Monday, May 29, 2017

Jenna Black Author Interview

Photo Content from Jenna Black

Jenna Black is your typical writer. Which means she's an "experience junkie." She got her BA in physical anthropology and French from Duke University.

Once upon a time, she dreamed she would be the next Jane Goodall, camping in the bush making fabulous discoveries about primate behavior. Then, during her senior year at Duke, she did some actual research in the field and made this shocking discovery: primates spend something like 80% of their time doing such exciting things as sleeping and eating.

Concluding that this discovery was her life's work in the field of primatology, she then moved on to such varied pastimes as grooming dogs and writing technical documentation. Among her other experiences . . .

Ballroom dancing.
Traveling all seven continents. Yes, even Antarctica.
Becoming a Life Master in Bridge.
Singing in a barbershop chorus.

Read the true story of Jenna's first trip out of the country by herself at the age of 16: 
Jenna's Zaire Adventure. And remember, insanity is a good thing for a writer.

She's also a proud member of the 
Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, and would love for her readers to support her fellow authors!

Series: Nightstruck (Book 2)
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen (May 30, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765380064
ISBN-13: 978-0765380067

Praise for NIGHT MAGIC

“Suspenseful and savage―Jenna Black does horror right!” ―Kimberly Derting, author of the Body Finder series

"Effectively blending grisly horror, teenage dilemmas, and a touch of romance, Black has built a genuinely scary city where the night literally has teeth.” ―Publishers Weekly

What was your first introduction to YA literature, the one that made you choose that genre to write?
I’m a huge fan of anything Rachel Caine, so when she started writing the Morganville Vampire series, I just had to read it. I loved Rachel’s book so much I had to reader more—I was hooked!

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
From when I was four to when I was seven, I lived in Tahiti with my mom. I came back to the US a little French-speaking island girl and had all kinds of “fun” adjusting to life in the US.

When did you write your first book?
I wrote my first book when I was ten. It was an “autobiography” about my life in Tahiti.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
I went to an all-girls’ high school, and after having left a toxic middle school environment, I learned at my new school that girls could be good at whatever they damn well wanted to be. (I never realized I was getting “girls aren’t good at math and science” vibes from my old school.)

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Creative. Introverted. Empathetic.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

An active imagination, a love of reading, and the courage to risk failure.

Did you learn anything from writing NIGHT MAGIC and what was it?

It was hardly a new lesson, but apparently one that needs to be relearned every once in a while: sometimes you really need someone else’s perspective to help you see your book clearly. I had a specific ending in mind when I started writing the book, and I slavishly wrote to that ending, even though it wasn’t really working. I couldn’t see the flaws in my ending until my agent and my editor read it and pointed them out to me. It’s amazing how easy it is even for a multi-published author to fall prey to tunnel vision.

What was your inspiration for the series?
I wanted to write in a world that physically changes between night and day and where there’s a clear separation between those who reside in each of those worlds.

Which character have you enjoyed getting to know the most over the course of writing NIGHTSTRUCK?
I’d say Becket, but that’s too easy an answer. So I guess it would have to be Piper, who turned out to be a lot more complicated and nuanced than I originally thought she’d be. She is a very self-centered person, but she’s not actually a bad person. (At least not until she was Nightstruck.)

For those who are unfamiliar with Becket, how would you introduce her?
Becket is a hyper-responsible teenager who’s always felt she was the lesser of her parents’ children. She feels like an underachiever because both her parents and her sister are very driven and career-oriented, and she is not. She’s kind and caring to a fault, but she also carries around a lot of anger because she doesn’t feel valued.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I would have to choose two: Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. When I was a frustrated wannabe writer, I attended an intensive workshop they put on, and it was life-changing for me. They totally changed my perception of what it meant to be a profession writer, and they helped me take more ownership of my career. They also inspired me to explore other genres and take more risks.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Risks are terrifying, and there are a lot of them that aren’t worth taking. However, learning to identify which risks are worth it will enrich your life more than you can know.

Who was your first boyfriend?
Let’s just say that my first boyfriend inspired some of the less savory, more manipulative characters you’ve seen in my books and leave it at that. (I’m looking at you, Piper.)

Tell me about your first kiss.

