TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Jenn: I have a small audience of good luck charms that sit by my computer: a three-legged pig from Chile, a Chinese Buddha, and a Japanese Momiji message doll. Before I write, I like to double-check that they are are facing me.
TQ: Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?
Jenn: Edgar Allan Poe, Lord Byron, Phllip Pullman, Anaïs Nin, William S. Burroughs, Diana Gabaldon, Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison. I like rebels, counter-culturalists, madmen and madwomen. And I like subversive storytellers. I'm sure that everything I read influences my writing in one way or another, including magazines and nonfiction and emails from friends. But the biggest influence on KINDLING THE MOON was probably Arturo Pérez-Reverte's THE CLUB DUMAS.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a panster?
Jenn: Both! I've plotted every detail of a book, and I've started with nothing but a sense of place and a character. Recently, I've been leaning toward pantsing: there's a certain thrill of discovery you get when you're finding your way in the dark. However, at the very least, I prefer to know the goal and conflict of the story before I start writing.
TQ: What inspired you to write Kindling the Moon?
Jenn: I wanted to write a world in which no single group of people (or supernatural creatures) was necessarily bad or evil. Arcadia doesn't fight demons, Buffy-style: they are her friends, lovers, coworkers. Some are good—some, bad. I like gray characters.
I also wanted to write an urban fantasy with an independent lead who performed magic, but I didn't want to make her the average urban fantasy witch or sorcerer; I wanted to do something a little . . . darker. Arcadia has been raised in a occult group that taught her ceremonial magic. She doesn't necessary side with their viewpoints or subscribe to everything they're pushing, but she's smart enough to use what knowledge she's been given to her advantage.
TQ: What sort of research did you do to create the world of Kindling the Moon?
Jenn: Arcadia's world in KINDLING primarily focuses on three supernatural groups: magicians (who are human), Earthbounds (descendants of humans with invoked demon souls), and Æthyric demons (big, bad scary demons who live on another plane). Most of my world-building is the product of an overactive imagination, but I did spend a good deal of time researching classic books about demons, including goetic texts like the Lesser Key of Solomon, De Praestigiis Daemonum, Dictionnaire Infernal . . . you know—breezy, light reading.
The series also includes a worldwide organization of occult orders that train and support ceremonial magicians. Though I took enormous artistic license with my fictional esoteric organization, I connected with a real-life one for inspiration—a local branch of the O.T.O., an Thelemic organization once led by Alister Crowley. Contrary to the general public's preconceived notions of Crowley, I found most of the members to be quite devout, friendly people.
TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Kindling the Moon?
Jenn: Heavy research aside, I think the greatest strength of the book is the intertwining relationships of three characters: Arcadia (the protagonist), Lon (a local photographer with a large esoteric library), and Jupe, Lon's teenage son. One of my favorite scenes occurs when thirteen-year-old Jupe calls up Arcadia at her bar and asks her on a date. It's one of the more lighthearted scenes in the book and some of my favorite dialogue.
TQ: Who was the most difficult character to write and why? The easiest and why?
Jenn: Lon was the hardest to write. He's a famous photographer, older, and raising a teenager alone. He's also very reserved and a bit damaged. He puts on a front that ranges from hostile to aloof, and he's a terrible communicator. But he's got a legitimate reason for being this way, and Arcadia uncovers some of his secrets throughout the story.The easiest character to write was his son: Jupe is enthusiastic, geeky, cocky, and weirdly charming. He loves comics and monster movies. And despite everything he's been through, he's eternally optimistic. I like that Arcadia is somewhere between these two, personality-wise, and I enjoyed exploring how both of them could influence her (which is further explored in the second book, SUMMONING THE NIGHT, due to come out in April 2012).
TQ: How many books are planned for the Arcadia Bell series?
Jenn: I'm contracted to Pocket for two, with an option for more. I have four total planned to complete a major story arc, and one day I'd like to do a young adult spinoff from Jupe's point of view.
TQ: Who should play Arcadia Bell if the book becomes a movie?
Jenn: I referred my editor (and the cover artist, Tony Mauro) to Cristina Scabbia for Arcadia's physical appearance. I'm not sure about her acting skills, though—or her Italian accent! Arcadia's parents are French, so maybe Audrey Tautou.
TQ: Is there a playlist for Kindling the Moon and what is it?
Jenn: There's one in my head, and it swerves from classic rock to metal to funk. If that doesn't scare you away, then you can look for it on my website in July.
TQ: What's next?
Jenn: I just finished a quirky young adult paranormal romance which could be described as Sixteen Candles meets The Hobbit in Appalachia. (Did you just do a double-take? Yep, that's about right.) I'm getting ready to start writing another young adult—a supernatural/suspense/romantic noir. After that, I might tackle adult paranormal romance. Whatever I write, I think it will always be offbeat, original, slightly humorous, unconventionally romantic, and it will take place in a dark or surreal setting. I think that's what I do best, and it's definitely what I enjoy.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery
Jenn: It was my absolute pleasure! Thank you for having me. The Qwillery rocks!
About Jenn's Books
Kindling the Moon
Arcadia Bell 1
(Pocket Books, June 28, 2011)
Being the spawn of two infamous occultists (and alleged murderers) isn't easy, but freewheeling magician Arcadia "Cady" Bell knows how to make the best of a crummy situation. After hiding out for seven years, she's carved an incognito niche for herself slinging drinks at the demon-friendly Tambuku Tiki Lounge.
But she receives an ultimatum when unexpected surveillance footage of her notorious parents surfaces: either prove their innocence or surrender herself. Unfortunately, the only witness to the crimes was an elusive Æthyric demon, and Cady has no idea how to find it. She teams up with Lon Butler, an enigmatic demonologist with a special talent for sexual spells and an arcane library of priceless stolen grimoires. Their research soon escalates into a storm of conflict involving missing police evidence, the decadent Hellfire Club, a ruthless bounty hunter, and a powerful occult society that operates way outside the law. If Cady can't clear her family name soon, she'll be forced to sacrifice her own life . . . and no amount of running will save her this time.
Amazon : B&N : Book Depository : Borders
Summoning the Night (Arcadia Bell 2) is slated for release in April 2012.
What: One commenter will win a signed copy of Kindling the Moon from Jenn!
How: Leave a comment answering the following question:
If you visited the Tambuku Tiki Lounge, what beverage would you order from Cady?
Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.
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3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.
There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.
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Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, June 29, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.
*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*