Today I am lucky enough to have the talented author, Jen Winters, with me. She is a hard working stay-at-home mom, homeschooling two great kids. She spends her days with the kids and her nights with her book boyfriends. She is grateful to her hubby for all his support and love, and can’t imagine this life without him.
As well as being a parent and a wife, she reads, writes, promotes other authors and is co-admin for Author Promo Co-Op – a group of dedicated authors whose mission is to discuss ways to further the indie industry.
Hi Jen, thank you for taking some time out of your busy schedule for this interview.
You write Paranormal Romance. What drives a Paranormal Romance for you?
I love PNR and have for nearly a decade now. What makes it special is the escape into a different, but possible and believable reality. I love the tension of the secret versus the known. The secrets can be so intense, like a brooding vampire broods because he used to be a mass murderer, or the sexy man with the abs made of steel is jealous because the wolf inside him knows she is his mate. It’s the mix of the supernatural with the normal that makes it fun for me. My immortal Guardian watches the sci-fi channel, lol. Normal + supernatural.
When did you start writing for publication?
About 6 years ago, a little more than. I wanted to see if I could write something that readers would want to read. So far so good. If only I could get it into more hands, haha.
What made you decide to put your work out there to be read by others?
I’ve never in my adult life been the embarrassed type. Putting my work out there wasn’t so much an issue for me as putting it out there where my family could read it. The first time my mother read my book, I was nervous as hell, but I don’t really get that way about the readers in the internet ether.
What do you think you bring to your books that makes you unique?
I have a degree in biblical text and I have created a world that revolves around a monotheistic supernatural world. Certainly, Artemis shows up, but she isn’t a god so much as the daughter of a fallen angel. I interpret old manuscripts liberally, including ancient accounts of demons and battles, gods and heroes. Someone with a firm grasp of ancient near eastern literature would pick up on it; others don’t have to because I spell out everything they need to know there. I did a lot of research on my characters, having taken many of them from history.
How has self-publishing changed the way you read?
I committed this year to only reading indies and I must say that I am impressed with the quality of writers out there. The ones that take the industry seriously and are out there to give indies a great rep are fantastic writers and authors. I have read books that would give Kim Harrison and William Faulkner both a run for their money.
That’s also the tragedy of self-publishing. There are so many good ones out there and the market is just saturated. Getting your book in front of readers is a challenge I don’t think any indie has fully mastered, even the ones on the top 100 list. To get paid, we have to sell, but to sell we have to put out the money that traditional publishing companies already have. It’s a monetary challenge and a bit tragic, because there is such good quality out there.
Who or what has helped you become a better writer over time?
My first editor, Jessica Augustsson helped me weave a better story and gave me great feedback on what makes a PNR good. My mother has alpha read for me and helped me get those little technical buggers I didn’t see the 5th time through the manuscript. Veronica Del Rosa has helped me see what I am missing in my male MCs. And then, just writing—a lot. Every day.
What is that one moment you have had as a writer that made you realize you were actually a real author?
Probably my first unsolicited review. It was a good one and it mean the world to me that someone I didn’t know read my book and liked it enough to review it.
How have your aspirations as a writer changed over time?
I thought I would write pnr forever, but I am seriously considering YA right now. I would really, honestly, like to see one of my books made into a movie (or TV show) and then complain about how they’re ruining it 😀
Tell us about your favorite memory related to reading or writing?
So, when I was in high school, my BFF and I wrote together—like all the time. We were on a school field trip and in the bus, just writing away. All of our friends and classmates and teachers expected this from us. We were good students, but in our downtime, we passed a notebook. So, there we are, stuck on a small part because we need a useful weapon that will main but nor kill, and suddenly we both look up at the same time and say “nailgun” at the same time. We hadn’t spoken a word to each other before that, we were just writing the story, but we came up with the same idea at the same time. Our teacher and fellow classmates all looked at us like we were both amazing and nuts because they had zero context for both of us shouting “nailgun” at the same time. It was hilarious for us and we never did explain it to them.
When you consider your future, what would you like to make happen for you?
I would like to build a following of fans who keep up with my goings on and are excited about my new releases. Time and determination are my friends there.
What do you like to see from your fans, followers, readers, and supporters on your social media sites?
I love it when someone reads my books and then contacts me about it. That’s how I met some of my closest friends. They read my book and just sent me a PM about how much they loved it. It embarrasses the life out of me, but I appreciate it none the less. I like to see what my readers are all about and get to know them. I appreciate the reviews like you can’t even imagine unless you are a writer. I love to see my stuff being shared with friends.
If you read my stuff and like it, feel free to message me. I will talk to you. I’m not an out-of-reach author. I love my fans and some of them have become my best friends.
