WWAAM Interviews Virginia Jennings

Where Writers And Authors Meet Interviews:

Virginia Jennings

Wow this was so fun and very hilarious! This week, after a little snaffoo, I gave the WWAAM group and our readers an opportunity to ask me some of their questions!  Here is a link to that Spotlight! So without further ado I shall get right to your questions!

Ali Lewis says:
How long does it take you to write a book and how do you come up with the ideas for the books?

Depends on how much time I have to write. Back when I was freshly graduated from school (as a teen) I could write every day for hours… I finished The Alien Mind in one year flat- just to see if I could do it. Visionary From The Stars took me longer to finish and my current work in progress is coming along at a snails pace. It all depends. As for the ideas… I get most of my ideas while watching tv, or over conversations with others.

Jan Watford says:

How do you find time to do all you do?

I don’t… I have to fit it in when I can lol. I am a stay at home mom so that helps a little. I have found that sometimes it is just best to prioritize. The things that are the most important to get done first I put at the top of my mental list- some other things may take longer to get around until they become higher priority but that is just the way life works. As far as group stuff or blog stuff- having a schedule helps. I typically handle blog stuff on monday. Writing? Well- I have about 45 minutes to wait in the car rider line to pick up my eldest from school so I have been fitting in some writing there.

Have you ever thought about writing another genre besides Science Fiction?
I actually have, I may try some fantasy. The Sword Of The White Knight is a mix of light fantasy (no imaginary animals here) and a tad of science fiction. I also have a hard fantasy series in mind for kids which I am calling Defenders Of Madesteroc. You can find out more about both of these on my blog.


Stephen Ward says: 
By special request:
1. Ok, Virginia, as a young lady that eschews immoral or illegal activities, do you feel it is important for a children and young adult writer to set a good example?
I ABSOLUTELY believe it is important for everyone to set a good example for children. Especially when your audience is children, teens, and young adults. There is so much pressure on kids these days to be hip and do the next big thing, they certainly don’t need to see ‘us’ giving into that temptation, hanging with the wrong crowds, and dressing/acting just to get any reaction out of people.

2. Besides entertainment, what would you like young people to take away from ‘Visionary From the Stars’ and ‘The Alien Mind’?
The Alien Mind deals a lot with how to handle bullies.  I hope that its underlying messages about bullying might be a comfort and encouragement to others.

Visionary From The Stars deals a bit with religious persecution. My hope is that people come to eventually realize that we can disagree with how people believe but that does not mean that we hate those people or that we should hunt them down to the ends of the galaxy. 

3. What’s the capital of Finland?
I believe Clarence is going to answer this one as I haven’t the foggiest.

4. You are stranded on a lonely road at night. You hear soothing music coming from the other side of a grassy knoll. Do you follow it or say to yourself, “It’s a trap.”

I might cautiously follow it to see if it might be coming from a house I could get help from. But if I had my phone and someone I could call I’d rather just call my hubby and wait for him to get there instead.
5. If this whole self-publishing thing goes South, what would you do?

What I have always done, write for the fun of it and take care of my family. If I could do any other job… I would LOVE to be a meteorologist/storm chaser or an electrician.
6. Someone, let’s call her Miss X, ask you to read her book and after reading each and every word, you realize this person, Miss X, should not be on the working side of a pen or keyboard. Knowing Miss X is going to badger you, what is your plan?

I would send them a message privately telling them that I did find some errors in the book that made it hard for me to read- OR I might tell them that their book just wasn’t for me.
7. Your aunt, let’s call her Aunt Lisa, is a mess. Although you have been successful at avoiding illegal or immoral behavior, Aunt Lisa has not had your luck. After thinking about it, you realize Aunt Lisa’s tales of woe would make a fascinating novel. Would you take a break from young sci-fi to write it, pass it long to a fellow writer to tackle or just drive Aunt Lisa to a family intervention?
I don’t write family issues into my books. They may inspire an idea but I would never want to make a family or friend’s life public in that manner. If I could help my ‘aunt’ I would. Incidentally, I do have an Aunt Lisa- and she is an amazing woman and excellent role model for her children 🙂 *waves* Hey Auntie Lisa!

8. One of your children runs into the house crying his or her’s eyes out. Naturally being a good mother, you inquire as to what is wrong. Child says one of your books scared the bejesus out of a classmate. What to do?

I’d ask why my kid was crying because some other kid got scared first off. If it turns out that my kid was being picked on or badgered because of it than I would call and talk with the school to see what could be done. If my kid was merely just upset because someone didn’t like his mommy’s work… well I would tell him that it does no good worrying about what everyone else thinks because you can’t please everyone.
9. As the operator and moderator of Where Writers and Authors Freak, you have stated your mission is to help other writers. What is the purpose of this?

Um, I dunno, just because I want to? My belief is that when writers band together and help everyone than we all reach a wider audience. That is one of my goals. My second goal is to give writers a safe place to come hang out and ‘talk shop’ without being criticized because they chose to do things differently than someone else in this career.
10. I write, as our friend from Nuremburg knows, for fun and giggles. What do you hope to get out of sharing your prose with world?

