Congratulations are in order to Jenna Greene for winning the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award. I asked Jenna some questions about her experience.
Which book won the award?
Reborn – a YA dystopian novel. (The first in a new series).
Can you tell us a little about the story and its characters?
This is a story about a girl named Lexil who is banished to slavery because of the marks on her skin. These marks state that she has lived previous lives and, as such, is to toil in service for those not fortunate enough to have multiple lives.
Why is this story important to you?
This story is important to me on many levels. One – it is a genuinely good story. I feel it is the best writing I’ve done so far. Two – I love the characters and the mythology. I kept the premise of the story simple, but the mythology is unique. Three – I wrote this book in a turbulent part of my life. This story will be forever connected to my mother, as I wrote the first half of it when she was sick and the second half of it after she passed away. And when you write a book about connection to past lives, and those who have lived before … there is no way to escape the fact that maybe those who love us never really leave.
When did you decide to submit this book for the award?
I’ve never submitted a book for an award before but, as mentioned, I feel very proud of this book and very connected too. It just felt okay, for once, to see if others thought it was worthy of recognition.
Where was the award ceremony held?
Traverse City, Michigan.
Can you tell us about the Moonbeam‘s Award – who can apply, who sponsors it etc.?
The Moonbeam Children’s Book Award has bronze, silver, and gold for various categories in Children’s Literature. My novel, Reborn, tied for gold in the YA science fiction and fantasy category. The awards are sponsored by the Jenkin’s Group.
How was your trip to the award ceremony?
Eventful, to say the least. I nearly didn’t make it, as traveling from Canada in winter isn’t exactly easy. Security scanners broke at the Calgary airport, delaying my traveling buddy and I in the line for two hours. We barely caught our flight to Chicago. Our connecting flight to Michigan couldn’t land because of snow, so we had to try again the next night. My luggage wasn’t lost, but it was inaccessible, so I spent 24 hours without it… and the list goes on. But travel adventures make good writing later!
Jenna Greene is the author of the acclaimed Young Adult Fantasy series, Imagine! She is a middle school teacher, dragon-boat coach, enthusiastic dancer, and semi-professional napper. She lives in Lethbridge, Alberta with her husband (Scott), daughter (Olivia), and dog (Thor, dog of thunder).
I completed NaNoWriMo on 15th November 2019, which is the fastest I have ever managed to write the 50,000 words required. This left me with several options, one of which was to continue with this story, Seasons of an Affair and increase the word count to 70,000 plus to create a draft manuscript for future editing and revision.
However, a book I placed on order some time ago became available. This particular book is the story of a man, who escaped society and lived alone for 27 years. Known as the North Pond Hermit, Chris Knight existed in a make shift camp with no human contact for all that time. I initially read the newspaper reports when he was captured and it sparked an idea for a novel, along with two other strange news stories, this became my 2014 NaNo novel – The Giving Thief. After reading the book of his life (twice) I was plunged back into that story. Do I go back to it and complete it?
Then another on order book became available giving me my third option. This is a research book on steampunk, which is the genre of one of my 2018 NaNo projects. I used that NaNo challenge to write the sequel to The Rython Kingdom and launched Rython Legacy in 2019. However, the other ‘novella’ project for that year quickly expanded into a full length novel, The Commodore’s Gift, from a short story I’d written some time before. So I am tempted to revive this story line as well.
So which will I chose?
As a writer we all have multiple story ideas racing around our heads all the time. It is difficult to decide which story to choose when they all clamor for attention.
Firstly, apologies for not getting a post up sooner – as you can imagine with full time work and writing my NaNo novel it’s been a bit hectic along with the usual life stuff.
Having said that I am, as of Thursday 14th November only a couple thousand off my target of 50,000 words so a celebration is imminent. I was late to NaNo this year as I only just completed publishing the sequel to The Rython Kingdom. After numerous reader requests for a sequel I used last year’s NaNo to write one and as we all know that is only the start of the journey to getting a book published. Rython Legacy has been favorably received – whew!
I did dither about actually participating in NaNo this year, I have two manuscripts lying in wait from other year’s and couldn’t decide whether to tackle them or create a whole new story. Then there was the problem of what story to write. As with most writers there is a lot to choose from – part stories, pages of story ideas and everything left on the back burner. As it happened a new story formed out of no where and that’s what I have been busily typing. It is a love story of sorts set in a university. This gave me my first problem I have never been to university so research has been a huge part of this challenge. However, my daughter and future daughter-in-law have been so I have utilized their experiences into the narrative.
Of course any NaNo novel is the first draft and the manuscript will go through many changes, revisions and editing before it is ready for publication. For now I am fully immersed in my characters, their setting and where the story is going.
Good luck to my fellow NaNoWriMo writers – word power is our thing.
It took some time to decide whether I would participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I have participated ten times in all and each time have created novel or novella length manuscripts. Most have been revised and edited over the following year or so to become published books. Some quicker than others it must be said. My very first NaNo in 2009 resulted in a work not published until last September! Yep 9 years. This was due to it being my first full length manuscript, my novice writing and self doubt that it was worthy of publishing. I revised and edited almost every year until I took the plunge, finally satisfied it was finalized.
