Welcome Australian Paranormal Romance Author Jenny Schwartz... Last time Jenny appeared on the blog she did a guest post and shared with us some interesting tidbits on her research for her "Out Of The Bottle" book series... This time we are going to see what transpired to make the series a published reality and learn a little more about the author in the process....
Tell us a little about yourself? For those of us that don't know you yet... (Hobbies, favorite food, your favorite restuarant in Australia, easy stuff you do not mind sharing...)
I live in Western Australia where we have some of the most unique (and uniquely named!) wildflowers in the world. Kangaroo paws, eggs and bacon orchids, snail orchids, grass trees, Christmas trees that are actually parasitic, even donkey orchids -- the last reminds me of my Great-Aunt Nancy. She used to press flowers (it's illegal now to pick wildflowers, but this was decades ago) and these dried memories would fall out of the pages of her books. Plus, she often said she hadn't seen a person in "donkey's ears" (years). A couple of years ago I grew my own kangaroo paws, and I'm including a quick snap.
How did you come about creating the world/time period within your Novellas?
I started thinking about angels and demons one day, and realised that demons are a bit too hellish for me. Plus from a writer's standpoint, they lack conflict because they're already damned. I wanted a paranormal being who still faced the very human question of choosing good or evil. And then I thought of the djinn, the smokeless fire of Muslim legend. What are they really? How would trouble-making djinn interact with guardian angels? And how would these paranormal beings, so much a part of the romantic Arabian tradition, operate in the complex and frankly terrifying Middle East of today? I couldn't resist the challenge of telling the stories of the djinn, bound by Solomon's curse to serve humanity until freed by a human's wish. So powerful, and yet, so constrained.
Tell us a little about your writing style, pantser or plotter?
I have delusions of being a plotter. I get out my notebook and favourite pen, curl up in a chair and scribble an outline. But the truth is, once I start writing, the characters and the story itself take over. It can be frustrating, screwing up my self-imposed deadlines, but it makes the writing an adventure for me, too. I never know quite where a story is going to twist.
How long did it take you to write the “Out Of The Bottle” series?
Wow, that makes me stop and think. It's over a year, now. I'm working on a fourth novella, "Persian Flames". I guess the wonderful part for me -- and hopefully, for readers -- is there are seventy seven djinn. So that means seventy seven potential stories.
I also have an urban fantasy novel bubbling in the background. It has grand ambitions to be the first in a series. We'll see how that goes. It involves human mages, shifters and a visit to my home state, Western Australia. It's so lovely to write about home. It's a way to share my joy in it with others.
What kind of research did you do before writing “Out Of the Bottle” series?
Research is ongoing -- it's my serious indulgence. I studied History way back at uni, and "Out of the Bottle" gives me a chance to research Middle Eastern countries, ancient civilisations and modern conflicts. I try to keep up with current affairs, and I have to admit, at the back of my mind there's often a lurking question, "How can I work that fact into the next novella?"
To keep my enthusiasm up, every now and then, I take a break from writing to surf the Net for images to inspire me -- the ruins of Palmyra, desert oases, crusader castles. Oh, and food. While writing "Three Wishes" I snacked on raw pistachio kernels. Somehow in my mind, they were the essence of Middle Eastern exotic -- yeah, my mind is a weird place.
Can you tell us whether you have anything in the works for the future?
Oops, I've already let slip my hopes for another "Out of the Bottle" novella, "Persian Dreams". It's a fantastic story (says the doting author!) because it weaves in the Zoroastrian tradition of fire and fire magic, albeit more subtly than my original draft which included a dragon. Which reminds me of a trivia fact: Did you know Persian dragons have feathers?
What has writing/publishing experience been like for you?
Enormous fun. Great editors, cover artists, fellow authors, bloggers, reviewers, readers, the list goes on, all building a vibrant online community of enthusiastic book lovers that I feel blessed to be part of. It's also an ongoing learning experience, and that's rare enough that I value it. In life, it's easy to fall into a rut. Reading, writing and chatting about books keeps me busy and adds delightful surprises -- such as new-to-me author recommendations. Love those. Can you believe I'd never read a Jayne Ann Krentz until last year? Me neither. I'm now a huge fan.
What, if anything, would you change if you had the chance to start the process over?
I'd be more confident. Does that sound weird? I'm a bit shy. One of the things it's taken me a while to accept is that people really do want to talk to me. Tweeting or liking on Facebook, commenting on blogs, joining forums -- people want you to join in! It doesn't matter if you have nothing published or, like me, are just starting out. The important point is enthusiasm, courtesy, generosity, … just enjoy yourself and help other people to smile, too.
