STORY OF THE WRITER Interview Series: Bethany A. Jennings

 

STORY OF THE WRITER INTERVIEW SERIES

Welcome to the Writing Train!

All aboard!

After hearing about so many struggling writers out there; who have either incomplete projects, or thrown in the towel altogether, I felt compelled to do a little research. So I’m conducting interviews and surveys to find out what makes writer’s tick, and more specifically, why they don’t. Why should someone give up on their dreams? My inspiration has led me to consider this matter, and research a possible nonfiction book aimed at the struggling writer. Who doesn’t struggle right? We need a constant influx of encouragement to keep us focused on the path at hand. The journey is a process and the process is a journey. We must discover it, learn its way, and allow it to lead us down a rugged path. A story told. Only a person traveling that road will know its story. Walk it. Tell it.

To kick off our very first series we have Bethany A. Jennings, welcome Bethany! She is a YA sci-fi fantasy author. Christian. Geek. Mom of four tinies. INFJ. Creator of the #WIPjoy on Twitter, and her current WIP is: The Kraesinia Trilogy. You can also find her blogging at: simmeringmind.com

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Here’s a little more about Bethany.
As a homemaker and mother of four, Bethany Jennings wrangles little ones by day and stays up way too late writing speculative fiction at night. While she’s still on the journey to publication with her novels, her short fiction has been published in Havok Magazine and on Splickety Publishing Group’s Lightning Blog.  In addition to writing her stories, she blogs about faith, family, and fiction topics at simmeringmind.com.
AWESOMESAUCE. Welcome Bethany, so glad to have you with us. Since you are the very FIRST to join us on our expedition, you will always hold a special place. And for that I’ve decided to bestow upon you the blessed crown of the Story of the Writer Series. There is none like it. Wear it with honor. You are forever enshrined in these storied halls.
Golden crown - front view
Let us begin shall we?
  1. You’re a writer; so what’s your story, or what inspired you?

Inspiration: I’ve been writing since I was very small – I really don’t remember NOT being a writer!  I’m inspired by my own life and the many stories I’ve imbibed over the years, as well as the vivid visuals from my own imagination.  As a child I wrote my stories down on paper, before transitioning to using the family computer.  I’ve pretty much always had “irons in the fire,” and have gone from one story to the next over the years (not always finishing the first one before I move on!).

“irons in the fire” I love that statement. This is always a fascinating thing to see, when a writer is born and the path they take. Splendid. Let’s keep those iron’s fired up!

2. What’s your goal in becoming a writer?

GOAL: I firmly feel that if God gives you stories to tell and the ability to do so, you should tell those stories for His glory, not keep them to yourself.  In Matthew 25, Jesus tells the Parable of the Talents, where a master gives his servants various amounts of money to invest.  Instead of making good use of the money, one servant buries his in the ground.  While the other servants are praised for being good and faithful with how they multiplied the money, that servant is scolded and cast out.  I’ve heard before that our English word “talent” comes from that story.  Of course we can apply the parable at various levels, but to me it’s a good reminder that when God gives us gifts, we should use them.  And having a brain chock full of story ideas is most definitely a gift!  Not everyone has that.  I believe all creativity comes from God and should be used to serve Him.

That’s such a wonderful testimony. I love Matthew 25 as well, very inspiring passage. One thing that writer’s struggle with is getting those ideas developed into full blown stories. I think that’s where the real talent, or craft, comes in to play. I’m finding that out firsthand as I’m working on my own WIP! But it’s so fun.

3. What three things have hindered you from completing your projects? 

CONFLICT: Finding what I truly want to write is a factor, because I think trying and discarding a lot of projects in my youth was an important part of the process of learning to write. Lack of discipline is a factor.  And also, sometimes it’s simply hard to find the time, amidst the busyness of real life.  Over the past ten years I’ve been revising the same main WIP, The Kraesinia Trilogy, and in that time my family moved across country from California to New Hampshire, I met and married my husband, and we’ve had four babies and moved a couple of times!  That’s a lot of LIFE, and especially with young children to care for, it’s often hard to find the time (or the leftover brain!) to write.

Those are all wonderul reasons as life presents itself in full throttle. It’s beautiful really. Your story is really inspiring! Your still on the same journey from when you first started as a young child. I completely understand having “leftover brain” dysfunction. We have two little ones strutting around like stallions on fire. 

4. What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream?

DESIRE: As well as my conviction that I am called to write and the encouragement of friends who love the story, I’m motivated by my vision and my optimism.  Deep down I believe this story is important and needs to be told, and it can and will be epic when I am done with it!

I love your spirit and enthusiasm! We must be related? Separated at birth perhaps? That’s exactly the kind of spirit you need to BE a writer, and more importantly, STAY one. This is most appropriate for a first interview 🙂 

5. What’s your antagonist? What’s in the way?

Antagonistic force

ANTAGONIST: At this point my main antagonist is “The Box.”  I’ve written this story over and over so many times now, and tend to not make sweeping changes as much as I should.  When revising, it is tempting for me to think inside the box and write things the way they’ve always been before – even if those ways are not great, sometimes I can’t see past them because “that’s just how the book is.”  In this draft I’m pushing myself to think outside the box and be creative about how I tell the story, and it’s so freeing!  But once in awhile I realize I’m trapped inside The Box again and I have to fight my way out.

Well, we’ll have to pray for your “unboxing” then. First we must know the box before we seek to escape it’s confinement. I believe this is also part of the glorious journey we must take and endure. But on the other hand, if we don’t know the nature of the antagonist, we won’t reach our story’s goal. Plain and simple. It definitely helps to  be plugged into a writers group of some sort or community. Having a second set of eyes is critical. But keep your eyes on the prize!

6. If you’ve given up your dream, why?

REFLECTION: n/a (skipping because I haven’t)

7. Why do writer’s give up, quit or never complete their projects? 

CLIMAX:  I think there are various reasons for this. Some people are mildly interested in writing but find it harder than they anticipated, and eventually decide the writing life is not for them.  Some are afraid of negative feedback on their work, so they never share it, and therefore never grow, and then are even more unsatisfied with their writing than ever, so they give up entirely.  Some realize that it cannot be a priority in their lives because they are called to focus on other things.  On giving up individual projects, it can be a matter of realizing it wasn’t the right project to begin with, or losing the spark that made you love it to begin with.  Moving on from an unfinished WIP can be the right move sometimes.  In the end, even a WIP you never finish is a learning experience that you can use to make future books better.

Well said! That was epic! Thanks for joining us and kicking off the series, it should be fun. I definitely would like to join the #WIPjoy when it resumes in June. That sounds great. 

This was a really neat format for an interview. I love the goal/conflict/opposition format – it gave me a good think about my own writing and was inspiring to think through.  It was definitely helpful.  Thank you for the interview! 🙂

– Bethany A. Jennings

If you would like to be interviewed please let me know. Or if you know other writers, established or struggling, who might be interested let me know!
If you have questions let me know!
If you have suggestions to improve this series let me know!
KEEP WRITING
SOMEONE NEEDS YOUR STORY
Benjamin Thomas
@thewritingtrain
thebigcaboose@gmail.com

Over and out

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6 thoughts on “STORY OF THE WRITER Interview Series: Bethany A. Jennings

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