I first met Jennifer Ann Shore last year when she asked for a book review. The more we chatted, the more I connected with her. With the onset of the pandemic, she’s been writing like a madwoman and I, for one, am thrilled to bits. I love her writing style and I know you will love it too. I convinced her to sit down for an interview and she agreed. So grab your favorite beverage and join us. Take it away, Jennifer:
What is your writing process?
I love this question! I’m kind of a process junkie, and while it has been mostly the same for each book, I’ve refined it a little bit over time.
Typically I have an idea, and I write a VERY rough outline. I was never one to outline my papers in school, so it’s not very formal — it’s usually just a jumbled mess of notes for dialogue and impactful stuff that needs to happen broken up with “NEW CHAPTER!” in a bold heading.
Once I have a rough structure of the story, I start from the beginning. I write linear, and I force myself through it from beginning to end. Sometimes I’ll have ideas early that will change stuff in other chapters, so I jump ahead to write a quick note and then go back to what I’ve been doing.
After I finish the first draft (my goal is usually to write 5,000 words a day), I give it a few days, letting it marinate in the back of my mind, and then I go through it all again. I typically add another 5,000 to 10,000 words of description and dialogue.
Then it’s off for developmental and light copy editing. Once I get it back from my editor, depending on her notes, I’ll redo chapters or change plot points or rehab what’s needed. It’s then that I get my manuscript up to its final word count, and it’s ready for a final copy edit and then a proofread, and I’ll lay out the book in Vellum.
While that’s happening I work with the cover designer and start doing all the business-y side of things like getting an ISBN number and barcode, filing for copyright, etc.
Then everything is ready for the final steps before publishing.
I know this question was specific to the writing process, but for me, part of what I love about being an indie author is being able to control everything from beginning to end. I love dreaming up random conversations just as much as I love figuring out how much advertising dollars to pump into certain keywords.
Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you?
At this point in my career, I think Ginger Scott and Rachel Higginson have had the biggest impact on me. They were the first indie authors I stumbled across and absolutely loved, and I’ve learned so much from watching how they “go.”
That said, as an author, I think it’s important to read EVERYTHING you possibly can. I’m not just talking about other things in your genre — I mean poetry, fan fiction, comic books, video transcripts, etc. I’ve learned so much from stepping outside of the norm, and I think has given me a better perspective on my craft.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
So important! I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent looking at lists of names online to try and find ones that are uncommon but not weird — but also that I don’t have associated too strongly with anyone else (like people I went to high school with or something).
In “Metallic Red,” my teen vampire fiction book, I did get intentionally give a few nods to history and previous publications for some of the names. For example, Mina Byron, the main character — “Mina” comes from one of the main characters in Bram Stoker's “Dracula” novel, and “Byron” references Lord Byron, who is all wrapped up in early 1800s monster storytelling.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I do read them — at a distance.
From a practical standpoint, I keep track of them because they’re huge for promoting and spreading the word about my writing, but from a personal/creative standpoint, I had to learn to disassociate from them.
I have gotten valuable feedback from reviewers, but writing is so subjective that it’s not worth getting all wound up because someone didn’t like one particular thing about your book.
Here’s a great example: If you take a look at the reviews for “The Extended Summer of Anna and Jeremy” on Goodreads, you’ll find a ton of reviews praising the flip between summer and fall and the shortness of the story — but a handful of people who trashed it. Again, it’s all subjective.
The truth is, there’s probably an audience out there for every book, and unless you have some major character, plot, or social issues, if you’re getting unfavorable reviews it’s because you’re not reaching the right audience.
Do you have a favorite spot to write? What is it?
I tend to change scenery between my couch, my desk, and my backyard every few hours — usually timed with when my dog wakes up from a nap and needs attention.
Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?
Oh my gosh. Racy scenes are the hardest because you’re trying to be clear about what is happening without being too over the top.
Also, I have a hard time writing fluff for the sake of it — a lot of writers are great at coming up with cutesy, heart-warming stories, and I think there’s always an edge to my writing that won’t allow me to have those “Aww!”-inducing moments. At least, not yet! It’s a work-in-progress.
What are you working on now? What is your next project?
Now that I’ve published “Metallic Red,” my next big project is going to be pushing “Rip Current” (the sequel to my first book, “New Wave”) across the finish line. I have three other books (two standalone romcoms and possibly a sequel to “Metallic Red”) in the works as well.
Do you drink? Smoke? What’s your vice?
Not very often at all — maybe a few times a year, and I do not, although marijuana is legal in Washington State.
My husband always jokes that you can’t trust anyone who doesn’t have a vice, and I think mine is either snacking or sleeping — which is boring but very true!
What literary character is most like you?
Probably one of the ones I have written, honestly.
While I would never base a fictional character solely off of me, I definitely put traits of myself in there. Every single time a character is talking about how neurotic they are or if they deflect insecurity with sarcasm, it’s like I’m putting a piece of my soul into writing.
Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?
There are so many places on my list, but I think my top five most pressing are: Vietnam, Greece, Morrocco, Ireland, and Argentina.
If I could revisit one place that I’ve already been, it would probably be France — my husband and I only spent about thirty-six hours in Paris, and we definitely didn’t do it justice.