I hope to get these characters’ stories out of my head and onto paper before the stories get so tangled that even I can’t find the way out. I also hope that maybe there might be someone out there who enjoys my type of writing.
11. Take out or slave over a stove?

We do some of both… We are trying to cook in the kitchen more often but if schedules get tangled we are not against just picking something up on the way.
12. You are at a PTA meeting where attendees are ask to bring finger food and treats. A friend of yours comes up to you giggling and says “Don’t eat any of my chocolate chip cookies”. You inquire as to why. It seems this prankster has stuffed her cookies with Ex-lax, begging the question: what (besides leaving her cookies alone) do you do?
I’m the type of person that would have to tell someone in charge, and then ask that person to do something about it discreetly. Otherwise I would sneak and throw the cookies away when that person wasn’t looking

13. When you read the questions I write for others, do you laugh?

I do giggle a bit. Some of them don’t make sense to me, and others I just can’t help but wonder WHY?! But yes I do laugh.
14. In what ways do you think you need to grow as a writer? What habits, if you will, do you need to break?

I want to be able to have more confidence in my writing… habits… using too many of these … things.
BONUS QUESTION: Character A likes Character B, but not Character C. Character D has immigration problems, while Character E wishes it’s spouse would catch some disease and die. Character B volunteered for war but when the fighting began it got scared and ran away and hid in Character A’s basement. Character F played a prank on Character A which caused Character G’s death. Character H cheated on its spouse with Character A, but Character I found out about it and told Character H’s spouse and nobody has seen Character A for days. Character J wrote a book that sucked causing Character D with its immigration problem to demand a refund from Book producer A. Character J thought it was Character E and beat it up when it came out of the hospital as its wish of its spouse having a fatal disease came true. Character K got bored with the antics of Character F and emigrated to Finland after finding out Character I was related to Hitler. Tell me, Gin, at what point did you want to stab me in the heart and watch me bleed to death?

I wouldn’t wish anyone to die Stephen but I believe I got as far as Character D having immigration problems before I realized I was going to have no luck. I suck at word problems…

Dean Bonner says:
Hi, Virginia. I’m pleased to hear I’m not the only oddball who writes mostly in their head as they go about daily activities.
1) How did home schooling help or hinder your development as a writer?
It helped actually, once you cut out the lost time between switching classes and bus rides (though I wouldn’t trade my time in public school for the world) I was able to finish my prerequisite coursework faster and spend some extra time delving into the extra stuff that I wanted to learn about too.
2) Would you recommend to newbies to self publish, or try one of the big publishing houses?
Neither. I would only recommend people to self publish if they have done their homework, know what they are getting into, and are ready to do 100% of their marketing. Unfortunately, books do not sell themselves these days. As far as one of the big publishing houses go… Query them (if they take unsolicited querys), if they approach you with a humongous check then by all means take it with my congratulations! I personally would suggest a smaller publishing house that will have the time to give your book the attention it deserves.
3) If you suddenly sold five million copies, what would you change in your life? In my life?
If I SUDDENLY sold 5 million copies I’d probably pass out. What would I change in my life? I’d love to get a decent 4 bedroom house so that each of my 3 kids could have their own room, maybe we would consider having atleast one more kid. I’d love to have a room that we could dedicate for writing and green screen work. Then I would also like to have my husband quit his day job and so something in film as that has been a dream of his. I really don’t want anything too fancy… after all this… Eh, I’d love to go camping with my family up in Greenfield NH in my Nana’s cabin 😉
4) Do your scenes develop your characters, or does the interaction and dialogue among the characters drive the scene development and story direction?
I’d like to think that my characters develop on their own. Their development dictates their scenes and dialogue. They grow in my mind so it is hard to figure out what is the driving force.

5) What’s your view on “Like” and “Share” parties and similar promotions?
I have a love/annoy relationship with these types of promotions. If they are run in such a way that the audience is able to get something worthwhile out of them than they can be awesome tools. If it turns into an ‘everyone liking everyone’ free for all then it just turns out to be a mess. I don’t mind going through the list to find people I would be interested in following, but I wouldn’t want to be ‘liked’ just because you felt you had to. I always make my like parties optional.
6) What do you feel are the best, and worst, promotional methods?
The best promotional methods are Virtual Book Tours AND writing/releasing your next book- keep writing. The WORST- ABSOLUTE WORST promotional method is to pop into any type of social media and just blurt out “COME check this book out it is awesome!= insert link”. Get to know people first, if you find out they like your type of book then perhaps ask if they would mind reading it so they could share their thoughts with you with a review!
7) What is your beta reader and editor process before publishing?
ABSOLUTELY necessary! More eyes are always better than just one set. If you have people you trust who can look over it and actually make your work better- USE them!
8) What is the best way to handle a bad review, and/or nasty reviewer?
A bad/ nasty reviewer? Report them if the site allows. If the site does not offer that, well, truthfully I would just ignore them. But I am typically non confrontational. At the very least you want to make sure that you maintain your professional attitude.

For Stephen Ward: the capital of Finland is obviously a capital “F”

Dean Bonner
Edward Forrest Frank says:

1) If you are a famous author, why hasn’t anyone on this website ever heard of you before?

