Denise Jaden’s novels have been shortlisted or received awards through the Romance Writers of America, Inspy, and SCBWI. The first draft of her debut novel, Losing Faith (Simon & Schuster), was written in 21 days during NaNoWriMo 2007 and she loves talking with writers and students alike about her Just-Get-To-The-End fast-drafting process. Jaden’s other young adult novels include Never Enough (Simon & Schuster) Foreign Exchange (an Editor’s Pick from Evernight Teen), A Christmas Kerril, and Avalanche. Her nonfiction books for writers include, Writing with a Heavy Heart, Fast Fiction, and Story Sparks. Find out more at Denisejaden.com.
Questions and Answers from Denise Jaden:
- Where did you come up with the idea for Story Sparks? After my book Fast Fiction was released, I did a number of presentations and speaking engagements for writers. One of the most prominent questions I received was, “Where do you get your story ideas,” and Story Sparks was born out of that question.
- What have you done for a living besides writing? Besides writing, I have also been a mushroom farmer, church secretary, actress, and a Polynesian dancer, to name a few things. I still really enjoy dancing with my Polynesian dance troupe and I imagine that will always be a part of my life.
- Describe a typical day in the life of Denise Jaden. I don’t think there’s much that’s typical or consistent about my time schedule, but here is a list of things I try to juggle into each day: Writing, homeschooling my son, email/Twitter/Facebook correspondence, scheduling promotions, working out at the gym, taxiing my son around to judo, auditions and acting jobs, school commitments, upkeep of the books for our family businesses, tea-drinking, and family time.
- What’s your favorite procrastination activity? Social Media. But social media helps spur me on to write sometimes as well. You can find me at @denisejaden , on Twitter, where I have a network of writers who procrastinate—er, I mean, spur each other on—under the hashtag #wipmadness . You’re welcome to hang out with us any time, or you can also find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/denisejadenauthor/
- Do you have any other books for writers planned? Not at the moment, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be any. With my first nonfiction book, Writing With a Heavy Heart, the idea for this books came at me fast and furious, so I couldn’t think of anything else for a while. The same thing happened for both Fast Fiction and Story Sparks. I expect if I start on another craft book, it will again be with a very sudden burst of energy and ideas.
- Have you always wanted to be a writer? No, actually I grew up doing everything I could to avoid writing and reading. I only came into my love of literature in my thirties and now try to make up for it by reading several books a week.
- Other than your own books, what books would you recommend to writers wanting to write or finish a book? Get it Done by Sam Bennett, Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder, and The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp are some great ones!
- Where is the coolest place you’ve ever spoken or performed? With writing, I’ve had an opportunity travel and present workshops in some pretty cool places, including Oklahoma City, Seattle, and New York City. But if I had to pick a favorite place, it would probably be when my dance troupe traveled to Japan together to perform throughout some of their bigger hotels. It’s somewhere I probably never would have otherwise traveled, so I was thrilled for the experience.
- What was your first piece of creative writing? When I was in high school, I took a directing and scriptwriting class. A small group of us collaborated on a script which was just basically a bunch of angsty characters spouting angsty dialogue.
- Are you currently working on anything new? Yes! I’m always working on something. At the moment, my focus is young adult fiction. I’m working on my first series, comprised of seven contemporary novels about a wild girl and a struggling musician, and the many roads they travel with, and without, each other.