Friday, July 9, 2010

Author Interview: Jenna Black

Jenna Black is your typical writer. Which means she's an "experience junkie." She got her BA in physical anthropology and French from Duke University.

Once upon a time, she dreamed she would be the next Jane Goodall, camping in the bush making fabulous discoveries about primate behavior. Then, during her senior year at Duke, she did some actual research in the field and made this shocking discovery: primates spend something like 80% of their time doing such exciting things as sleeping and eating.

Concluding that this discovery was her life's work in the field of primatology, she then moved on to such varied pastimes as grooming dogs and writing technical documentation. Among her other experiences . . . Ballroom dancing.  Traveling all seven continents.  Yes, even Antarctica.  Becoming a Life Master in Bridge.  Singing in a barbershop chorus.

Sounds awesome right?  I was so excited that Jenna was able to come by the blog for an interview and can't wait to share, so check it out!

Katelyn:  Fantasy novels have always been popular in Young Adult Literature, and YA novels featuring fairies are long time classics and oh so very popular. Why were you drawn to focus your novel around them? Have they always held a special place in your heart?

Jenna:  I have always enjoyed tales of Faerie, and I’ve been influenced even by the ones that I didn’t particularly enjoy. There’s something about that parallel world, with people who are sort of like us but in many ways not that fascinates me. One of my all-time favorite books is War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. I think I’ve wanted to write a story about the Fae ever since I first read that book, although I didn’t find the story I wanted to write until relatively recently.

Katelyn:  With Glimmerglass being your YA debut novel, this must be a very chaotic and exciting time for you. What's your favorite part about the process so far?

Jenna:  Chaotic and exciting is an excellent description! It’s been a wild roller coaster ride, with my emotions careening all over the place. Some of my favorite moments were seeing the final book for the first time, with its pretty silver dots, and doing my very first reading/signing. A lot of people from my local RWA chapter showed up, but there were also people in the audience whom I didn’t personally know, and that was very exciting. More people seem to come to events for young adult books than do for adult books, so it was a nice ego boost.

Katelyn:  What's your favorite book/author?

Jenna:  That’s an impossible question to answer! I have so many favorites I couldn’t possibly name them all. Obviously, I’d name War for the Oaks as one, but a few more of my favorites are Briar Rose by Jane Yolen, The Host by Stephenie Meyer, and Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. Ask me another time, and you might get an entirely different list of books and authors.

Katelyn:  If you were describing Glimmerglass in three words, what would they be?

Jenna:  Wow, two hard ones in a row! Assuming the three words don’t have to go together, I’d probably say alcoholism, Faerie, and betrayal.

Katelyn:  Did you have a favorite character while writing Glimmerglass? If you did, can you tell us who that was and why?

Jenna:  I’d have to say my favorite character is Ethan, my heroine’s love interest. I always seem to love the morally ambiguous characters best. Ethan has elements of both a hero and a villain, and that makes him tons of fun to write. But if you want to see one of my favorite characters I’ve ever written, you’ll have to wait until Shadowspell comes out and you get to meet the Erlking. He’s morally ambiguous all right, but he leans more toward the villain side.

Katelyn:  I was amazed to hear that you've traveled all 7 continents and was insanely curious to know which you enjoyed the most or if you have any plans to make your way back to certain places that were favorites?

Jenna:  I did most of my traveling with my mother, who passed away in 2004. We were very adventurous travelers (as you can probably guess), and we went to a lot of stunning places. We were always on the lookout for off-the-beaten-path trips and were more interested in natural beauty than in cities. Probably my favorite place to visit was Kenya, because the wildlife is so incredible. But I really loved Antarctica, too, both because traveling there was such an adventure, and for its sheer, unspoiled beauty. It was just breathtaking! (I don’t think I’d want to go again, however. Getting there can be quite an ordeal, especially if you’re crossing the Drake Passage, one of the roughest stretches of water anywhere in the world!)

Katelyn:  Do you have any other novels in the works at the moment, want to share any juicy details about them? I know the sequel to Glimmerglass will be coming out in the future, any hints you can give us as far as what's in store next for our favorite characters?

Jenna:  I do have another adult series in the works, but unfortunately I have not been cleared to share any details about it yet. My publisher doesn’t want me to talk about it until they have determined a release date for it, and that has not yet happened. Sorry! As for hints at what’s in store for Dana and her friends, I can tell you that her life is going to get even more complicated! And the list of people who want something from her is going to grow.

Katelyn:  Anything else you'd like to add or say?

Jenna:  Thanks for inviting me to be your guest!

Isn't she great?  If you guys haven't had the chance to check out Glimmerglass (Faeriewalker, #1), do yourself a favor and get the bookstore now to pick up your own copy, it's great!  And be sure to be on the lookout for the 2nd installment in the Faeriewalker series, Shadowspell.

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