Previously, on Release the Blogger...
I was getting up from my chair, after hearing Jeaniene and the store manager spotting, and me raising my hand. I walked over and introduced myself, sticking my hand out for a shake. OMG, Jeaniene touched me, she shook my hand! Keep it together Kim.
Jeaniene was all smiles, and said, "nice to meet you". As we were seated, I explained to Jeaniene how much research I've done in preparation for this interview, and how excited I was to be there. So far so good with not trembling, whew! I pulled my cell phone from my purse to start the voice recorder, and test it to make sure we could be heard; there was a lot of background noise in the store.
I avoided small talk because I knew I would frack it up, and let my nerves get the better of me. I was only going to speak if spoken to, lol! Better to be safe than sorry, and look like an babbling idiot! So after the sound check, I just got straight to the questions. God bless her for being so nice!
Kim: My first question is, will you be explaining in future books why Ivy didn't know who she really was?
Jeaniene: In the beautiful Ashes, Ivy knows she's adopted. And what she knows of one of her parents is that she was found by the side of the road as a newborn baby, after a tractor trailer jackknifed, and a bunch of illegals ran for it, you know, they had been riding in the back of the tracker trailer. Ivy grew up always knowing that people that raised her were her adoptive parents and not her biological parents. It's not like it was a shock to her that these were not her real parents.
She always knew she was adopted, and what she finds out in the beautiful Ashes, which has kinda been alluded to, is that she had a recurring dream her whole life about seeing a dark haired woman leave a baby by the side of the road, but wasn't part of the accident. She saw the accident and she left the baby by the side of the road and drove off. But what Ivy hears from Zach is, 'your dream was real, you saw what happen with you, your mother she didn't abandon you cause she was running from the police, she did it to protect you.' So that is laid out in the beautiful Ashes as a teaser. And the history of why her real mother left her as if she were someone who had been abandoned at the sight of an accident will be revealed in the second and third book.
Kim: What was your favorite chapter ( or part ) to write and why?
Jeaniene: You know, I don't have one favorite chapter. I mean I have several, which I think makes sense, because if I bothered to write a book with thirty some-odd chapters and I only had one, if I'm bored, what's the reader feeling? So I had several different things that I really enjoyed writing. I really liked writing the first time Ivy and Adrian meet, and also their early interactions, before he realizes who she is.
And I mean it's probably kind of a dark part of me that enjoyed writing the demon realm, and pulling something out of my mind, as far as trying to imagine if there were demon realms, what would they look like? What would they feel like? And I came up with the lack of sunlight. Then came the obvious next thing, they would be freezing. But still not so freezing, because then you couldn't have people live there because of the forest gateways and the gravitational fields, which I kinda go into very briefly at the end of the book. And I'm sure no one cares about it but me, but this is why they're totally not frozen, I have a reason.
It was neat coming up with the different realms. And it was kinda fun coming up with new creatures because I'm a geek at heart and I've loved paranormal since I was a kid. I like the idea of having a totally different world that I can do anything with. What sort of creatures do I want? I loved writing the scene with the gargoyle. And also loved the scene with Ivy when she is confronted by the hell hounds and then later when she's actually disguised as one and then when she has to run with them in a pack. What was that like? So, as you can see, there are a bunch of different scenes I got a kick out of writing. I have to enjoy a book I'm writing or else I will never get through a book, I'm too lazy.
Kim: This is a three part question, What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
Jeaniene: Oh gosh! I'm only suppose to pick one? (laughing).
Kim: Like the worst one.
Jeaniene: I still can't narrow it down to just one (laughing ). People online will say absolutely anything and sometimes there are wonderful things. People will say 'I love what you write'. You will get wonderful heart warming things. And sometimes people will just drop by your inbox or your Facebook page and say 'I hate your books so much, it was the worst thing I ever read, I can't believe that piece of crap was published, you should be ashamed of yourself for writing it and/or you should get your head examined.' I've actually had comments like that directly in my email, not just on reviews. I don't read negative reviews anymore, it just destroyed my self esteem years ago. People will email me to tell me how much they hated something and/or I should be ashamed of writing it and/or they want their life back.
