Thank you for joining us today, Bethany! How long have you been writing? What inspired your quest to become a writer? I think I wrote my first stories around age 6— I’ve been a storyteller almost as long as I can remember. I used to staple together little booklets and write and illustrate stories about my beanie babies in them, and at night in bed I told my sister fan fiction tales I made up on the spot, based in the word of Disney’s animated Robin Hood. (Eventually I started writing those down; I still have that collection of Robin Hood “sequels”!) Playing and acting out stories with my sister was probably a big part of my inspiration.
When I was around 12 I wrote a hilariously horrible “novel” about a group of fairies trying to find a magic jewel, and that was when I realized I wanted to grow up to be a real, published author.
Tell us a little bit about Dragon Lyric! Dragon Lyric is the story of a young woman named Theryn who discovers that her newlywed husband is actually a ravenous dragon in disguise. . .and that she’s pregnant with his dragon egg. When the egg is laid he will have no use for her except as fresh meat– and she refuses to accept that fate.
It was complex to write, but a ton of fun, and it’s one of my darker stories. I actually put it away for several years after I wrote the first few scenes, because at the time it alarmed me and I was uncertain what to do with it. Since then I’ve become much more comfortable with my dark side. . . mwahaha. 😉
What is the greatest praise you’ve received about your writing so far? Author Jamie Foley said of Dragon Lyric that “Bethany Jennings has mastered the flow and emotional melody of her craft.” I thought that was pretty high praise, and very encouraging to hear. 🙂 I also count it as the highest praise if one of my best friends responds to a new story or scene with “DAAAANG!” Then I know I’m hitting gold. 😉
Your most creative ideas come when. . . It’s really late at night —like 1 AM— and I’m tired and I really should go to sleep. . .then the idea hits and I spend an hour tapping it out on my phone in the darkness.
Describe your writing style in three words. Intense, emotional, poetic.
Which author most influenced your writing style? While different authors have influenced me in different ways, for writing style I’d have to say Rosemary Sutcliff. Reading her books as a teen opened my eyes to the way I could use vivid, visual language and sensory details to bring a whole world to life.
What is your favorite thing about writing? What is your least favorite? My favorite thing is the adrenaline rush that comes from writing a powerful scene, when it’s flowing from my fingertips and mind like water and I don’t even know what I’m doing, but the story is unstoppable!
My least favorite? Plotting and logistics when the ideas aren’t flowing that well.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? Be patient with the reality that being ready to publish takes a lot of time, and put in the work to learn your craft, especially with lots of reading and lots of writing. Have fun with it! Delight in your stories.
And commit your way to the Lord in your writing, same as you should any other part of life. It’s not “too small” a request to ask Him for help fixing a plot hole, understanding a character, or figuring out how to publish a piece. More than anyone else, He cares about your stories and knows how they pierce down to the very bottom of your soul.
When you aren’t writing, you enjoy. . . Making artistic sandwiches and other yummy foods, reading aloud to my four kidlets, graphic designing, and eating brownies topped with ice cream.
Bethany A. Jennings is a science-fiction and fantasy author and a chronic night owl, and she is endlessly passionate about the power of speculative fiction to shape cultures and unveil hidden realities. She can be found wrangling her toddlers, running Twitter events, or inventing new kinds of sandwiches, but no matter where she is, worlds and stories are dancing in her head. Born a southern California girl, she now lives in New Hampshire with her husband and four children, zero pets, and a large collection of imaginary friends– a.k.a. fictional characters. In addition to her writing, she is a freelance editor, blogger, and graphic designer.