About Jenna and her writing journey so far:
Jenna is a recent graduate of the University of St.Thomas in Minnesota, USA. She has degrees in Political Science, International Studies and Middle Eastern Studies. She wrote Hurricane while she was still in college, so it took as while as she could only write during breaks and summer vacation. She has always liked to write and wrote a ton of short stories and poetry during her youth. When she was a teen, Jenna attempted a novel but that was a disaster and all hand-written. The idea was good and she still might turn in into a novel. When she finished writing Hurricane, she didn't know a lot about the publishing world but she had heard all the horror stories and was prepared for the Slush Piles. Jenna logged on Writer's Market and had started submitting alphabetically to publishers who accepted un-agented YA manuscripts. Lo and behold Divertir Publishing wanted to sign Jenna. Jenna thinks she got really lucky but she was still willing to put the work in.
Your debut novel, Hurricane is released next month! Could you tell us a little about Hurricane?
Hurricane is a YA novel in the paranormal romance/urban fantasy genre. The novel is set in New Orleans and follows 17 year old Adriana Alexander as she is kidnapped on the eve of Hurricane Katrina by two of her mysterious classmates, the Boudreaux brothers. It's got everything; romance, adventure, voodoo and ghost stories! It is set to be released on August 29th, the anniversary of Katrina. It will be available in paperback and eBook. Hurricane is the first in the series and I am currently writing the second novel and have an outline for the third.
Where did you get the inspiration for Hurricane?
The idea is based off a short story I wrote when I was younger about a girl getting kidnapped. It's a story I always wanted to write and once I got the characters in my head, they wouldn't leave me alone until I wrote it! I am from New Orleans and was a teen when Katrina hit just like Ana in the novel. So, I can't imagine a different setting. Texts that inspired Hurricane are Pride and Prejudice and The Odyssey by Homer.
A portion of the sales of Hurricane will go to a New Orleans based charity. Which charity is this?
We are still working out the final details with the organization so I can't confirm the charity just yet but I wanted a charity that helped rebuild or one that gives books to schools. A lot of High Schools were damaged during Katrina and a lot of books were lost.
How does it feel on the run up to the release of your first novel?
I am trying to have fun with it! I have met so many great people while promoting! Everything is happening so fast though I haven't had the chance to stop and think about it. I just submitted my novel for the first time back in April and at that point I knew next to nothing about publishing so I have definitely learned a lot-mainly, that it is a lot harder than it looks!
Jenna's book history:
*Favourite book as a child?
I read all the classics but I really liked Holes by Louis Sachar, it was one I could read over and over.
*Favourite book as a teenager?
I really liked (and still do) dystopian novels like Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Peace like a river was really good to! I heard they were making it into a movie...
*Favourite book as an adult?
I just got into YA novels in college and there are a lot of YA books I love. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers was very enjoyable but I find myself reading more YA and/or romance.
*A book that has taught you a lesson and why?
Wow, you're not making it easy on me are you? The Jungle and Season of Migration to the North. Both required reading in college and both life changing.
*You favourite book you have read this year?
The Keepers by Monique O'Connor James. Monique has recently become a friend of mine, she is a fellow author from South Louisiana and the novel is set in New Orleans.
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