This probably won’t surprise those who know me, but I first met Jen Selinsky at my local library. We struck up a conversation about ebooks and I discovered she was a writer as well. I’ve enjoyed reading many of Jen’s poems and the book shown to the left. I am thrilled to introduce this talented author to you.
Lori Soard (LS): Most people have that moment they can remember when they first discovered a love of the written word. What is yours?
Jen Selinsky (JS): Ironically, I did not even like reading until I’d reached my early adolescence – about fourteen years old. I started to enjoy writing, however, when I was twelve. It began with penning short assignments for school, and then my overactive imagination began to take over! My “career” as a poet started at age fifteen, during the summer of 1994. My work and interest in writing have nearly quadrupled since that point!
LS: You work at a library and write part-time. How long does it usually take you to finish a book?
JS: It all depends. Poetry books usually do not take as long for me to write, as they come most naturally. Works with more substance, such as short stories and novels can take up to at least a few months. Of course, after I finish a book, it has at least one or two revisions it must undergo in order for it to be completely finished before being made available for purchase.
LS: What is your favorite book of all time? Why?
JS: That is a really difficult question, as I enjoy many books from all different genres. One title which I tell people all the time is Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. At that point in my life, I was really immersed in the classics. Les Misérables embodied the elements of a nearly perfect classic work. In high school, I’d started listening to the musical, and then I decided to read the book. Since the unabridged version is epic and contains over 1,400 pages, I’ve only read the entire novel twice. Some of the books I own I’ve only read once. There are also others which I haven’t even started yet!
LS: What is the last movie you saw that inspired you?
JS: I generally only watch TV and movies when I am with my husband. There are many films which we enjoy viewing together, but the ones which inspire me the most have characters which are writers. Some examples include: World’s Greatest Dad, (Robin Williams) All About Steve, (Sandra Bullock) and Paper Man, (Jeff Daniels). Those are just to name a few, as there are many more which I enjoy.
LS: I already know music inspires you, since you wrote a book of poems inspired by Duran Duran. Where else do you find inspiration?
JS: I draw lots of inspiration from music. My favorite group is Genesis, but I’ve written many poetry books inspired by the music of the following bands: Duran Duran, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, The Doors, The Beatles, and The Who. Another compilation includes poetry from eight other bands: The Rutles, Thin Lizzy, The Eagles, Aerosmith, The Monkees, Genesis, (same name, different band) Badfinger, and The Orange Alabaster Mushroom. In case you haven’t noticed, I am very biased toward classic rock!
I also wrote a play/short story based on Pink Floyd’s album, The Wall. I also am working on a Duran Duran memoir and plan on writing a Doors memoir as well. Both will describe my experience(s) following those bands. My husband and I have started working on a Genesis biography.
LS: You’re a very prolific poet. Any new poetry books in the works?
JS: I would say that approximately 70% of my books contain at least some poetry, if not books constructed completely of verse. It seems I always have ideas for new poetry books. Some of my most recent poems do not have a permanent home yet, as I have not created a new book for quite some time. I’m hoping it won’t be much longer until I start working on it again.
LS: Are you working on a novel at the moment? If so, tell us about it.
JS: I’m actually taking a much-needed break from writing at the moment, as I am focusing on submitting my works to various magazines and publications. I’ve also created a separate writer’s page on Facebook. My mind is always churning out ideas, even though I don’t always write or type them out. I have three new novels in the works, so I hope to put all the stories together very soon.
LS: The publishing industry is changing rapidly. I just got word today from one of my old publishers that they are shutting down due to authors self-publishing and pulling their books (one of the reasons they cited). What are your thoughts on the new trends with authors self-publishing?
JS: While I am very grateful to have the opportunity to self-publish my books in both print and e-book format, I do feel bad for all those who work at established publishers. I have sort of mixed views on the whole subject. On one hand, I am sorry for all those who have lost their jobs and their publishing businesses, but I am happy that writers, such as myself, have an opportunity to publish and share their work with the world.
LS: Do you think it is still important to offer books in a number of formats or is Amazon the way to go these days with its domination of the market?
JS: Amazon is terrific, but there are many other wonderful online publishing companies. While I have five e-books and two print books available for purchase at Amazon, the majority of my work can be found on Lulu. Through Lulu, my major prose works are also available on: iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. I think it’s very important for authors to publish in many different formats through different publishers if it is at all possible. Smashwords is another DIY publisher which I might also consider in the future.
LS: Tell us about Reach Up for the Sunrise…
JS: I started working on Reach Up for the Sunrise in spring 2005, when Duran Duran was my favorite band. I got discouraged when I found out that another author was going to write a Duran Duran biography, so I put the entire project on hiatus for a few months. I picked it up again and published the first edition in July 2006. Ever since then, I have made updates and rereleased the current edition in April 2013. I am planning on including updates since the band released their new album, Paper Gods, in September 2015. To date, Reach Up for the Sunrise is my best seller.
LS: Anything else you’d like to add?
JS: I feel that I am a versatile writer who likes to explore many different genres, and I am very grateful that God has given me the drive and inspiration. One other thing I like to do is support my fellow writers and give them encouragement. Their success, in a way, is also my success because I feel that maybe I had a small hand in helping them along the way!
A huge thank you to Jen Selinsky for taking the time to answer a few questions for our readers. You can stay up to date on Jen’s writing on her Facebook page. Her books are available on Lulu, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and via several other formats such as iTunes and Kobo.