IXEOS by Jennings Wright – Blog Tour Kick Off Interview & Giveaway

Tour Schedule

Author Jennings Wright

Born and raised in Florida, Jennings spent her early years reading anything she could get her hands on, when she wasn’t spending time in and on the water. She won a prize in the 6th grade for her science fiction stories.

Jennings attended the University of Tampa, graduating with a B.A. in Political Science, and almost enough credits for B.A.s in both English and History. She attended graduate school at the University of West Florida, studying Psychology. She spent time over the years doing various kinds of business writing, editing, and teaching writing, but mostly having and raising her family, homeschooling her children, owning and running a business with her husband, and starting a non-profit.

Thanks to a crazy idea called NaNoWriMo Jennings got back into creative writing in 2011 and hasn’t stopped since. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, also a business owner and writer, and two children, and travels extensively with her family, and her non-profit in Uganda.

INTERVIEW
If you could have a superpower, which one would you choose?
I always wanted to be Aquaman when I was growing up! I lived in the water anyway, so the thought of being able to swim without having to breathe was my dream come true. Second would be flying. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be able to fly??
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
I have never liked eating breakfast much, and I don’t like much breakfast food (unfortunately I’ve passed these traits on to my kids!). I almost always eat one of two things for breakfast unless I’m traveling: peanut butter and banana, or Madras lentils with a little grated parmesan cheese. Although if we have chicken and rice left over, that’s in the running!
What is your favorite quote?
I have two that are tied. One is from a fortune cookie: “Success is a planned event.” The other is George Elliott: “It’s never to late to be what you might have been.”
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a charter boat captain in the Bahamas, and a marine biologist. I’d still like to be a charter boat captain!
What do you do in your free time?
That’s a funny question because I have a joke that I’ll “do that in my free time” meaning the thing will never happen! I try to read, spend time with my family, walk, and, in the summer, do anything in or by the water. I travel a lot, too, although a lot of times that’s for my non-profit, so I’m working most of the time. I used to bake a lot, but now that everyone in my family is trying to get fit for my daughter’s wedding in June, they’ve forbidden any baking.
Give us a glimpse into a typical day, starting when you wake up til you lie down again.
My New Years Resolution was to be more organized in my days, so Monday through Friday, this is pretty typical. I wake up around 6:30 or 7:00 and head straight for the coffee maker. I have to drink decaf now, but I still need the hot drink to get me going. I have my “quiet time” until 9:00 – I journal, read, make to-do lists – and then I usually go to the gym or take a walk. By 10:30 I’m at my desk editing, and I do that until lunch at about 12:30. I take an hour for lunch and might run a few errands, or just eat at home and read or watch a recorded “Castle” or “The Mentalist.” I need a mental break between editing and writing, which I do in the afternoons for a few hours. I go by word count, not time spent, so once I reach my goal, I’m done with work for the day. Then it’s time to get dinner started; I make dinner almost every night. We eat around 7:00 (in the summer it’s more like 8:00) and then we hang out, either watching something on TV, a movie, or doing something as a family. I’m usually in bed by 10:00 and read for a half hour or so before turning out the light.
What is your favorite season/weather?
In North Carolina, spring is my favorite season. I love the crisp, clear days and all the flowers and trees blooming. However, my favorite weather is any that’s warm enough to be outside, and especially to be at the beach or on a boat. You can take the girl out of Florida, but you can’t take the Florida out of the girl!
What are your favorite places to travel?
I love to travel anywhere, really, but if I could only pick two (I think it would be impossible to pick just one!), I’d say Uganda and the Bahamas. I travel to Uganda about twice a year for my non-profit, and could easily move there. I’ve been seven times, and it really feels like home. Closer to home, I love the Bahamas. It’s got everything I love about Florida but with prettier water, a slower lifestyle, and more consistently gorgeous weather.
Favorite quote from a movie?
“You shall not pass!” by Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings, when he is confronting the balrog on the bridge. There are a lot of times in life when you have to metaphorically say that – things are going on around you that are crazy, and you just have to take control and say, “No, that’s not happening.”
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
My boss in my first real job after college used to say, “The streets are full of people with talent. I want people with tenacity, common sense, and stick-to-it-iveness.” I’ve never forgotten that, and have tried to pass it on to my kids. Tim Tebow has a similar saying. He says, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” Especially in our culture of super-athletes and celebrities, it’s important to realize that most people who are successful get that way through very hard work.
What inspired your last book?
The story for IXEOS came from two separate things. First, I found out about the almost-200 miles of tunnels under Paris in a National Geographic magazine and thought it was fascinating. I knew it would figure into a book somehow. Then, several months later, my daughter and I were kayaking and stopped at Carrot Island, a small barrier island in front of Beaufort, NC. We walked over the dunes and found a perfectly found pond, full of birds, including a flock of ducks. While we were looking around, the ducks just disappeared. We walked all over the place looking, but never found them. We started texting each other with crazy stories about “where the ducks went” and eventually I connected the ducks with the tunnels in Paris, and IXEOS was born!
Do you write as you go, or do you have the book all planned out from page 1?
I’m a plotting pantser, really! What that means is, when I start writing a book, I know the main plot points from beginning to end, the main characters and sometimes a few secondary characters, and usually the locations that the characters will go to. That’s about it. I don’t do an outline at all, and all I do for my character sketches is put up a big sticky on the wall for each one with their name, description, and a few traits or historical tidbits. The rest develops as I write.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Usually it takes me about a month to write the first draft. I don’t know why, but I write really fast, and I actually do a lot better writing that way. If I have to stretch it out, I lose all the threads and have to keep rereading it. If I write it in a month, I’m able to keep it all straight in my head without notes or rereading. I don’t know why that works for me, but it does!
How do you go about revising/editing?
I go through the book a number of times. I usually do one quick edit after the first draft is complete and send that to my beta readers. While they have it, I don’t do anything to it. When they send back their comments, my general rule of thumb is this: if one person says something, I evaluate it and decide if I agree. If two people say the same thing, I seriously consider it and make changes. If three or more people say the same thing, then it’s a definite rewrite. After I make those changes, I go through it on paper, making revisions and notes and checking for grammar and punctuation problems. When I’m putting those notes and changes in the document, I also do a word by word edit, really paying attention to sentence structure and dialogue. I usually have to add description at this point, because I tend to forget about description while I’m writing. After this edit, I run the document through three different grammar programs. And then it’s done!
How do you juggle writing and family life?
One of the reasons I made the changes and got more rigid with my daily schedule is because last year I was working most nights and weekends, and that wasn’t good. We’ve homeschooled for 13 years now, and my son is a senior, so he’s pretty self-sufficient, and my husband is also a writer. My daughter is away at college most of the time. But we’ve always done a lot together as a family, so making the change to a structured routine has helped me get back to having free time for movies and games and sporting events and all those fun things. I’m not really a person who thrives on structure and routine (in fact, I’ve spent most of my life avoiding both of those things!), but it’s working out well so far, and has definitely achieved my goal of more time with my family.
What is your view on self-publishing?
I came to self publishing early on in my research, and once I found out about it, I have never wanted to go the traditional route. My grandfather and father were self employed, and my husband and I have owned a business for twenty years. I like being in control of my product. I like controlling the cover, the title, the interior, and even the marketing. I don’t mind being responsible for my own success; it comes naturally to me given my background, and I prefer it that way. I see my writing as a business first, and my job as entertaining people. 
What is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process?
Writing is my favorite part, but of the whole process, I think I love when the whole book comes together as a finished product. The first time you hold that paperback in your hand and see all your work in that one package, it’s great. Second best is when my great graphic designer, Glendon Haddix with Streetlight Graphics, brings my ideas for the cover to fruition. He really has a way of taking your ideas and producing the perfect cover, so when I see that email with the attachment for the first time, that is always really exciting.
THIS OR THAT?
TV or Movies? Movies
Hot or Cold? Hot
Chocolate or vanilla? Vanilla
Regular or diet? Diet
Coke or Pepsi? Coke
Action or Drama? Action
Pizza or Pasta? Pasta
City or Country? Country
PC or Mac? Mac
Beach or Pool? Beach
Shoes or Sandals? Sandals
Facebook or Twitter? Facebook
Introvert or Extravert? Introvert
5 PIECES OF ADVICE FOR ASPIRING WRITERS
WRITE. You won’t ever be a writer by talking about it. You have to do it.
KILL YOUR INNER EDITOR. While you’re writing the first draft, don’t edit. Just write.
EDIT. Your first draft is just that. A first draft. It will need a lot of work.
USE BETA READERS. Don’t just ask friends and family, and make sure the people reading will be honest with you.
USE PROFESSIONALS WHERE NEEDED. Unless you’re a graphic artist, don’t design your own cover. If you’re not good at it, don’t edit your own work. Writing is a business, and, just like any business, you’ll need to spend money to make money.

