Deanna: Thank you all for stopping in to meet Jennifer! You are going to love her energy and her books. Since may places are getting cooler temps, she wanted you to join us on the beach for a tall frothy Pina Colado or Mai Tai! Grab your favorite from the bar, then come join us as we chat with our guest. Jen, tell us a bit about yourself that our readers might not know.
Jen: Hi everyone! Thanks so much to Deanna for having me by her wonderful blog. I'm a (mostly) stay at home mom as well as an author. (I work for a little while at the kid’s school each day) Along with my two darling boys, I've a number of birds and an Australian shepherd. I've dabbled in just about everything, from riding to archery to just about every type of craft. I can even weld (thanks Dad!) I live in rural Ontario, Canada, and in case you missed it, I hate cold and snow.
Deanna: What made you want to become a writer?
Jen: Well, I never really wanted to become a writer, I just always wrote. I started in public school and never really stopped. Though I often thought it would be cool to be an author, I never put too much thought into it. My parents actually pushed me a few years ago to give it a try. I actually listened and here I am today!
Deanna: Do you write under a pen name?
Jen: Nope! I'm me. Though I write as Jen Wylie...legally I'm Jennifer. I don't think that really counts as a pen name thought.
Deanna: What type of hero do you like best?
Jen: I like realistic characters, ones with flaws. The alpha male heroes rather drive me a bit batty, but sometimes they can be done okay. Most of all, he has to be a least a little romantic. Now as for heroines (which you didn't ask for, but I'll forgive you) they have to have some spunk or sass...or at least acquire some!
Deanna: Thank you for including our heroines! How many plots do you include in one of your books?
Jen: It depends on the book. I usually have quite a few (plots or subplots). My favorite thing is the plot TWIST. I love love love them! I hate reading a book where I know the ending after ch.1 and love it when my readers comment “OMG I sooo didn't see that coming!”
Deanna: I do love it when an author can pull off a total surprise ending! Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.
Jen: Should I mention I've written an entire blog post answering just this question? LOL Honestly it depends on a number of factors- if the kids are home, appointments/errands, etc always come first. Otherwise I usually start my morning with lots of coffee and putter at marketing (ie twitter, fb, emails, blog etc) Once I'm awake then I'll work either on writing or editing-depending on what phase I'm in. Sometimes I'm flipping back and forth between a number of projects. Once the kids are home, I'm Mom again until bedtime, and then back to writing/editing and of course more marketing (yes I'm a twitter addict)
Deanna: Congrats on making time to write with little ones around! Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?
Jen: I think they are all different. My writing styles even vary between work. My short story Jump is a humorous urban fantasy. My novel Sweet Light is more historical in tone. My YA short story series Tales of Ever was specifically written for younger people to get them hooked and reading, so is very fast paced, shorter sentences and no monstrous words.
Deanna: Jen, you do have a good variety of genres to keep all interests going. How long does it take you to write and then edit a story?
Jen: Again it varies. I can write a book in 4-6 months. Short stories can take me 2 days or a month depending on the story. Edits are pretty much subject to my editors. I'm rather quick, but sometimes it takes a while to come back to me again. I often have a number of different projects on the go in various stages. Luckily, I'm kind of crazy about being organized (Yup! I'm a list lady!)
Deanna: If I don’t keep my lists and calendar updated, I always forget something! Do you have to be alone to write?
Jen: Sadly, yes. I wish it wasn't so! I'd get so much done. But I need to be alone, and have quiet.
Deanna: How do you go about naming characters?
Jen: A lot of times the perfect name will just pop into my head. This is usually for the main characters. Occasionally I'll think of a better one and change. I find it harder to come up with names for characters just passing by. A lot of the time I'll go to baby name sites and browse around LOL.
Deanna: Is it easier to write about the characters if you find pictures of them before you write or do you write then find character pictures?
Jen: I actually don't do the character picture thing. I have them in my head. All my stories play like a movie in my head and I write what's there.
Deanna: That’s interesting. How do you pick locations for your stories?
Jen: Sometimes I have no specific place mentioned (in shorts) all my books I make up worlds. I love world building and playing with maps and making notes on little details the reader will probably never even know.
Deanna: What are you working on now?
Jen: I just recently contracted with Hadley Rille Books (http://www.hadleyrillebooks.com/index.html) for my YA fantasy novel Broken Aro and I'm already into edits with it. Also working on edits for another short story, the sequel to Jump. I'm hoping to get some time in soon for some more writing too.
Deanna: Wow, congratulations, Jen! That’s great news! What is your most recent release?
Jen: My debut novel, Sweet Light, came out this summer. My publisher has it at an affordable price of 2.99 for the eBook! You'll find fantasy, love and action and then come the plot twists. My readers have been falling in love with the characters especially Shara, and the three men who love her. I invite you to read and cheer your favorite on!
Excerpt from Sweet Light:
Blood arced through the air as his sword slashed across his enemy's neck. He turned his head away, avoiding the spray while seeking his next opponent. They attacked from everywhere, these northern barbarians who invaded his land so suddenly.
He grimaced and parried the awkward blow of an ax as he spun to kill another enemy. He ducked the ax man's second attack and twisted to slice through the man's scant armor. For a moment, the space around him remained clear and he searched for his men. They had lost formation, but he wasn't worried. The Southerners called them barbarians. They weren't, not like these newcomers from further north, who covered themselves with nothing but leather and hides and often painted their faces as well.
