Tuesday, June 15, 2010

J.L. Penn Interview

1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?

My most productive time has always been late at night.  When everyone is in bed and it’s finally quiet, that’s a great time for me to get things done.  I usually get my best inspiration late at night or in the shower.  It’s been that way ever since I was in college.

2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?

I can’t remember the last time I picked up a paper and pen.  I do everything on my computer - even my grocery list!  I do often wish I had one of those tiny recorders though.  But then I know that if I had one, I’d just wind up wishing I had it with me when I needed it.

3: What do you draw inspiration from?

My biggest inspirations tend to come from out of the blue and they hit me like a ton of bricks.  I love when that happens.  I also get inspiration by reading books.  And of course, sometimes I find inspiration in real life, but not often actually.

4: Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?

I know that a lot of writers do exactly that, but I never do.  For me, I know that it would just degrade the quality of my writing.  I write when I’m inspired and feeling creative.  That means I don’t have a writing “schedule,” but it also means I do very, very little rewriting.

5: Being a self published author how do you come up with your cover art?

I love doing all things creative and marketing type things.  I’ve always had a knack for that sort of stuff.  I also scrapbook as a hobby, which is a visual art.  All of that comes into play when I’m working on a cover.  I also try to be consistent with the style for branding.

6: What drives you to chose the career of being a writer?

I’m not sure that I did.  I like to write and I have been inspired to write one novel and a novella so far, with additional projects in the works.  Since people seem to like them, I am encouraged to continue writing, but I don’t really think of it as my career.  I have lots of other hats to wear -- some paying, some not -- so I don’t really have time for a “career.”

7: Do you own an ebook reading device?

I don’t, but my husband does.  My husband has a Kindle and likes it very much.  I do have Kindle for my PC.  I would really like to get an e-reader at some point - maybe when I have more time to actually read.

8: Who are some of your favorite authors and What are you reading now?

I enjoy Emily Giffin, Lauren Lipton, and J.R.R. Tolkien.  I know, that’s an odd mix.  I’m generally not a fantasy reader but I have always loved Tolkien’s hobbits.  Otherwise, I enjoy chick lit.  I usually try to sample a variety of authors’ work rather than reading through someone’s entire catalog because there’s just so many great books out there.  Something Borrowed, It’s About Your Husband, and Sunday’s at Tiffany’s are among my favorites.  Right now I am reading The Red Tent for a book club - way outside my usual genre but I’m enjoying it so far.

9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?

I never would have thought of making a visual presentation as marketing for my book if they weren’t already out there, but hey, whatever works.  I did create a book trailer for Reunion and I may for my next book.  I have no idea whether it has any impact on sales but I suppose it can’t hurt.  I did enjoy making my trailer for Reunion.

10: What are you working on now that you can talk about?

I am currently actively working on two projects.  My second novel, tentatively titled Miss Taken Identity, is about a girl named Emily whose life is in the crapper.  She is barely on speaking terms with her mother and sister, she has a dead-end data entry job at the Department of Public Records, she is new to the area with only her boyfriend to call a friend, and bad things seem to give way to worse things for Emily. That is, until her boring dead-end job offers her the unique opportunity to become someone else - a wealthy reclusive heiress who is presumed dead after a major fire at her mansion. Stephanie Watson is the ill-mannered perpetually half-drunk British heiress who has led the kind of lifestyle Emily could barely imagine. With the opportunity for a new life of wealth and the potential for fame, what will Emily do with it, and will she get away with it?

My other project is Snow White and the Seven Rugrats.  For fans of The Cinderella Curse, Snow White will be along those lines.  It’s another fractured fairy tale aimed at tickling your funny bone.  I have been very pleased that the majority of people who have commented on Cinderella have called it “laugh out loud funny,” and that’s my intent for Snow White too.  It will be either a short story or a novella - we’ll see where it goes.  That’s something I really enjoyed about writing Cinderella - no pressure.  I just wrote until I felt like it was done.  It ended up at about 21,000 words I think, so it’s a novella, but I never had any sort of word count goal.

I’ve also got the sequel to Reunion started but nowhere near complete.  I think it will wind up being my third novel, and there’s no title for it yet.  I will just say that the main character will be a supporting character from Reunion and Jessica will become a secondary character.  It does pick up where Reunion left off though.  Then there’s another short story I have the beginnings of but not enough time to work on right now.  It’s tentatively titled The Lesbian Club: Open to Weary Wives Everywhere.  You can assume that any short stories from me will be of the humor variety and this one is no exception.  And finally, I’ve got an idea for a series rolling around in the back of my head.  So for those WONDERFUL fans who email me to say that they’re anxiously awaiting my next book … I adore you and I am working on it!  There is definitely more to come, but I’m just not a speed writer.  It’s one of the benefits of being an independent author - I get to focus on quality rather than quantity.

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