I will say I don't hold the record. A friend of mine got what I think is the most classic angry feedback on a book. A reader emailed her to tell her she hated her book so much when she was done reading it she took it into her backyard and burned it. I haven't gotten an email from somebody telling me that, so I don't think I have achieved true success yet (laughing).
I've only gotten, 'What were you thinking? Were you on meds?' I've gotten that a couple of times. When it is funny is when they are asking because they are concerned. They're not even trying to be mean, they're serious. It's kind of a cute concern in a way, because they are like, 'I liked your first two books but then your third book was so awful, are you ok? Did someone give you meds?' I never know how to answer that, ( laughing ).
Kim: Second part of the question, How did you react or how does it make you feel?
Jeaniene: Logically, no matter what field you're in, you're going to get negative feedback. If you're a public school teacher, you're going to get negative feedback. I think you try to respect the opinion of the person giving it, because if you can take the positive feedback you have to take the negative. You can't say, ok people can only send me sunshine and roses. If one is good, so is the other, you have to accept it.
At the same time I think you try and not let it get in. Because objectively, you know that no book can please every reader and you're writing the book first, for yourself (because again, if you don't love it, how can anyone else?) Secondly, you're writing the book for the people who will enjoy it, and for the ones whom it is the worst book they ever read obviously you weren't writing it for that person, (laughing).
It's unfortunate and you feel bad, I don't think anyone likes to hear that they wasted that persons day. You try to not let it in, but it does get in. And that's why I stopped reading negative reviews years ago, because it was giving me writers block. I would sit down at my keyboard and instead of thinking of the scene I had to write, I would think of all the different ways I sucked as had been explained to me by people who disliked a book I had written at the time.
So I take critical feedback from my three critique partners, an editor, and a freelance copy editor. So I get plenty of critical feedback from them (laughing). I'm not blocking that out, but you have to put up a wall, or at least I do, between getting some critical feedback that helps me grow as a writer, and listening to all the opinions of people who for whatever reason, subjective or objective, just didn't like the book. Because if you take everything in...I couldn't keep doing this, some people can, but I couldn't. If I read every negative comment, I would never write another book again!
Kim: People suck...
Jeaniene: No, no, no they don't. And I'm glad we're rolling, I want to clarify: Unless they email me directly I don't assume people are talking to me. I think they are talking to other readers, and they're talking about their opinion, and their opinion is valid, and they're talking about a book.
I have bought books from negative reviews, because what one person hates could be what I like about the book. And also, if I see a TV show that I hate, I will tell people, I thought that was a piece of crap or I totally hated that. I don't think it comes from a mean place, except for the people that email me to say I think you suck so bad, I think you should quit. That might come from a mean place because they're telling me directly. But if they're just talking in a conversation about a product, that's not meant for me.
Talking about it is what every author wants readers to do, they're talking about books, their talking about my book. Sometimes talking about them in a negative way is better than no one talking about them at all. I'm glad for the chatter.
Kim: Third part of the question, What has been the BEST compliment?
Jeaniene: Let me just say, any and all compliments are great. Especially when someone says, your book made me happy, I loved your book, or whatever the circumstances are. That's great, I love that. I'm shallow enough to admit I love that. It keeps me going some days (laughing).
One of the things I take as special and personal to me is when someone says your book has got me to love reading again, or your book introduced me to the paranormal genre, or something like that. Because I remember the first book I read, like my first romance novel, and my first paranormal novel, the things that get you into a genre that you love, or a field that you love.
For instance, when someone tells me, I hated reading, and I just graduated high school and I read my first non-school book, and I really love reading now. And I'm reading 50 books a month because I realize I love reading, and I hated what they made me read in high school. That's special because I can relate.
