Here is the interview!
First off, Jill, can you tell everyone a little bit more about yourself?
I'm a twenty-something wife and mother of a toddler. I live in Minnesota, and I make coffee for my day job. It doesn't sound exciting, but it totally is.
What age did you start writing? What inspired you to start?
I really started writing about 12 or 13-years-old. I began with fanfiction, X Files I believe, which turned into something completely original and crazy. It was something dorky I did with my friends to pass the time in class and we'd pass on pages to one another for fun. I just never stopped!
Tell us about your book. Why dragons?
Here's the synopsis:
Darien Oceina is the youngest son of the Great Dragon Lord of the Water. For years he¹s loved and cherished Tai Dawson from afar. Tai is a simple, ordinary girl who doesn¹t even know Darien exists. On his eighteenth birthday, he chooses her as his wife. But there’s one problem: She thinks his choice means she¹s going to be offered as a sacrifice to the Dragon Lord, but instead, she’s forced to move to his home, far away, to give up her life and be his bride.When she first sees Darien after the ceremony, she doesn’t expect to feel anything but hatred toward him. The two are struggling with the complications of a new marriage when their nation is attacked by a rival dragon species. Together they learn to love one another while they struggle to stay one step ahead in a game where the prize is their survival.
(The book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y227X96EoUY&feature=colike)
Why dragons? I wanted to work with a mythical creature of some kind that was seen as a deity of sorts. Something large and powerful. Dragons seemed the best match for that. Plus I think they're fascinating creatures and I have a love for all things giant and lizard like.
How many books will be in The Dragon's Saga? Will they all be about Darien and Tai?
I'm planning for something between 4-6 books. It depends on how long they come out to be later in the series. A lot of things are going to happen. I won't give out any spoilers though. The point though: my publisher only publishes books within a certain word limit, so if the later installments go past this limit, I'm going to have to cut them in half.
There will definitely be more Darien and Tai, as well as a few other new and wonderful characters. If you're looking for a current Dragons Saga fix, check out "Matrimonial Mayhem" for my short "Legend of the Aero Dragon". It's a $5 e-book, and all of the proceeds go to help the tornado victims in Alabama, so you'll be getting a great collection of fiction and doing some good too!
Are your characters based on people you know?
No, I tend to not do that. My characters are their own separate living beings. Which sounds weird, I know.
Are any of your characters a lot like you?
I think a little bit of me can be found in any of my characters if I looked hard enough. The character most like me isn't in the Dragon's Saga though. She's in my upcoming book series. She's kind of dark and cynical, but also a teddy-bear.
Do you listen to music while you write? Do you have playlists for your books?
I don't listen to music when I write anymore. I used to listen to movie scores for a while, but my mp3 player decided to eat all of my music files and I don't have any backups. Now I write while the kiddo plays, so my background noise is usually Dora the Explorer. I do make playlists though, lots of them, and I burn them to CDs and put them in my car when I need to plot out certain stories.
What are you currently working on?
I'm currently working on finishing up the next book in the Dragon's Saga. The end is near and I'm excited to bring the story to a close.
Are there any specific things you have to have while you write?
Concentration. If I can get myself going, it's easy. I also like having some kind of snack by me just in case.Do you have a certain place/time you write?
Most of it is done in my living room these days on a laptop. I get most of my work done in the afternoon.
What do you do when you're not writing?
I play a lot of video games and I read a lot of books. I read three this last week and played about seven hours of Final Fantasy. Which seems like a lot of gaming, but it's actually quite a small bit.
Do you read all the reviews about your books?
I do. Some make me laugh, others cry, and others give me a lot of great things to take into account when I write in the future. They're a good learning tool and a pick me up too. Some of them make me feel squishy in all of the good ways, lol. But I also know not to take some too seriously, even if it can be hard.
Tell us about your journey to get published?
It was random. I had gotten an add from Twitter from AstraeaPress, and they said they were taking pitches. I decided to just give it a shot because what did I have to lose? After I pitched, they said they wanted a full manuscript, read it, and said they wanted it. I was so pumped because this is my first published novel. Then I got my edits back, cried, a lot, lol, because there was a lot of work that needed to be done. Sat and worked on it diligently for three days non-stop. Mailed those back, waited, got my cover art which is always a lot of fun, and then I did some more edits up until the night before it was released!
Do you read? Who is your favorite author?I read a lot. I can't say I have a favorite author though, because there are far too many I enjoy.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors like myself?
Keep at it, keep learning, and keep doing it because you love it. Too many people get dragged down by the market and the "rules" of writing. It's a lot easier if you don't put the whole thing into a box.Random questions!:Favorite band?
I have two, technically: Solo artist is Gavin Mikhail (he did the music for my book trailer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y227X96EoUY) which was very generous of him. He's super sweet, super talented, and sends me emails to check on how the book is going! (full song link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAeuT5QStkw, he does amazing covers too, and writes scores for BOOKS! Maybe if asked nicely he'd do one for me?). Favorite band is VAST ("Touched" is basically the theme for the direct sequel to my book: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rpx_PcZjByY).
I love "The English Patient", "No Country for Old Men", "Atonement", and "Kill Bill Vol 1 and 2".
Stouffers Mac and Cheese, or Caramel Corn.
Do you collect anything?
I always want to collect things, but never get the chance. Notebooks and gel pens I suppose? I have a lot of them. I love getting new ones. Three-ring binders are fun too. I always want to print stuff out/write stuff and put them in there. I also collect things in series that I enjoy. Video games for example I have the entire Final Fantasy series, Kingdom Hearts, Sly Cooper, Grandia, Wild Arms, Uncharted, and Dragon Age. Books, I keep all of the books for The Last Apprentice, Wicked Lovely, The Darkest Powers, and Pendragon.
Where can fans find you?
Twitter: @jfjenkinstweets - I use this pretty regularly. All of my tweets forward to facebook!Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jfjenkinsauthorBlog: http://jfjenkinswrites.wordpress.com (I post free fiction on there at least once a week)Free Story Challenge (that I do with my friend and author Brea Essex): http://introv3rsion.blogspot.com/
Anything else you like to tell everyone?
Happy Reading!Feel free to say hi. I love talking to people. :)
Thanks so much for allowing me to interview you, Jillian! :)