In 1997 she wrote a children’s musical, entitled Beyond the Stars, for the local Catholic primary school, with a cast of over 300.
Jennifer recently completed Book 2 in The Children of When series, Valleron, which is awaiting publication, and is currently working on the 3rd book in the series, Dragardia.
Email address: email@example.com
Website: http://www.jenniferredmile.net (under construction)
Your first book, The Children of When: Book 1Florisia will be out soon from JEA, how do you feel about having it out there and getting read?
I am so excited about the release of my first book in The Children of When series, although I don’t think I’ll really believe it until it happens. Writing can be a very lonely business, and it’s sometimes difficult to maintain the motivation to keep writing when you don’t know if others will enjoy reading what you’ve written. I guess what all authors are searching for is the validation that what they write is entertaining, engaging and ‘un-put-down-able’.
Can you tell us a bit about what inspired The Children of When series and the plot?
I’ve been asked this question quite a few times, and I’ve yet to come up with an answer that explains it. I wanted to write about kids, preferably in a fantasy setting, and the idea just came to me out of the blue. I had just retired from full-time work and suddenly found myself with way too much free time on my hands. So what better way to fill the void than to be able to disappear into another world for hours at a time, in the company of characters created by my own imagination.
Children of When is YA fantasy, is it difficult writing for younger readers? What are the advantages of writing YA? Challenges?
Writing for young readers is like fishing, and having to bait the hook with extra juicy worms. Most teens have a relatively short attention span, and reading for enjoyment has to compete with so many other activities that provide instant gratification. I believe the most difficult and important part of writing for younger readers is creating characters they can relate to, and giving these characters challenges that prove any obstacle can be overcome through perseverance.
I prefer writing for younger readers, as I believe they are still seeking role models that exemplify the person they want to become. I try to imbue my characters with both good and bad qualities, portraying them as real and flawed, and allowing them to sometimes make poor choices in difficult situations.
Who are your favorite characters in the series? What makes them stand out for you?
When I first started writing The Children of When, I had intended the main character to be Leah, with Raff and Belle playing less important roles. It didn’t take long for Raff and Belle to convince me that they were every bit as important as Leah to the story, and the three characters ended up sharing the role of the protagonist.
I must admit I do have a favourite though (but you have to promise not to tell the other two, they would be so jealous). There’s just something about Raff I can’t resist. He’s so funny, tough and yet vulnerable, and caring that he’s managed to worm his way into my heart, much like he does with most of the other characters in the book. You know, sort of like the naughty kid with lots of other redeeming qualities.
What do you feel Children of When adds to YA fiction? Who do you hope will enjoy it?
While I wrote this book with an intended audience of kids. I hope it will be enjoyed by an audience of all ages. I remember when my son brought the first Harry Potter book home from school, and thinking I wouldn’t mind reading it myself. That was the start of my relationship with Middle Grade/ Young Adult books, and it has continued throughout the last 15 or so years. I find the lack of profanity, gore and sexually explicit scenes refreshing, providing the desired escapism from the harsh realities of life in the real world.
Do you think you might try other genres and reader groups?
I’ve always been a fan of murder mystery books, and since reading the first book of my writing buddy Alison Clifford, entitled Roses, I now make the time to read and enjoy other books in this genre. Unfortunately. I’ve never been able to stomach horror, but my friends and colleagues at JEA are working on desensitizing me so I can read and enjoy their writing.
What other projects do you have going? When do you think we’ll see them?
Well, first of all, the 2nd book in The Children of When series is already finished and awaiting publication, so hopefully if you enjoyed Book 1 the wait shouldn’t be too long. I am currently writing Book 3, and won’t really know if there’ll be a Book 4 until this one is done.
Funnily enough, my 2nd series, entitled What Ghost? is a far cry from the fantasy world of When. The story is set in the real world, in a boarding school for high school students, and tells the story of how 15yo Billy copes with the constant presence of the ghost of his twin-sister who died at birth. Book 1 in this series is finished, and also awaiting publication.
While I enjoyed having the setting for this series in the real world, I missed writing about the fantasy element and all that entailed. So…I decided to make my 3rd series an “Urban Fantasy”. Entitled Morwitch, it’s the story of an almost 18yo witch who accidentally attracts the attention of an almost 18yo dragon; a chance meeting that sets the wheels in motion for them to become bonded as witch and familiar, a union outlawed in both the witch and dragon realms and punishable by death. On the run from bounty hunters, they uncover a sinister plot to destroy the mortal world, and must race against time to prevent catastrophe.
You also edit and format for JEA , how do you feel about this other side of writing? Any favorite books you’ve worked on thus far?
I really enjoy the editing side of writing, as it gives me an opportunity to learn and explore the impact of a writer’s unique language and writing style on a story. I have found that effective editing requires a whole new approach to reading. It’s sometimes difficult to decide whether to suggest changes to phrases that are ‘technically’ incorrect, at the risk of stifling both readability and the author’s voice. But in the end, it’s about helping the author to produce their best possible work, without stifling their own unique creativity.
I also find editing and formatting are a great distraction when I need a break from my own writing, as they keep me involved in the writing process while allowing my creative energy to recuperate.
I have worked on some great books over the last few months, but I have to admit I have a soft spot for Kat Doughty’s books. Her first book, To the Dark, was released recently, and Book 1 in the next series, The First Singers, is currently in the process of being published. As both are YA fantasy, they had a head start before I even began, but she has a great writing style, engaging characters and exciting story lines. I wish her every success with her books.