Their are books that have gotten me through a hard time. You know, something's going on in my life, I need the escapism. There are books that have gotten me into certain genres.
That being said, all compliments are equal. But those are the ones that sit with you a little longer.
Kim: How do you feel about fan fiction?
Jeaniene: I'm fine with it, as far as, I think there's a place for it. As far as the fan fiction community goes, most of the time, they self regulate a lot more than I would ever think to.
They don't want readers to sell fan fiction. And they do it for entertainment purposes, so I think of it as a compliment that I'm not involved in.
I don't read fan fiction because I don't want anyone to feel like I ripped off their idea of something that they've done. And also because of my limited reading time. As an author you lose so much of your reading time. So when I'm reading something I don't want it to be about my characters, I want it to be about someone else's characters! I consider it a compliment but I stay away from it, because again, it's not for me, like reviews, they're not for me, they're for other readers.
Kim: Would you be open to fan fiction with your work?
Jeaniene: Oh, it already exists, I know it does. I mean, I couldn't point you where exactly, again because I don't read it. But I hear readers sometimes say, I found you through a fan fic blog. Or when I posted the alternate version for Destined for an Early Grave on my website, I had some people say, This is better than the fan fiction I read of it, and it's like oh, ok! (laughing). So it's already out there.
Kim: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way, either growing up or as an adult?
Jeaniene: There's a lot, (laughing). Did you expect a short answer? Because you haven't gotten one yet, (laughing).
The first romance novel I read was Sky O'Malley by Beatrice Small, and it introduced me to the romance genre, and I've been an avid reader of that ever since. So that was my gateway drug. That's an important novel for me.
Dean Koontz - a lot of his earlier work, because that was some of the first paranormal fiction that I have ever read. That got me into paranormal fiction, so that is very important to me.
Outlander, I read that right after I graduated high school, and I think that might have been one of the first ones that I read that had first person heroine point of view that also had a romantic sub-plot. I had never read that before, and that got me hooked on first person narrative, which is the majority of what I write in, so that was pretty significant.
Chances by Jackie Collins, I read that in the 80's. I might have been in middle school, but it was a book about a monster who was, at heart, a good guy. But he did kind of terrible things, and that made me fall in love with the anti-hero idea, and you see a lot of anti-hero's in my book.
Kim: Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Jeaniene: Oh gosh, thank you for reading. Thank you for talking about my books. Again, whether you liked them or loved them. If you gave it a chance to read it, I'm so appreciative. And if you bothered to tell someone your opinion about it, whatever the opinion was, I'm so appreciative.
Because when you're starting out, it's your dream to have someone else read your books. I mean it's a dream, and then when it happens you just feel so grateful in some ways it's so surreal, so I mean, I couldn't be more appreciative to the people that give my books a try and who still talk to other people about them.
Kim: That was it for my questions Jeaniene, thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me.
Jeaniene: Your welcome, and let me know when the interview is posted on your blog, so I can put a link on my blog.
Kim: I will, and again, thank you.
HOLY MOSES! I did it! I made it through like a champ! Could I hurl now? As I was grabbing my things, I almost forgot to ask her to sign something for me! And take a picture! I was ready to just stroll right out of there, WTF Kim?! I headed towards Jeaniene and asked her if she would sign my notepad for me, since I didn't have a hard copy of a book to sign, and she sweetly took it from me.
As she was signing away, I dug my camera out of my purse, and Jeaniene called her sister over to take the picture for us. We checked to make sure the picture came out well, and we said our goodbyes again, me trying to stifle the STRONG urge to bow for some ungodly reason. What the hell is wrong with me sometimes! I mean, really? Bow, seriously?? I need to get the hell out of this store, NOW!
I was on such a high from the experience, that I agreed to everything my husband said all the way home, LOL! If he had only known that, I'm sure he would have taken full advantage of me.