Interview with author Jenna Black + Giveaway

Filed in Giveaways , Interview , The Geeky Lover Posted on April 26, 2011 @ 6:00 am 45 comments

We are very happy to welcome Jenna Black to BLI today! I fell in love with Jenna’s writing when I discovered her Morgan Kingsley series. It’s one of my all time favorite urban fantasy series and yes perhaps I was a bit teary eyed when it drew to an end last year. But now she is back with a new series: her new Descendant series sounds very promising and she is here today to tell us more about them- especially about Dark Descendant which comes out today. Congrats! Please give Jenna a warm welcome and be sure to stay tuned for your chance to win. 

The Geeky Lover: Jenna can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Jenna: I’m a full-time writer of urban fantasy, young adult fantasy, and paranormal romance. I graduated from Duke University with a degree in physical anthropology, meaning at that time to go on for my PhD and a lifetime of research. Things didn’t quite work out that way.


The Geeky Lover: Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?
Jenna: I’m a little of both. Some of my books, I’ve written completely by the seat of my pants. (THE DEVIL INSIDE is one of those). Some, I’ve plotted out scene by scene. It all depends on what’s working for me for that particular book. Unfortunately, the same technique never seems to work twice (or at least not two times in a row), so I find myself constantly having to reinvent the wheel.
The Geeky Lover: What do you think is the difference between a reader and a real Book Lover?
Jenna: Book lovers are pretty close to addicts, I think. We get all antsy and unsettled when we haven’t read a book in too long. We also read massive quantities of books. (I like to joke that my books need their own apartment.) And when we read, we become so absorbed in the book that the outside world almost ceases to exist. If I can get myself into that state while I’m writing a book instead of reading one, I’m in hog heaven.

The Geeky Lover: Last year your Morgan Kingsley series finally concluded. What was it like for you to visit Morgan, Luke and Co. for the last time? Is there still a chance that we might be revisiting this world in the future?

Jenna: To tell you the truth, it was pretty hard. I struggled a lot writing that book, partially because I was so reluctant to give up the characters I love so much. There will certainly be one brief visit back into Morgan’s world in the near future. I have a Morgan Kingsley short story in the upcoming CHICKS KICK BUTT anthology, due out in June. (June 6th, to be exact.)
The Geeky Lover: In your new Descendant series we will meet some rather interesting characters. They are descendants of the Olympian Gods we know. How did you come up with this idea? What’s the appeal of this Greek myth in your eyes?

Jenna: This story actually started out not being connected to true mythology at all. I wrote a partial version of it about fifteen years ago. It was the only manuscript I ever started and didn’t finish. The basic premise of the two books is the same—there is a race of immortals living among us whose immortality can be stolen by anyone descended from them–only in the original manuscript, I made up the mythology for those immortals from scratch. When it was time to start thinking about writing a new series, that old idea popped into my head, and I realized I could revamp it by linking it to existing mythology. Using mythology that is familiar makes the story more accessible, plus it gives me many great jumping off points for story ideas, since I’m not limiting my characters to descendants of Greek gods.

The Geeky Lover: How did you research this topic- old school library or did you discover all the facets through the endless hivemind also knows as the internet?
Jenna: I’ve been a fan of mythology since high school, so a lot of this was already in my head. I have a couple of classic mythology books that I used for research, plus I did use the internet. An interesting thing about using the internet for this kind of research is that it’s so easy to find distilled versions of the stories, which helps me figure what parts of the mythology are more likely to be familiar to my readers. If it’s prominent enough to be included in a Wikipedia entry, for example, then there’s a reasonable chance at least some of my readers will be familiar with it.

The Geeky Lover: Your heroine Nikki Glass is the descendant of Artemis, goddess of the hunt. She sounds like a very successful man hunter but what kind of person lies beneath her lineage? Tell us a bit about her and her life?

