This is certainly a first for my fiction blog. I have been blessed to have an interview with my friend and fellow author Jeannette Jonic. We’ve been exchanging questions via email and this is a collab post. Check out her part of the interview here. Also, she has interviewed me in the past before and you should check out that interview, too.
Okay, let’s get started!
What got you started with writing?
I’ve been writing stories ever since I could read at six years old (I had a late birthday)! I was most inspired to tell stories thanks to the fantasy fiction films I watched as a kid: pretty standard stuff for a 90’s kid (Disney, Don Bluth, etc.). They almost always had princesses or some fantastical elements!
[So and So] would be one of the best stories ever if….?
Oh, I could go on and on with this one! I actually discuss this kind of thing all the time at my blog, Fiction and Fantasy (JeannetteJonic.blogspot.com). I just recently sang the praises (and lamented the shortcomings) of Mob Psycho 100’s second season. As much as I adore that anime, the second season has some really dark elements that felt out of place for the series. I felt they forced the protagonist to act in ways contrary to his character. Fortunately, Mob still manages to be a great story about accepting our emotions and discussing them in healthy ways! We definitely need more stories like that.
What are your thoughts on different lengths of books (novelettes, novellas, novels, cell phone novels, etc.)?
I think people who write books shorter than novels are absolute masterminds. I tend toward novels because they come easier for me (I have lots of ideas–too many–that I try to pack in a long format)! But to be able to write just as satisfying a story in fewer words is the mark of a truly great writer. I’d love to be able to work toward that point in the future.
In what way are you innovative in storytelling or at least trying to innovate?
I love to tell stories about family. I think there aren’t enough stories in the main media focus right now that show genuinely healthy family dynamics.
I also try to tell stories in a realistic but relatively clean way (no sex scenes or curse words spelled out in my books, for example). Writing clean has always been important to me, as I want people of many ages and walks of life to feel comfortable reading my books. (That being said, in some of my stories, I don’t shy away from some violence, so readers who are sensitive to that should be cautious.)
Where do you see your writing a year from now? 5 years?
I’d love to have my very first book, The Victor’s Blade: The Boy published a year from now! In five years, ideally the whole trilogy would be out, and I’d be releasing a brand-new project!
What things scare you as a writer when you write?
I’m incredibly perfectionistic, so mistakes scare me the most. I’m terrified my story won’t be as good as I want it to be. There have been days when I’ll be so afraid, I’ll have to force myself to open my manuscript document.
What storylines or actions scare you in other stories?
I’m always afraid a story will lose sight of what made it great in the first place. For instance, many of my favorite TV shows have “jumped the shark” throwing in content that distracts from the story rather than enhancing it.
What’s your most recent completed project?
I recently finished writing book two in The Victor’s Blade Trilogy.
What was your biggest challenge working on that project? What was the hardest thing about it?
I realized about halfway through book two’s rough draft that my knowledge of pacing has grown exponentially since I first plotted out the outline of book two some years ago. That was a great feeling–but it also meant I had to do a lot of work to bring the pacing up to my new standards.
I’m taking June to reexamine my plans for book three also to make sure the trilogy is going in the right direction.
Was the process of working on this project any different compared to your last one? If so, how?
I actually blogged during the process of writing book two’s rough draft here (https://jeannettejonic.blogspot.com/2018/11/the-victors-blade-update-writing-book-2.html
). It ended up a lot smoother journey than writing book one–by a landslide! That’s because I learned a lot from working on book one, including how best to space out my daily writing goals so I could slowly but steadily complete the project on time (actually, ahead of schedule)!
I did have a really hard time with a couple scenes I ended up saving until the very end of the writing process. One minute I was celebrating, thinking I’d finally finished book two’s rough draft… only to realize the next minute that the hardest scenes still had to be written!
In the end, I’m glad I chose to save them for last: knowing exactly what happened next made writing the tough scenes much easier, for sure.
How would you say your writing has grown/changed since your previous project?
As I touched on earlier, I’ve learned a lot more about plotting and pacing between books one and two, especially the importance of only setting up elements that will be paid off later. As a reader, I absolutely LIVE for good set-up/payoff, so I want to make sure I use it to the fullest in The Victor’s Blade!
What aspect of writing would you like to improve on?
I want to make my dialogue as effective as possible while still sounding natural. No unnecessary jabber: everything should tell just the right amount of information while still being entertaining and displaying something informative about the characters.
Can you give us a hint at the next project you’ll be working on?
One more book left to write in the Victor’s Blade trilogy! It’s scary and exciting at the same time. I have so many ideas for stories after TVB; it’s hard to pick just one to focus on once the trilogy is complete!