My good friend and Writer Diaries member, Jen Naumann will be releasing her fourth novel very soon and I’m lucky enough to be a part of the Blog Hop Tour for it!! Jen was kind of enough to answer some interview questions for me so, along with the book description, perrrty cover, GIVEAWAY, and all that other jazz, check out her answers at the end of this post. Oh, and of course be sure to pre-order Cheating Death, duh!
On to the fun stuff!
Official Book Description:
Lysandra Brooks remembers everything about the day she almost drowned alongside her grandma, especially the set of mysterious eyes she saw at the bottom of the lake. Ever since then, she’s been seeing strange things when she is near water—things that aren’t really there. Because of it, Lysandra has the tendency to avoid anything that isn’t on dry land. On her last day of high school, however, the biggest party of the year is set to take place at a fellow senior’s lakeside mansion. Despite her fears, Lysandra decides to prove to her friends and herself that she can handle it.
But after a horrific night of drinking and drama that leaves Lysandra feeling lonely and confused, she nearly drowns for a second time, only to be saved by the new guy in town. From that moment on, Lysandra’s world is turned upside down with the discovery of mind blowing secrets, including a revelation that something sinister is after her soul.
Jen grew up during a magical time in which Ghostbusters, Star Wars, E.T. and The Goonies were the biggest blockbusters. Her love of sci-fi exploded over time, eventually growing into a career of writing YA fiction with a paranormal flair. When not sitting at her Mac, she can be found at concerts and movies, hanging with friends, chilling at her lake home, taking pictures, working on graphic design projects, traveling, or at home with her husband in southern Minnesota and trying to keep up with their four active children.
Now onto the interview!!
How long did it take you to write this book from concept to final edition?
That’s a tough one to answer as I don’t remember when exactly I started. I was working on book #5 but got a major case of writer’s block, so I randomly decided to revive this story in late January. With the other books, it took around two months from first draft to final edits. I’m bad about starting books and then losing interest when I get writer’s block and a shiny new idea comes at me. As of today, I have five other books that could go to print with just a few weeks of work. I was able to finish book #5 while this one was with my editor. Sometimes my ADD has a mind of its own.
Did you design the cover? Tell us about your concept for the cover and how it may have evolved over time.
Yes, I design all my covers. I primarily do all my work in Illustrator. In the past I’ve also done all the photography for my covers, but I wanted a beautifully haunting image of a girl underwater as my heroine nearly drowns twice in the story. I fell in love with the picture I chose the minute I saw it and only had to tweak it a little to make it fit the feeling I was going for. As for the font, I wanted something whimsical and pretty to go along with the dramatic image. I LOVE designing covers and have started a side business of creating them for other authors (www.atorwithmepublishing.blogspot.com). It’s like my “crack”.
Where did your original idea/concept for the story come from?
When I was a little girl, my mom and I really did fall backwards off a dock together. Thankfully she didn’t die like the grandma in my story. From there my imagination just went wild, I guess. I never sit down and plan my stories out ahead of time, so I am just as surprised as my readers to where things are headed. So you can imagine how messed up my first draft can sometimes be. I’m thankful for my amazing editor who can take my scattered thoughts and give me little suggestions on how make them sound somewhat sane.
Is there romance?? I love some steamy scenes – can you tell us a bit about your main characters and how they find themselves attracted to each other (or not)?
As hard as I try to write stories that don’t involve any kind of romance (just for the sake of something different), it somehow always finds a way to sneak in. So yes, there’s a hint of a love story involved when Lysandra falls for her hero. Whether or not Adiyn has the same feelings for her, or if it’s even possible for the two of them to be together, you’ll just have to read the book. 😉
What makes your story New Adult as opposed to Young Adult? Just want to try to help other authors see why people choose New Adult for certain situations so they can better decide for their own work.
Per wikipedia, “new adult is for post-adolescents and young-adults ages 18-30. Perspective is gained as childhood innocence fades and life experience is gained, which brings insight.” The story of Cheating Death starts on Lysandra’s last day of high school and continues on through her first year of college. There are a lot of dark issues beyond having a boyfriend and getting bad grades that I don’t feel would be appropriate for an audience under 16. Lysandra is forced to grow up really quickly because of it. I think having a 13-year-old daughter in the house really helps me to determine what age ranges are appropriate.
This is your fourth release – is there anything new you learned with this publishing process that only comes with experience? Or any helpful tips or advice about getting a book from finished manuscript to the hands of readers?
There are soooo many things I’ve learned that I could probably write a how-to manual. I’m not even joking. And it takes a ton of work. When I look back, I can’t believe I was able to do four of these in a year because they’re so incredibly draining. As far as advice, I would say to know your options and make sure you’re presenting as professional of a package as you can possibly create. And give yourself a good month from when you’re done with your final edits to the day you decide to release it. There way more involved in the process than you realize.
Have you ever “cheated death”? Zombie related incidents do apply haha!
There was really only one time I thought “I’m going to die” (other than falling off the dock with my mom) and that was last year when swimming in St. Maarten. The undertow was so strong that it swirled me around a few times and I couldn’t catch my footing. It also happened to my super athletic sister that day, which made me feel like less of a wuss. And as far as the zombie thing, my friends and daughter have convinced me to do a 5k marathon this spring where zombies chase you through the course capture-the-flag style. But you won’t catch my out of shape butt doing the 5k—I fully intend on being one of the zombies.