Hello Book Lovers,
I have something extra special for you today. I wanted to have this up earlier but work got in the way. I’m so happy and excited to introduce you all to Jennifer Wilson. She is the author of the New World series. New World: Rising released September 27th 2014 and the 2nd book in the series is being released on June 7th 2016. I had the pleasure of interviewing her and the answers to these questions are amazing and inspiring. I will have reviews coming soon for both of these books which I’m very excited about. I hope you enjoy this interview because I sure did and you take some time to know the author behind the New World Series.
Jennifer: These questions were awesome, thank you! I am super excited to see your post!
Stephanie: What inspired you to write the New World Series?
Jennifer: I have always had a bit of an overactive imagination. My mind tends to wander and being a very visual person, I generally get these flashes of scenes—a girl on a rooftop, an action-packed fight sequence or an impassioned kiss. From there, my mind melds around these moments and a basic plot begins to develop. As the plot matures, so do my characters.
New World: Rising was born out of an epiphany moment for Phoenix. I could see this girl racing on rooftops, hiding in the shadows, being kind of a badass. The opening scene in the first book is the moment Phoenix was born in my mind, a dark shadowed figure standing on the ledge of a building as her hair whipped around her face in the wind, the city below her in ruin. The world just spiraled out from there, shaping around her. I wanted to write about a girl who could take care of herself, who was just as tough as the boys and preferred to rescue herself rather than be recused. But of course she is not without her flaws. It was important to me that she—and all of the other characters—were still human, relatable and made mistakes.
Stephanie: What research or methods did you take in the process of writing New World Rising?
Jennifer: Great question! My research spanned a few different medias. For many of the fight scenes, I watch a ton of kung fu and action movies. I am a really visual person, so being able to see people move their bodies in the way I had envisioned helped me better describe what my mind was seeing. I also spent a lot of time researching names and their meanings, American Sign Language, color theory, latin, and warfare tactics. It is easy to write what you know, so what you don’t know, you research.
Stephanie: What are you hoping people get from this book?
Jennifer: There are several touchy subjects that New World Ashes touches on. And there are scenes that might be harder for some people to read, but they are also things that should be discussed because some of them are issues today. I also want readers to think about things like what right and wrong mean to them, what they would do if facing the similar situations, if a Utopia could truly ever exist and is equality real?
Stephanie: When and why did you begin writing? Did it all start with New World Rising or have you been writing since you were a child?
Jennifer: I have always loved the idea of writing, but never thought it was something I could do. I was a terrible speller, a painfully slow reader and had some issues with Dyslexia. It wasn’t until my early twenties that I stopped saying “I can’t” and started doing it. I have been writing with fervent passion every since. Sometimes we are the biggest thing holding ourselves back.
New World Rising was my first published book, but it was actually the second novel I have written. I have another series collecting digital dust, that I put on the back burner to write NWR. It is very different from The New World Series, still focused on YA fiction, but more fantasy based. Hopefully I will get that series out soon too. One thing at a time.
Stephanie: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Jennifer: I am sure this is cliché, but the Harry Potter series definitely helped inspire me to write. Not because of the fame or money, but this was the first series I fell in love with and because of how many lives J.K. Rowling touched with her books. To reach that many people and inspire them to dream and read… that is a true gift. So obviously, J.K. Rowling’s books are at the top of that list, but there are many other authors I look up to: J.R.R. Tolkien, Rick Yancey, Dan Brown, Suzanne Collins, Cassandra Clare and Diana Gabaldon, to name a few. Alexandra Bracken and Marie Lu are also recently added to my author crush list—I love that they too write about strong female leads, who are imperfect and vulnerable at times.
Stephanie: Who or what inspires you?
Jennifer: A lot of my inspiration comes from music. I listen to all kinds—musical theatre, instrumental, R&B, alternative, pop, indie…everything really. With certain songs, a variety of emotions are plucked inside of me and my mind begins to visualize stories and scenes. I also love action movies, so these are often my go-to’s when I need inspiration for a fight seen.
Stephanie: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Jennifer: Write because you love it. Not to make money or to be famous, write because you’re passionate. Because if you’re passionate it won’t matter what anyone else says, you are doing something you love and that’s more important than a stranger’s opinion.
Don’t get discouraged. For that one spectacular “yes”, you might hear fifty “no’s”. And that’s okay! Sadly the book industry is not always about great stories and fabulous writing—it is also about trends, monetary potential, what an agent is looking for to fill their quotas, and sometimes just plain ol’ bad timing. If someone turns you down, be sad for about five minutes, then pick yourself and move on to you next option. My books were turned down by a great deal of agents before I decided to self-publish. But it was that step of self-publishing that later introduced me to Ben and Oftomes Publishing. It took over two years and a lot of hard work, but it was worth it.
If you choose to self-publish, make it the best version of your book you possibly can. Put together a Beta Group to help with spelling, grammar and storyline. (Friends and family are great, plus they will usually do it for a pizza and wine night.) Hire an editor, cover designer and format the interior of your book. These little things will go a long way. Many of my initial fans read the books strictly based on the cover design, remember that first impression is SO important.
Don’t quit your day job! Most authors work other jobs to pay the bills while they are waiting for their books to take off. Generally, first time authors don’t become popular over night. It can take up to three years after they are first published for their books to become popular.
Lastly, you should always be your biggest advocate. Talk about your books, believe in yourself and put yourself out there. Get to know your potential fans, introduce yourself to bloggers, and send out complementary review copies (do note not every review will be positive, but that’s okay too). If being an author is your dream, don’t take “no” for an answer. Sometimes that first spectacular “yes” needs to come from you.
Stephanie: What book are you reading at the moment?
Jennifer: I am currently reading Gabriel and the Swallows by Esther Dalseno and am loving it!
Stephanie: How did you decide on this cover and did you have a lot of say in the design process?
Jennifer: Working with Oftomes Publishing and Kim of KimG Designs to create the new covers for the re-publication of my series was an absolute pleasure. They were both extremely supportive in letting me be involved with the feel and look. When I first self-published this series, I designed my own covers. So while we all agreed the new covers needed to be true to the original ones, we wanted them to be striking and unique in there own way. It was amazing to hand my thoughts and ideas over to such a creative person as Kim and have her create theses stunning representations of my books. We went through several concepts and designs before deciding on these final versions and I couldn’t be happier.
Stephanie: What does this cover mean to you?
Jennifer: The release of this cover means so much to me on a multitude of levels. As an author it is a symbol of achieving a dream and the honor I feel to have been acquired by Oftomes Publishing. As the creator of the story, the cover symbolizes Phoenix’s growth and her gradual accession to live in the present as she faces forward instead of to the past. While Rising’s cover was green, symbolizing the sickly environment of Tartarus, the blue cover of Ashes symbolizes the perceived purity of The Sanctuary, where most of this book takes place.
Stephanie: What are some of the things you learned while writing this book and going through the publishing process?
Jennifer: One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that a book is never truly done. Even still there are things I would change, rewrite or add, but sooner or later you have to let go. If every author never let go, we would never have any books to read. I have also learned that the publishing process is a long, slow process that can often be very critical. It is so important not to take things personally as an author. One rejection letter doesn’t mean they don’t like you personally, it just might mean that your book isn’t what they are looking for right now.
It’s been great interviewing you and I hope to do it again. Your absolutely amazing and a great inspiration. I just want to say a huge Congratulations on the upcoming release; this will be a great success. It was wonderful interviewing Jennifer Wilson and I hope you all take the time to check out her newly released book New World Rising and the upcoming release New World Ashes. I hope you enjoyed this interview and I will talk to you all soon.