Interview : Jenna Bennett

Today we welcome Jenna Bennett to the blog. Jenna has her first romantic published with Entangled Publishing.

Hi Jenna, welcome to Confessions.

Thank you for having me!

1)     Tall, Dark and Divine is the first book in your series, Bagging a Greek God. How many more books do you envision in your series and who will you be featuring in book two? Are there any teasers you can drop right now about the next book to whet our appetites?

LOL! I haven’t started writing the next book yet, but assuming I get to write more books in the series – and that would depend partly on how the sales of the first book go – I know I’ll be writing about Adonis and Alastor, probably Thaumas, possibly Carya/Carrie and Iris, most likely Brita and Harry, and definitely Dionysus and Ariadne. Nothing specific is in the works right now, though.

2)    I saw you wrote mystery books under the name of Jennie Bentley too; what made you create the pseudonym Jenna Bennett?

The Jennie Bentley books is a series of cozy mysteries about a home renovator. The Jennie Bentley name goes with that particular series; I’m not allowed to use it for anything else. When it came time to publish something different, I had to come up with another name, and I chose Jenna Bennett because it was so much like Jennie Bentley.

3)    Also, what made you start writing romance? And not the plain contemporary romance, you began with a paranormal series (published on July 20), a science fiction story (will be published on November 13th) and a contemporary romantic suspense series (expected to be published in fall 2012), all of them with Entangled Publishing.

Back in the beginning of time – the late 1990s, when I first started writing in English, I thought I wanted to be a romance writer. (I’m from Norway originally, in case you wondered.) So I started dabbling in romance, without really taking it very seriously. After my first baby was born in 1999, and my second in 2003, it took some time before I got back to writing again, and then I found myself writing murder mysteries instead. I’m not saying there’s a correlation there, but I think the coincidence should be noted.

Anyway, I first got published in mysteries in 2008, and was happy to concentrate on those for a few years. But then I had the idea for the science fiction series. The main character, Quinn Conlan, had such a strong personality and voice – he was absolutely adamant that I tell his story – and I could never quite get him out of my head. Eventually I gave in and decided I would have to try. But of course my mystery publisher wasn’t interested in a science fiction series, so I had to find another home for those books. Entangled became the answer.

And then it went from there. I wrote a romantic suspense – a bit closer to my mysteries again – and then I heard about the Covet paranormal imprint. The story about Eros and his matchmaking agency is one that’s been rattling around in the backbrain for a while too, and I’m delighted to be able to share it with the world. 

4)    What is it like writing three different series in the same time?  Did you ever get confused with storylines, characters or settings? How did you switch between these? Did you go chapter at a time or give each a few pages a day? Would you recommend this writing scenario to an up and coming writer? How do you stay focused?

I only write one book at a time – mostly. Right now the second science fiction romance is sitting there half-finished while I’m working on some other things, and once I’m done I’ll go back to it and pick it up again, but I don’t actually work on more than one project at a time. Once I go back to the SFR, then that’ll be the only thing I focus on until it’s done. (Except for edits, of course. I have no control over those.) But there’s no real switching back and forth, and no splitting my time in half or threes. It’s one book at a time.

I did get confused every one in a while; not so much over storylines or settings. They’re very different: the SFR takes place on a moon on the far edge of the universe, very arid and dry, and my characters are on the run from prison. The romantic suspense takes place in Sweden, on the island of Gotland – much cooler and more green, and it’s a mystery, while Tall, Dark and Divine takes place in New York City. Streets, tall buildings, lots of cars, and a romantic comedy.

The one thing I did find myself making mistakes on, were the names. I’d be writing about Annika, the heroine in the Swedish suspense, but I’d call her Elsa, which is the name of the heroine in the SFR. The way they looked is a bit similar too, so that may have made it worse. It didn’t happen with any of the men, anyway.

