J.F. Jenkins, author of Legend of the Oceina Dragon and other books in The Dragons Saga series, tells us that she “lives in Minneapolis where she spends most of her time creating and plotting world domination – something that has been in the works for roughly 13 years. In her free time she works as the local coffee wench and dominates the minions of the pixilated world on her PS3.
She’s also got a little man (J Walk) and a little man trapped in a big man’s body (J Dawg) to take care of along with her two fur babies Ushi and Tibu.”
MTAR: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
J.F.: I write (obviously) and read. I’m a mother, a wife, a barista, and a whole lot of things in between.
MTAR: What do you do when you are not writing?
J.F.: Thinking about writing. No, seriously, it usually means I want to write but can’t! Otherwise I’m reading a book or working my other job.
MTAR: What inspired you to write your first book?
J.F.: This really crazy dream I had one night. Or cheese, depending on how you want to look at it.
MTAR: How did you choose the genre you write in?
J.F.: I usually don’t write my stories based on their genres. I just write the story and it falls into whatever genre it decides to be in.
MTAR: Which book do you recommend for a reader that is new to your writing?
J.F.: That’s hard to say because all of my series are so different. I would say if you’re a new reader looking for mostly romance, you’ll want to pick up “Legend of the Oceina Dragon”. If you’re looking for more of an adventure story laced with humor, “Battlefield”. And if you’re looking for a darker read, “Vala: Agendas”.
MTAR: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
J.F.: “Sweet Valley High” was definitely influential in my life. As was this series called “Teen Angel”. Both were books I wanted to be a part of.
MTAR: What books/authors have influenced your writing?
J.F.: Stephen King, for sure. Just reading “on Writing” was inspiring for me.
MTAR: Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
J.F.: Editing was the hardest part. The book was ripped to pieces but I learned a lot in the process so it ended up turning out okay. Still, it was tough and time consuming.
MTAR: How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
J.F.: Books tours and twitter. Word of mouth is the best way to get stuff out there I’ve found.
MTAR: Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
J.F.: I haven’t finished anything recently, but I can see that being in my future. Especially as I get ready to agent shop. I’m kind of nervous about that actually.
MTAR: Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
J.F.: The next book set to release is Legend of the Forbidden which is book four in The Dragons Saga. However it kind of stands alone from the first three. There are characters from the others who make an appearance of course, but ultimately, this story can survive on its own as well. It’s a love story between two best friends who have had an arranged marriage since birth.
MTAR: What was your favorite chapter (or scene) to write and why?
J.F.: I love writing “confession” scenes because they’re so passionate and emotional. And pure.
MTAR: How did you come up with the title?
J.F.: I thought about the overall theme and it was this: everything is forbidden in these characters’ lives.
MTAR: Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
J.F.: I would love to go back to all of them and write them growing up together, and their parents. I have a hard time letting any of my characters go though.
MTAR: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
J.F.: That nobody likes my work unless they’re my friend.
MTAR: What has been the best compliment?
J.F.: That I’ve created a readers new favorite book.
MTAR: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
J.F.: Just keep writing!
MTAR: Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
J.F.: You’re amazing!
MTAR: What would your fans be surprised to know about you?
J.F.: Most of the time I honestly don’t know what I’m doing.
MTAR: Dogs or Cats?
MTAR: Do you have a specific writing style?
J.F.: Mostly third person, but I’m trying to expand.
MTAR: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
J.F.: You don’t have to do what everyone else does. It’s okay to be different.
MTAR: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
J.F.: Stephen King.
MTAR: What book are you reading now?
J.F.: The English Patient.
MTAR: What are your current projects?
J.F.: I have two new YA stories I’m working with, and then I have a couple of contemporary romances as well.
MTAR: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
J.F.: I have this great friend. He’s the first person who’s ever expressed interest in my work, he’s invested in my career and he’s also supported me through it all.
MTAR: Do you see writing as a career?
J.F.: Oh yes, very much so.
MTAR: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
J.F.: My description I suppose. It’s hard to get everything to come out right.
MTAR: Who designed the covers?
J.F.: The lovely Elaina Lee
MTAR: Do you ever experience writer’s block?
J.F.: All the time! It’s crazy!
MTAR: Do you work with an outline, or just write?
J.F.: Usually I just write and kind of see what happens. Makes it a lot more interesting!