At least his men wore real armor and battled with good weapons. They fought in formation like the Southerners, but could also fight on their own. They even learned to fight in pairs in the style of armies past, before Glendor became a country and nomadic clans roamed their land.
He cursed as the invaders pushed his men back. If a god of war truly existed, he had surely abandoned them this day.
He laughed at his own thought. The gods disappeared long ago. They remained only in stories and distant memories, all except Lady Death. She likely walked the field even as she crossed his mind. He feared he would see her terrible beauty this day.
"Fall back!" He raised his arm and gained the attention of the men nearest him.
His soldiers reacted to the command and made their way toward camp. The enemy continued to fight with every step. Would they get no respite?
He gathered his men as they neared camp. Chaos reigned within as cooks, field medics, wounded soldiers, and the rest scrambled to evacuate.
She caught his attention and filled his vision, the slip of girl who called herself a healer. She came from the south, from Hancar. Her large brown eyes and hair, a mass of brown curls, gave her a child-like appearance. The king acquired her mere months ago to tend those at the keep. At the first sign of attack, the king ordered her north to tend the wounded.
He initially scoffed at the king's decision. The worst the girl had seen had been kitchen injuries and runny noses. However, in the days since she had arrived at the border, he had changed his opinion. She deftly splinted bones and stitched wounds, even though he could see she wanted to be anywhere but here.
She stood frozen with fear near one of the tents, eyes wide at the carnage around her. Gods, she looked innocent, small, and helpless. He cursed the king for bringing her to the border and for not taking her back to the city with him.
The king, thinking the worst passed, had left the battlefield a day earlier and took a good part of the army with him. He ordered his men to remain behind and deal with the Northern stragglers.
Unfortunately, more of the enemy remained than first thought. Glendor scouts found nothing to indicate their presence. He had no reason to doubt the skill of his scouts, and yet…Where had they all come from?
He resumed the fight, arms aching. He left behind a trail of blood that covered everything. The invaders fought relentlessly as they pushed forward, heedless of their own dwindling numbers. His men regrouped and held their ground at the edge of camp. It did not take long before the Northerners forced them back into the camp itself.
They sidestepped around scattered gear, fire pits, and tents as they fought. He pushed himself harder in an attempt to buy time for his people to escape. He tried to ignore the screams around him and had little desire to consider how many of the horrid pleas belonged to civilians slaughtered throughout the camp.
He feared for the safety of their healer. Gods only knew what would happen should she be lost. Not only would it decimate the men's morale, but her death might cause repercussions with their southern neighbors as well. Hancar valued their healers above all else. If he allowed the one in Glendor to be killed...he did not even want to consider the consequences. They did not want Hancar as an enemy. Theirs was a large and greatly populated country with a daunting army. Its size easily dissuaded invasion by its neighbors.
He pushed his thoughts aside as he struck out, killing another man as he sought out the healer again. He finally spotted her astride a horse, struggling to keep the frightened animal under control. He grimaced. She should have long since retreated with the others.
After a few tense moments, she gained control of her mount and moved forward. He released the lungful of air he had not realized he held.
He turned his attention back to the battle in time to see a Northerner raise his bow and take aim at the healer. Shit!
Anger raged through him as he ran forward, his sword making short work of all in his path. While he raced toward him, the Northerner released not one, but three arrows in quick succession. He rammed his shoulder against the Northerner, foiling a fourth volley and sending them both to the ground. He reeled back and plunged his sword into the man's chest. The fallen bowman's scream joined those of so many others who lie scattered and dying around them.
He stood, his sword once again red with the blood of his enemy. He searched for the girl, and caught a glimpse of her as her horse veered wildly off into the woods to the south. Her mount had been hit, but she looked unscathed. Thank the gods.
However, the direction she rode caused him to growl in frustration. Bloody hells. She would get herself lost or worse–killed.
Out of the corner of his eye, he caught movement to his left. Before he could react, pain flared across his stomach as the Northerner's blade sliced through his leather armor.
He sprang forward in rage and pain, his blade striking a fatal blow. He cursed as the man slid off his sword and fell to the ground. He looked to the south again and saw no sign of the girl. With a growl, he swiveled and surveyed the camp.
"Regroup!" Forearm pressed to the wound on his stomach, he strode back into the fray.
He had to stop thinking about her and concentrate on the fighting ahead.
Thoughts of a woman while in battle would lead to defeat, if not death. One of the many reasons he avoided them. A feminine distraction was neither wanted nor acceptable, and gods forbid he ever fall in love. Hah! The idea held no desire for him. He had always been, and would remain, a dedicated soldier, a warrior…a killer. His life held no room for the nonsense of love.
Despite such thoughts, he glanced back over his shoulder once more.
Deanna: Jen, what a great excerpt. Readers, be sure to check out Jennifer’s websites and pass them along to others who may enjoy the YA books she writes! Jennifer, thank you so much for sharing with us today. I know the readers enjoyed finding out about you and your books! Do you have a contest for us?
Jen: On Saturday, one lucky commenter will be chosen to win an ebook of your choice from my books. Please be sure to leave a comment and include the book you’d like and your email so I can contact the winner. Good luck and thank you for stopping in. Please feel free to leave questions or comments for me and be sure to visit my sites listed below.
Sweet Light Ebook Available at:
My site links:
My website: www.jenniferwylie.ca
facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-Wylie/151266004895266
Smashwords author page: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jenwylie
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Jen-Wylie/e/B004HQ9XD8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
My blog: http://jlwylie.wordpress.com/