Jenna: I don’t know about her being that successful a man-hunter. She has not been particularly lucky in love. She was abandoned by her mother when she was four years old, and lived in foster care for many years. She was a difficult and rebellious child, so she had a lot of foster families over those years, which made her feel like home and family were always temporary. She did eventually find a loving home when she was eleven, but the damage was already done. She makes being an outsider a point of pride, although she still searches for the acceptance she feels she can never achieve.
The Geeky Lover: Your book has a bunch of very interesting characters in it. Your blurb mentions descendants of Eros, Loki, Kali and many more. Can you tell us a bit about your supporting characters? What makes them stand out?

Jenna: My immortals are called the Liberi Deorum (which means Children of the Gods), and Nikki finds herself entangled with a group of Liberi led by a mysterious man named Anderson Kane. No one knows what god or goddess he’s descended from, and though he generally acts very mild mannered, he can turn into a highly intimidating alpha male at the drop of a hat.

It will take me a while to flesh out all the characters I’ve introduced in the first book, but a couple of the ones you’ll get to know best in DARK DESCENDANT are Jamaal, who is a descendant of the Hindu death goddess Kali, and Blake, who is a descendant or Eros. Nikki became Liberi when she accidentally killed Jamaal’s best friend, Emmitt, thus stealing his immortality. Jamaal is convinced it wasn’t an accident, and the sparks really fly. Blake uses sex as a weapon. He’s able to inspire an overwhelming lust in anyone he chooses, completely stealing their free will. Knowing all this, Nikki is very unhappy when he starts dating her adoptive sister.
The Geeky Lover: many books are planned in this series?
Jenna: This is an open ended series at the moment. There are two books under contract, and we’ll have to see what happens after that.

The Geeky Lover: You’re also writing a YA series – the Fairiewalker books. Did you find the transition from adult to YA easy or was it harder than you thought beforehand?

Jenna: It was easier than I thought, because I didn’t actually think I could do it when I started playing around with the series idea. I had only recently started to read YA at the time, having followed some of my favorite adult authors there and found out that I really love the YA books. I always like to challenge myself, so I decided to try writing a YA and see how it worked. Once I created Dana’s character, writing the Faeriewalker books became just like writing any of my other books. Her problems and her personality and her voice were all very clear in my head, and I felt like I was writing a book for adults that just happened to have a teenage protagonist.
The Geeky Lover: What can you tell us about Your Faeriewalker novels? Do you have a set books in this series?

Jenna: The Faeriewalker novels are about a sixteen-year-old girl who gets fed up with her alcoholic single mother and runs away in search of her father in Avalon, the only place where the mortal world and Faerie intersect. Once she gets there, however, she finds herself caught in a deadly game of Faerie politics, because it turns out she’s a Faeriewalker—a very rare individual who can travel freely to both the mortal world and Faerie, and who can bring technology into Faerie and magic into the mortal world. There are three books (plus a free prequel short story) in the series, with the third, SIRENSONG, coming out on July 5.

The Geeky Lover: Do you have plans to expand in other genres or more universes?
Jenna: I do have a proposal out on submission for a new YA series, and it would be set in a very different kind of world from what my fans have seen before. That’s all I can say about it at the moment.
The Geeky Lover: What is next on your schedule? Anything else we should keep our eyes open for?

Jenna: I’m currently working on the next book in the Descendant series. I don’t know yet when that’s scheduled to be published, but I will certainly make an announcement on my website when I know.

The Geeky Lover: Now the mean questions. We apologize in advance:
Can you please summarize Dark Descendant for us twitterstyle (140 characters or less)?
Jenna: This isn’t too terribly mean, only because I’ve been playing on Twitter long enough to be used to trying to condense things.
DARK DESCENDANT is about a private investigator who accidentally kills a demigod, thereby stealing his immortality.
The Geeky Lover: Now can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read your books?
Jenna: Okay, now this one really is mean. I’ve never been fond of tooting my own horn, but I’ll give it a try.
I’d say one reason—especially for all those romance readers out there—is that I have some pretty sexy bad boys in all of my books. I just can’t seem to resist writing them. I think my books are also good for people who like characters who are painted in shades of gray rather than black and white. There’s nothing I like better than writing a morally ambiguous character. (Though so far, at least, the morally ambiguous ones have always been secondary characters.) And lastly, I give good sarcasm. Just like I can’t seem to resist the sexy bad boys, I can’t seem to resist the wise-cracking heroine. I think some of the things my heroines say (or think) are pretty funny. But then, I may be just a tad biased.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~*~*Giveaway*~*~

