Author Interview: Jennifer Worrell

1. Have you ever considered writing under a pseudonym, and why or why not?

I do write under a pseudonym for smut, since using my own name could lead to some uncomfortable holiday parties. I also have ideas for picture books, and I really don’t want kids to stumble on something inappropriate.

2. Have you ever traveled as research for your book?

Yes, I’ve gone to places that inspired settings in my stories. Seeing them in person helps me visualize the site I have in my imagination, and I can describe them more easily because I’m writing from experience.

3. Have you listened to any audiobooks? Which did you enjoy the most?

I listened to Close Range by Annie Proulx in the car, purely because Bruce Greenwood was reading. Then I realized I wasn’t really listening to the stories. Luckily I read the collection first.

4. How do you come up with character names for your stories?

Sometimes they’re homages to people or things that inspired me. Sometimes they’re symbolic. In the case of my current work in progress, I stole it from a waiter. His name was printed on my breakfast receipt, and I thought, what a perfect fit.

5. What book (or books) are you currently reading?

Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi—I picked it for my book club after a friend recommended it—and Forothermore, about Nick Cave’s latest art exhibition. His work is stunning, so consider this a poke to see it in person. I’m also reading a lot of stuff for research, including One Square Inch of Silence by Gordon Hempton.

6. What do the words “writer’s block” mean to you?

It means it’s time to take a break. Writer’s block is real, no matter what other people say. Sometimes you’re completely stuck with no idea how to move forward. So ponder the plot, read more, study characters in movies, write a different project, get out and live a little. Eventually the kink will work itself out.

7. What has helped or hindered you most when writing a book?

Retreats help a lot. You don’t have to register for some official thing, just book a getaway somewhere inspiring. If you can’t afford to go anywhere, you can write in parks or libraries. As long as it’s someplace you don’t normally write, it helps clear your mind.

8. What’s your favorite and least favorite part of publishing?

Marketing. It’s the absolute worst thing and I don’t understand how any of it works. I assume this interview counts, maybe?

9. Whom do you trust for objective and constructive criticism of your work?

I’m in a wee writers group online and we’ve been swapping stories for years. We understand how to critique while still giving support. Without them I’d still be hiding my stories in a box in the closet!

10. What books did you grow up reading?

I think I read every Apple Paperback ever created. I’m also a big fan of Cynthia Voigt. Every so often I revisit the ones I kept and lament the ones I gave away. Thank god for libraries!

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