I am most certainly not famous, I just pretend that I am. Just kidding. As to why no one on this website has ever heard of me… probably because they all stopped reading at the first paragraph and moved on.
2) The answer to Stephen’s # 15 is yes.

OH, is that it? Huh… I never would have guessed.

3) If you were to write “The Alien Mind” starting today, would it be different, and if so in what way?

I know a little bit more about how the school system works and have done more research in first contact scenarios, so if anything the book might have more meat to it, be a bit more lengthy. But overall I think it would be very similar- the story line would stay the same.
4) What is the difference between Juvenile science fiction writers and writing science fiction for juveniles?

OW! There go those pesky word problems again! Hmm… I think you are trying to hint that the first would mean that a Juvenile science fiction writer would be one that is a kid writing science fiction?
5) When is your next great novel coming out? and can you give us a hint of what it is about?

Oh I LOVE blabbering away about all the neat ideas that pop  into my brain….  Visionary From The Stars should be released in the next two months some time. As far as my next NEW book… well I have only just started writing it down so I have no idea. I constantly update my notes on my blog though.
6) Do you like the color purple?

7) What do you feel are the keys to writing science fiction for a younger audience?

First and foremost you have to be a fan of science fiction. When writing science fiction for a younger audience you will need to make sure they can understand what you are describing. Find a beta reader or two from that age level and see if they can read over your work to tell you what they think.
8) How has living in the south affected your writing?

I wouldn’t know as I was too young to write when I lived up north.
9) Do you say Y’all and other quaint southern phrases that everyone else laughs about?

No not really.
10) Do you test out your writing on your own children? Or do you rent them from Kids-R-Us to experiment with?

I have given my children copies of my books to read, but mostly I run my writing by my husband to see what he thinks and just write what I would have liked at that age.
Ruthie Madison
If you could play any character in Star Trek, who would it be and why?

A borg turned back human. 7 of 9 is one of the most interesting characters to me. I would love to dive into her mind!

Jaimie Hope says:
What inspired you to start writing in the sixth grade? Did you finish what you began working on then and has it been published?

We started writing longer fictional short stories in sixth grade and I just decided I liked writing. I wrote up a few short stories for fun and showed them to my teacher who enjoyed them so I kept going. The stories I wrote then are not fit enough to see the light of day but yes I did finish them. Visionary From The Stars – the one being released by PDMI Publishing in the next few months, was actually the very first long project I started writing. I began working on the ideas for that one near the end of 6th grade.

Sophia DeLuna says:

Do you write an outline or do you jump right into a story and see where it takes you?

I just jump right on into a story, until I get bogged down or confused by the order of events and then I write some scratch notes. I’ve never been fond of traditional outlines.
What sort of scenes are the hardest for you to write?

Scenes with violence in them, battles etc… It takes me a while to visualize exactly how they should play out and how they should look to the reader.
Which of your characters was your favorite to write?

I’d have to say Rivinaig from The Alien Mind.
Jo Linsdell says:

Who inspires you?

My author friends have done a great deal of inspiring over the years, but the main person who inspires me the most is my husband. He is always supportive and always trying to help me push towards the next big thing.
While writing how many times do you go back and rewrite a plot?

Oh geez, so many times I stopped counting! I write mostly in my head until I have the plot nailed down. The plot for both of my stories went through many revisions. Now once they were on paper? The Alien Mind’s plot never had a total rewrite. Visionary From The Stars went back to the drawing board once.
What are your strengths as a writer?

I love describing stuff in such a way that the reader can see the scene in their mind as if they were watching a movie.
What books or authors have most influenced your life?

Jo, Dianne, and Karina in their ingenuity and creativeness. Then there are writers like Brian Jacques, Jk Rowling… Books like A Wrinkle In Time and Bridge To Terribithea.  The creators and writers of the Star Trek series. I just love stories, they inspire me to come up with my own!


     From Admin Virginia- I’d like to take a moment to thank you all for supporting me and your fellow writers as well as for taking the time to ask me some questions! If you would like to check out The Alien Mind it will remain at .99 till the end of the week and you are more than welcome to write me and tell me what you think of it!

Now- on to our regularly scheduled program 😉


Author, Blogger, and illustrator with PDMI Publishing Llc. V.L. Jennings' Blog (Speculating Among The Stars) can be found here: www.virginialorijennings.com I am the author of two science fiction books called "The Alien Mind" and "Visionary from the Stars". I love to write and I have been doing so since the sixth grade. I was born in April 1987 in the state of New Hampshire; I was Home Schooled from seventh grade and graduated at 16 with a GED. I now live with my husband and three children in Dillon, South Carolina. You can find me on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Shelfari, Linkedin, and Pinterest. I love connecting with people! I am readily to answer questions and offer advice and support to new writers.

Posted in Writers Interviews
3 comments on “WWAAM Interviews Virginia Jennings
  1. […] WWAAM Interviews Virginia Jennings (wherewritersandauthorsmeet.wordpress.com) […]

  2. Jo Linsdell says:

    Great answers Virginia and I’m honoured to be mentioned as one of your influences. Thank you.

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