Ixeos

The McClellands are enjoying a lazy summer vacation at the beach when they are lured from our world into Ixeos, an alternate Earth. Finding themselves lost in a maze of tunnels under Paris and surrounded by strangers, they discover that they have been brought to Ixeos for one purpose:  to take the planet back from humanoid aliens who have claimed it. With the aid of the tunnels and a mysterious man named Landon, the teens travel the world seeking the key that will allow them to free Darian, the long-imprisoned rebel leader. But the aliens aren’t the only problem on Ixeos — the McClellands have to deal with brutal gangs, desperate junkies, and a world without power, where all the technology is owned by the aliens, and where most of the population has been killed or enslaved. The worst part? There’s no way home.

Blog Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 4/12/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://www.iamareader.com and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Tour Schedule

March 20th

March 21st
Crafty Zoo with Monkeys – Guest Post
March 22nd
White Sky Project – Tens List
Word to Dreams – Review
March 23rd
Cuzinlogic – Interview
The FirstLink – Guest Post
Mythical Books – Review
March 24th
Paperback Princess – Guest Post or Interview
Book Bliss – Spotlight
Megan S. Johnston – Review
Moosubi Reviews – Review
March 25th
Literarily Speaking – Interview
Strands of Thought – Interview
Bunny Reviews – Excerpt
March 26th
Forever Young Adult – Interview
A Book and a Latte – Guest Post or Tens List
Sarah Ballance – Guest Post or Tens List
Recent Reads – Review
March 27th
Peace From Pieces – Interview
Gobs and Gobs of Books – Spotlight
March 28th
Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews – Character Interview
Jessabella Reads – Tens List
Red Reader Reviews – Interview
March 29th
Spellbindings – Review & Tens List
Clean Teen Reads – Guest Post
March 30th
Unabridged Andra – Guest Post
Bea’s Book Nook – Spotlight
Magic World of Books – Review
Fantasy Books – Interview
March 31st
A Writer’s Dream – Guest Post
KindleObsessed – Excerpt
Shhh…. Not While I’m Reading – Review & Guest Post
April 1st
Fairy Tale Reviews – Guest Post
Book Munchies – Spotlight
Literary Meanderings – Review
April 2nd
Indie Author How-to – Spotlight
Sarah Aisling – Review
April 3rd
Mom With A Kindle – Guest Post
April 4th
Sher A Hart: Writing Art – Guest Post
bookrevolution – Review
April 5th
3PsinaPod – Interview & Review
Lori’s Reading Corner – Guest Post