However, in regard to this year’s NaNo, my first stumbling block was the two draft novels I have pending, which are previous year’s NaNoWriMo manuscripts. Again I know they need revisions and editing prior to submission to a publisher. My struggle was should I work on these manuscripts rather than create another one?
Secondly, I have several events to attend during November, which will take me away from the vital writing time needed for NaNo. As we all know every minute counts during November. Will I have enough time to succeed?
Thirdly, although I browsed the multitude of saved short stories in my laptop folders, I was not convinced any of them were novel length material. Or maybe it was my Muse not being excited enough about them – who knows? So I pondered what ‘new’ story I could write. Nothing I thought of seemed the elusive ‘it’ until just as I was drifting off to sleep an idea burst into my mind. It gave me a rough timeline, one character and the inkling of a plot. Knowing that relying on memory is a writer’s mistake when ideas pop up, I got up and wrote it all down. Subsequently, I have managed to decide on my two main characters, their location, some backstory and a timeline.
So I am as ready as I can be for 1st November. If you would like to connect on the NaNoWriMo site I’m MandyB.
K.D. was able to complete the interview and I am so pleased. Please join me in getting to know her.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It exhausts me! But thinking up what I’m going to write about energizes me.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Health issues. 😦
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I do write under a pen name. K.D. Rose is my real initials coupled with my family name on my mother’s side. So all my relatives are actually Rose’s on that side! It’s not my married name though. All my books and literary publications are under my Rose name.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I have been friends with a number of authors and how close they are and how much we help each other is invaluable. Because my health changes, how close I can stay changes too, which is unfortunate but it is wonderful when you can root for people and they root for you.
Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I focus completely on literary publications now. In fact I was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. My body of books are still there but they run the gamet. I do have another book ready to go when I am able.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
I had a mentorship with a poet that I contacted when I found him in the Poets Market Book. That was a wonderful relationship and feedback with new ideas.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
When I wrote a smart alecky note to my teacher in elementary school. We were supposed to be writing apologies. I didn’t feel Iike I had done anything wrong. I got hauled out of class into the hallway for a talking to!
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
All of Philip K. Dicks works. He was a master science fiction writer. Also Harlan Ellison. They are both famous but not as much as they should be.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I’m in love with cats so it would be some kind of cat. Probably a black panther.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
About two in the works. But lots of literary works too.
What does literary success look like to you?
I’d like to win a few pushcart prizes. That would be successful to me. Then win another type of prestigious prize as well.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
My writing doesn’t usually require too much so I research things here and there, in deep once in a while. Mostly its superficial things though.
How many hours a day/week do you write?
When I am well, I write 6 to 8 hours a day. But then lots of time will go by where I can’t at all.
How do you select the names of your characters?
I based one book on the first names of family. I and they thought that was fun. Other than that, I usually pick a name that I feel fits the personality.
What was your hardest scene to write?
I had to write a sex scene because the publisher wanted it and had no idea how to! I just don’t write those.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
I balanced by trying them out but poetry always remained my speciality. Now it is essays and literary publishing in journals. I have a number of fiction books out though.
How long have you been writing?
Since I was in my teens. It has always been an inspiration for me.
What inspires you?
I love it when ideas come either out of the blue or from something I am seeing or experiencing at the time. That gives me a rush.
How do you find or make time to write?
I am lucky in that I have a library set up just for that. It beckons me. So making the time is just balancing writing and health usually.
What projects are you working on at the present?
I have an essay that I am in the middle of. I received good feedback on it and need to incorporate the feedback to rewrite.
What do your plans for future projects include?
I have a book I am probably going to self- publish. I haven’t published in awhile and the companies I was publishing with went out of business. My other future projects are all essays for submission to literary journals.
K. D. Rose is a poet and author. K.D received a Pushcart Prize nomination for her poem: There are Species of Stars that Have Yet to be Seen. K. D.’s book, Inside Sorrow, won Readers Favorite Silver Medal for Poetry. Her poetry, essays, and short stories have been published in Word Riot, Chicago Literati, Poetry Breakfast, BlazeVOX Journal, Ink in Thirds, Northern Virginia Review, The Nuclear Impact Anthology, Stray Branch Magazine, Literary Orphans, Maintenant Contemporary Dada Magazine, Lunch Ticket Arts and Literary Magazine, The 2016 Paragram Press Anthology, Eastern Iowa Review, Bop Dead City, Santa Fe Literary Magazine, Hermes Poetry Magazine, Slipstream, Wild Women’s Medicine Circle Journal and The Offbeat Literary Magazine. She also won an Honorable Mention in the 2016 New Millennium Writings Poetry Contest. Her last release was Brevity of Twit. She has a B.S. in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. Member: Poetry Society of America. Member: Poets and Writers. Member: Academy of American Poets.