Jenna has generously offered a signed copy of Dark Descendant to one lucky commenter.
All you have to do is ask Jenna a question
or leave a meaningful comment about the interview.
Please leave us a way to contact you
(email in blogger profile or twitter name-
no way to contact you – no entry).
This giveaway is international
Giveaway ends on Saturday, May 7th  2011 and we will announce the winner on Sunday.
Good luck!

About Susi


Susi is a geeky vegetarian from Gemany. She just finished university and now works as a civil engineer in steel construction. Besides her reading addiction she also knits like a maniac while listening to audiobooks. Susi also blogs at the Secret HEA Society.

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45 Comments

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  • Birgit April 26, 2011 at 6:13 am

    I am familiar with the YA books, but I had no idea Jenna is actually writing adult fiction too, yay!! The premise sounds more than just intriguing with its take on ancient gods and goddesses – would love to read it!!

    danaan at gmx dot at

  • Beth Woodward April 26, 2011 at 6:38 am

    Great interview! I am definitely a fan of "shades of gray" in fiction; morally ambigious characters are much more interesting to me than black-and-white heroes/villians. And who can resist a sexy bad boy?

    I haven't read any of Black's work previously, but I may have to check out the Morgan Kingsley series while I wait for Dark Descendant 🙂

  • Beth Woodward April 26, 2011 at 6:39 am

    Forgot my e-mail: beth[dot]woodward[at]yahoo[dot]com.

  • IreneRJ April 26, 2011 at 7:18 am

    I loved the Morgan Kingsley books and it is great to read the Interview and find out about this new series.Sounds good ,I'm looking forward to it.Have to agree with the sum up on writing pretty sexy bad boys!
    irgl7(at)bonzo15(dot)plus(dot)com

  • Christa April 26, 2011 at 8:16 am

    I love the Twitter synopsis of this book! It's what got me interested in the first place (plus I have several of your books sitting in my TBR pile, begging for me to read them!). : )
    Question: Are you a fly-by the seat of your pants plotter or a complete book already planned at the first page plotter? : ) Or, since those are the extremes, which are you closest to?
    Thanks so much for the giveaway!
    ambience.of.rain {at} gmail.com

  • suzi1811 April 26, 2011 at 8:31 am

    This sounds really good and I like the way you're not restricting it to descendants of Greek gods. You have mentioned Norse gods, Greek gods and Hindu gods, which other cultures gods will you feature descendants of?
    suzi1811(at)fsmail(dot)net

  • Jenna Black April 26, 2011 at 8:31 am

    Christa: It depends on the book. I can't seem to get the same method to work twice in a row for me, so sometimes I end up plotting out the book in advance, sometimes I end up totally winging it, and most of the time it's somewhere in between.

  • Jenna Black April 26, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Suzi1811: There's a descendant of a Germanic war god in DARK DESCENDANT, and in the book I'm working on right now, I've got a descendant of an Egyptian god. I'm sure there will be more pantheons represented if the series continues.

  • Bethany C. April 26, 2011 at 9:09 am

    I'm such a dork for mythology, Greek especially- I have to read this book! Not to say that it or it's author is dorky. Just to be clear. Okay, I'll shut up now.

    b(dot)cardone(at)hotmail(dot)com

  • Diane April 26, 2011 at 9:49 am

    I've never read your books but they sound interesting. What got you started writing?
    dsadler53 at yahoo dot ca

  • Victoria April 26, 2011 at 10:16 am

    This may sound very strange being a 48 yr old but I haven't read any of your adult work only your YA. I really have enjoyed your YA. Based on that info which of your adult books do you think I should try first?
    I Tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/Jovial_1/status/62897149238722561

    vsloboda(at)gmail(dot)com

  • Jenna Black April 26, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Diane: I've been writing since I was a kid. I always loved books, so it was natural to me to start writing them as well. I wrote my first novel (actually, it was more of a novella, but I considered it a novel at the time) when I was in high school. So I don't really remember a time when I wasn't writing.

