February 14, 2020
For an up-coming author who has seen massive success on Wattpad and is also about to be published, I reached out to Jenna Collett. Her first book, After Midnight (now known as Spellbound After Midnight, for publishing purposes) was one of the first books that I added to my wattpad “Best Books” reading list. It had kept me and my restless mind hooked till the very end, giving me shocking twists in every corner.
Me: So Jenna, when did you first find your passion for writing?
Jenna: I started writing seriously as an adult. I’m not someone who wrote a lot when I was younger, unless it was for school, but I always had a love for stories. I was a huge reader and would make up my own stories in my head. When I got older, I thought it would be fun to try and write those stories down. Once I started, I didn’t look back.
Me: Are you a plotter or a panster?
Jenna: I’m a bit of a mix, but lean a little more toward plotter. When I start a book, I have a good idea of where I want the story to go, how it will end, and what scenes I want to include. However, every time something will pop in my head while writing and I usually veer off to include it. Some of my favorite scenes were spur of the moment, so I try no to be too rigid to an outline.
Me: Having read your books, I can say that your characters are really deep and interesting and your plot is one full of twists and turns. In short, it is a whole ride! How did you come up with the ideas for your stories?
Jenna: First off, thank you!! I usually start by asking a what if question. For example from my book, what if Cinderella was murdered at the princes’ ball? Then, I brainstorm various scenes that answer that question. I try to incorporate tropes from the genres I’m including and write scenes that fit. I also read a fantastic book called Story Genius by Lisa Cron that talks about using a character’s past and misbelief to create scenes, so I’ve been trying that. But, usually, it’s just something that develops over time. Certain scenes need to marinate a bit in my head before they make sense, but then they start to flow together.
Me: Have you ever been faced with writer’s block or the old devil, procrastination? If so, what do you do when you’re faced with these challenges?
Jenna: I get writer’s block sometimes, but usually, that means I need to take a break and let things work out in my head for a while. Often “sleeping on it” loosens the block. But procrastination is my true enemy! I’m notorious for getting distracted or putting off my writing time in favor of something less important. Imposing deadlines on myself helps, but it’s something I’m trying to improve, and I’m not all there yet.
Me: We all know writing a book is a long process. What part of writing a book do you find the easiest and which part is the hardest?
Jenna: The beginning is always easiest for me. It’s the part that is most fully developed in my mind. I struggle more in the middle, and then it can pick up at the end. The hardest part for me is actually writing description. When I’m drafting, I write pretty lean and so much of it is dialogue. I always have to go back and add in more detailed description and oftentimes I end up staring at the screen completely blank. Finding photos that look like what I want to describe helps, but I wish it came more naturally to me.
Me: What advice would you give to up-coming writing aspirants?
Jenna: My best advice is to push through the ickiness. What I mean by that is we all feel at some point (or the entire time) that what we’re writing is no good. That feeling can be crippling and keep us from finishing our draft. There are scenes that I write that make me cringe, but I have to keep going because everything can be fixed or tweaked or completely rewritten! My other piece of advice is to write what you love. You hear that a lot, but I find it to be true. If you love your story, you will find others who love it too, and your love for your story will help push you through the self-doubt.
Me: Well said! How can we achieve anything if we give up? Next, how does it feel to be on your way towards publication?
Jenna: It’s actually a strange mix of feelings. There is obviously so much excitement and hope wrapped up in launching my book. Especially since I’ve been writing and editing it for so long. But there is also fear because putting yourself out there can be a risk. You can’t control how others will receive your book, and that’s where loving your story can help get you through some of the tough stuff. The only thing I can do is try to enjoy the process and stay in the moment.
And here, I must end my interview with Jenna. It has been a great experience hearing her answers!
Her book, Spellbound After Midnight, a book I still can’t get over, is now available for pre-order HERE
All I can say is I’m already taking my purse out!
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