As for recommending anything to anyone… my recommendation is to write one book at a time. I’ve written fifteen or sixteen books by now, so I’m getting more used to it, and I can juggle a little more than someone who’s just starting out, but it’s always easier to write just one book at a time. And finish it. And then go on to the next. Especially if you’re a new writer. Eventually, I end up finishing all my projects, because I know I have to – people are waiting for them – but when you don’t have a deadline or anyone waiting for the manuscript, it’s awfully easy to put it aside for a new idea – and they always look more exiting when they’re new – and then never picking it up again. It’s much better to finish first, and then go on to the new bright and shiny idea.

5)    I read you are originally from Norway; does that made the writing in English more difficult for you?

Not anymore. I’ve lived in the United States for 25 years, and for all that time, English has been my first language. My husband is American, all the TV I watch is American, all the books I read are in English… I can still slide right into speaking Norwegian whenever I go home to visit – and yes, Norway is still home :) – but these days, I speak English just as well as I do Norwegian, except for the accent. But you can’t hear that when I write!

It took about ten years before I got comfortable enough with English to start writing in it, though. Before that I was still learning. But these days I’m perfectly comfortable. Thank you for asking!

6)    What inspirations do you draw upon for ideas for your books and what can you share with us about your plans for the future?

 To be honest, inspiration and ideas come from everywhere; I can’t really pinpoint something in particular. The idea for Tall, Dark and Divine came from reading Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series and liking it but thinking it was too dark. I like light and happy! The original idea for the science fiction romance, Fortune’s Hero, came out of a flash fiction piece – 200 words – a friend challenged me to write on a blog a couple years ago, and it grew from there. It’s influenced by books I’ve read, characters I love, things I know about World War II… just a lot of things. The contemporary romance I have coming out in a couple of months, about a pregnant waitress who marries her nice but boring neighbor for his health insurance, was inspired by the title – Friends With Benefits. Same with my mystery, A Cutthroat Business. It’s about real estate, and someone who is murdered by having her throat cut. And the whole book grew out of the title, like a play on words. So ideas can come from anywhere. I like to say I order mine from a small general store in Nebraska, but the truth is, they’re everywhere, just waiting to be scooped up!

As for the future, I just hope to be able to keep writing! Right now, I have three more books being released in what’s left of the year. A mystery in September – Wall to Wall Dead, the 6th in my DIY series – Friends With Benefits in October, and Fortune’s Hero in November. I have to finish writing the 2nd SFR, Fortune’s Honor, and get that delivered so we can get it out next summer, and after that I just have to write a few more books so I can have a few more releases in 2013.

That’s pretty much it!

Thanks so much for having me here; I really appreciate it!

Title: Tall, Dark, & Divine
Author: Jenna Bennett Genre: Category – Paranormal Length: 291 pages ISBN: 978-1-62266-953-0
Release Date: July 2012 Imprint: Covet
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Eros, the Greek god of love, swore off the useless emotion after his ex ran off with some Viking godling. He’s lost all interest in his matchmaking business, Made in Heaven, until he spots the sweet baker who works across the street. Before she stirs his sullen heart, he’ll match her and get back to his ambrosia-laced wine in no time. Lonely baker Annie Landon has given up on finding Mr. Right. What she needs is Mr. Right Here, Right Now, and this so-called “Greek God” she’s heard is on the rebound sounds exactly like the perfect kind of distraction. But picking up the bitter, workaholic is easier said than done…especially when he seems unreasonably determined to match her with someone else. Can a woman looking for love—and the matchmaking god who wants her to find it with someone else—have a shot at a happy ending? May the best god—or mortal—win

Author Information

Jennie Bentley is the author of the New York Times bestselling Do-It-Yourself Home Renovation mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime, while Jenna Bennett writes the Cutthroat Business mysteries for her own gratification. Jenna is also the author of the upcoming Soldiers of Fortune series of futuristic romances from Entangled Publishing. The first book in the series, Fortune’s Hero, will debut in November 2012. In addition to futuristic romance, Jenna also has the first books in a contemporary romantic suspense series and a paranormal series coming from Entangled Publishing in fall 2012.

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