Today’s featured author is Jen Wylie, who, in the last seven months, has published her debut novel, two short stories and a short story series. Talk about a busy author! Today, I wanted to talk with Jen about Tales of Ever, which is part of a pilot program, Electric Shorts, being put out by Echelon Press for young readers. Each series contains six short stories presented once per month as electronic downloads (eBooks), much the same as a television series. Tales of Ever is the fantasy series Jen has written for young adults (13 to 17 year olds).
Name of book: Tales of Ever Series
Book genre: Young Adult fantasy short story series
Date published: First Tuesday of every month from March to August 2011
Publisher: Echelon Press
What is your day job? My “main” job is I’m a stay-at-home mom of my two little boys. I wouldn’t call it a day job though, as I also work nights and weekends… and holidays. :) I also work with my publisher doing edits, acquisitions and marketing.
What is this series about? The Tales of Ever series is about a young girl who learns she is a Firestarter (like her parents, but she didn’t know this) Her father disappears when she is young. Her gift manifests when she is a teen; sadly a few months later her mother dies of cancer. She is taken in by family she doesn’t know, and soon learns a female firestarter is considered dangerous. They banish her, and she ends up in a crazy place called Ever. Her uncle inferred her father had been sent there as well. So the stories tell of her looking for him, learning more about her powers, making friends and trying to survive.
What would you say was the most challenging part of writing it? For me, the hardest part is writing endings. The Tales of Ever series certainly has been challenging, as I need to have sort of an ending at the end of each story. (I don’t like to just stop and say, “To be continued.”)
What motivates you to write? I love writing. My head is always full of ideas, so much it drives me a bit crazy sometimes. Of course, with my new series I’m contracted to have these stories out at a certain time… Yes, I have evil deadlines! That is certainly motivation too.
How long does it take you to write each book in the series? I have a month to write and self-edit each story installment. Usually I can get the biggest chunk done in a few days… then I lose momentum and the rest takes longer. These shorts are 13 to 14K words each, so I figure that’s not too bad.
How long did it take you to find a publisher? I spent a year and half looking for an agent. I came across Echelon Press online and really loved them… so I submitted my work. I was lucky enough to get contracts for 2 short stories and a novel (and later the Tales of Ever series).
Do you have an agent now? I still don’t have an agent. If you want your book in one of those Top 5 (or whatever it is) publishing houses, I hear you need one. If you are happy with a smaller publishing house, then just go for it. There are quite a few who don’t require you have an agent to submit.
What is the biggest misconception about writing a book? Wow, there are so many misconceptions – how long it takes to write, how easy it is to find an agent or publisher, that edits will be quick and easy. LOL! I think the biggest is that you write it and you’re done. No way! Be ready to spend a lot of time out there selling yourself and your book. Even the big publishers don’t do all your marketing for you. If you want sales, people need to know about you and your book.
What was your favorite aspect of the writing process for this series? Oooh, I LOVED creating Ever, how crazy and wild it is, all the strange creatures there, how there is no sun and the sky shifts from one colour to another. My brain is still coming up with fun ideas for each new story!
What tools/methods have you employed to promote your work? What advice would you give to writers regarding promotion? Web presence is very important. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, have a blog, a website with links to all of these, I’m also on goodreads, manic readers, jacket flap and so on. If I can be somewhere, then I’m there. :) Definitely get out there and start making yourself known. Blog tours are a really fun (yet busy) way to meet others, either by having authors on your blog, or going out and doing one yourself.
What else is on the horizon? I have 3 more stories in Tales of Ever left to write. I also will have a new Jump story coming out soon, and a new Immortal Echoes. My fantasy novel Sweet Light will be coming out this summer too. So yes… lots going on!
My favorite last question: Oprah has famously said that there is no such thing as luck, without preparation and a moment of opportunity. Would you agree or disagree with regard to your own success as a writer? I don’t know about preparation… Opportunity certainly plays a factor, and luck brought that about. I could go on and on about how if I didn’t do this or that I would never have… You get the picture. :)