Jenna has had her Wintercraft series published in a few countries: UK, US (Shadowcry), Poland and Portugal. Jenna is currently preparing Wintercraft: Blackwatch for its release in the US which will be out round about June 2012.
So here is what she had to say in reply to my questions.
1) Where are you from?
I live in County Durham in the North East of England.
2) When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing poetry when I was nine and it just grew from there. I loved being able to play with words and create worlds out of letters and I never looked back. I still have the little notebook of poems I wrote at that time.
3) Did you always want to be an author?
I have always loved books and reading. I think words and language are truly magical, so from the moment I realised that people actually sat down and wrote those stories, I knew I wanted to do it myself one day.
4) How long each day/week do you dedicate to writing?
When a story is going well, I write every day. I used to have a routine, but now I’m usually writing, editing or researching most of the time. My writing space is full of sticky notes, books and stuffed files full of stories-in-progress.
5) What do you do when your not writing?
I read a lot, walk my dogs, and I’ve recently started to draw. I haven’t been too interested in drawing before, but I’m really enjoying it. I also like to cook, and I spend a lot of time in my garden whenever I can.
6) In your spare time what do you like to read?
Anything that pulls me into another world. I particularly enjoy fantasy or science fiction stories, but anything involving alternate realities, broken societies or supernatural events will make me pick up a book in a bookshop.
7) What are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading lots of science books as research for a new story that I’m working on right now. I’m also partway through Kraken by China Mieville and Temeraire by Naomi Novik.
8) If you could work with any author, who would it be and why?
That is a very difficult question! I think most authors work in very different ways so it must be difficult to work with someone who doesn’t approach a story the same way you do. Some authors like to plan everything to the last detail, others let the story surprise them as they go. Saying that, I would probably choose Marcus Sedgwick, because I love the darkness of his written worlds.
9) When you were younger who was your favourite author?
Roald Dahl was always my author of choice growing up. When I was a teenager I hopped around the bookshelves and didn’t really settle on a particular author, but 1984 by George Orwell was my favourite book for a long time. I’ve always liked too many authors to choose just one.
10) If you could turn the Wintercraft Series into a Movie or T.V. Show which would you?
I think there can be a lot of expectation placed upon books to be adapted into something else. Stories in books are usually written to be read as a book, so translating them into another format like film or television often doesn’t work very well. It would be very interesting to see Kate and Silas’s world on the big screen, but it could never be exactly the way I see it in my imagination.
11) What inspired you to write your novel?
I wanted to write a story that I really enjoyed. I started off with an image of a girl standing in a burning bookshop holding an old book and the rest of the story grew around that image. Kate Winters was the first spark, but I think Silas Dane really set the story on fire.
12) How do you come up with your story ideas?
Ideas come from absolutely everywhere. I always think of them as a growing pile of jigsaw pieces. Some of the pieces fit into the story you’re working on, others belong in a completely different story or to none at all. I experimented with lots of different storylines in the beginning, and a few pieces of Kate and Silas’s world that didn’t belong in Wintercraft eventually found their place in books 2 and 3. Others are still waiting to find their true home.
13) Are you planning on writing anymore after Wintercraft book 3?
I have ideas for more books in the series but, for now, it stands as a trilogy.
14) Can you tell us anything about Wintercraft book 3?
It answers all of the questions left over from books 1 & 2 and completely finishes off this part of Kate and Silas’s story. For readers who ended on the cliffhanger in book 2, this story should make the wait worthwhile!
15) Does it have a title and release date?
Book 3 is called Wintercraft: Legacy, and it will be released in the UK on 10th May 2012.
16) Are you working on anything at the moment?
I’m working on two separate stories that are not connected to the Wintercraft series. They are both very different and I’m very excited about them, but I can say no more!
17) If you could do it over again, is there anything you would change in your last book?
There is always something that I’d like to change. When you spend your life writing, you never stop learning. All I can do is apply what I’ve learned to my future work and keep going, using the lessons learned from each book to improve the next.
18) In the Wintercraft Series, which is your favourite character and why?
I like every one of the characters. They all have aspects to their personalities that I appreciate, and even the ones who cause trouble often have a very good reason for doing so. Silas is the character I find most intriguing. He is very likeable despite being vicious and cold and immeasurably dangerous. If I had to pick a favourite, it would be Silas.
19) When writing about something you don't know about where do you get your information from?
I always hunt down books on the subject. I go to the library, or buy books that I need. I also talk to people who know more about the subject than me. I rarely trust anything on the internet. It’s too easy to be misled by false information.
20) For you what is the easiest part of the book to write?
There is no easy part. Every part of a story is tricky to get right.
21)...And the hardest?
The first page. I rewrite most of the book a few times before I give it to my publisher, but the first page is always the one that I rewrite the most.
22) How do you choose the names for your books and characters?
Wintercraft didn’t have a title for a long time. Even the book within the story was untitled until I finally wrote the word Wintercraft on my whiteboard in the middle of the night. It fit perfectly into the story and just felt right. I knew Blackwatch’s title right from the beginning, but Legacy didn’t have a title until it was finished. It really couldn’t have been named anything else. The characters usually creep onto my desk fully formed, complete with names that suit them right from the start. I rarely have to sit down and think of a name. If I do, it usually means that the character isn't ready to live in a story yet.
23) Have you ever gotten rid of a character or changed a character in a book before publishing and then regretted it?
The only changes I’ve made have always ended up being for the best. I have removed characters and brought in new ones in their place, but it has always made the story stronger.
24) What advice would you give to someone who "ran out of creativity" while writing?
You have taken a wrong turn somewhere. Go back a few paragraphs and take your characters down a different path. Once you send them in the right direction the story will get its rhythm back.
25) What do you do when you get writers block?
I drink lots of black tea and apply the rule mentioned in question 24. It works every time.
26) Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for reading this interview! If you’ve read any of my books, I hope you’ve enjoyed the series so far. It was lovely to visit Annamarie’s blog today.
I would just like to thank Jenna for taking the time out from her busy schedule to answer my questions much appreciated.
To find out more about Jenna and her novels visit her blog by clicking the link above.