Interview with Jenna Nelson   1 comment

Jenna NelsonToday’s interview is with Jenna Nelson, whose stunning book cover got my attention on Twitter. Welcome to the blog, Jenna. Tell us something about yourself.

Currently, I’m the VP of Marketing at an accounting firm, and that’s how I pay my bills. My husband of 13 years, and my saved-from-the-pound-pup Clancy, tolerate me, which is much appreciated. I grew up in Minnesota, but have lived in Los Angeles for the past 20 years.

At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

My first story was a screenplay, actually, and that was about 15 years ago. I’ve always loved writing, but it was never a calling for me until quite recently.

What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

I love writing speculative fiction. But I read everything – Non-Fiction, Thrillers, Historicals. I just love a good book!

What are you passionate about?

Well, I’m hard of hearing. And the hearing industry is the wild, wild, west. They can do what they want, charge whatever they want, and we are at their mercy. Do you know hearing aids are not covered by insurance? They cost, on average, 5k-7k and last 3-5 years. Do the math. It’s outrageous. Along with a close friend, I’m trying to create a hearing aid that has very little cost and works even better than what’s on the current market.

Wow! I did not know that about hearing aids not being covered. I have deaf family members, but they’ve never brought this up. Good luck with that. What is something you cannot live without?

Coffee. I’m very much a foodie, and the list is too long, but I’m also a cheese fanatic. Smokey gouda…to die for.

Oh, yeah! Love gouda with fruit! Yum! What sort of research do you do for your novels?

For this book there was quite a lot, because it starts in Victorian London. So the dress and mannerisms and setting were all things that were unfamiliar to me. And the verbiage was maddening. There were so many words/phrases I wanted to use but couldn’t. Like the word “tad” came about after 1875. Very disappointing!

I’m learning stuff all over the place here today. Do you write from an outline or are you a discovery writer?  Why?

I’m a pantser. I usually know how the story will begin and end. The middle is anyone’s guess. I like to let my characters dictate.

I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

I would probably do a lot of hiking. I love the outdoors and nature and would probably take an obscene number of pictures. Of course I would have books! My TBR pile has close to 100 books right now – maybe I could make a dent! Back in the day, I was a city gal. Now, I much prefer wide open spaces. The thought of being in a cabin in Alaska makes me kind of giddy.

We own the land now, so if the budget works out, we’re building the cabin next year. My husband jokes it could be a writers retreat. Talk about your books individually.

The book that was just released is a YA Fantasy called The Snow Globe. It’s about a girl in Victorian London who can weave the elements into inanimate objects and living creatures. She works in her aunt’s apothecary and emporium, and when a hooded stranger offers a snow globe in trade for medicinal herbs, she accepts. Soon thereafter, her aunt betroths her to one of London’s wealthiest men so she decides to run away to escape the marriage. She falls down a veritable rabbit hole into Winterhaven, the world inside the snow globe. Chaos ensues from there!

I love that about fantasies. What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

Joy. I love being transported when I read, and I hope anyone who reads The Snow Globe feels the same. Plus, my heroine is flawed but still strong. I want girls to feel empowered once they read that last page.

What influenced your decision to self-publish?

Well, I had not one but two agents for this book. Neither could sell it for various reasons. So I decided to rewrite it from third person to first, and I added 10k. At that point, I decided it was best to go it alone.

You have experience with both traditional and indie publishing. There are people who believe that traditional publishing is on the ropes, that self-publishing is the future. Do you agree? Why?

I think the mid-list is fading, because trade publishing doesn’t have the marketing muscle to put into those books. I think trade will continue to thrive for the name authors and celebrities. For the rest of us, I think Indie might be the answer.  It is definitely the future, but how well we can thrive is another story. With 1MM books released each year, there is definitely a glut happening.

I certainly agree with that. It’s hard for even a high quality book to be seen in those numbers. What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishng?

Control. I set my own deadlines. I keep what I feel is important to the story. I choose my own cover. Oh, and I make 3x per book what trade authors do, which is nice.

That is a definite advantage. What do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?

Advances. It’s nice to get the money up front. And, the elusive “stamp of approval” from the publishing industry. You are deemed worthy in the traditional realm. Self-publishers, not so much.

With the number of self-published books increasing by such a huge rate, it is really difficult for authors to make their books stand out. How do you go about this?

I say platform, great cover, and most of all, a great book. It might not be insta-success, but hopefully if you write a great book, word of mouth will help you catch fire.

Speaking of which, who designed your gorgeous book cover?

The incredibly talented Ricky Gunawan:


Do you believe that self-published authors can produce books as high-quality as the traditional published? If so, how do you think we should go about that?

I do! I know this because I had multiple agent offers on this book. I know this book is well-written because I did not rush. That’s any writer’s problem, especially those who self-publish. They just want their books out there right away, instead of waiting until the product is truly ready. Also, hire a good editor. You don’t need a lot of money to self-publish, but you do need some, and this is one of those places where you do not want to cut corners.


How do readers find you 

Jenna Nelson Home Page

Jenna’s Amazon Author Page 

The Snow Globe



One response to “Interview with Jenna Nelson

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  1. Reblogged this on Daermad Cycle.


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