Today on the blog we have author Jeffe Kennedy with us for an interview. Thanks for being here Jeffe. So sit back and relax and lets get to know this amazing author
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
For a long time I wanted to be a xenobiologist – because I read Anne McCaffrey’s Dinosaur Planet with the xenobiologist heroine. I figured that, by the time I grew up, we’d be traveling to other planets and I could totally do that job. When it became clear my concept of our progress towards faster-than-light space travel was out of proportion, I decided to be an exotic animal vet. Eventually I majored in biology in college and got my graduate degree in neuroscience. I only decided to be a writer later.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
I received a Fellowship & Residency from the Ucross Foundation, which meant I spent two weeks on this lovely ranch in northern Wyoming, doing nothing but writing while they fed me. Everyone introduced me as a Writer and that was tremendously validating. I remember it because I finally saw myself that way, too.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
My first book was an essay collection and that came out eight years after I started writing. From then, however, it took another painful eight years for my first novel to be published.
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
Yes, I have a full-time “day job” working for an environmental consulting firm. (Thank you biology degrees!) I’m a niche expert on drinking water and work on projects advising the Environmental Protection Agency. My firm is headquartered in Boston and I work from home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. So I have no commute and a lot of schedule flexibility – ideal for working in writing time.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Master of the Opera is my latest and is a serial novel.
A modern, erotic retelling of Phantom of the Opera set at the Santa Fe Opera House.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
Master of the Opera is from Kensington Press. I also publish with Carina Press.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
I have a pretty packed deadline schedule right now, between my two publishers and I’m working at about 60-90 days to write an 80-100K novel. Which is tighter than I like. But I’m not sure that’s really “from original idea” because these are all books that are either sequels in a series or from concepts I already sketched out for the publishers. I don’t outline though, so they’re just sketches.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I’m working up a contemporary romance trilogy concept for my agent right now, so those will be similar to my contemporary erotic/BDSM books, but more just hot instead of erotic. I want to write more fantasy, too. I have a fantasy trilogy coming out from Kensington starting in May. If those do well, I hope to do more!
What genre would you place your books into?
I write in erotic contemporary romance, erotic fantasy, fantasy romance and fantasy, so far.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
As you can see from my “genre flexibility,” I don’t really decide on genre so much and I write whatever story interests me. I love characters and the emotional intimacy of sex and the power of magic. Somehow they all intertwine for me.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?
They’re like children – I love them all, for different reasons.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I usually write in the mornings, unless the day job requires me to reshuffle (e.g., early conference calls). But I write for three hours every day, almost always while walking on my treadmill desk. I love being able to walk and write!
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
No. I read most of the ones on blogs. I’ll read ones on Amazon or Goodreads if the reviewer tags me. Otherwise I stay away. I really do believe reviews are for readers, not for me.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
Almost always I choose the title first. Even if I end up changing it, I always have a working title that helps me to conceptualize the story.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Names are big for me, so it’s rare that they don’t symbolize something. Often my characters’ names change in some way – from a nickname to a full name or the reverse. For example, in Master of the Opera, because I based it on Phantom of the Opera, I used the main characters’ names. But the heroine, being young, goes by Christy at first, her childhood nickname. As she grows and becomes more fully adult and in possession of her true self, she becomes Christine.
Are character names and place names decided after their creation? Or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
The two almost always go in tandem. Sometimes I use placeholder names until I settle on the perfect one. Usually that’s because a character has yet to reveal themselves fully to me. Because I’m a write-for-discovery kind of writer, I sometimes only learn a character’s deep secrets – which can include a hidden name – as I write the story.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
No. No morals, for sure. I believe strongly that writing to an agenda, such as a moral, can destroy a story. A story should live and breathe on its own. Whatever messages readers pull from that is up to them.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
For myself I prefer eBooks! Love my Kindle and I’m totally out of shelf space.
To find out more about Jeffe and her series, visit todays series blitz.