This is an interview with author Jeyna Grace that I recently conducted through Facebook. Jeyna Grace is a fantasy author who resides in Malaysia. She writes both fan-fiction and original fiction.
A. J : At what age did you start writing? Which writer was your first inspiration?
Jeyna : I started writing in the form of a diary around the age of 9, but I only began writing fiction at 13.
Honestly, I didn’t have a favourite writer that first inspired me. I just wanted to write, so I did 🙂
A. J : What are the genres you write in? Which was the first book you published? Tell us a bit about the story.
Jeyna : I usually write fantasy, but I do try out other genres as well; speculative fiction and drama.
The first book I self-published was The Dreamer back in 2011. I actually published it in paperback first. It was a story inspired by true events and based on a bible character that I admire, Joseph. I can honestly say it is not my best work, but The Dreamer propelled me forward. If I did not release it, I probably would not have improved and written more works.
A. J : Fantasy as we all know is a tough genre to write in, particularly because of its clichés (chosen one, dark lords, Gandalf like tutor, etc, etc). How do you keep your stories unique? Also tell us what you think the fantasy genre would be like in, say, 50 years from now.
Jeyna : It is indeed cliché. I myself have written stories that fall under the chosen one theme. The only way I can keep it unique is to introduce a new premise and plot that no one has ever written of before. Hopefully, that draws a reader in enough to keep them hooked throughout the story.
The fantasy genre will pretty much be the same. Compare the genre written by Tolkien and Lewis with today’s authors, the themes are rather similar. A genre cannot change much, and it is up to authors to make it interesting enough to keep it alive.
A. J :
Which leads to new sub genres popping up. Anyway 4th question: How do you revise and edit? Any tips for newbie indie authors? Do you use a professional editor?
Jeyna : That’s true.
I do not have a professional editor, as their services are not cheap. I usually do the revising and editing myself. After I write a chapter, I would go through it again and try to improve it. If it reads fine, I write the next chapter. Once a book is completed, I leave it for a while and focus on other projects. Letting the book ‘rest’ will help in future edits.
I run through my works once every few months after they are completed, so that my eyes are able to spot new errors and odd sentences. I also get a few people I trust and ask them to be my beta readers. Aside from giving feedback, they also help point out silly mistakes.
Training your eyes to spot errors take time, so never rush with editing. If you have a few works ready to be edited, rotate between them so you won’t be reading the same text over and over again. It can get boring and tiring.
A. J : What about the marketing and advertising part? How many books have you sold till now?
Jeyna : Marketing and advertising is the hard part. I can only market my books through my blog and social networks. I still haven’t found the best way to promote my works yet.
I’ve sold around 300 books since my first novel, though about 100 of them were given as free downloads.
A. J : Do you plot your stories in detail before writing them, or do you plot on the go as you write?
Jeyna : I give my stories a skeleton, a basic plot, and work around it when I write. I develop enough, making sure I will be able to finish writing the story while I explore the premise and characters as I write.
A. J : Which is your latest book? Any completed work(s) you’ll be releasing soon?
Jeyna : My latest release is a novella titled Raindrops. I hope to release my second novel, The Prince, by the end of this year. I will also be releasing a spin-off novel, The Battle for Oz, and a novelette, Love Tank, next year.
A. J : Anything else you’d like to tell about the role that writing plays in your life?
Jeyna : Writing plays a big role in my life. My friends know me as the writer because that’s all I do. I work as a writer and I play as a writer. I might feel drained at times, but my passion is always there to give me a boost. Wherever I go in life, I’ll continue to write.
You can find Jeyna’s books Here