I swear this is a true story. I was sixteen years old and on a research trip to Zaire, traveling solo for the first time in my life. The volunteers for the trip all got together for the first time in Kinshasa Zaire, and I met a teenage boy who was also traveling by himself into the field. I was jetlagged beyond belief and had little experience with boys, so I didn’t quite realize he was flirting with me during dinner, but when he walked me back to my cabin, he kissed me. It was sudden and unexpected, and I barely knew him, so it didn’t really go over all that well.

Last Halloween Costume you wore and when?
It was so long ago I couldn’t tell you. I’m not much of a Halloween person.

First Concert?
Again, so long ago I can’t remember. (Apparently, it didn’t make a huge impression on me.)

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
Well, I was a teenager in the previous century—in the 80’s. I don’t know if there’s ever a good time to be a teenager, but I don’t suppose the 80’s were too bad.

Where can readers find you?
Twitter: @JennaBlack
FB: JennaBlackBooks (profile); JennaBlackAuthor (Page); JennaBlackZen (a page devoted to my art)
Instagram: JennaBlackBooks (although I started on Instagram meaning to post about books, most of my posts are about my art, since that lends itself to the Instagram format better)

  • Paris. Love the history, the art, and the food.
  • Antarctica. The most beautiful and unspoiled (though desolate) place in the world.
  • Anywhere in Italy. More history, art, and amazing food.
  • Kenya. The wildlife and the scenery is amazing.
  • Tierra Del Fuego (on the tip of South America). The glaciers and unspoiled beauty is absolutely spectacular.
  • The Amazon jungle. You might have noticed I’m a sucker for wildlife and wilderness, and the jungle gorgeous and exciting.
  • Machu Picchu. Breathtaking views and ancient ruins. What’s not to love?
  • Bermuda. Quaint and lovely with beautiful beaches.
  • Grand Canyon. No photograph can ever truly capture the splendor of the Grand Canyon.
  • Iguassu Falls. Not only do you have lush jungle surroundings, but the falls themselves are simply awe-inspiring.

Jenna Black returns to the quarantined city of Philadelphia, where an unsuspecting seventeen-year-old has unknowingly unleashed a dark power that transforms the city into a monstrous hellscape in Night Magic.

Philadelphia is locked in the grip of an evil magic that transforms its streets into a nightmare landscape the minute the sun sets each night. While most of the city hunkers down and hopes to survive the long winter nights, Becket Walker is roaming the darkened streets having the time of her life.

Once, the guilt of having inadvertently let the night magic into the city―and of having killed her onetime best friend―had threatened to destroy her. But now she’s been Nightstruck, and all her grief and guilt and terror have been swept away―along with her conscience. So what if she’s lost her friends, her family, and her home? And so what if her hot new boyfriend is super-controlling and downright malevolent?

Mesmerized by the power and freedom of not having to care about anyone but herself, Becket is sinking ever deeper into the night magic’s grasp. But those who love her refuse to give up on her―even if she’s given up on them. If they can’t find a way to help Becket break the night magic’s hold, the entire city might soon find itself shrouded in perpetual night. But the last thing Becket wants is to be “rescued” from her brand new life, and she will fight tooth and claw to stay exactly where she is.

You can purchase Night Magic at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you JENNA BLACK AND TOR for making this giveaway possible.
10 Winners will receive a Copy of NIGHT MAGIC by Jenna Black.
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  1. My latest magical moment was when I was at the animal shelter and two kittens picked me to adopt them. Hamilton and Jefferson bring so much joy to my life.

  2. My latest magical moment was when I was at the animal shelter and two kittens picked me to adopt them. Hamilton and Jefferson bring so much joy to my life.

  3. I'll almost ditto Dianne's comment. My most magical moment was when my Trixie barked at me as a puppy. Her mother said that was the first time she ever barked and I believe her. I knew then that she was the puppy for me. She was my heart dog...

  4. My most magical experience was watching the sunrise over the ocean.

  5. "What's the most Magical experience you ever had?" I recently watched 5 seasons of "Once Upon a Time" on DVD.

  6. Walking on the beaches of Maui with my wife.

  7. Mine was the opportunity to live & work in London for 2 months.