If you could have any name in the world, what would you choose?
Definitely something less common than “Jennifer.” I’ve never been a huge fan of it, but I’ve learned to live with it. There are some really weird/cool first names in my family tree (Lottie, Lola, Elma) that I might have wanted to trade for earlier in life.
That said, I absolutely love my last name (Shore) and have a few friends that refer to me by it.
Do you have any scars? What are they from?
Oh, I have so many. I’m perpetually scarred and bruised because I’m so clumsy!
One of my favorite scars (if I’m allowed to favor one over the others) is in the shape of a half-moon on my stomach. It’s from a bike accident when I was a kid, and the metal handlebar sliced my skin in a really odd way.
Title Metallic Red
Author Jennifer Ann Shore
Genre Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction
Mina Byron wants to be just like every other high school senior, but as one of the only half-human, half-vampires in existence, she’s far from normal.
After having the first eighteen years of her life dictated by whatever is best for the vampires around her, she wants to embrace her humanity.
When her uncle, the vampire King of Appalachia, agrees to send her to a private high school and integrate into the culture of the living and breathing, it’s not without sacrifice on her part. As she attempts to find herself, love, and friendship in the human world, she has to reconcile the future he has planned for her in the vampire one.
If I were fully human, my negotiation skills would make me something of a legend, like a diplomat bargaining for the release of POWs, a lawyer campaigning for prison reform, or a drug kingpin working a global supply chain. Instead, I used my talent — honed after reading, watching, listening, and researching anything that could help my case — to go to high school.
From everything I understood about humans, most eighteen-year-olds would be celebrating the freedom earned with age and experience, not campaigning to follow a bell schedule and do homework, but I missed out on those things and so many others.
I didn’t have friends, just associates of my family and the businesses who weren’t interested in what I watched online or read about in a fiction book. Rather than running around at recess or playing in the mud, I spent most of my childhood sitting silently in meetings or studying on my own.
I had no curfew, no inside jokes, no real meaningful life and experience to speak on, and I craved it, just like I craved blood.
For months, I wore my parents down. At first, I merely posed the idea, and then I talked in hypotheticals. After that, I started leaving brochures to schools around the region.
My mother tended to indulge my questions and curiosity about being human, and I expected her to take my side or at least to understand why I wanted to explore the human side of myself. I’d spent the past eighteen years being surrounded by vampires or no one at all.
When it came down to it, though, she stayed silent beside my father, who saw no benefit and made it clear. Each time I asked, I tugged at the invisible thread of his patience, attempting to unravel a reaction into something I could leverage, but he remained stoic. Typical vampire.
“My answer will not change, no matter how often you attempt to change it,” he said, darkly against the right natural light of our kitchen.
Once again, I rehashed my argument, all the details of the preparation and benefits of my integration with humans, while he poured blood from a bag into my favorite mug.
“And when is the last time we had any information on or allies with the local young, human population in our area?” I added, digging for anything that might sway the decision in my favor.
He slid the nearly full cup across the counter into my open palm. “Why would I need a teenage ally?”
“Because in some cases, teenagers have the power to sway adults,” I added, taking a sip to hide my smirk.
I thought it entertaining, but I appeared to be the only one.
“Your self-interest reveals your naivety, Mina,” my father said evenly. “Do you understand what kind of risk you’d put us in each and every single day? You’ve done your research and have an argument, I’ll admit that, but it’s rife with your own selfishness. You do not have the level of discipline required to endure it.”
“To endure what?” I asked, staring him down across the kitchen counter.
“Humans,” I repeated, fidgeting at his response.
This was the opportunity I patiently waited for, the flaw in his logic that I could pounce on, drawing from my overfull notebook of reasoning. I was ready for it.
“How can you say all of that, when I am, in fact, half-human myself?” I asked bitterly.
He remained silent and still, and as I geared up to lay into him, he locked eyes with my mother in a silent conversation.
“Mina.” My mother’s voice was gentle enough to halt the floodgates before I even opened them. “I can tell you’re on the cusp of a very succinct argument, but I think we all know who has the final say in this.”
Another nudge toward my victory. “The King?” I asked, so innocently.
I picked up the phone from the dock and pressed the number for Trinity, my uncle’s secretary, on the speed dial. She skipped the pleasantries and patched me through to the correct line, he greeted me with tentative enthusiasm.
Five minutes after I uttered, “Uncle Derrick, I have a proposition for you,” I had an agreement.
I hung up the phone.
“Overruled,” I practically sang.
Surprisingly, my father showed the slightest hint of emotion on his face. The scowl barely registered as a flicker of anger before it morphed again into his typical neutral mask.
“We’ll see about that.”
He stormed out, and my mother chased after him without a second glance in my direction.
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Jennifer Ann Shore is a writer and an Amazon bestselling author based in Seattle, Washington.
She has written multiple fiction novels, including "New Wave," a young adult dystopian, and "The Extended Summer of Anna and Jeremy," a young adult romance.
In her decade of working in journalism, marketing, and book publishing, she has won numerous awards for her work, from companies such as Hearst and SIIA.
Be sure to visit her website (https://www.jenniferannshore.com) and follow her on Twitter (@JenniferAShore), Instagram (@shorely), or your preferred social media channel to stay in touch.
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