Giveaways, Meet The Author

Meet The Author: Interview with Jen Karner

Q: Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author? 

A: Well to start, I’m Jen Karner and I’m the author of Cinders of Yesterday, which is the first novel in the Legacy of Shadows series. I happen to have yellow eyes (genetic mutations are Rad you yall!), a green mohawk, and can read books in a single sitting if they grab me by the eyeballs. I became an author through a combination of hard work, and luck. I’ve been writing since I was about 8 and started my first “big story” when I was in first grade. I finished the first draft of CINDERS OF YESTERDAY in February of 2018, and then spent 2 years revising it & entering it into contests. I was 31 by the time I finished the first draft, and this was my first ever finished manuscript. I worked on it relentlessly, and it nearly won me a spot in both Pitch Wars and Revpit. After some amazing feedback, I queried it & then submitted it to a few indie publishers before it found a home.

Q: What inspired you to write this book?

A: I can’t point to any one specific thing that made Cinders of Yesterday real, but there are a few different things that helped breathe life into it. I wanted to write a paranormal world that was as gay, as every other paranormal worlds seems to be heterocentric. Something that reminded readers of Buffy or SPN (coincidentally two of my favorite shows ever) but was bigger, bolder, and more diverse than either ever were. I also wanted to use the paranormal as a way to talk about trauma, and grief, and the things we survive even when it’s difficult. Thankfully, it all seemed to come together really well.

Q: What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?

A: It depends on the book, and because I tend to be more of a pantser than a planner I will often research while drafting and then make notes for future revisions. It’s a bit chaotic, but it seems to work well for me.

Q: Do you see writing as a career?

A: Absolutely. I’m actually a staff writer at my day job as well, so writing in one form or another has been my career now for 6 years even if Cinders of Yesterday is my first foray into fiction.

Q: Describe your writing style.

A: I tend to write in close 3rd person. So, inside my characters heads, knowing only what they know. It tends to be voice-y and fairly introspective since you’re getting both their thoughts, and what’s actually happening around them.

Q: What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first? What are common traps for aspiring writers?

A: My writing process is a mix of chaos and planning in different measures. I keep notecards & whiteboards which hold characters, locations, organizations, etc. I also use a Notion board to track and reverse outline, a typed outline with upcoming notes, and a handwritten notebook which has extraneous notes taken on the fly. However, I don’t make major outlines because they don’t seem to work well for me. I tend to write into the void, with just enough light to see what comes next. When I start a new story, I often don’t know how it ends until I’m deeper into it.

I do write chronologically, and there are times I really wish I could skip around the way some other authors do. This is also why I take so many notes. That way when I come back around to a chapter in revisions, I already have notes about what I wanted to adjust, or change.

I think the biggest pitfall for aspiring writers is thinking they need to be in a particular mood to write, or that things need to be perfect the first time through. Anything can be fixed and polished in revisions, but you need to finish the draft in order to get there.

Q: Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?

A: So far I’ve mostly been working on one book at a time in each stage. So, I have several that are in the percolating or pre-planning stages, one that is being drafted, and one in revisions. It’s hard for me to hold more than one book at a time because I let each story consume me so much.

Q: Advice they would give new authors?

A: The two most major pieces of advice I have are to keep writing, and to be kind to yourself. The industry will try to convince you that each book will make or break you, and the constant revolving door of the next big book or author makes it easy to second guess yourself. Just keep writing and remember that it’s about the catalog of books and stories you write, not one single novel, novella, or story. Being kind to yourself is just as crucial in my opinion. It’s easy to second guess yourself or be critical when you get a bad review (or no reviews at all), or to feel bummed when other books seem to be rising meteorically while yours…does not. Being kind and taking time for yourself helps you to bounce back, as does having a few friends who aren’t remotely interested in the industry outside of reading a few books here and there.

Q: What can we expect from you in the future?

A: More books! Cinders of Yesterday is the first in the Legacy of Shadows series, and right now I’m planning for 3 books. There may end up being more down the line, but Emilie and Dani are definitely not done yet. I also have a spooky lake book that needs to be revised, and a whiteboard full of ideas that come after that. Cinders of Yesterday is my first book, but I’m hoping to release many, many, many, more.

Cinders of Yesterday

Legacy of Shadows Book 1

by Jen Karner

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Paranormal Hunter Dani Black wants nothing more than revenge. Until she meets Emilie.

A year ago, the rogue Necromancer Spectre murdered her partner during a hunt gone wrong. She’s been looking for a way to kill him—and keep him dead—ever since.

When rumors of a weapon capable of killing anything surfaces in Dawson, Maryland, she sets out on a mission to get her hands on it. While unraveling a web of clues about her own past, Dani runs into the alluring Emilie Lockgrove, eldest daughter of a magical family inexplicably tied to Spectre.

Emilie Lockgrove survived the catastrophic fire that killed her mother and hospitalized both her and her sister.

Ten years later, she has returned to Dawson, expecting to confront the trauma of her past. Instead, she discovers magic is real, encountering actual ghosts like the necromancer hunting her family for 200 years.

Dani intends to kill Spectre…or die trying. Emilie wants to reclaim her life. To survive, they’ll need to work together to confront their pasts, break the spell capturing Emilie’s magic, and destroy Spectre once and for all.

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Jen Karner is a queer writer who never attended college but still did the required reading. A feminist banshee, she enjoys horror movies, tabletop games, and debating about her many fandoms. When she isn’t writing, you can find her pretending to catch up on her TBR list, trying to convince her dog to love her best, or watching D&D shows.

Jen was raised in the Baltimore suburbs, where she devoured as many books as possible and spent her afternoons running amuck in the woods. She lives with her nesting partner, their dog, and a growing number of plants.

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