Thursday, May 27, 2010

Author Interview: Krista Lynne Jensen

Okay, Krista is a seriously cool person. Especially after finishing her interview of me, I've decided she's one of the best in the world. I hope you enjoy getting to know her!

Her contact information:
@KristaLJensen -Twitter
Krista Anglesey Jensen -Facebook
Krista Lynne Jensen -Author Blog

And now, the woman herself! (applause):

(I seriously love this picture of her)

Hi, Krista! I'm so excited to be interviewing you! First off, under what name are you publishing?

I couldn't be more excited to be publishing with Covenant Communications, Inc. Is that what you meant? Because I'll be using my given name, thank you. Krista Lynne Jensen. Unless they tell me to change it. They have that power. Did I mention I was thrilled to be with Covenant? I wonder what pen name I would use...

I'd suggest something like Luna Moon. :-) Rolls right off the tongue, that one. :-)

It's lovely, but maybe too redundant. And too Twilighty. I'll keep thinking...

Tell us about the books you have written. Which was the first, and why did you write it?

My first book was a small personal history, centered around a couple of tragic events in my life. I couldn't shake the almost physical need to write the story down, and at first it was just for my family, but then my writing group urged me to submit it to several places. After a couple rewrites, I received some very encouraging rejection letters (no, really) and decided to let it rest while I learned more about the writing process. It was only after that (and because of the feedback, and encouragement from my writing group) that I tried writing fiction. After the idea for my first novel took root, I fell in love with writing fiction, and while I waited 9 months to hear from Covenant about that first novel, I wrote 5 more, and then a 6th after Covenant accepted THE ORCHARD. I finally understood what my husband feels every football season. I had found my passion! Only mine lasts all year long!

Wow--five books in nine months? That's amazing! How did you manage it without leaving the computer? :-)

Umm... I would have night writing sessions, from the time the kids were in bed until about 3 or 4 am. I would be running the kids around and have an idea and get it down as soon as I got home. We ate a lot of cereal and popcorn and hotdogs. I was a perfectionist in keeping the house clean, and that kind of went out the window. I think it made a huge difference that the prehistoric laptop I was using didn't have internet. It was easy to go and go without being lured away by something shiny flashy.

Tell us about the book you're publishing and when it comes out.

THE ORCHARD (the title is still tentative) is a modern telling of Jane Austen's PERSUASION, my favorite novel of hers, set in the beautiful Flathead Valley of Montana. I asked myself how Austen's characters got where they were when her story begins, and came up with the answers for the first half of my book. The second half of the book is actually where the elements from Austen's story are woven in. It was so exciting to write and have the characters come to life! I hope they do for the readers.

After her mother's sudden death and her father's unexpected estrangement, Alisen Embry finds comfort and purpose working the cherry orchard adjoining her family's Montana home on Flathead Lake. When she meets Derick, a boy with dreams and spirit, she realizes his answers fill the empty spaces in her life. No two souls fit better, and no place could be closer to heaven than the orchard in Summer.

Their connection, however, is threatened by the intolerance and secrets of her father, and just when Alisen thinks she has found everything that could make her happy, she is given choices testing her love, and loyalty.

Derick Whitney is a compulsive returned missionary with his future mapped out, and beautiful Alisen quickly seals her place in those plans, and his heart, with her endless questions and obvious desire for the truth. But when his plans are both realized and ripped apart, he buries the whispers of wisdom and direction in bitterness and blame, leaving heaven, vowing never to return.

The magic of the valley and one letter brings these two lost spirits to face the choices they have made and learn that losing themselves may be the only way they find home.

THE ORCHARD is slated to come out Spring 2011! Keep it in mind, because that still seems like a really long time...
You can sample Chapter 1 here.

It sounds really good! Next question: how do you deal with writer's block?

So far, I'm mostly dealing with how to fit writing into my life. There was a long stretch where I was always working on something, and now it seems I am always editing or revising. Right now I am revising the sequel to THE ORCHARD for Covenant, and they are looking at the 3rd in the trilogy as we speak, so I have plenty to do. I'll be getting the notes from my new editor, Samantha Van Walraven, on THE ORCHARD soon. The whole process is new to me. I have 11 pages of a new story, but I'm an outliner, and it doesn't have one, and sometimes I wonder if I'll be able to take it somewhere. I guess when I have time, it will come to me.

How does your family participate in your writing?

