Exclusive Interview with Jen Selinsky

reach up for the sunriseThis 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.

Interview with Barbara Donlon Bradley

barbara donlon bradley
Barbara Bradley

Exclusive interview with science fiction/paranormal author Barbara Donlon Bradley.

I first met Barbara Bradley online through a writing forum. Over the years, we were on various boards together and chatted online as well as worked on projects. I’ve always admired her spunk and wit. I was excited at the opportunity to interview her and thought I’d share some of this amazing author’s deepest thoughts with all of you. I hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as I enjoyed conducting it.

When you first started writing, you would add characters to your favorite shows. Tell us when it first clicked that you wanted to write your own, unique stories…

I guess the goal to write professionally came when my mother-in-law moved back to Virginia. She had belonged to RWA National and a local RWA chapter in California and wanted to continue with the organization when she moved here. Wanting someone to drive her to the meetings, she paid for my first year with the local RWA chapter here in VA as well as with national. She had no clue that I was writing scenes with an old high school buddy – we mailed stuff to each other and had for years. Well, our local chapter was doing a program that was going to critique five pages. I knew I was going to Florida to visit my buddy so I sent in five pages of a scene I wrote. I figured if they didn’t like it I could slink off, never to be seen again. But they loved it. It was at that point I decided to write professionally.

I know you like to add a bit of humor to your stories. Have you ever written a scene that made you laugh while you were writing? Would you share it with us?

I found out about the humor accidentally. I would give scenes to my critique group and they would start laughing and I couldn’t figure out why. The scene was supposed to be serious, but I would put something in, like my first book where my heroine is wearing an hoop skirt and is trying to walk into the kitchen of the house with the thing on without knowing how to collapse the hoops. She ends up giving the hero an eye full as the skirt gets caught in the doorway. My thought process wasn’t humor but how she would handle the skirt. She time traveled back to the 1800’s and all the hero had was his late mother’s clothes in an old trunk. She had no clue about the way the dress worked. The book I have with Melange titled “Love is …” is a series of shorts I wrote for Midnight Showcase that I wrote to be funny on purpose, with the exception of “Wizard for Hire.” I wrote that one to see if I could write a short story.

Who has influenced you the most in your writing?

I love Joanna Lindsay – she has a great sense humor and such lifelike characters to me. I learned about romances from Kathleen Woodiwiss – I loved her characters and her stories always had a great plot which I feel is important to the story. SF and Fantasy fascinates me. Ray Bradbury, Stephen R Donaldson, and even Stephen King influenced my writing because of the way they built their stories and characters

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

I think it is not being able to write all the time. It’s hard when I’m at work and a scene comes to me where I can’t write it down. It just runs over and over in my head. What drives me crazy though is when I’m just starting to doze off and a scene comes to me then I can’t remember what it was when I wake up.

What can readers expect to see from you in the near future?

I’m working hard on the Vespian Way series. Book four edits are done – I’m just waiting for the publisher to give me a release date and my cover. I’m fleshing out book five right now. I just finished the rough draft of book six and have two whole pages of book seven started.

Why paranormal/sci-fi? What do you love about these genres?

It is the ‘what if’ game. What if I take this character and send her back in time one hundred years (A Portrait in Time)? What if I place the story on another planet where they have abilities but the heroine doesn’t know how to control hers (A Quest For Love)? What if I have a hero who is the last of his race until he meets a woman who is also from his race (Star’s Destiny). I can’t seem to write without putting a twist on it.

Anything you’d like to add?

I want to thank my readers. Knowing people are enjoying my stories is such a thrill and fills me with great joy.

And… I would like to think Barbara Bradley for taking the time to talk to me and answer these questions. I think she is a pretty fascinating lady and I hope she’ll talk to us more in the future, so we can learn more about her and her writing.