Thursday, April 7, 2011

Kay(e) #2: Welcome JennaKay Francis!

Welcome, everyone, to the second guest in my month-long 30 Days of Kay(e)s Blogfest!  Thanks for the great turn-out for Susan Kaye Quinn's interview--we had such fun!  And we've got more on tap today as we meet prolific fantasy author:

JennaKay Francis!

Welcome, JennaKay!  To start, please tell us how and why you came to use the name Kay(e)!

Kay is my birth name. JennaKay is my pen-name, chosen because when I first got on the internet I was a little leery of putting the real me out there. Then I got a small piece published under JennaKay and the name stuck.

Got it!  Okay, then, please share a little about yourself, your genres, any other pen names you use.

I write fantasy of all kinds. I grew up with fantasy. Star Trek was my favorite show and I do consider that more fantasy than science fiction. I have always been drawn to things mystical. I used to create little villages out in the grass for my dolls to live in and move around in. And they weren’t dolls in the true sense of the word. They were those little trolls. They were called Wishnicks at the time. My favorite one had white hair and green eyes. His name was Gaspard. I still have him tucked away.

I also have a fascination with archaeology. If I had thought ahead, and been a better planner, I might have majored in it instead of English. But hindsight is always 20/20. I love reading about old ruins, mummies, tombs, etc. The very past part intrigues me. I’m not so crazy about recent past, to be honest, but show me a mummy or a tomb, and I’m there. LOL

It’s not that I need to involve myself in all of the written words about past civilizations, but rather the visuals of them. I find that much more satisfying. I like to sit and think about what the people might have been like, how they lived their day to day lives, what struggles they had, what happiness. Years ago, my husband and I went to the Mayan ruins in Chichen Itza. It was very hot when we were there and very crowded with tourists. Still, I was able to imagine what life might have been like. And a place I wish I could see before I die is the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu.

I am also fascinated by graveyards. I remember walking through them as a kid, looking at the names and dates and ages, wondering what plague might have caused so many deaths in children, wondering how the people lived. One spooky thing that happened to me was in Ireland. I was drawn to a grave in a reconstructed heritage park (where they made a working Irish village using actual stone huts and fences and such brought from all over Ireland and reconstructed on the site), and when I got to the grave, it had my birth date on it. Not the year, of course, but the day and month.

I am also drawn to the paranormal. Not horror, but the unexplained. UFO’s, ghosts, orbs, energy, etc. I don’t believe in demons, although I do have a cantankerous one in a book I’m working on. LOL

Oh, JennaKay! We’ll have to talk, girl! I’ve worked as an archaeologist and it IS cool! And I’m totes with you on the graveyards too! Okay, tell us a little about your latest or upcoming release.

My next release will be another in the Guardians of Glede fantasy adventure series. Book 12 Battle for Argathia should be released sometime this year. It’s a continuation of the adventures of Treyas, Jansson, Druce, Dar, Kyel and Quinlin – with a few other dozen characters tossed in for good measure.

Book 12!  Wow!  I love reading an expansive series like that where you can really get into the world.  What are you working on right now?

At the moment, I’m simply doing first edits on one of the Guardian of Glede books. I handwrote most of them, so typing them into the computer is the first edit I do on them. This one is Book 16 and it doesn’t have a title yet. I pretty much suck at titles.

I am also working on a “kitchen sink” book that has an interesting cast of characters. I do have a title for that, but will share it when I get more of the book done.

Book 16? Handwrote? JennaKay, you’re blowing my mind here! [In the best possible way, of course! :) ] So, what happened to the first book you ever wrote?

I still have it. It’s hand-written. I don’t think it even has a name. But it was science fiction about two other worlds at war. My heroes had to stop the war. If I remember correctly, they were pretty good at doing so. LOL I still find the topic interesting and perhaps I’ll revisit it one day and update it. The writing is typical 16 year old writing, I think.

What do you find easiest and hardest to write?

I find it hard to write from a female POV. I am not sure why. Almost all of my stories are written from a male POV. And I find it far easier to write dialogue than narrative. I like action, too, so slow parts of a book are a little harder for me.