Ha ha, that's a funny question. My family's participation has... evolved. At first, they were excited, my oldest kids would read my first chapters and my husband would scratch his head, and my youngest kids would ask for a snack. Then, my oldest kids stopped reading and started scowling, my husband would scratch his head, and my youngest would ask for dinner. Now, my daughter proofreads (she doesn't pull any punches), my son and I discuss plot structure and character development in the books he is reading, my husband scratches his head with a smile because he loves my writing (It wasn't until after he read my first novel that he started using the phrase, "Leave your mom alone, she's writing.") and he reminds me often of the writing schedule I posted for myself on the fridge, and my youngest have memorized their activity schedule to keep me on track. Somedays I get "the look", or rather, my laptop gets "the look". But on the day my book was accepted, their was a lot of jumping up and down, dancing, and Rockband. It was awesome.

Yeah, I can imagine! Your husband must be a head scratching kind of guy. :-) What are the ages of your children now?

Actually, we both do a lot of that. If we acted like we knew it all we'd be insufferable. My kids are 17, almost 15, 12, and 8. They are a lot of the reason we scratch our heads. They astound. In mostly good ways!

What was your first job? Which job has helped you the most where writing is concerned?

My first job was working after school and Saturday's at my mom's craft shop. I was 14. Then I got a job at a donut shop/grill called "The Hole-n-One" in the mall. Then it was Sears, a flower shop, then a daycare center. Then I had my own family and was able to stay home. It wasn't easy, but I fought to make it an adventure. I think living life, surviving tough stuff, traveling, loving, reading, raising a family, and meeting all kinds of people have helped me the most in my writing. I wouldn't have been able to write what I do now at the age of 14, even if I'd had all the skills, because I was pretty sheltered at that point. Henry David Thoreau said, "How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live." I feel that every time I reach into my characters and they have to take what I throw at them.

What an awesome quote! I'm sure he wouldn't mind if I used it elsewhere. :-) So, when did you decide to be a writer?

I've always loved to write. It was a way to express myself through my shyness. But to write seriously? My writing group pushed me, challenged me, told me they wouldn't be surprised to see my books in the store someday. When I would read out loud to them, and then see their faces when I finished... I loved that. I wanted more of that. I hope I get more. It's a wonderful, terrifying thing when somebody tells me they can't wait to read my book, because then, they may read it. And they'll have an opinion about it. We are a brazen, foolish lot.

What are your top three goals where writing is concerned?

1) See all the novels I've written so far published.

2) Revisit my personal story and see it published. I hope it might touch others who have struggled with similar trials.

3) Do all I can to promote LDS literature while being the best mom, wife, sister, daughter I can be.

What three pieces of advice would you give to aspiring authors?

1) Make the time to write. Take it. Blast a hole in your schedule. If you feel the passion to get something down, follow an idea, make a character come to life, then DO IT.

2) At the same time, figure out how to make your family a priority. It's so important that they know you are doing something you love, but that you still love them more, and they still come first.

3) Learn everything you can about story structure, editing, character development, dialogue, all of it. Publishers LOVE a clean ms. There is so much to learn, and I've found that as I learn, critique isn't as hard to take.

4) (I know, you said 3, but I have 4) Join a writing group, get people to read the story and not say, "Wow, that was amazing, I loved it." Get them to say, "I was confused here", "This was an awkward sentence", "I need more on this character", "Not enough conflict", "REWRITE!"... okay that last one is still tough to take. But when you finish a story, and have even self-edited, you are too close, too blinded by love. You need second and third+ opinions. As the author, it is so easy to see what's in your head as you write, but you may not be translating those ideas clearly enough for a reader to understand what you can see. Feedback from a reader helps with that. You don't need to completely give the story over to others. You have the power to compromise, to take the feedback and your vision, and meld the two. Solid, constructive feedback is necessary. TOUGH IT OUT.

Okay, I have more, but you can go visit my blog, Lovelyn McCray, er, I mean Krista Lynne Jensen, every Tuesday, where I post the things I am learning along the way. You can visit it other days, too, because I post interviews like this one on Thursdays, and then share random writerly things the rest of the week, and I have information on my other books. I told myself I would start doing contests and giveaways after I reached 50 followers, and I'm VERY close, so visit and see what happens!

Thank you, Andrea!

It was so much fun to get to know you better! Can't wait to meet you in person!

Krista is hosting a contest over on her blog with some sweet prizes! Read both of our interviews, then follow her instructions to enter the contest.

And for those of you who are interested in swapping interviews, let me know!

1 comment:

  1. Krista I am so keen to buy a copy of your book! Persuasion is my favourite Austen novel and the synopsis you shared here captivated me. Congrats on your well earned success (five books in nine months - wowza!).