Wow, I can’t believe NaNoWriMo starts today!! If you’re joining in for the 30-day-long time of pure writing madness, then I wish you all the best and hope today has been a fantastic start for you!!!! Do I have a treat for y’all today!!! One of the most anticipated interviews so far of this rally (at least, the one everyone keeps saying how excited they are for!)! But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Hi! Welcome to the 2022 Teen Writers’ Rally! If you’re visiting for the first time or a returning reader, on behalf of TWN, I want to thank you for joining us. We’re kicking-off National Novel Writing Month with back-to-back posts featuring amazing authors, bloggers, and more! Tune in every day until November 5th for new posts full of writing tips, advice, and encouragement. Posts are live at 6:00 EST, and if you’re not already, subscribe to Teen Writers’ Nook via email to receive a notification when the next post for the rally is up. (Form can be found to the right if on a computer or at the bottom of the page if on a mobile device.) And as always stay until the end of the post for information about the giveaway running through the entire event!
I am super stoked to be sharing our next author interview with Jenna Terese!!! If you don’t know her, Jenna is the author of Ignite, an exciting science fiction novel that explores the idea of what if superheroes were illegal. (Okay, as a random side note, am I the only one who can’t help but sing the chorus to Skillet’s song “Ignite” everytime I hear the title of Jenna’s book???? *everyone looks at me like I’m crazy* I am the only one? Oh, well. But it’s true, y’all. ANYTIME someone says the name of Jenna’s book, I immediately belt out GeT bAcK wHeN i IgNiTe!
Anyway, I am stealing too much of Jenna’s spotlight so I’m gonna wrap up this intro saying that I am SOO excited to share with you the awesome advice and encouragement she has for you today!!!
#1. To begin, can you tell us a bit about yourself, your books, and where we can find/follow you online?
Of course! My name is Jenna and I’ve been a writer for most of my life. I write sci-fi for young adults. I’m also a booknerd, Marvel geek, love chocolate, sunsets, my plants, and jiu jitsu. You can find all the ways to follow/connect with me through this link: https://linktr.ee/jenna.
#2. Have you faced any doubts/rejections/
Absolutely. All of those things go hand-in-hand with being a writer. It’s important to know that you can allow yourself to feel those feelings after a rejection letter from an agent or discouragement during a season of writer’s block. But I also try to keep in touch with my WHY. Why do I write? Why do I want to tell this particular story I’m working on? I try to remember that just like every writer, I was given this gift for storytelling for a reason. And even if the journey is bumpy at times, I’m still moving forward with gratitude for being a writer.
I love that you say that it’s okay to feel those feelings because I think sometimes we want to handle rejection so perfectly that we think it means we must never feel upset that something didn’t work out, which, readers, is absolutely not true! It’s your writing that you’ve worked so hard on, that it’s okay to be upset for a moment. But I LOVE the idea to remember your why!!! This is such a great thing to keep in mine anytime you’re struggling, whether that’s through a hard writing night or a heart-crushing rejection!
#3. I find that most young authors struggle with finishing a novel, especially the first draft. What do you do to help stay focused on one project until the end?
Set goals for yourself. Monthly, weekly, and daily goals. Get in your “reps” if you are serious about finishing that draft. But give yourself grace if you don’t always meet those goals. Find those times in your schedule to get some words in. And remember that slow progress is still progress. When you’re discouraged just remember that you are writing a book! That’s really awesome. You’re actually getting words on the page, and that’s a step a lot of people don’t take.
#4. What are your favorite go-to places to find inspiration (i.e. movies, books, Pinterest, etc.)?
Almost everything! Other books, music, art in general, places I travel to, movies. Even people I see walking down the street. There’s so much fullness to life to draw inspiration from. But yes, Pinterest is also a big one. 😉
#5. How would you describe your writing process for first drafts?
