Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on Author Jenna Glass. I say Jenna Glass, but she is also known as Jenna Black, but I will let her explain:
I write practically every variety of speculative fiction there is under the names Jenna Black and Jenna Glass. Under Jenna Black, my series include: Guardians of the Night (paranormal romance); Morgan Kingsley (urban fantasy); Faeriewalker (YA fantasy); Descendant (urban fantasy); Replica (YA dystopian); and Nightstruck (YA horror.) My current series, The Women’s War, written under the name Jenna Glass is feminist epic fantasy.
Where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)
Most if not all of my books should be available (possibly by special order, especially for the older titles) from any bookstore.
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
I’m on Twitter as @JennaBlack, where I’m fairly quiet these days except for RT’ing cute animal videos. I post most frequently on Instagram as @JennaBlackBooks, where you can see photos of my art, my dog, and (occasionally) my books.
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from The Women’s War series?
My current series, The Women’s War, is a feminist epic fantasy series. The first two books, The Women’s War and Queen of the Unwanted are out now, and the third and final book, Mother All, comes out in July 2020. The series is set in a world that starts off extremely patriarchal, but everything changes when three women cast a spell that makes it so that women can no longer be forced to conceive or carry children. This new reproductive freedom forces society as a whole to begin to treat women more like equal citizens than like chattel.
What was the inspiration for The Women’s War? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?
There were two equally distasteful inspirations for this series. The first being when Todd Akin made the ridiculous claim that women who were victims of “legitimate rape” rarely got pregnant. I thought to myself “gee, maybe I should write a story about a world where that was true, because it’s certainly not the case in OUR world.” I quickly abandoned the idea, thinking the concept too political and openly feminist for the type of fiction I wanted to write.
.Fast forward to 2016 and the horror of seeing Trump win the election. I was shocked and horrified and scared for the fate of women (as well as many others). I harkened back to that old feminist idea that had rattled around in my head for years and decided that I would channel some of my rage and fear into developing it into an actual story. I began working on it (literally) the day after the election, brainstorming the world I would set it in and thinking about the magic system I wanted to use. And it took on a life of its own almost immediately.
When I wrote The Women’s War, I gave myself permission to write whatever I felt like writing and to worry about whether or not it was marketable later. In doing so, I realized that I was actually quite burnt out on trying to write to the market, that concerns of whether or not my book would sell were actually destroying my love of writing. Writing this series made me fall in love with writing all over again.
What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?
My other creative passion is Zentangle ® drawing. For those not familiar with it, Zentangle is a meditative drawing technique wherein you draw repetitive patterns. Each pattern is broken down into super-easy steps, so that you can create intricate and complex looking drawings that are actually very simple to do. And you can expand from there. I have in the last couple of years started using these Zentangle patterns to create fabric designs, and more days than not, I am wearing clothes made from fabric with my own designs printed on it. If you’re interested in seeing some of my fabric designs, you can visit my shop on Spoonflower.com https://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/jennablackzen
Writers very often have furry or feathered or otherwise non-human companions to “help” them through their work. Do you? What do you have? How do they “help” (or, “not-help”) with your writing?
My current furry helper is Dash, the rescue dog. We’ve had him for a little over two years. He was rescued as a puppy, then lived with a family for about five years before they surrendered him to the rescue, unable to deal with his behavior issues. By the time he came to live with us, he’d had a good deal of training with his foster mom, so he’s generally pretty well behaved. However, he likes to bark at every single noise, so he “helps” by interrupting a lot by voicing his opinion of the car that passed by, the dog that just barked, the person who had the audacity to talk outside his house, etc. Regardless, he is the four-legged love of my life. Half border collie, half rat-terrier, 100% the cuddliest, sweetest, smartest dog I’ve ever had.
What do you consider the most challenging part of the writing process? And how do you overcome that?
By far the most challenging part of the writing process for me is overcoming self-doubt. I had a lot of practice with this, as my “first” published book was actually the 18th novel I’d completed over about 16 years of trying to get published. Once upon a time, I thought that finally breaking through and getting published would put an end to that self-doubt. (That was before I knew any published authors; once you meet a few, you realize that the self-doubt never goes away.)
It’s a battle every time I sit down to write, every time I send off a novel to my agent, every time my agent starts submitting to publishers, every time the reviews and sales numbers start coming in. Somehow, I’ve managed to publish 22 books anyway. I know now that it will NEVER come easy.
Thanks so much, Jenna, for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions for us!