Jennifer is self employed as an author, publisher, artist, and photographer. She enjoys all forms of storytelling and probably spends a little too much time in fictional worlds. Much of her free time is spent reading books, watching tv and movies, and playing video games. She also has many other hobbies and interests as well. Some of her other hobbies include; building jigsaw puzzles, riding her bike, spending time outdoors, listening to music, and daydreaming. Jennifer is a former bowler and horseback rider. She does still go bowling for fun sometimes, but not enough for her to consider it one of her active hobbies. Jennifer loves animals and has had many pets throughout her life. Although none of her pets have been unusual, they have all been very unique. She’s had a rabbit that she taught to play dead, a dog that would do anything for a blanket, a bird that liked to hang upside down from her swing, and a fish that would let her pet it. Several of her pets were adopted from animal shelters, beginning with her second rabbit. Jennifer grew up with, and still has, a highly misunderstood anxiety disorder called selective mutism, which leads people to believe those with it choose when not to talk when that’s not the case. She also has social anxiety disorder, so she is a big supporter of mental health awareness.
What inspires you to write?
Writing is just something I have always done. When I was a kid, I was a reluctant reader and didn’t have as many interest as I do now, so sometimes when I couldn’t find a book that had the kind of story I wanted to read I would write my own. As I got older, I started writing as a way to escape. School was especially difficult for me because of my selective mutism and social anxiety disorder so I was often imagining myself as someone else. One of my favorite daydreams was to imagine myself as a witch and what I would do if I had magical powers like my favorite witch. I was in 7th grade when I actively started writing the adventures in my head. Before this, my stories were all inspired by my dreams, pets, toys, and television shows. I don’t remember why I wrote any of them though. Later, I started writing stories to go with drawings I did. That began with a drawing I did of a bird. I made the eyes too big, but instead of fixing this, I got inspired to write about it. Now, my inspiration for stories come from anywhere. My biggest inspiration used to come from my Chihuahua, Taco. He inspired so many characters and stories that when I started my publishing company I wanted to make him the mascot. Now, I write because writing is part of who I am. With inspiration coming from everywhere, I’m never out if ideas and I just have to write them down.
Tell us about your writing process.
My writing process is somewhere between the two and hard to explain. Since I’m always working on several books at once, I will write pieces of the stories as they come to me. By the time I’m ready to actively work on one, it looks like a book summary, a play, and book excerpt thrown together with nothing actually connecting the pieces together. I keep every work in progress in it's own binder. I write using notebook paper and pencils because I’m more creative and comfortable writing this way, so when the words stop flowing, I start typing what I have so far and often make revisions as I’m doing it. Although everything is kept together in the binder, the work in progress, summary, notes, and anything else I have are kept on separate sheets of paper so it’s easy for me to continue working on the story when I’m ready. Once I am ready I just pick it up and fill in the blanks using a combination of my notes and free writing. It does happen sometimes that when I’m free writing, I end up not following my original plan, so I end up having to look at both ideas to decide what feels right for the story. The part I struggle most with writing is character creation. Animal characters are easy for me as I can use real animals to describe them, or drawings if it’s an animal I created, but human characters are much more difficult so while animal characters get fully sketched before writing, humans are worked on during the writing.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
When I first started writing, I wasn’t really involved with the characters like that because I was the character. It was a few years after publishing my first book when one of my characters became their own person. She really took on a life of her own and the next book I wrote felt like I was really meeting her for the first time. I don’t think I really interacted with this one much because I just followed the plan I had, but the next character I created was different. I had a plan and she didn’t follow it. I eventually allowed her to take control and create her own story. Now, I’m constantly asking questions whenever I’m writing as if I’m a choose your own adventure story and the character is the reader.
Who are your favorite authors?
It’s not easy to choose between them as I have a lot of favorite authors and books, so here’s ten random ones:
1. Erin Hunter’s books. I’m definitely a Warriors fan, but I have also loved the Seekers, Survivors, and Bravelands series.
2. David Clement-Davies’s The Sight. I also really liked The Telling Pool.
3. Tui T. Sutherland’s Wings of Fire series
4. Chris Bradford’s Bodyguard series
5. Rodman Philbrick and Lynn Harnett’s The Werewolf Chronicles
6. Kathryn Lasky’s Wolves of the Beyond series
7. Dorothy Hearst’s The Wolf Chronicles trilogy
8. Tom Reynold’s Meta series
9. Dori Jones Yang’s The Secret Voice of Gina Zhang
10. Kanata Konami’s Chi’s Sweet Home series, and FukuFuku: Kitten Tales
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I actually never planned to publish. It was never something I put much thought into before, despite the fact that I have always written stories. It wasn’t until I had to be homeschooled because of allergies that I ever seriously thought about publishing. I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but I remember for some reason letting my high school tutor see some of the stories I had written. She really liked them and thought I should get them published, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do yet. I spent a lot of time thinking about it and was constantly dreaming about publishing. The dreams were always positive so when my tutor asked if I would be willing to be interviewed by a local newspaper, I agreed to do it. The news article was about my selective mutism and writing so for once having selective mutism wasn’t a bad thing. The idea behind doing the interview was to find a publisher. I actually did get contacted by one and I tried working with them, but they wanted to make too many changes. While I did agree with some of the revisions, it didn’t seem worth publishing a book that didn’t feel like mine anymore. Luckily, we found another publisher who liked my work and was willing to publish it. It still needed a lot of revisions, but at no time did it stop feeling like my story so I agreed to let her publish it. At the time, I had over 200 stories written and was planning on publishing a lot of books so when the time came to publish, I was asked if I wanted to learn how to be a publisher instead and have my own company. A publishing company that only published books I like didn’t sound too bad to me, so I started A&M Moonlight Creations and my publisher instead became known as the editor of my books.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Hopefully, someday there will be some control on the self published market. I don’t want to stop people from self publishing, but all books should be required to be professionally edited to be published. It definitely hard enough getting people to take a chance on a book by an unknown author without the viewpoint that self published books are bad. It’s likely only going to get harder for self published authors as self publishing continues to grow in popularity. With print costs always rising and the convenience of digital, those few authors like myself, who can’t seem to break into the digital market and relies on physical book signings to get readers and sales, there might come a time when self published authors can no longer afford to offer their books in print. While, I don’t think print will ever go away completely, I feel like self published authors might someday be hoping for a place like Limited Run Games, but for books instead of video games.
What genres do you write?
Published: children’s fiction, short stories, general fiction, middle grade fiction, fantasy In Progress: comic books and graphic novels, tween fiction, YA fiction, science fiction, nonfiction, realistic fiction
What formats are your books in?
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All information is provided by the author and is presented as it was submitted so you the reader get to hear the author’s own “voice” in their interview.