  • Jenna Black April 26, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Victoria: I would probably suggest you start with DARK DESCENDANT. I love my Morgan Kingsley series, but they can be a bit polarizing because of their erotic content. (Now if you don't mind your books sexy, by all means, read THE DEVIL INSIDE, the first Morgan Kingsley book.)

  • Robin K April 26, 2011 at 11:21 am

    You had me at sarcasm and wise-cracking. I love characters with some spunk. Do your secondary characters add a humor element?

    robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com

  • Marg K. April 26, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I love when authors use mythological stories/figures and put a modern spin on them. I too very much like characters that are of the shades of gray variety…makes them more complex and thus more interesting in my opinion.

    Thanks for the interview and giveaway!

    gosia727(at)gmail(dot)com

  • Victoria April 26, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Thanks for the suggestions. I'm good with erotica but i think I will start with Dark Descendant.

  • Blodeuedd April 26, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    As a coverlover (great cover by the way) I wonder if you had any say in choosing it?

    blodeuedd1 at gmail dot com

  • Jenna Black April 26, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Robin K.: I wouldn't say my secondary characters add any overt humor element, at least not specifically. I don't have characters whose main purpose is to be comic relief. (If that's what you're asking about.) I do, however, have secondary characters who get some good one-liners in here and there to lighten the mood.

  • Jenna Black April 26, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Blodeuedd: I'm glad you like the cover! I had very little input in it (which is usual), although I did ask for and receive a couple of minor changes to the original version. (In the original, Nikki was wearing a midriff top, and her midriff was practically concave. I asked if we could do away with the bare midriff, which I think is becoming a bit of an urban fantasy cliche. Covering her midriff also fixed the concave belly issue that bugged me.)

  • Jessica April 26, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Awesome interview! I am really liking how authors are writing both adult and young adult books and their style is still familiar with both works. There's not too much a difference–in a way, which is good! I like being familiar authors but in two different worlds! So can't wait to read Dark Descendant!!

    jessbess2505[at]yahoo[dot]com

  • Teril April 26, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    That interview was awesome. I love all of your books Jenna. They have so many different elements that I love in all of them. I cannot wait for DD, it too looks fantastic. Thank you for writing these amazing ladies into your books.

    terilhack at gmail dot com

  • Kaya H April 26, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Glimmerglass was amazing. I read it with a bookclub at my school, and all of my friends enjoyed it. I love your style of writing! Thank you for writing us these great reads that are fun to share.

    kasuranna at yahoo dot com

  • Estella April 26, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Hi Jenna,

    Is is hard to switch genres when you are writing?

    Both your adult and YA books sound interesting.

    kissinoak at frontier dot com

  • Jenna Black April 26, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Estella: I haven't found it particularly hard to switch genres when writing. Perhaps that's because I'm so used to changing genres when reading. I tend to read in a lot of different genres, so switching around just seems natural to me. I actually found writing a second series in the same genre more challenging than changing genres. (Of course, all my genres are closely related, so that might explain it.)

  • Lisa R/alterlisa April 26, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Your "Guardian of the Night" series was one of the first PR series that I read and it was fabulous. Can't wait to see what you do with the YA series!
    What is your favorite line in Dark Descendant ?

    (\___/)
    (='.'=)
    (")_(")

    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com
    http://lisaslovesbooksofcourse.blogspot.com/

  • Barbara E. April 26, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    I always love a sexy bad boy and a wise-cracking heroine, so your books are definitely my style.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  • Melissa (Books and Things) April 26, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    I don't know how meaningful it is… but I always love the twitter question. Jenna rocked it! 🙂

    books (dot) things (at) yahoo (dot) com

  • LSUReader April 26, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    Jenna–Your new series sounds great. Mythology was one of my early reading interests, too. And Artemis is the best! I look forward to reading Dark Descendant. Thanks for visiting.

