Please welcome Jennifer Osborn to the blog today!
1. Have you always had a passion for writing?
I have! Even when I didn’t know how to write per se, I was making up stories from a young age. I can even remember the first story I tried to write in the first grade, called “The yellow ribbon”. The gist of the story was simply a little girl meeting a little boy at a carnival, and when they parted, she gave him her yellow ribbon. I had no idea how to actually write, but I knew about stories. I’m not sure where my love of stories came from, but I’ve always had a desire to hear them, read them and tell and write them.
2. Does what you read influence what you write and what are some of your favorite authors/books?
Other writers always intrigue me. When a really good writer can spin a web that sucks you in, that inspires me! Seeing howother writers will set a story and foreshadow what is to come in a very organic way, that type of writing challenges me to be even better than the last thing I wrote.
My favorite authors are varied, as are my tastes. I like Orsen Scott Card and Ben Bova’s Young Adult Sci-Fi writing. I think Sci-Fi and Paranormal are my favorites right now. Also, I like Francine Rivers who has a whole Historical Mark of the Lion Series that is set in Ancient Rome. I really like what Veronica Roth has created with the Divergent Series, and Becca Fitzpatrick withthe Hush, Hush Series.
Currently, my favorite book is Stephanie Meyer’s “The Host” which is decidedly Adult Sci-Fi as compared to her Twilight Series. The premise of The Host and story is fantastic.
3. What are your biggest inspirations?
Inspiration comes to me in a lot of different ways. I have had dreams inspire stories or even paintings. It surprises me how inspiration comes at times and in the most unexpected places. I try to always carry a pad of paper to jot down those ideas. As a result, I have a bunch of stories-in-progress, as I am sure a lot of writers do.
4. Do you have a technique in how you choose characters and/or locational settings?
Actually I don’t. I always seem to start with a character or a scene. Almost always those ideas needle away at me till I’m forced to start to outline or write. Then I build from there. I don’t always know where a story is set or where it is going upon the initial seed, but I try to always let them organically grow.
5. Do you listen to music while you are creating your masterpieces?
Most of the time, I do. Oddly enough, my best writing music tends to be Film Scores. I especially love the Brave Heart and Kingdom of Heaven scores, although I do listen to Electronica, Trance and Hard Rock as well. Sometimes I’ll deliberately set a tone with the music, especially if I am writing about a specific scene. Music definitely helps open up the brain to create.
6. What do you do to stay motivated and avoid writer’s block?
Writer’s block can be such a monster. The best thing I can do is to just write, even if it sucks, and I cannot find a rhythm. I need to keep pushing through it. Eventually, I’ll break through. But, when writer’s block is particularly bad, and it’s a story specific issue, I’ll focus on writing something else for a short time to get my brain on board with what I need to do. I’ll even “free write” and then I’ll find I can get back to the story I need to finish.
Sometimes I don’t feel motivated, but I remind myself of where I eventually want to be
7. How has becoming a published author (independent or traditional) changed your perspective on life and is it everything you expected it to be? (If you are not published yet – what changes do you foresee?)
I’m actually right in the throws of getting published for the first time by a publisher. That being said, it is very intriguing andchallenging. Working with an editor is a new thing, but I’m glad someone else is looking over my writing and pointing out typos that I invariably do not catch, no matter how diligent I am.
The overall process is giving me more of a focus on streamlining how I write and to see it both as a creative outlet and a way of life.
8. What are your biggest challenges as an author?
One of my biggest challenges thus far is to focus on what is mine and accept it. I’m all to often driven to compare my successes and writing to others as my gauge of how I’m doing, which is absolutely the wrong thing to do. I’m learning to see myself as unique and to keep working on me. I was given a small sign that I keep on my computer at my day job and my computer at home, which says,
“You’re a great writer.
Not an aspiring writer, a mediocre writer
or a someday, somehow, almost writer.
You’re a great writer right now.
People are going to line up ten deep to tell you that you aren’t good enough. Don’t do their work for them.
Maybe you aren’t published.
Maybe you aren’t successful.
You definitely aren’t perfect.
But you’re a great writer.
Being great doesn’t mean you won’t continue to improve, or be excited and passionate.
My awesome takes nothing away from your awesome; Your awesome takes nothing away from my awesome
Awesome is not a finite resource.
So say it. Out loud. Every day.
“I’M A GREAT WRITER!”
When someone else succeeds, it does not mean I won’t. When I have had to work hard, and someone else hasn’t, it doesn’t mean I am not good or that they are better. Our paths are just different. I just need to be my own cheerleader and keep focused on my goals and to celebrate others, but not compare. Comparisons can be creative death.
Another challenge I have, is that due to some trauma in my life in my teen years, I was passed through school when I shouldn’thave been. When I went to college, I scored high in the concepts of language and vocabulary, but had a lower than high school grasp of English basics. So, as a result, I had to take high school English in college, but I still feel as if I’ve not retained the basics of structure and grammar. I’m a little self conscious of that. I keep English for Dummies on my Ipad and am trying to relearn what I should already know. I have to work very hard at times.
9. Do you have any pets?
I have three dogs and two cats – my furry children as I call them.
10. What hobbies do you have outside of reading and writing?
I am an avid painter and singer. Painting is probably right up there with the writing, which is just another form of storytelling. I get a high from creating a piece of art. If I couldn’t create in any form, I’d die. Creativity defines who I am.
11. Where is the most exciting/memorable place you have been in the world?
When I was on set with George Clooney for the Ides of March. I pursued acting for 3 years and got cast as a “featured extra”. I didn’t get to meet him one on one, but watching the film making process (as he directed the film as well) was so exciting. I drank in the entire experience. He was so respectful to everyone around him and just seemed to have fun while he worked. Plus, film does not do him justice. He is more handsome in person.
Also being on stage, any stage, singing, is pretty memorable.
12. Tell us about your latest work in progress or most recent published work…
At the moment, “The Sentinel’s Insurgency” is in the publication process. It is an adult sci-fi love story. It takes place on Earth and on a planet called “Calias”. The heroine is named Ti, and she is struggling to find out who she is and who others expect her to be. She finds the meaning in a very surprising person.
Additionally, I just completed a paranormal story called “The Veiled” which is with my awesome group of beta readers. I’m in love with these characters. This story flowed out pretty easily and I only had writer's block once. It started with a scene I couldn’t get out of my head until I committed it to paper. Once I did, I simply listened to what they characters wanted to say and where they wanted to go. They wrote their own story in a sense.
You can find Jennifer on Facebook & her Blog