MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR J.N. COLON
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
Hi! My name is Jena, and I write under J.N. Colon. My books are young adult/ new adult paranormal romance and urban fantasy.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
Voodoo Unleashed is about a girl who makes a deal with a dark deity when she’s ten to save her sister’s life. The price is her soul. And the voodoo king is coming to collect on her eighteenth birthday.
When I was thinking of my next series, I wanted to do something with magic, but it had to be different than your usual witch or warlock adventure. I thought voodoo would be a really fun and mysterious angle.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
Paranormal elements are a must in my books. It’s ninety-nine percent of what I read (and watch). I’ve always had a passion for the supernatural. Goosebumps were, hands down, my favorite books when I was young. Next came Anne Rice and Stephen King. Then, I found my calling when I read Vampire Diaries and Twilight. I just love all the teen angst mixed with the heightened danger of a supernatural world.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I did a lot of research on voodoo, fiction and non-fiction. I wanted to learn more about their deities, special holidays, specific terms, and beliefs. I made up a lot of the myths and rules about voodoo magic in my book, but I wanted to get a feel for what was already out there, truth or not. I found out there weren’t many movies about voodoo. I watched The Skeleton Key and an episode of Bones set in New Orleans about voodoo. I also read and watched a little bit of True Blood since it’s set in a small town in Louisiana too (my series takes place in the fictitious town of Carrefour, Louisiana).
Can you tell me about your Series?
My latest finished series, The Hidden Conduit Series, is a young adult/ new adult crossover paranormal romance set in a small town in Louisiana ripe with mystery, magic, and voodoo:
The voodoo king wants her soul. The witches want her powers. And Étienne wants her heart. Who will win? Discover how one rash decision leads Angel De la Mora into the mysterious world of voodoo and magic. And this is one world she’ll never leave—even if she wants to.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
My favorite of the series is book one, Voodoo Unleashed. I love beginnings when everything is fresh and new for the characters. They’re getting to know each other, and the mystery is just unfolding.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
I wanted to write something a little spooky with a love-hate romance. I have so much fun writing characters who like each other, but deny it every step of the way until that one pivotal moment. Of course, they still like to bicker and argue afterward.
Was it always meant to become a series?
Yes. I always write series. I have a hard time telling the entire story in just one book. I want to write more about the characters and their journey. Hopefully people want to read more too.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I have a full-time job on top of writing so a typical workday is pretty full for me. I wake up at 3am and write before work. I write on my lunch break, and then I usually work on other bookish tasks when I get home like promotional or marketing things. My brain is usually fried by bedtime. But I wouldn’t have it any other way ; ) If I’m working on a rough draft, I try to write 5,000 words a day. I can get 10,000, but that’s pushing it.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
I do have a new book coming in August about angels and demons. Eternal Bond & Brimstone will be book one of the Legacy of Sins series.
Something strange is going on in Lena’s new town of Mystic Hollow. And her neighbor, Jayson, is at the epicenter. Red lightning, an earthquake, and crazy visions are just the beginning…
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
I don’t typically have a meaning behind character names except for my Divine Darkness series about the Greek gods. I wanted their human names to sound similar to their real ones. For instance, Hades was Hayden, Zeus was Zeke, Persephone was Stephanie, and etc. Other than that, I usually keep it simple and find a name that feels right for the character and their personality.
Where do your ideas come from?
My chaotic, slightly psychotic, Halloween-crazed mind! Honestly, I don’t know. They generally just pop up. If I’m plotting a book, I do a lot of staring off into space. I try not to do that in public though…
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
I’d like to try epic fantasy or maybe epic fantasy lite. I wrote a rough draft two years ago that was a mix of urban fantasy and epic fantasy with lots of fae creatures. I might go back to it after my upcoming series is finished.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Probably editing a rough draft. That first pass is always the hardest because I have to really pay attention to detail. When I’m writing the rough draft, I just let myself go.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I think the good ones are really entertaining and fun to watch. It’s like a movie preview. I made a trailer of my own for a series a LONG time ago. It was terrible! I hope no one ever sees it.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Publishing that first book. It was the beginning of my professional writing career. I had one book out so why not another? I just kept going, and now I’m working on number twenty-one.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
Creating a world where someone can lose themselves. That’s why I read. I want to escape my ordinary world for one with magic and supernatural danger!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A full-time writer working from home with a very healthy bank account. Most people want to write on a beach, but I’d love to sit in front of a fireplace with a snowy backdrop in the mountains.