Any words of advice for others who are trying to get a story published? Things to do, things to not do?
Proofread. Seriously. Being a beginner is more than fine with editors. But handing in a manuscript riddled with errors, that shows disrespect. Read the submission guidelines carefully and follow them. Boring, boring, but important.
Now for a little FUN stuff:
What book is within reach of you.... at any given moment?
I keep books of comic verse and poetry near my lounge chair so I can dip into them when the TV becomes boring. You haven't lived till you've giggled at Ogden Nash. "Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker."
What is on the side of your bed?
An alarm clock. Boring but true. That's it. I don't read in bed. The risk of insomnia is high enough (writers' brains never stop whirring) without adding in "just another page" reasons to stay up late.
What would you do on a dream day off?
I love this question. It started me thinking of joyous memories. Walks on the beach, coffee with friends, visiting an art gallery, a new Terry Pratchett book. But then I thought, dream day off. If it could be absolutely anything then I'd like to visit a TV studio when Jamie Oliver or Curtis Stone is whipping up a treat. I'd love to see behind the scenes, and maybe have a taste!
What is your favorite reading genre?
I read a lot of romance and recently, a lot in the subgenre of paranormal. I love that touch of magic in the world. But I also like murder mysteries and some science fiction. When it comes to non-fiction, my tastes are eclectic: travel books, neuroscience, gardening, home decorating, religion, politics and most definitely, history.
Are there any genres you don't like? Why?
True crime and war stories. Too violent and depressing. My grandmother was Polish. She never shared much of her experiences in World War II, but I remember she said once that sleeping on the ground, they could hear the rumble, the earth literally shake, with the sound of advancing tanks. Terrifying.
Prefer the Beach or Mountains?
I grew up near the coast and I love the openness of the sea and river. Mountains are beautiful to visit, but I couldn't live there. Besides, think how your thigh muscles ache walking up them!
Library or Bookstore?
Both! I think public libraries are integral to civilised society. Bookshops are pure indulgence.
Reading glasses or No glasses?
No glasses to read, but definitely to drive -- and to recognise people. Without my glasses on, y'all are just a blur to me.
Soft drink, Tea or Coffee?
Coffee in the morning to wake up. Tea in the evening to sleep. Water all through the day. And whiskey for the hell of it -- but the truth is I seldom indulge.
Daytime or Nighttime? Why?
Daytime. Night owls find me a huge disappointment. By 9.30 I'm sleepy. By eleven, they've lost me. But mornings are gorgeous. It's great to be alive. Actually my early morning preference works really well. Living in Western Australia it means the time zone difference lets me catch up with people in America in their evening.
If there were any place in the world you could live where would it be?
Right here in Fremantle, Western Australia. Great people, relaxed port city vibe, and well, it's home.
“What?” David glanced around the room. He focused on Cali in the far corner. “You vanished.” He crossed over to his bed and took a gun from the bedside drawer. “Who were you talking to?”
She pulled a face. “Your guardian angel.”
The answer dumbfounded David. The muscles of his jaw loosened. “There's another of you?”
“No!” She repudiated the idea. “I'm not your guardian angel. I don't wish you well.”
David's eyes narrowed and his jaw firmed. “You were responsible for the rock that damn near killed me. The Bringer of Death.”
“Hell's teeth. I'm damned if I'm playing games with you anymore tonight. Get in your bottle and stay there.” He snatched up the bottle and its stopper and fitted the latter back in.
“It doesn't work that way. You took the stopper out. You released me to await your wishes until the three are complete.” She walked gracefully to a chair and sank into it, crossing her legs. “I'll wait here and watch you sleep.” A false frown creased her forehead. “I do hope you don't snore.”
“I don't sleep with a snake in the room.” He raised the gun, pointed it and shot her.
Cali dematerialized, but Andrew was faster. He caught the bullet. It was an astonishing turn of speed, even for an angel. He pressed it between his fingers and a tiny spurt of magic transformed it into a metal rose. The delicate petals seemed to quiver.
“I don't accept war jewelry,” she said, seated again on the chair.
Andrew nodded. He threw the rose and it landed at David's feet.
The man stooped and picked it up.
“He can't see or hear me,” Andrew said.
“So he thinks I'm strewing roses at his feet?” she asked for Andrew's ears alone. She had winked out of humans' hearing and sight.
He grinned. “Better than throwing rocks at his head.”
Other places you can find Jenny....
If you have comments or questions Jenny will be glad to take some time and answer them if she can... Just remember she lives in Australia so different time zone and post is live here when she is asleep so we need to just have a little patience!