Behind the Book with Jenna Greene
Liz - Tell us a little bit about your part of the world. Have you always lived there? What do you like most about it?
Jenna - I currently live in Lethbridge, Alberta. I’ve lived here since I was eight years old, so pretty much my entire life. While I do miss the trees and water of Vancouver island, where I was born, the open skies of the Canadian Prairies call to me. Blue skies with fluffy clouds are soothing to my soul.
Liz - You love to dance! What form of dancing is your favourite and do you attend formal classes or dance for yourself? Have you always loved to dance?
Jenna - As a child, I did ballet and ethnic dances of various countries. As an adult, I have varied from a thousand different styles, though my favorite is Jive. I have attended formal classes for the last ten years. I’m taking a break from dance right now, to focus on podcasting and writing, but I still dress in outfits and bop around the house with my four year old.
Liz - As a middle-school teacher, did this influence you writing for a YA target audience?
Jenna - You’d think so! And it certainly did. But when I first got the idea for my book, IMAGINE, I was still a YA myself. I was seventeen at the time and the idea stayed with me until I wrote it. Then years of working with teens and pre-teens kept me up to date on YA literature and kept my interest peaked. Now that I’ve popped into the lower grades, I still love YA but also have gained an interest in books targeted at even younger audiences.
Liz - What subject(s) do you teach? What was your favourite subject(s) when you were in school?
Jenna - I teach nearly every subject at some point of the day. And a plethora of grades as well. I pretty much sprint around the school, having the time of my life. In school, my favorite subjects were Language Arts and Social Studies. (I love reading and I love a good debate).
Liz - Can you tell us about dragonboats? How long have you coached?
Jenna - I started the sport of dragonboating when I was 20…. Which was quite a few years ago. I have paddled, coached, drummed. I am horrific at steering, though. I think I’ve been coaching for 10-12 years. I can’t really remember when I started.
Liz - You share my appreciation of napping. Would you call yourself a power-napper? A timed napper? Or do you just nap for however your mind wants to?
Jenna - I nap whenever and wherever I can. I get up really early for work (5:45) through the week and so I try and score a nap on a Friday or Saturday afternoon. It doesn’t always happen, though. But wow, nothing rejuvenates you like a nap!
Liz - Your first book was Heroine – can you tell us about the inspiration behind and how you found the process of writing your first novel?
Jenna - Heroine was inspired by my high school experiences and emotions: the throes of first loves, the longing for outside influence to ‘rescue’ your life… with some drama thrown in that never happened to me in reality.
Liz - How long did it take you to write the Imagine series? Had you always intended it to be a series?
Jenna - The Imagine series has been a work in progress for nearly two decades. It was always intended to be a series, though it was initially planned as a trilogy and now it appears it will end up being a quartet. I’d better get busy writing the last one!
Liz - You have beautiful covers. Who designs the book covers for you?
Jenna - Amazing artists that my publishers arrange for me. I can’t draw – not even stick people.
Liz - Have you always written poetry and would you consider releasing a book of your poems in the future?
Jenna - I love writing poetry. That doesn’t mean I’m any good at it. I’ll probably never release any poetry books. But that doesn’t mean I will quit. Not all writing has to be in print. Not all genres/ styles have to be genius. Writers write to express.
Liz - Congratulations on your Gold Moonbeam Award for you latest book, Reborn! How does it feel now you’re an award-winning author?
Jenna - (Faints). Wowza. Pretty good. But, honestly, reviews from readers mean more, especially when they are metaphorically banging on your door asking for the next in the series.
Liz - Can you tell us about Reborn?
Jenna - Reborn is my take on prejudice and slavery. Lexil is a character with 7 marks on her skin. This means she is a Reborn – someone who has lived before. As such, she has to toil in service to those who have not had previous lives. Of course, we don’t know if this information is correct. Is she really connected to the past or is it an excuse to place her in slavery?
Liz - You developed your own unique and complex mythology for the book—what was that like in terms of your process/research/planning etc?
Jenna - This book just flowed from my fingers, as if inspired by a muse. I planned scenes and then wrote them, with a vague over-arching idea. The ending was set in my head, but the middle wrote itself. After it was finished, I spent a great deal of time thinking through the rest of the series, and planning it in more detail.
Liz - You’re currently working on the sequel, Renew. What can fans of Reborn expect with the sequel? Do you think the story will continue on past Renew?
Jenna - The sequel, RENEW, will be released this June. This story will pick up a few weeks after Reborn closed. Lexil and Finn will realize that the Unclaimed Cities is not as idyllic as it was proclaimed. It has problems of its own. Lexil will also have to tackle the guilt she feels for abandoning Kita to punishment and slavery while she was able to escape. The third book, RESTORE, is already drafted and is just beginning its own journey to publication.
Liz - Do you have any other writing projects you’re either thinking about or working on?
Jenna - I have a few ideas for picture books tangling round in my head. I also have a novella which will be part of an anthology.
Liz - You’re a co-host for the Quill and Ink Podcast – how did you come to start this podcast and what do you enjoy most about it?
Jenna - My co-host, Miranda Oh, and I were paired up by our mutual publicist, Mickey Mikkelson. We started at the very beginning of 2020 and have been on air for just over a year. We both adore talking to fellow authors and learning about their styles, lives, habits, etc.
Liz - Where can our readers follow you?