Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Interview with Jenna Black

Jenna was kind enough to stop by today and answer a few questions for me. Don't forget to enter the contest to win a signed copy of The Devil Inside. Just scroll down and leave a comment in Monday's blog entry.

1. What first inspired you to write a novel? Or what first got you interested in writing?

I've been a writer for as long as I can remember. When I was in fifth grade, I wrote my "autobiography." It was written in pencil in a lined notebook, illustrated with crayon and with a construction paper cover. This was my first book, and I've written pretty much continuously since then.

2. Do you see any particular character traits that are similar between you and your main character Morgan?

Definitely, although those traits wouldn't be obvious to an outside observer. The biggest trait the two of us share is our control-freak natures. I'm always amazed how many writers describe themselves as control freaks, because this business is all about things you can't control. Apparently, we're all masochists as well. Because I'm such a control freak myself, I find it very easy to put myself in Morgan's shoes when she's having issues with the way her life spiraled out of control once she became possessed.
3. What drew you to writing about an exorcist?
I love reading urban fantasy. At the time I came up with the idea for the Morgan Kingsley series, I was deeply immersed in Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series. I loved how Hamilton gave Anita such serious personal issues, particularly in her relationship with Richard. I thought the complexities of their conflicts--especially the fact that there really was no solution for the conflict--was what made me keep reading long past the point when I'd ordinarily get tired of a series. Having determined that this conflict was what made the series so compelling for me, when I set out to write an urban fantasy of my own, I wanted to start with a huge, unresolvable (or at least nearly so) conflict and then built a story from there. That's how I came up with the concept of a possessed exorcist.

4. Of all the books that you’ve had published, which is your favorite and why?

Much as I love all my Morgan Kingsley books, my favorite of my books is SHADOWS ON THE SOUL, the third book in my Guardians of the Night series. I've always had a love of dark heroes, but with Gabriel, the hero of this book, I really pushed the envelope. I introduced him in the second book of the series, SECRETS IN THE SHADOWS, and he did some terrible things. But I fell in love with him from the moment I introduced him, and after much anxiety and "you can't do that" thoughts, I decided to tackle the challenge of redeeming him--without making him into a nice guy, which he can never be. I sweated over every word of that book, wondering if it was possible readers could accept a hero as dark as Gabriel. But it turned out to be the one book, to date, that my editor accepted without any revision requests. And it was my first Top Pick in Romantic Times Book Review. So I think I actually managed to pull it off.

5. If you couldn’t be an author, is there anything else you would be interested in giving a try?


6. What part of the writing process do you dread the most? Or what part of the writing
process do you find to be the hardest?

The answer to both is: the waiting. And yes, this is part of the writing process, especially when I'm waiting for revisions from my editor. That's when my anxiety is at its highest, when I'm worried that my editor will hate it, or that I've got some terrible gaping plot hole I never even saw, or that my editor is going to ask me to change my favorite part of the story. I guess that wait time is important, because it gives me some much-needed time away from the book so that when I tackle revisions, I've got fresh eyes. I never allow myself to read the manuscript while I'm waiting for edits. But just because it's important doesn't mean I have to like it!

7. List 5 words that describe your main character.

Strong. Sarcastic. Brave. Insecure. Inflexible.

Thanks for stopping by, Jenna!


Anonymous said...

Great interview, Jocelyn!

The waiting is the hardest part. :)

Jenna, when I first told my sister about The Deadline Dames, she went nuts because Shadows on the Soul is one of her favorites. She loves the dark, dark heroes.


Moonsanity said...

Thank you for such a cool interview. I'm switching from non-fiction writing to fiction and every bit of advice helps!

RKCharron said...

Hi Jocelynn & Jenna :)
Thank you for the great interview.
Thanks to Jenna for sharing.
All the best,