Monday, August 2, 2021

Author Interview with J Lynn Hicks

Alright y'all, this is another amazing author that I met through the FB Group Dystopian Ink. I haven't read her books yet, but I did her short story in Once Upon a Dystopia. I am so grateful that she took the time out of her busy schedule to do this interview! Let's dive in shall we?

Q: What is your name and where do you live?
A: Hello! My name is J Lynn Hicks, but I go by Jennifer. I live in the Tennessee, one of the most beautiful places in the United States.

Q: Are you an Indie Author or do you work with a publishing company? 
A: I’m a proud Indie Author. I’ve still much to learn, but I’m glad to have control over my own material. 

Q: What genre(s) do you write? 
A: I write young adult dystopian science fiction, because they’ve always been my favorite books to read.

Q: What made you want to become a writer in the first place?
A: I’ve always dabbled with poetry and short stories, but I never thought about writing a book. Interestingly enough, I was teaching a class on narrative writing, and I started a prompt to help the students get past the “I can’t” jitters. I liked what I wrote so much I turned it into my first novel. After that, I was hooked.

Q: Do you work a regular job in between books?
A:No. I’m retired from teaching.

Q: How many books have you published?
A: I have published three, The Daughter of Rebellion trilogy.

Q: How many books do you have in the works right now?
A: I’m currently working on a quartet of the Biome Books, and I’ve got another book that I haven’t decided whether to use as a stand-alone or develop into another series. So, I’m technically working 5 books.
I’m also in an upcoming anthology with Dystopian Ink for a fairy-tale/dystopian match up short story.
(This beauty is available now!)

Q: What was your hardest scene to write so far?
A: The first scene to my first book was the hardest to write. I must have rewritten the beginning dozens of times to get just the feel I needed. First chapters remain my biggest challenge. My characters also go through a lot of upheaval, so I experience them as I pour them on the page. It’s exhausting.

Q: How many books do you have that are not being currently worked on, but are half-written or complete but unpublished?
A: Uhm, 5, maybe 6. I don’t think I’ll publish them without major overhauls. They were my learning books.

Q: Do you have a series developing?
A: The Biome Books is a quartet, that follows Liberty Moore as she navigates the space between altered reality and her disintegrating world. Book 1 is almost finished, Book 2 is with a developmental editor, 3 is freshly plotted, and 4 is still in the idea phase.

Q: Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
A: My books connect, and there are delightful little references to my other series. Still, I believe every book should stand on its own. There is a major conflict that is resolved in each book, but they build together, as well.

Q: What is your next book that is set to be published and when is the release day?
A: If all goes well, I hope to publish the Biome books in November. I’ll quick release them about 3 weeks apart.

Q: How long did it take you to write it?
A: Each book takes about 3 months, but I’m working on 2-3 simultaneously, just at different stages.

Q: What did you do when your characters stop talking (writer’s block) to you during the process?
A: Knock on wood, I’ve thus far not experienced any real writer’s block. The ideas come as I summon them. I do have to take a lot of breaks though, due to a serious medical condition. I have to have a lot of downtime.

Q: What routine do you have when you sit down to write a book?
A: I plot using a combination of traditional 3-act structure and The Story Grid. Once I get everything plotted the way I want it, I write a no-looking back first draft, take a break for a couple of weeks, reread, and edit in this order: shape up, developmental, grammar/style check, read aloud, line editing, proofreading. I am constantly rereading through all steps. I probably read a book 12 times before it’s published.

Q: Do you write it all out in long sittings or short ones (sprints)?
A: I’m definitely a sprinter. I use a sprinting service, a writing accountability group, and a private discord server with sprints. 

Q: Do you get exhausted or energized during writing sessions?
A: Writing energizes me to a certain degree, but I start to fizzle out after 3k words. Editing sessions? I can go for hours.

Q: Where do you get your ideas for your books?
A: Most of my works, published and unpublished, have to do with technology gone wrong. To get ideas, I think of what is, then morph it into what could be, and then look for inherent problems. So far, it’s worked well. 

Q: Is there another author you look up to or strive to be as successful as?
A: Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth, Margaret Atwood, Lois Lowry are currents. I’m also a fan of Rad Bradbury, George Orwell, William Golding. Actually, the list is endless. 😊. 
Suzanne Collins really taps into what I want to write, not just because it was successful—that actually makes my job harder. I love her immersive style and constant tension. I enjoy her style, and it blends in with my own without parroting her voice.

Q: Are you a reader yourself? 
A: Yes! I read a wide range of books, both fiction and nonfiction. For fiction, I love the kinds of books I write, dystopians. I’m also a huge fan of mystery thrillers and classic literature. As for nonfiction, I also read a lot of writing craft books. Christian self-help, and quirky factoid books. I am trying to read more books on marketing.

Q: If so, are you a beta or ARC reader for anyone else? (You don’t have to name for who if you do not wish to.)
A: Absolutely. Beta and ARC reading is so valuable to my own writing and to my fellow author’s. I have also edited 3 books.

Q: Do you like to read the same genre(s) you write?
A: Of course, it’s the best genre there is! I may be biased.

Q: Do you have a favorite book or a book that stands out the most?
A: I think about The Giver and The Good Earth for their simple style. It’s a straight shot to the story.

Q: Have you ever cried, laughed, or had a real emotional response to a book?
A: Indeed, I have. I don’t cry or laugh as often as I experience the conflict of the characters. I’m so often torn on how the character could respond.

Q: What kind of social media do you have?
A: I have several social media profiles:. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads. Due to my target audience, I’m considering TikTok.

Q: Do you like to connect with your readers using your chosen platforms?
A: Yes! I love to hear what they are reading and how they experience a variety of books. 

Q: Do you have any author friends that have helped you with your writing process or just been there for support?
A: I have a tribe of writer friends both in life and online. We make each other better.

Q: What was the best money ever spent as a writer?
A: Good question! Honestly, the best money is Office. I use Word to write, PowerPoint to plan, and Excel to schedule. Boring, I know, but it’s the truth!

Q: How does your family feel about your writing?
A: My family are supportive of my writing. They know it’s a safe escape for me, and they give me the room and liberty to grow.

Q: Is there anything about you that your readers don’t know that you would like them to know?
A: Hmmm. Here are some fun facts.
I have a doctorate in education.
I’m a classically trained method actor.
I snuck into the country once.
I live with bipolar I disorder.
I’m related to Davy Crockett.
I can’t remember faces (face blindness).




Alright folks there you have it! J Lynn Hicks has been hard at work with all her books and taking care of her mental health. I loved her stories in Dystopian Ink, and look forward to checking out her other books. I am so thankful that she took time to do this interview! I hope you guys go check out her social media pages and her books!

Author Interview with J Lynn Hicks

Alright y'all, this is another amazing author that I met through the FB Group Dystopian Ink. I haven't read her books yet, but I did...