Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Q&A With Author Jena Leigh + Giveaway


Today I would like to welcome the fabulous author Jena Leigh to the blog for an interview. Jena is not only going to spill some secrets about her book and how it came to be but she is also offering a digital copy to one lucky person!




Possessing the uncanny ability to fry a television set from twenty paces can really wreck a girl’s social life.

If you’re looking for proof, just ask sixteen-year-old Alexandra Parker. 


After catching her boyfriend in the arms of the prettiest girl in school, she made the journey from social elite to social pariah in a haze of electricity and exploding electronics. But finding herself at the bottom of Bay View High’s social hierarchy was nothing compared to the shock of discovering who—and what—she really is.


After being zapped out of a burning bookstore by the mysterious Declan—a hero nearly as handsome as he is infuriating—Alex finds herself under the protection of the powerful Grayson family. It’s through them that she learns the truth: that the world she’s always known is nothing like it appears to be... and that she has far more in common with them than she might want to believe.

Now, on the run from a fire-wielding hit man and a secretive government organization, Alex must navigate a strange and treacherous new world filled with superhuman mutants known as Variants. As she begins to unravel the many secrets of her family’s past, she uncovers the real reason for her parents’ death twelve years earlier—and finds out that the threat to her family, and to everyone she cares about, is still dangerously real.



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1. Can you tell us what inspired you to become a writer?

If I had to put my finger on what one thing inspired me to start writing, I’d say it was probably Francine Pascal’s novel Sweet Valley Twins and Friends: The Ghost in the Bell Tower. Which, okay, I’m sure sounds pretty weird... But it was one of those books that I read over and over and over again as a kid. I can still remember finding a copy of it in the library for the first time when I was in elementary school. I remember taking it home, curling up in a hammock, opening it to the first page and being completely drawn into the story. The rest of the world faded away until nothing existed for me except for Jessica and Elizabeth’s adventure. That feeling of escapism sparked a love for the written word that I’ll probably never lose. By the time I reached middle school, I’d started writing stories of my own... And I haven’t stopped since.



2. How long did it take you to write REVIVAL? 

Revival actually took a few years to complete. I started it one day in 2009, but for the longest time it was nothing more than a few disjointed chapters. It might never have been finished had I not found myself with a lot of free time to write at the end of 2011.


3. What inspired you to write this particular book? 


It’s hard to say, really. I started this novel intending to write one thing and by the time I was finished, it had become something else entirely. I will say, though, that a lot of the inspiration for my characters and their personal struggles came from my own experiences in high school and college... And I’m pretty sure the rest came about as a result of my addiction to bad sci-fi and comic books.


4. Do you have any special or unique rituals? Do write in the day or night? 

No special rituals, unless you count the obscene amount of coffee I drink. I do write better at night or when it’s raining though. If I’m particularly stuck, I’ll go to www.rainymood.com and listen to that while I’m writing. It usually helps!


5. Who is your favorite character in this book, and why? 

Oh, that’s a tough one! It seems to change from day to day. Right now I’d probably have to say that Declan’s sister Kenzie is my favorite. She’s sassy, sarcastic and I can always count on her for a witty rejoinder. Kenzie’s scenes are always enjoyable to write.


6. What was your favorite scene to write and what was the most difficult? 

My favorite scene to write for Revival was probably the shootout in the parking garage that takes place in Chapters 15 and 16. That scene (and the car chase that followed) was a ton of fun to write, but it also proved to be the most difficult. Trying to translate a fast-paced action scene into words on a page was a major challenge—but I really enjoyed figuring it out!


7. Which (if any) authors have been most influential to your own writing? 


Another tough question! If I’m honest, I think almost every writer I’ve read has influenced me in one way or another. As far who’s been the most influential...? I’ve always been really drawn to the writing styles of Meg Cabot, Neil Gaiman and—to a lesser extent—Stephen King. Cabot and Gaiman were especially influential to me when I first started writing.


8. If you weren't writing, what would you want to be doing for a living? What are some of your other passions in life? 


Rock star! I mean, really. Who hasn't wanted to be one at some point? Aside from writing, I’m incredibly passionate about music. I love it, but I haven’t got a lick of talent (although that doesn't stop me from singing at the top of my lungs in the shower every morning). If there’s not a song playing in the background somewhere, I usually don’t know what to do with myself.


9. If you could have written one book in history, what book would that be? 

I’ve read quite a few books that, after I finished reading them, I wished I would have had the genius to write... But the most recent one I felt that way about was John Green’s novel The Fault in Our Stars. It’s the first book in ages that made me laugh until I cried and then cry until I laughed. Hazel and Augustus’s story is one that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Simply put—it’s a beautiful work of fiction. I doubt there’s a writer out there who doesn't wish that they’d been the one to write it.


10. Tell us about the biggest challenges you face in your writing process. 


I think the biggest challenge I have is in plotting out a story. I despise outlining. Writing only feels natural to me when my characters are the ones telling the story. I love being just as surprised as my readers are when something unexpected happens in the narrative. When you’re working on a series, however, that doesn’t always work. You need to have some idea of where the story is headed before you begin, otherwise it’s very easy to write yourself into a corner.


11. Please list seven random likes; then do the same for dislikes, go way random. 

Likes: 


1) The word defenestration. (Any time I can use that one in a sentence, it makes me ridiculously happy. It might just be my favorite world of all time in the history of ever.) 
2) Books that have a bad-boy-with-a-good-heart love interest. 
3) Skittles! 
4) Caramel, hazelnut, and Irish cream lattes. 
5) The Lucero song She Wakes When She Dreams. (Ben Nichols’ whiskey-soaked vocals never cease to make me smile.) 
6) Cherry ICEE’s. 
7) Driving down winding mountain back roads at breakneck speeds, in cool weather, with my stereo cranked and the windows rolled down. 

Dislikes: 


1) When people talk during movies. 
2) Missing a connecting flight. 
3) Bad hair days. 
4) Writer’s block. 
5) Humidity. (See number 3.) 
6) Public speaking. 
7) Cliffhangers. (Oh my lord, do I hate cliffhangers. I have no patience to speak of, so waiting on a resolution—especially in a YA series that I love—makes me absolutely crazy.) 


12. Is there anything that you’re working on that we need to be looking out for? 

I’m currently hard at work on Revival’s sequel, the second book in The Variant Series! I hope for it to be available in the spring of 2013.




Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, Jena Leigh spent ten years in the mountains of North Carolina before returning home to the lightning capital of North America.

A shameless geek, she loves bad sci-fi movies, Skittles, writing cracktastic e-mails to friends and taking shenanigan-filled road trips to faraway concerts. 

She has a degree in English from Appalachian State University. REVIVAL is her first novel.

Thank you very much for your time Jena and thank you for visiting with us!




Open to Everyone 13+ * Winner must respond within 48 hours*
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