I can totally relate to this—I love writing male POV and for some reason often identify with it more. Have you incorporated actual events or people from your own life into your books?

Certainly. I think all writers do to some extent. We may change the look of them, even the sex of them, but I think we all find bits and pieces of our characters in the people we meet and interact with on a daily basis. Even my dragons have characteristics of people I have known.

As for the events, again, yes. Places I’ve seen, either in person or in a magazine, all contribute to how I set up events in my fantasy worlds. I am influenced by the weather on the day that I am writing as well. I “see” my characters in much the same environment, weatherwise, at least, as I am in at that moment.

Is there a theme or message that runs through your work?

Love. Loyalty. Friendship. Those are the most enduring concepts there are in this world. One can be poor or wealthy, but without those three you have really nothing. And with those three, you have everything.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

Hmmm…that I don’t know. I’m just an ordinary person, living an ordinary life. LOL

Methinks she protests too much, but ooookay! LOL  Of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite and why?

They are all my favorites for different reasons. Each has a quality that I like, that endears me to them. So, I can’t really single out any one of them. Just like a circle of friends or your own children – they are all your favorite.

Okay, JennaKay, down to some basics!

Milk chocolate or dark chocolate?  I’m actually allergic to chocolate, but would like the dark chocolate better I think.

Salty or sweet? I like them together. French fries dipped in soft serve ice cream. Yum.

Bed or kitchen table?  For what? Writing or eating? LOL

Beach or mountains?  That’s a tough one. I think I’m going with beach. I love the raw power of the ocean, the expanse of water before me, although I don’t like being on it. I have a fear of water with depths where I can’t see the bottom. I have all kinds of thoughts as to why. But I think I could live near the beach, especially if it was a beach with sunshine and warmth. I live near the Pacific Coast (no, can’t see it from here) but that beach is cold most of the time and gloomy. Although there is something to be said about the ambiance and writing in such an environment.

Give or receive?  Definitely give. I love giving gifts to people, finding just the right little thing for them. For no reason. Just because. It’s much harder for me to receive. I already have everything I need, I guess.

Finally, where can we find you on the web?


THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR PARTICIPATING, JENNAKAY!  Folks, leave Jenna some love, check out her books, and ask any questions!


Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Welcome to the Kay(e) Fest, JennaKay! I love that you visited Ireland!! I'm writing a middle grade book set in Ireland/Britain right now (also fantasy) and I'd love to have that boots-on-the-ground experience of being in the environment.

(Also jealous of your 12 books! Awesome.) :)

Laura Kaye said...

So nice having JennaKay here today! Thanks for dropping in, Susan!

JennaKay Francis, Author said...

Ireland is beautiful. We were in Northern Ireland and took the bus to the interior, where we stayed in Enniskillin. It was peaceful. I would love to go back someday. There are a few other places on my bucket list to visit. Machu Picchu is one of those. Australia/New Zealand is another. Someday. Someday. :)

Laura Kaye said...

Welcome JennaKay! Those are good bucket list destinations! Ireland's definitely one of mine, plus Egypt, Russia (I almost got to go during a summer study abroad in college but couldn't afford it...).

spaceoperadiva said...

Hi there, I followed Jenna over here. What a cute blog challenge!

JennaKay Francis, Author said...

@spacey *heehee* Thanks for coming over!

Star said...

Nice 'piece' about you Jenna!! Now if only everyone would pick up one (or more) of your books so they'd see how wonderful they are!! Besides writing, tou've done some amazing things and have a wickedly fantastical mind!!

Laura Kaye said...

Welcome Space and Star! Glad to have some of JennaKay's friends along for the ride! Didn't she give a great interview?

JennaKay Francis, Author said...

Ooooh Star, you're not supposed to give away the secrets of this odd little brain I own. LOL Thanks for stopping by!

Sylvie said...

Many sales and much success with your books and your bucket list! You're brave, I just want to visit all the states in the United States :)