Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wednesday Wonder Writer - Jennifer Armintrout

Okay. Blog laundry list, then the interview. Check out the Eternally Yours contest on the right pane of the blog. Time is running out!

And Wednesday Wonder Writer. I am thrilled to welcome friend and fantastic writer Jennifer Armintrout to the blog today. Jen, thanks for joining me!

Okay, Jen, author’s lives intrigue readers and other writers. Tell me about your typical daily schedule.
My schedule on a normal day is get up at six AM, drive Jen Jr. to school, then hit a local coffee shop and do my daily blog stuff until it's time to pick the kid up at 10:50. Then I come home and I should write at that point. However, I will admit that some days I come home and play Rock Band or The Orange Box before I even think of my manuscript.

Do you have a pre-writing routine to prepare yourself to get down to business?
Usually, I just have to have Diet Coke near by and some head phones. If I'm working on a new story, I might take the time to organize a playlist for the story in iTunes to get me inspired, if I don't already have one.

Do you have a favourite author or someone you look up to in the industry?
I have to say that the person I really admire-- and not just because of his awesome books-- is Jim Butcher. He's had such amazing success and writes stories that mind-blowing and clever, but when you meet him, he's this regular guy. I want to be able to be that cool and down-to-earth if I ever reach that level of fame.

What’s your writing style? Slow and steady? Quick and prolific? All over the place?
It really depends on the project and various other factors. Sometimes, I can sit down and write twenty pages in a day. On others, getting half a page is pulling teeth. I usually can get a first draft out in about three months, though.

What are you working on now?
Right now I'm working on line edits for Blood Ties Book Four: All Souls' Night, and I'm writing my next book, Lightworld/Darkworld, a futuristic fantasy set in a sort of dirty, underground, post-apocalyptic world. But with fairies. That should be out in August, I think, of 2009. Readers will get a preview at the end of All Soul's Night.

How many books have you had published and for whom?
Three books with Mira, soon to be four.

What are the names of the books you have out?
Blood Ties Book One: The Turning, Blood Ties Book Two: Possession, and Blood Ties Book Three: Ashes To Ashes. They are conveniently numbered in case you're smart enough to know how to read, but not smart enough to figure out the order of books in a series, I guess. I don't know why they're labeled like that.

Will Lightworld/Darkworld be a series?
Lightworld/Darkworld is the first book of a trilogy. The story is all mapped out and written down ahead of time (Brynn, you would be so proud of me!). After that, I'm really looking forward to writing a few books that are just stand alone books with no hooks in other projects.

What’s your favourite genre to write?
Urban Fantasy. You can have all the gore of a horror novel, and along with the squishy bits like intestine you can have the squishy bits having to do with love and romance. Also, you can swear as much as you want and they never seem to cut the naughty words out.

Tell us about your latest release and how you got the idea?
Well, my upcoming release is going to be Blood Ties Book Four: All Souls' Night, and I go the idea because I had to finish the story somehow. Really, though, the book started out as something else, then I combined it with the plot line from the now-axed fifth book of the series and decided to end it all with the fourth. It has more action than the past books, and at the end vampires and werewolves and an army of golem fight a bunch of zombies. That's really the part I'm most excited about.

When does All Souls’ Night come out?
All Souls' Night comes out June 2008.

Why vampires?

Why not vampires? Seriously, I don't understand why anyone would want to write or read about anything else. Well, that's kind of a lie, because I'm so sick of them. But vampires have been a huge draw for me for my entire life... I'm not even sure when I learned about them, because I was so young, I don't remember. I just think everything about vampires is spiffy. Eat people you don't like, live forever, have an excuse to never get up early. I think it might be the element of danger, or the fact that they're higher on the food chain that makes me like them so much. I don't know. I'm definitely the person who's going to get totally Renfielded when the vampire revolution comes.

Tell me your writing story…when did you decide this was what you want to do? How long did it take you to get “the call”? Etc.

