Jennifer Allis Provost writes books about faeries, orcs and elves. Zombies too. She grew up in the wilds of Western Massachusetts and had read every book in the local library by age twelve. (It was a small library). An early love of mythology and folklore led to her epic fantasy series, The Chronicles of Parthalan, and her day job as a cubicle monkey helped shape her urban fantasy, Copper Girl. Heir to the Sun, book one of the Chronicles of Parthalan, launched June 1, 2015. Changing Teams, the first in a new contemporary series, released November 10, 2015 from Limitless Publishing. The second instalment, Changing Scenes, will release January 5, 2015. Follow Jenn’s writing and other adventures at http://www.authorjenniferallisprovost.com.
1. What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something? Hmm, that’s a long story! Let me sum up: As a child up until age sixteen or seventeen I was extremely creative, always drawing and writing. Right around when I got my first job, and then went to college, all creativity took a side-line, and I spent about ten years trying to be a grown-up with a corporate job. Don’t try that. Trust me on this. Anyway, sometime in 2008 I was going through an old box, and found several notebooks filled with my short stories. I remembered how much I loved writing, and started creating new worlds. Eventually some stories were published, and I haven’t looked back.
2. What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured? It depends if I’m working that day; I still have my corporate job (for now), so all days involve pajamas and gallons of coffee. If it’s a work day, I get up around six a.m., spend about an hour on social media posting and checking things, and make a list of what I need to accomplish for the day. Then I get the kids dressed and off to school, and do some corporate work until noon or so. On “real” workdays I usually don’t get any significant writing done until after five, and I have a daily word count goal of 1500. On non-workdays, I get up at the same time, but I get to squeeze in an hour of writing before the kids get up. Those days are also when I handle most of my promo, schedule blog posts, and set up other events like in-person signings and writing workshops.
3. Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? I don’t really get writers block, but sometimes I reach a point in my WIP where I have to stop and decide what happens next. That’s when I switch gears and put the promo hat on. If I still don’t know what to do, I leave my computer entirely and do laundry, walk the dog, anything for a change of scenery. So far, those tactics have always worked.
4. Are you a plotter or panster when it comes to writing a story? Pantser all the way J
5. Are you traditionally or self-published? I’m a little of both. My first novel was self-published, and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. All of my short stories are in traditionally published, as are my three current series – Copper Girl (urban fantasy), The Chronicles of Parthalan (epic fantasy), and Changes (contemporary romance).
6. What was the publishing process like for you? Any advice to aspiring authors? The publishing process is extremely difficult yet extremely easy: to get published, you need to find an agent and/or editor who loves your work as much as you do. All you have to do is find them. I have two bits of advice for aspiring authors. First of all, network, network, network! You never know who you will meet, or who they will end up knowing. Second, remember that literature, like all art, is subjective. Everyone isn’t going to like everything, and it’s in the writer’s best interest to develop a thick skin.
7. What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? In 2012, I was invited to my alma mater’s Writers Day as the Guest of Honor. That was pretty awesome.
8. Can you share a little of your most recent book with us, including genre and targeted audience? My most recent release is Changing Teams, the first in a four-part contemporary romance series. It follows model/aspiring artist Britt Sullivan, who meets photographer’s assistant Sam MacKellar at a photoshoot. They have instant chemistry, but it’s all for naught since Sam’s not only gay, he’s hiding some pretty huge secrets. Some scenes get pretty spicy, so I’d say this is definitely an 18+ read.
9. What tip would you give to new authors when trying to build a fan-base / get followers and market their books? (What to do and what not to do.) We all know to set up social media accounts—Facebook, Twitter, the list goes on—but what some fail to realize is that they need to interact with their fans. Post about your writing habits, put up excerpts and deleted scenes – make your followers feel like they’re getting an inside peek into a writer’s life.
10. How long on average does it take you to write a book? Depends on the genre. I write pretty fast overall, and I always have a decent first draft in about four to six weeks. For my contemporary romances, I have a decent draft in about three months. My urban fantasies take about a month longer, and my epic fantasies—which have so much going on in each book—take closer to a year.
11. Tell us about the book cover/s, how the designing came about, whether you had much input etc. For Changing Teams, I filled out a questionnaire and the cover artists went to town. Check it out here: http://authorjenniferallisprovost.com/changes-series-contemporary-romance/ For my Copper series, I worked very closely with the artist, Lisa Amowitz: http://authorjenniferallisprovost.com/copper-girl-urban-fantasy/ And for The Chronicles of Parthalan (which is being re-released by Bellatrix Press) I worked with Veronica Jones. She and I had the most back-and-forth I’ve ever had with a cover artist, and I think her work is just stunning: http://authorjenniferallisprovost.com/the-chronicles-of-parthalan-epic-fantasy/
12. Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? In addition to writing, and all the editing, marketing, and other minutia that comes with it, I have a day job, five year old twins, and I’m a freelance editor and marketing consultant. Oh, and I’m also working on my Masters in Fine Arts. You could say that spare time and I aren’t that close any more.