After a few technical difficulties (it IS a Monday, after all), I’m pleased to announce that the lovely Jennings Wright is back with me today, playing 20 Questions about herself, her writing, and her new book, IXEOS.
20 Questions with Jennings Wright
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I’m a 5th generation Floridian, although I’ve lived in NC for over twenty years. It’s just in my blood! I’m a wife, homeschool mom (for 2 more months, until my last child graduates!), business owner and non-profit founder. I love to travel, and love anything to do with the water, boats and the beach.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve written, in some form or other, all my life. I’ve done ad copy and business writing and a lot of editing. But I’ve only been writing novels since November, 2011.
What made you want to write?
I decided to try National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November 2011. I was perfectly prepared for my novel to be terrible, but figured I could at least check that off my bucket list. Much to my surprise, it was good! And I loved writing it, too. Thus, a passion was born.
What is a typical day in your life like?
I started living by a schedule in 2013, because I had so much on my writing to-do list that I decided I needed some routine if I was going to have a life other than writing and editing. Every morning I get up fairly early (usually before 7:00) and drag down to the kitchen for coffee. Unfortunately, I have decaf, but it’s better than nothing! I journal and have quiet time, then go through my online routine, until 9:00. At that point, I either go to the gym or get started editing. If I don’t go to the gym at 9:00, I go before lunch. I take a fairly long lunch to read, do errands, and basically shift gears, then write in the afternoon. Once a week I work on marketing and promotion. I quit at about 5:30 and make dinner, and after that, just hang out with the family. I usually go to bed around 10:00.
Tell us about your most recent work and where we can get it.
IXEOS is a YA sci-fi fantasy with a large dose of dystopian thrown in. Teens from our world are lured into Ixeos, a planet taken over by aliens, to help the rebels free their planet. Most of the humans were killed by WMDs or starvation during the war, and most of the remaining ones were enslaved. But there’s an underground rebel movement, and the outsiders are tasked with finding the imprisoned leader, Darian, and helping however they can.
It’s currently available in ebook form only from Amazon, but the paperback version is available at Amazon, B&N, and CreateSpace. Readers can contact me at my website www.jenningswright.com for an autographed copy, as well.
Of your backlist/coming soon agenda, what’s your favorite story? Why?
That’s a really hard question, because I write in a lot of genres! Usually, whatever I’m working on is my favorite. I’ve really had a great time with the IXEOS Trilogy, but I love the Quinn adventures, too.
So how many genres do you write in? Which is your favorite?
I have written two action adventure treasure hunts, a Christian historical romance set in the Civil War, and now the IXEOS Trilogy. I don’t really think about genre when I’m planning a book, I just write the story that comes to me. I’d say I don’t so much have a favorite genre, as that I love to include history and travel in all my books.
Are you self-published or do you use a publishing house? Any advantage/disadvantages of either you’d like to tell us about?
I am self published by choice. I didn’t try to find an agent or publisher after I discovered self publishing thanks to Joe Konrath. I’d sent out about nine queries before then, but I still hadn’t really figured out my genre at that point, so I was finding it hard to target the right people. Once I discovered the indie route, though, there was no turning back. For me, as a long time business owner, I love everything about being independent. I’m used to sales depending on me, so even though I’m not at all gifted in marketing, I’m happy to learn. I love being in control of my work, especially since I like to write in so many genres. I’m especially particular about cover design, and have found a wonderful designer (Glendon at Streetlight Graphics) that I do all my books with.
Your inspiration – is it from your imagination or from personal experience?
Definitely imagination. I use my experiences where I can, but in the kind of books I write, that only takes me so far. For instance, a lot of my first book, Solomon’s Throne, is set in Africa. I’ve been to Africa seven times, so obviously I could draw on my experiences there. But the stories are all from my imagination.
If given the opportunity to meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be and why?
I’d like to have coffee with Rei Quinn, because she’s who I want to be when I grow up. But I’d also like to meet Landon, from IXEOS, because he’s so mysterious.
Plotter of Pantser? Is there an advantage to either?
Plotting pantser! I always know where the story’s going from start to finish, and any main plot points in between (for the treasure hunts, I know all the places where there are clues, for instance). Otherwise, I’m a pantser.
How do you go about researching your stories?
Thank God for the internet! I mostly do research online, although I do use books and magazines, especially when I’m searching for ideas for a new story. While I’m writing, I usually have a couple of windows open with a dozen tabs each. Sometimes I’m worried about Homeland Security coming to the house, since I look up things like smuggling weapons into Iraq, how EMPs work, how to make a WMD…
What comes first, the plot, the characters, or the setting?
Definitely the setting. Locations are always the hook for me, and as I begin to research them and follow threads to other interesting locations, the plot starts to develop. Characters are always last!
Who is in control when you write, you or your characters?
The characters have to follow the basic outline, but within that loose framework, they’re definitely in charge.
What inspires you to write?
As corny as it sounds, passion. I am happiest when I’m working on a story, and I love the process. I have also always tried to show my kids that their future should be about following their passions, not just “finding a good job” or any other conventional wisdom, so I love that I am able to continue showing them an example of that.
When you write, is it with or without visual/audio stimulation (tv, music, etc.)?
I need absolute quiet!
World building: fun game or awful chore?
As an author, what’s next for you?
Book 2 (IXEOS: Rebellion) of the IXEOS Trilogy will come out in April, and Book 3 (Darian’s War) in June. I have a couple of nonfiction books in the works, and another Quinn adventure later this year.
What’s the weather like where you are today?
It’s beautiful! The sky is clear blue, the birds are chirping away, there’s no breeze, and it’s in the low 60’s.
Tell us how you really feel about the 50 Shades of Gray hype.
Confused. I confess that I haven’t read all of the first book, but I’ve read parts of it, and I absolutely can’t understand any aspect of its popularity!
The McClellands are enjoying a lazy summer vacation at the beach when they are lured from our world into Ixeos, an alternate Earth. Finding themselves lost in a maze of tunnels under Paris and surrounded by strangers, they discover that they have been brought to Ixeos for one purpose: to take the planet back from humanoid aliens who have claimed it. With the aid of the tunnels and a mysterious man named Landon, the teens travel the world seeking the key that will allow them to free Darian, the long-imprisoned rebel leader.
The aliens aren’t the only problem on Ixeos — the McClellands have to deal with brutal gangs, desperate junkies, and a world without power, where all the technology is owned by the aliens, and where most of the population has been killed or enslaved.
The worst part? There’s no way home.
More on Jennings Wright
Website : http://www.jenningswright.com Twitter : http://www.twitter.com/JenningsWrightFacebook : http://www.facebook.com/JSWwritesGoodReads : http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6450269.Jennings_Wright