Jennifer Lynn Alvarez graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature.
Jennifer is the author of the Winged Herds Series (HarperCollins Childrens–Fall 2014) and the Pet Washer Series (self-published 2011)–fantasy novels for young readers. She lives in Northern California with her husband, three children, and more than her fair share of pets!
What inspires you to write?
I think all humans express themselves in one way or another. Since God gave me no other talents–I write. I’m inspired by everything around me–especially by crazy encounters with other human beings, gorgeous landscapes, and the fascinating world of animals.
Tell us about your writing process.
I write five days a week, usually in the mornings and always with a hot cup of coffee on the desk. I never wait for inspiration.
I am a hybrid author–part outliner, part discovery writer. If I outline too much, I feel constricted, but I have to know where the story is going or I’ll write in circles. So I “lay down the bones” (the basic plot) and then flesh it out chapter by chapter as I write.
I keep track of my characters and timeline on separate paper. I also create an interactive Table of Contents as a reference.
For my Winged Herds series I’ve drawn a map of Anok and made charts outlining each pegasus in each herd, what they look like, and who they are related to.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Of course! This is the thrill of writing. There are times I’ve laughed out loud at something they’ve said. And it’s not unusual for me to clap for them when they surprise me with conversations, emotions, or insights I feel they created on their own.
This is why I like to discovery-write. It’s magic. I give my characters a mission (the plot) and then I record what happens next.
What advice would you give other writers?
There is never a good time to start a book–so start today! Treat your writing like a paid career and one day it will be.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I’m a publishing hybrid too.
I self-published, The Pet Washer, which has been a fantastic experience. It taught me about the business from both sides of the fence, I made lots of great contacts in the industry, and best of all I had the pleasure of hearing praise from readers. It’s addictive!
I also learned writers need a team to do it right. We need professional book covers, professional editing, professional interior formatting, and a marketing budget. I also learned how hard it is to break into public schools and libraries as a self-published childrens book author.
So after I wrote another middle-grade fantasy, The Winged Herds of Anok, I decided to submit this book to agents. I quickly signed with one and we sold the book to HarperCollins Childrens in a four-book deal. I now have the professional team I dreamed of but didn’t have the money to hire. It’s truly a dream come true and I can’t wait to learn more about about publishing from the pros.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
It’s evolving, but I have a positive attitude about the changes. I think publishers are adapting quickly and protecting authors as well as readers as best they can while continuing to deliver high-quality content. How’s that for a politically correct analysis! Honestly, I have no idea what the future holds–but there will always be books to read and writers to write them–I’m sure of that.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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