Joining Curiosity Quills for our second Author Spotlight: Question & Answer Coloumn, is Jen Estess, author of newly released YA time-travel novel, SIXTEEN, which hit Amazon on January 17, 2017!
In the comments, please join us in asking Jen anything you’d like to know about writing, her new book, and life in Front Royal, Virginia. Or you know, just throw something completely random at her to keep her on her toes!
Who are you and where do you call home right now?
I’m Jen Estes! I was born and raised in Central Illinois and we recently moved back home after living in Northern Virginia.
Tell us about your latest book: one of your inspirations for it, how You got through your most difficult challenge in writing it, and what you love about it?
A big part of SIXTEEN is Ash’s relationship with her mother, which I had rough-drafted before my daughter was born. But it really deepened when I got to experience the mother-daughter relationship for myself and I was so inspired by her. I had to rewrite so much of it once I experienced it from the mother perspective. The biggest challenge was when my beloved writing partner, my cat Wrigley, passed away last March. It was very hard to write without him sitting on the arm of my chair. I know I should say that death is another aspect of SIXTEEN and I channeled my grief into Ash, but the truth is I got through it by just imagining he was still there.
What are a few of your hobbies?
I love experimenting in the kitchen, especially taking deliciously naughty recipes and trying to find ways to make them healthy… or at least healthier. I also love traveling, yoga, board games, tarot, and baseball - not necessarily in that order.
If you had your own food truck, what would it serve?
Tacos and cotton candy.
What do you want to get better at doing, writing-wise?
I’m deeply regretful that it took me two years to release this sequel. That’s actually my pet peeve as a reader (*coughWINDSOFWINTER*cough) and I want to avoid such a brutal wait between my books in the future.
What TV series are you into right now and why?
Just one!? Okay, I am anxiously, desperately, happily and impatiently waiting the second season of Stranger Things. I was blown away by the first season and what really hooked me was the fact that it was so… DIFFERENT. I watch almost everything in the supernatural thriller/horror genre and it was quite refreshing to see a show that could do it without gratuitous violence or gore. Also, the writing and acting is superb.
What movie do you quote the most?
Back to the Future. Now make like a tree and get outta here.
What do you collect, even a little bit? Tell us about your favorite one.
Board games. I don’t know if I have a favorite, but I don’t think we ever get through a game night without Ticket to Ride.
What’s your preferred genre of book when you just want to escape?
Fantasy. What better way to escape than to get lost in a whole new world?
What do you like to do on vacation?
When you love the beach and live 800 miles from the nearest ocean, it’s hard to do any vacation that doesn’t involve sand and surf.
Is there another genre you’ve been itching to write in?
Actually, I’m doing it now. I had published a cozy mystery series a few years ago, and young adult fantasy was the itch I just had to scratch.
What unusual object do you like to bring with you if you leave the house?
A 26-lb. human who eats crayons.
If you had a champion racing pigeon, what would you name it and what would its tagline be?
Sigismund the Okay. He’s not the best.
Finally, give us one recommendation for something - movie, TV, game, Food - that you enjoyed recently.
We recently got the expansion pack for the Exploding Kittens card game, which is like Uno with a twist of psychedelic catnip. The expansion pack takes it up a level and there’s even a Cone of Shame. Five Stars!
Six months ago, Ashling Campbell’s life was good. Okay, so the sleep deprivation sucked, but that’s what happens when you’re murdered by bloodthirsty demons on a nightly basis via freaky supernatural nightmares. That’s why she stepped up to her calling as a dreamwalker. But if she’d known that saving her town meant giving up everyone she loved, she’d have let that call go straight to voicemail.
She wants another chance. Just one. And the key to that chance lies with finding the mysterious stranger who disappeared shortly after her life went to hell. Her new mission is to dreamwalk again, or die trying.
The Jumlin wants another chance too. Just one. And the key to that chance lies with finding the weird sophomore who showed up just before he could summon hell on earth. His new mission is to stop the line of dreamwalkers, by killing just one - a girl that seems all too eager to die.
If Ash’s plan is to succeed, she’ll have to outsmart the immortal demon, piece together her thorny family tree, deal with a friend’s untimely return, and pass her driver’s test - all before she turns… SIXTEEN.
The next installment awaits...Author Spotlight Question and Answer: Bob Defendi