The very beginning of working on a story idea looks very messy. And that’s intentional. I like to be completely free with my small story ideas. I daydream about them, make Pinterest boards, and brain dump anything and everything that comes to mind about them in a notebook. Once I feel like I have enough information, that’s when I got to work organizing it. I always start with the characters, figuring out who they are, their internal conflict and goals/roles in the story. I usually get more ideas about the plot during this stage. I like to use a 3-Act Story Structure template for my plot and outline each scene before I start writing the first draft. Then from there I just use my scene outlines as a guide as I have fun seeing the characters in my head play out on paper.
That is an awesome process! Characters and plots are always the first two things I love to play around with and figure out!
#6. What’s the best part about being a writer and/or published author?
I just love being a part of writing stories. I love how a good story can draw you in and make you forget about your own world. It feels like magic. And I love being able to create that with my own stories. The best part of being a published author is seeing readers enjoy my stories. So much work goes into a book, and it’s awesome to see that pay off. Each comment, message, email and review from readers is so special to me. It helps keep me going. 🙂
#7. What’s the first thing you do when you get a story idea before you begin writing it?
Make a Pinterest board! 😀 I’m a very visual person so I love having fun with making aesthetic boards for characters and getting the general vibe of them and the story.
Hahaha, I love how many times Pinterest boards have come up in this interview. XD
#8. Who or what would you say has helped grow your writing most?
Realizing that my love of story is a gift from God that He’s given me for a reason and a purpose. My calling as a storyteller is important and needed in this world. I highly recommend the book The Story of With by Allen Arnold, as this book was a big turning point for my writing.
Yes, I love how you worded that. How your love of story is a gift from God! SO true!
#9. For fun, what’s the best opening novel line you’ve ever read?
Ooh, that’s a tough one. The first one that comes to mind is from Fawkes by Nadine Brandes: “I wasn’t ready to turn to stone.”
Oh my goodness, I LOOOOOVE the opening sentence to Fawkes! Hands-down one of the best ones I’ve ever read!!!!
#10. Finally, do you have any advice, encouragement, or words of wisdom for teen writers who want to take their writing seriously?
Read The Story of With. And remember that this journey will not be an easy one. But you are capable of anything you put your mind to. Your calling and passion for stories is so important in this world. You will be a light in the darkness. Learn as much as you can, connect with other like-minded writers/author, read like crazy, and practice your writing. Always be humble and curious; don’t be afraid to ask questions to grow your knowledge of the craft. See every challenge as an opportunity to grow. And remember that you’re awesome. 😉
YES! I couldn’t have said this better myself. SO true! I also love how Jenna said to not be afraid to ask questions and to grow your knowledge. That’s one of the best ways we all learn. And like Jenna said, these challenges in writing that we think are holding us back, what if they really weren’t? What if they were preparing us, strengthening our writing voice, sealing in us the reason why we’re doing this? What if this is what makes you a strong writer?
Something to ponder on. 😉
Well, THANK YOU SO MUCH, Jenna for joining me today!!!! Your answers were fantastic!!!
Jenna Terese believes stories are powerful. That’s why she’s dedicated to creating fiction that will impact the world. You can find this INFP dreaming about the future, fangirling over her favorite books, geeking out about Marvel, playing piano, or sipping a chai tea latte as she writes sci-fi novels.
I hoped y’all enjoyed the interview, readers, as much as I did! If you loved this, show your gratitude to Jenna Terese by getting a copy of one of her books or adding them to your GR shelves. If you’ve already read them, leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads or recommend it to a friend! Not only is writing books hard, but trying to get your name out into a very competitive mark is just as difficult. So every bit of support means so much to these authors!
WHO’S READY FOR THE GIVEAWAY TIME! *rasies hands and jumps up and down* During the rally (October 24th-November 5th) Teen Writers’ Nook is running a giveaway. Three winners will be chosen and the winners will win their choice of one of the books pictured below. (Imagine anthology is also included, though not pictured.) This giveaway is open to both U.S. and international entries!
Every post you comment on during the rally earns you an extra entry into the giveaway! To enter with this post comment below and tell me: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Remember to tune in tomorrow for a guest post from one of my favorite authors and twin sister Grace A. Johnson, the indie author of the Christian historical romance Daughters of the Seven Seas Series! Grace will be bringing you a post all about the theme of this rally: to persevere.
Keep on being awesome and never stop writing,