Today we’re continuing and concluding our two-part interview with writer Jenna Blum, author of the novels The Stormchasers and Those Who Save Us.
3. What is the hardest part of publicizing a novel? Is it answering personal questions, the time spent traveling, trying to write the next book as you travel, missing friends and family, etc.?
I actually love publicizing my novels, so I don’t find anything about it difficult! I do admit that I’m something of an extremist. I travel a lot more than many writers do, 300 days of the year, to events, fundraisers, book clubs, colleges and libraries across the country — literally from Seattle to Florida and everywhere in between — to talk about my novels. I absolutely love meeting readers and consider it an honor, so whomever asks me to come and speak, I’ll try to make that happen!
This is a considerable challenge sometimes to my personal energy levels, and I miss important events back in Boston, where I live: weddings, births, milestone birthdays. That’s hard. I feel bad about that. And I spend at least four hours a day in correspondence and with social media, so I have to protect and ration my time wisely. Really, though, when I’m promoting, I promote full-time, and when I’m working on a book, I’m in the Writer’s Protection Program, leaving the house only to get more coffee and walk my black Lab, Woodrow. My life is kind of like crop rotation, with distinct times for both activities.
4. Lessons I’ve learned… What do you wish you had known before writing your first novel and/or the second?
I wish I’d known that frustration is part of the process — when you’re asking the questions and the answers just won’t come, until they do. Getting frustrated about my own frustration instead of just saying, “I did the best I could do today, I’ll try again tomorrow, let’s go have a beer!” only compounds the issue. The creative process always has its ebb and flow. (Ask me how I feel about that in a couple of months, when I’m starting to circle Book 3!)
5. Support from your fellow writers… Is this important to you? It seems from the outside that more and more women authors are discovering and supporting each other, which is quite positive. But is there a point at which you run up against the need to be competitors?
I’m thrilled that Facebook and Twitter are providing new channels for writers to find and support each other. And I really do see that happening! There’s nothing to be lost and everything to be gained, I feel, from getting to know each other and our work, sharing that and broadcasting to the world when you really love a book and its writer.
When I have met the writers I’ve connected with online, it’s as though we’ve known each other for years. It’s a joy for me to have this venue to support them.
I never feel the need to be competitive with other writers. There’s no point to it. For one thing, nobody can write exactly the way you do, so really, there’s no way to compete. And there’s enough of the pie to go around. It’s not as though there’s a quota of books published per year, and if you publish one, somebody else can’t. People will always be hungry for what we give them: good stories, well told.
Thank you, Jenna!