Tell us a bit about your current work(s)-in-progress.
I am working on the final installment of the first Guardian novels trilogy, Raising Hell. This one is about Yuruch’s redemption and will surprise you how much you feel sorry for his wicked ass.
I am working on a novella for an anthology due out in April. This is an introduction to my Dragonswan series the next PNR trilogy I will be working on before I go back to the Guardians. The anthology will be a charitable work with proceeds going to an autism awareness foundation.
I am also working on a YAF that I am keeping a bit secret because I don’t want to put it out there until it’s ready. I have some alpha readers who are reading along with me as I write it, but other than that, I am not releasing the title and description until the whole series (4books) is complete. It’s a long-term project.
Tell us a little about your previous works and how we can get our hands on them.
Kissing Demons is the first book of the Guardian novels.
I’ve been a Guardian for 800 years, and sometimes, even us immortals need a vacation. So when my big sister calls and tells me I’m off for two weeks, I take the opportunity to visit my favorite place: The Hunter’s Moon, a bar for supernaturals only. There’s a few things I want to accomplish while I’m not working: get a grimoire, find a little temporary fun, and make a friend. I did not want to find my soul mate, nearly die, watch a sister give up this life, and see my city in the throes of mass destruction.
What am I supposed to do now? My vacations over, my soul mate’s been kidnapped by a demon I’m not powerful enough to defeat, and Fort Worth, one of the cities I love, is in pieces. If I help the city, I will lose my soul mate; if I help my Alex, I will lose the city. What kind of Guardian would I be if I didn’t do everything in my power to defeat Yuruch? Am I even sure I want to be a Guardian anymore?
Kissing the Rain is a free novelette that introduces Alex and Geneva. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TUXIDAM
I was happy, living the good life in France. I taught Math and Computer Science, I mentored a group of great kids, and I had my dates—the lovers I visited regularly. Then My father decides it’s time to call me home. If I could, I would ignore him, but I’m a halfling and a demon bound to my father’s voice. When he calls his children, we all have to answer.
I want to be better than I am and I don’t want to help whatever foul plan he’s come up with. I can keep him off my back for a little while with the psychic static of the supernatural club, The Hunter’s Moon, but eventually the club with close and I would rather die than go to him.
My only hope is a petite, fiery Guardian, Geneva Archer. I’ve heard of her before—she’s famous among supernaturals for her dedication to her work—but can she really help me? I’m a halfling and she’s a Guardian, two of the world’s most infamous enemies.
When Yuruch calls for his children to join him in Ft. Worth, it takes every ounce will will-power Alex has to stay away. He may have to go to Texas, but he would rather die than become his father’s puppet. This novelette follows Alex in the days leading up to meeting Geneva. If you haven’t already read Kissing Demons, this is your chance to meet the MCs from Alex’s POV.
Falling Angels is the second novel of the Guardian series, and is on sale right now for 99 cents on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ZPVX1SC/
What’s worse than losing your job? How about losing your life, your home, and everything familiar? I just wanted to work. What did I get in return? A long fucking fall with a sudden stop.
Stranded on earth with little hope for survival and an eternity of banishment ahead of me, I did the only thing I knew—I worked the jobs I could. Until I realized I’d been replaced. Then I got mad. Eleven thousand years of fighting for my destiny had me broken, bitter, and ready to just give up. And then my best friend blew up Fort Worth and screwed the entire universe in the process. Now I have to save his ass from everyone including the Guardians.
I hate Guardians—those intrusive vixens replaced me, took over my job, and left me utterly useless. But this one, Lavinia, she’s almost as old as I am and she is starting to get under my skin. I can’t concentrate when she’s around—everything about her mystifies me and why the hell do I remember her from before? She shouldn’t even exist! And certainly not in my memory.
Where can we find you to tell you how amazing we think you are?
Friend request me on facebook and send me a message: https://www.facebook.com/WintersJen
Or follow me on facebook: https://facebook.com/jenwintersne
Join my street team (benefits for members): https://www.facebook.com/groups/859499660796902/
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Find me on GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/Jen_Winters
Follow me on Twitter: @jenwintersne
Follow my blog: https://jenwintersne.wordpress.com
Or join the groups I moderate or admin:
Trail Mix Readers: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/153603-trail-mix-readers
and finally… If you ever got stranded on a deserted island which three books would you bring?
1. The bible…it’s part of my daily life and I can’t live without it.
2. The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix—best epic fantasy I’ve ever read.
3. Shakespeare Anthology—because it contains anything I need: tragedy, comedy, drama, poetry, love…
Thank you for joining me, Jen. I’m looking forward to reading Raising Hell and I wish you every success in your career. 😀