  • draconismoi April 26, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    A "concave" midriff? Did the publisher artist think Artemis was the Goddess of Photoshop Disasters? Or Starvation?

    cass at feministdracona dot net

  • JessS April 27, 2011 at 1:21 am

    From your answer to the last question I really want to read it. I love wise cracking heroines and sexy bad boys, yum. Morally ambigous characters are good too. And you kinda have to be biased, you did write it.

    jessicamariesutton(at)msn(dot)com

  • marybelle April 27, 2011 at 2:39 am

    I was unfamiliar with The Faeriewalker novels before this. I will be chasing them up to read. Great interview.

    marypres@gmail.com

  • LadyVampire2u April 27, 2011 at 3:03 am

    As a fan of mythology myself, I am really interested in this series. Well all your books actually. Does anyone else in your family write?

    LadyVampire2u AT gmail DOT com

  • Tore April 27, 2011 at 6:41 am

    I haven't read any of your books either. I love reading young adult fiction and adult fiction. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read your books. Tore923@aol.com

  • Karen H in NC April 27, 2011 at 8:17 am

    You are a new-to-me author and from what I read here, I'll be taking a closer look at your work.

    kkhaas at bellsouth do tnet

  • -petit April 27, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    I loved the cover of her books! They're so beautiful! Jenna is a new author to me, but I would love to read one of her books 🙂

    sweet . sayumi @ yahoo . com . br

  • BooksforCompany April 28, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Your covers are all so gorgeous! What's your favourite?
    booksforcompany @ gmail.com

  • van_pham April 29, 2011 at 11:52 am

    I have Jenna's glimmerglass in my tbr pile, will need to get on that!

    Dark Descendent sounds really interesting, looking forward to reading it!

    Thanks for the contest!

    van
    Littopandaxpress(at)yahoo(dot)com

  • heatwave16 April 29, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    I love Greek mythology. So, I am all over this new series.

    my question is, which Clash of the Titans movie do you prefer…the original or the new one?

    I love the original…even if it is cheesy. 🙂

    heatwave96(at)hotmail.com

  • rachel445 April 30, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Great interview! I've heard so many good things about Dark Descendant. And I'm glad you decided to write YA books. I love the Faeriewalker series, and the prequal was awesome, too. I'm really looking forward sirensong.

    Res498(AT)aol(DOT)com

  • JenM May 1, 2011 at 10:05 am

    I love the idea of mixing lots of different mythologies in a series, rather than sticking to just one. It sounds like this new series could be very interesting for that but would also require lots of research.

    jen at delux dot com

  • donnas May 1, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Great interview. Congrats on the release! I love Jenna's other books and am looking forward to reading this new series too.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  • Pamk May 4, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    I like the sounds of your YA books. I need to pick that up for my son. He likes the same type book that I do so he ought to like these.
    I need to also buy your adult series for me too.

  • JessS May 6, 2011 at 3:40 am

    Great interview. I definitely come under your definition of a real book lover, it is kind of like an addiction and I have SO many books. Your writing style seems interesting, and I know of other authors who plan everything, so do you ever get stuck or run out of new techniques?
    Your books sound great, thanks for the giveaway.

    jessicamariesutton(at)msn(dot)com

  • Ina May 7, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Hi Jenna 🙂
    thanks for a great interview – I've already read your Morgan Kingsley books and I absolutely love them! your new series is already on my wishlist but I haven't had the time to read it yet. I've heard and read great things about it and I'm really curious to see for myself.
    wish you all the best, Ina

    inale87 at gmx dot at

  • Lexie May 7, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Ha! See now you understand–being a book lover is close to being an addict. This one time when I was stuck in traffic for an abysmal 8 hours (for a ride that takes two hours normally!) I started wondering if I could read in between the small little fits and starts of movement. I did actually start to read and that's when the traffic lightened enough for me to actually get to where I was going!

    I was ready to commit murder by the time I got home. Didn't even want to eat I was like 'JUST LEAVE ME ALONE WITH MY BOOKS' and huddled in the corner of my bed to read for the night.

    Lexie
    Lexie.Cenni(@)gmail.com

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