Jen’s love for reading came from her mom, who valued books above all things (except maybe the Dallas Cowboys and Michael Jordan.) She writes for the same reason some people run marathons, climb mountains, sculpt, paint, or put on suits of Mentos and jump into vats of Coke: because there is a fire burning inside her that doesn’t let her NOT do these things. Writing is necessary, like breathing or double chocolate chip cookies and perfectly salted potato chips.
Reading is not a lost pastime and Jen refuses to believe that something so magical could ever go away. Even during the zombie apocalypse, she will be reading. She will just have to learn how to wield an ax in one hand while holding her book in the other.
Jen Ponce lives in the Panhandle of Nebraska, with her boys, her cats, her goldfish Reggie and a large supply of books that help insulate the house in the winter and expand her mind.
She loves connecting on Twitter and Facebook. You can also send her email and she’ll write back. Visitwww.JenniferPonce.com to figure out how to do all of the above.
Jen Ponce. Writer of kick ass women and oogy monsters. One-handed, ax-wielding zombie hunter/reader.
How would you describe your story in one sentence?
The story I’m working on now: A young woman with a troubled past discovers that evil can wear a pretty face.
What inspired you to write your story/characters/theme?
This story came from a dream that inspired a three-day writing binge that left me with 275 pages of story. I’ve been picking at it for a long time, trying to figure out what the purpose of it is, what the ending is, why it has stuck with me as something that needed written. I’ve finally gotten the handle on what I want to say with this book and I’m about halfway done with it.
Which authors have influenced you?
There are a lot of romance authors who inspired me to start writing way back when: Johannah Lindsey, Laura Kinsale, Lisa Gregory, Rebecca Brandewyne. Then I picked up a novel that looked like a romance (with two lovers in passionate embrace) but of course, the male model was Stephen King. That book was Misery and started me on a nom, nom, reading binge of horror.
Which are your favorite literary genres?
Fantasy of all kinds, romance, and historical fiction.
What makes a book/story special for you?
Books with female characters who have agency and independence. Books that have fast action, gory horror, engaging characters and magic!
Where do you live? Did your hometown/country/culture influenced your story?
I live in the Panhandle of Nebraska and while I have used Nebraska as the location for several of my novels, it’s more because there aren’t that many novels set in Nebraska rather than my desire to write novels inspired by Nebraska. Does that make sense? I think of books like My Antonia inspired by and grown by the land about which they are written. My books just use Nebraska as a backdrop.
How long you needed for writing this book/for your first draft/ for your revision/editing process?
I can type words very quickly, but getting them into the right order for a novel is a lot harder. (Imagine that! LOL) If I have a firm grasp on the novel and where I want it to end up, I can usually get a first draft written in two or three months. I set the thing aside for a while, then pick it up again to read through it with fresh eyes. I’ll make corrections, revisions, and then get it to someone else to read. When they send back their feedback, I plunk it into a program that will read the text to me so I can hear all the things I missed during a read through. It’s different for each novel, too. If I write the book more slowly, there are less mistakes.
Did you hire a cover artist/editor/proofreader?
I’ve been making my own covers and looking back on some of my first covers, I see that I’ve made a lot of progress as a cover maker. I’ve translated that knowledge to my day job and have won a state-wide award related to the skills I’ve been honing through my writing.
What have you learned while writing and publishing? Did unexpected things happen?
I’ve learned that I am very much capable of planning a project, carrying it out, and seeing success from it. Writing will always be something I do, even if self-publishing goes away, even if no one ever sees anything I write. It was really the publishing and all the things that come with it that made me realize that I can accomplish what I put my mind to. I love that feeling.
What helped you to get inspired and overcome hurdles along the writing of your book?
I’ve been doing a lot of drawing lately in preparation for another book I’ll soon be writing. It’s an epic fantasy, a genre I haven’t really written in before (aside from some small stories) and it’s both invigorating and nerve-wracking to contemplate a book the size I think this one will be. The drawing helps me focus my creativity in different ways to enhance the writing I do. At other times, I’ve used writing workbooks or creative writing exercises to overcome hurdles, or I completely scrap all that I’ve done and come at the problem from a different writing angle. That one is painful and hard, but I’ve written pretty good stories from those moments of bravery, so as hard as it is, sometimes throwing away all that you’ve done to start fresh can work wonders.
What would you do differently on a next project?
I am a pantser down deep in my soul, but I’ve seen the benefits of pre-planning stories in my own work. I’ve done a lot more structuring of plot and character work for the upcoming writing project than I’ve done for most of my stories, so I’m excited to see if that makes a difference or not.
Best piece (s) of advice for first time writers?
Don’t forget to have fun with your writing and don’t show your work too soon. Valid or not, other people’s opinions can totally wreck your mojo. Keep the assholes and cheerleaders out of your creative space for as long as you can stand it.
Where can readers contact you in the internet? Do you have a blog/website?
You can visit me at www.JenniferPonce.com to see my books, read my blog, and contact me. You can also play with me on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/JenPonceAuthor or on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/JenPonceAuthor.
What are you planning to write/publish next?
I’m publishing my next book on June 6, 2016. I’ll be writing Brokeneck Raven (my epic fantasy) next, and then I’ll be writing Fungus Queen (horror novel) with the hopes of having it published in October of this year. I don’t think Brokeneck Raven will be done this year, but miracles do happen! 🙂