a variety of interests, but the most current one is gardening. Love me some dirt. That sounds…dirty! lol

How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Kissing Demons
Kissing the Rain

Published by Courtney M. Wendleton

I'm an author with an associate's in psychology. Interested in a lot of different things, and love controversy. The more controversial the better, but that's not all I'm interested in. Can be a bit confusing at times, but that's normal!

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