Have you always liked to write?
Yes. As a kid, I wrote poetry and short stories. In the third grade, I wrote a ten page (front and back college-ruled!) short horror story where a boy gets sucked into the “fourth dimension” through the snowy screen on a television. I was very proud of myself. And my mother was a little terrified.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Don’t give up. Learn to take advice from others who are successful. And always work on your craft. Even the best authors continue to better their writing.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
If I couldn’t write, I’d want to be a cover artist. The things these people can do in Photoshop are AMAZING. I’ve made some of my own covers, but I have no idea what I’m doing most of the time. I’d love to take classes and learn how to make those incredible covers. These designers are true artists.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I do read the reviews on my books, but I never respond to them, good or bad. Every reader has a right to their own opinion, and not everyone will like everything I write. I just try to shrug it off and focus on the good reviews.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
Advertising and marketing. I’m terrible at it. If I could, I’d write all day. That’s the fun part. Strategies, research, testing, numbers, and data have a hard time computing in my brain alongside vampires, ghosts, werewolves and other ghouls.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
Here’s a little excerpt from my WIP, Eternal Bond & Brimstone. It’s a YA paranormal romance, and it’ll be out August 2019
Jayson grabbed the creature by his thick arm, stopping his claws from ripping into him. My jaw dropped at the sheer strength my mysterious neighbor possessed. He whipped the beast around and shoved his sword into its hard chest.
An audible gasp slipped from my mouth.
Jayson’s gold eyes lifted, finding my quivering figure amongst the tombstones.
As it turned out, I wasn’t so hidden behind the alabaster angel. I glanced up, my lips thinning. I could have sworn the stone wings had moved.
Jayson cursed and dropped the monster with a heavy thud, the sword coming away with black, gooey blood. His long, powerful legs ate up the ground as he marched toward me, his teeth bared.
I took two steps back before a thick presence coalesced behind me. Jayson’s eyes widened. I’d never seen that look on him before—cold fear.
Crap on crackers. Something was coming for me.
Why did you choose to write in your genre? If you write in more than one, how do you balance them?
I love everything supernatural so paranormal romance and urban fantasy were right up my alley. They share a lot of the same elements and tropes. Most readers who enjoy one like the other. It makes finding my audience a little easier.
Where did your love of books come from?
Probably my mother. She’s a big reader. I used to love going to the used bookstore with her when I was a kid. We would spend hours looking through the shelves. The place always made me sneeze, but the hefty stack of books I took home was always worth it.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
My all-time favorite series is Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. I will always be a fan of Harry Potter too. And Goosebumps. I also love Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Lux series.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
I think one of my favorite characters is Kory from The Iron Series. She’s a tough, sarcastic demon hunter with iron guts and a snarky attitude. She doesn’t take crap from anyone. But really, she’s a big softy who wants to be loved. Sometimes when I need a little extra dose of courage for whatever reason, I try to channel the fearless demon hunter and find my inner Kory Colt.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
A little bit of both. I have so much fun writing, and I’m excited when I reach my goal for that day or week, but my brain can feel a tiny bit fried by the end.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
It’s tough to concentrate when conversations are going on around me, or I can hear the television. Sometimes, I listen to thunderstorm sounds to drown out any noise.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I like to deliver what readers want but in an original, unexpected way. I try to put a twist on those familiar elements that are so popular in paranormal romance and urban fantasy.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
My closest author friend would probably be G.K. DeRosa. We actually co-wrote a series together. I had a blast. I learned a lot from her writing and marketing wise. Writing with another author really pushes you to be better. You want to put out your absolute best work because someone else’s name will be on that book with yours.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
I’m Afraid of the Dark and I Need More Coffee.
I’m always watching or reading scary things so when it’s time to sleep… I’m thinking about what’s lurking in the shadows at the edges of the room. I don’t sleep a lot so I need coffee. Lots of coffee.
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
Anything paranormal or horror related. I feel like I’m an expert (even though I’m not at all!). Ask me about ghost hunting. Using a Ouija board or any kind of spirit communication device can open doorways to the spirit world. Use at your own risk. What about horror movies? The original Halloween movie was filmed in California, and all they had to make it look like Illinois in autumn were a couple of bags of leaves they had to toss around and then gather up for the next scene.
Where can your fans find you and follow??
I can be found/ followed at any of these below!
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Thank you for taking the time to do this interview.