Born and raised in the Midwest, Jennifer got her love of the written word from her father and her tenacity from her mother, and eventually, she tried her hand at a full-length novel. Grim Ambition and Grim Judgment came out in 2017. Grim Vengeance, the third book of the trilogy, will be followed by The Souls of the Lash, a western sci-fi novel.
A GRIM TRILOGY
It’s out! It’s out! Grim Vengeance, the FINAL installment of my superhero crime thriller series A Grim Trilogy, has been released!
When you first aspired to be an author, what three characters would you want to develop in your story?
I’m a huge fan of the main character in a book being troubled and conflicted. I feel like it gives them much more depth, makes them more believable, because even the best of us have internal conflicts. I’ve always wanted to create a main character that is classified by readers as a “bad guy” and make them likeable, to show that sometimes, bad guys can be conflicted about what they do, and aren’t always the typical one-dimensional, disposable thugs you see in movies. I’ve always wanted to create a female lead like this, as well as a good friend of hers that is also in the same situation as being a conflicted criminal, and possibly the romantic interest of one of them. I thought this would create so much intense conflict that would be highly entertaining to read.
Is the storyline with fearsome fiction and terrifying tales more important or reading about the good internal struggle in the characters? Why?
I prefer a little bit of both throughout the novel I’m reading. You can have great characters in boring situations, and you can have boring characters in intense situations, and both times, it will be difficult to tell your story. In a zombie apocalypse, yes, we want to see the characters fighting and overcoming the monsters, but if that’s all you have, the story gets old pretty quickly for many readers. I think the intense, page-turning scenes and character development with internal struggle should balance each other out.
Have you ever mourned when your favourite character in the story dies?
I am a sucker for connecting with fictional characters. The better the character is written, the more connection I feel for them. There have been times where I’ve literally thrown a book to the ground when one of my favorite characters was killed off, or even yelled in frustration at a movie or television show when someone I liked bit the bullet. I think it truly shows the mark of a fantastic writer when you can connect like that with someone who technically doesn’t exist. As far as my own characters, I can’t say anything yet, so I don’t give anyone’s fates away!
If you could pick a seasoned author to write a Dark Fantasy novelette with, who would you choose? Why/why not?
This is a very, very tough question. There are so many amazing authors out there that I’d love to work with. For this type of genre, my first pick would have to be Joe Hill. Every single book he’s written has been creepy and intense. Two other amazing authors I would love to try this with would be Mark Lawrence, who writes the exact types of main characters I love to read about, and Dan Wells, whose John Cleaver books have great twists and tend to be quite dark. It would be an honor to work with any of these three authors on a dark fantasy.
How did the idea completely hit you again this year to write? Which is the most deep rooted, devilish fears or horrifying story you have ever read?
Honestly, people always urge me to write. I always have my nose in a book, and multiple novels with me wherever I go. It’s scary writing a novel, and I think it’s something a lot of people put off because it’s so daunting, as I did. It’s a lot of work – it’s pretty much a full time job! – and you have to commit yourself to not just writing content, but also writing character bios, timelines, notes from research on as many topics in your book as possible, and organized notes that just happen to pop into your head at the most random times. I never thought I would be able to do it, but now that I’ve been writing, I can’t get enough of it! In regards to the most horrifying story I’ve read so far, I would have to say it’s a draw between Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill and Perfect Circle by Sean Stewart. Joe Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box has, to me, the creepiest description of a ghost in which the eyes have dark scribbles over them. I’d be terrified to see a ghost looking at me as it is, but when there’s these black scratches where the eyes should be, that just makes it even more terrifying.
Which was your favourite type of event or convention? How does it bring out your inner nerd the entire time?
I’ve been to many different conventions over the last few years as a fan, but my all-time favorite one to attend every year is definitely Gen Con in Indianapolis. Gen Con is the biggest tabletop gaming convention in North America. The types of events you can participate in at it seem endless. There’s True Dungeon, which is only something you can do at Gen Con, that sells out instantly. You can play Artemis, which is like being on the bridge of a star ship with your friends. There’s also a ton of different video games as well as board and card games to play as well as test for game creators before their product is released. You can meet countless authors, artists and celebrities as well, and sit in on a ton of panels with a plethora of subjects. I feel like when I’m at conventions like Gen Con, my inner nerd can finally be released. Being a female “nerd,” it can be difficult to find people on a daily basis to connect with, especially in the work force, as well with family who might not understand the addiction to games and comics instead of career choices and raising kids. I’m really lucky to have a great core group of friends who love the same types of things I do, and to have a family who is so supportive of anything I’m passionate about as my life continues. I couldn’t thank them enough, and wouldn’t be where I am now without them.
Thank you so much!