My grandmother is author Peggy Hanchar, of historical romance fame in the 80's and 90's, and she'd been suggesting I write a book for several years. Finally, when it appeared that college would not be working out for me-- I had to drop a class because I couldn't figure out how to open the door and I was too embarrassed to ask anyone for help... kind of a clue I probably wasn't college material-- I decided I would start writing a story based on a little daydream I used to have when I worked in the hospital. That little day dream morphed into the first chapter of Blood Ties Book One: The Turning, and now I'm kind of locked into this thing. Getting the call was funny, though. The editor I submitted the manuscript to called to offer me a three book contract, and I told her to shut up. I didn't believe her.

How does it feel to be a USA Today Bestselling author? Tell us about what it was like when you found out.
Being a USA Today Bestselling Author is kind of embarrassing in my case, because I always think of it at the worst times. Like when I forget my purse and I'm at the gas station buying a soda and I'm like, "USA Today Bestselling Author Jennifer Armintrout buys pop with change!" Also, my friends are way more excited about it than I am by now, and they introduce me to other people with "Bestselling Author" at the beginning of my name, like it's a title bestowed upon me by the queen of books. One of my friends even tells stories that way: "I was out shopping with my friend, USA Today Bestselling Author Jennifer Armintrout..." It's really funny, because he’s known me since I was fifteen and he was referring to me back then as "my friend who wears the same REM t-shirt every day, Jennifer Armintrout." The way I found out I was on the list was kind of funny. I was on a book tour of supermarkets (don't overlook those for promo, because more women buy books grocery shopping than going to book stores) with Susan Anderson and Karen Harper. I had sold literally one book the whole tour at this point, and my agent calls and says, "I have news, you made the USA Today Extended Bestseller list" and I was like, "Right, what was I, 150?" and she said, "No, you're 93." I whooped for joy really loud in this Kroger's in Ohio. It was very funny. I still only sold like three books on that tour, though.

You might not consider yourself a big name but some people do. Have you ever been stalked at conventions?
People at conventions are pretty cool. I do have some people who make me kind of laugh at book signings, because they're super nervous to meet me because they think I'm going to be cooler than cool. I think, "Oh my god, spend a weekend with me and the bloom will be off that rose real quick." Apparently there was a woman in South Carolina who was pretending to be me on MySpace, but I guess that's all done and over with. It was unsettling and really caused a lot of hassle. She's apparently still trying to make it as a writer, so if I see her at a conference or something I'm going to punch her in the nose.

Coke or Pepsi?
Coke. Diet coke. Infused directly into my blood by means of some kind of medical pump.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?
I would love to have a fun, flashy excerpt, but I don't have the permission yet!

Do you have any advice for pre-published writers?
You have to finish your manuscript before you or anyone else is going to take you seriously. There's that running joke on Family Guy, where Brian is always writing his novel, and so far all he has is a title, but he's told everyone that he's writing it. Don't be Brian. Finish the thing. And don't tell a whole bunch of folk that you're writing it, because they'll be naysayers and drag you down.

Again, thank you for joining me today Jen! Everyone, you can find the Jen on Amazon or your local bookstore. Check out the books!



Bronwyn's Blog said...

And sometimes the squishy bits involve both romance *and* intestines.

Jennifer Armintrout said...

Thanks for letting me be a Wonder Writer! I will anxiously await the arrival of my secret decoder ring!

Anny Cook said...

Excellent interview. Love vampires.

Dakota Rebel said...

Yeah, sorry about that whole MySpace thing. I was going to ask your permission first, and honestly it was meant to be flattering and the whole thing got a little out of hand. :)

I was going to copy and paste my favorite lines of the interview, but you are a seriously funny chic and I would have just reposted the whole thing and what good would that have done any one?

I love vampires too, in case you didn't know.

Fantastic interview!


Dakota Rebel said...

Ok, just so everyone is aware...

Yes, I was kidding about the MySpace thing.


Bronwyn's Blog said...

LOLOL - I heart Dakota!

Molly Daniels said...

Can I come and play Rock Band with you?

Great interview!

sterlingwriter said...

I have to wait until '09 for LW/DW? Wah, wah.

Ashley Ladd said...

Great interview.

Brynn, where's my secret decoder ring??? :)

Jill Monroe said...

This was such a fun interview to read. I have a diet coke beside me right now!