top of page
Search

Author Interview Series: YA Author Jennifer Glynn

Updated: Apr 20




Today’s guest is Jennifer Glynn, an amazing YA author who calls the beautiful state of Tasmania home. It was a pleasure to connect, as her answers are laden with logic and viewpoints one would expect from a more experienced author. What a wonderful read she provides. Read on and meet Ms. Glynn.


Biography:

 

Jennifer E. Glynn is an Australian Young Adult author best known for her novels The Beaumont Egalitarian Society and Call Me Rumpel.

 

Her work is featured on the Episode Interactive app, where she wrote her first completed novel-length original story, White Wave.

 

When she isn’t writing novels, she is busy at work covering television and movie news stories for Collider.com, teaching at her local primary school, learning AUSLAN (Australian sign language), painting, or hanging out with her uniquely Australian menagerie of cats, quolls, possums, pademelons, and currawongs.

 

Her dream job, other than allowing millions of readers to escape from reality as an author, is to one day open up a small museum filled with the antiques she collects.





Book Blurb :

 

It’s been five months since her sister vanished. Fed up with the poor police response, Aisling O’Connor takes matters into her own hands. Armed with a hastily scrawled note, she re-enrols in the prestigious boarding school, Beaumont Academy.

 

It’s not long before the school’s notorious secret society notices her photography skills. If she can pass their twisted tests and beat the arrogant Reiji Youkai at his own game, they might just give her the answers she needs.


But can they be trusted?



Interview Questions – 

 

1.     Tell us about your latest published work and give a brief synopsis.


My latest novel, The Beaumont Egalitarian Society, was published in September last year. When her sister vanishes at her graduation party, seventeen-year-old Aisling O’Connor makes the ultimate sacrifice: she returns to the elite boarding school, Beaumont Academy. With a hastily scrawled note from her sister, she sets out to ‘find the BES’. 

Finding the BES is easy; getting into the elite secret society designed to expose their peer’s darkest secrets, let alone distract answers from them, is another matter. Not only must she pass difficult initiation tests, but she must also work with the arrogant Reiji Youkai to stop more students from disappearing.

 

2.     Where do your title(s) come from? Do you play around with words, or do they just come from the story?


My titles usually stem from the story. Originally, The Beaumont Egalitarian Society was going to be called Click, Click after the significance of cameras and photography in the story.


Sometimes, a title will come to mind during the plotting stage. If this title is the best fitting, it will be kept, such as for my upcoming novel, Call Me Rumpel (which not only closes the emails sent within the story, but is the novel’s very last sentence). I try to aim for titles that are appealing to readers yet haven’t been widely used before.

 

3.     In Beaumont Egalitarian Society your main characters are Aisling O’Connor and Reiji Youkai. How do the two interact throughout the story?


Aisling and Reiji start off as enemies. Whilst Aisling is initially attracted to his good looks and the way he holds himself, her feelings are quickly put on hold as soon as he opens his mouth. Full of disdain for just about everything, Reiji makes it clear he is not interested in becoming friends, even if they share a love of photography. Aisling is dismayed to find that not only has he been invited to join the Beaumont Egalitarian Society, but the pair must compete for a coveted spot in the secret society.


She detests his lack of interest in what the society aims to achieve, especially when her sister’s life is at stake. Every time she makes progress, he seems to one-up her. Eventually, Aisling concedes Reiji is good at photography, and that perhaps he does have a heart underneath his superiority smirk. Reiji softens enough to share some of his knowledge with her, as well as opening up about his mother.

 

4.     When did you know you wanted to pursue writing as more than a hobby?


I’ve always wanted to write a novel, ever since I was in primary school. I never thought I’d be able to make that dream possible, though. For years I dabbled in writing Harry Potter Fanfiction until I decided to write my own Episode Interactive story. From there, I discovered not only could I write a story beyond an initial idea, but I could turn these stories into novels and publish them. Whilst I still occasionally teach, writing is my passion. To be able to turn it into a career is a dream come true.

 

5.     What keeps you going when writing becomes a challenge?


My dream has always been to be able to hold a physical copy of a novel I wrote. Whenever I’m down, I think back to that memory and realise if I could accomplish that, I can accomplish anything. I have to credit my family and friends, too. Even during my early FanFiction days, they believed I have what it takes to write novels worth reading. If I’m ever down, they continue to encourage me to keep going.

 

6.     How did you decide which genre to write?


Even now, I love reading and writing Young Adult fiction,—including mystery and fantasy. Whilst I read constantly throughout primary, my biggest reading ‘phase’ before work ate most of my free time was during high school and university, where I was often reading the latest popular YA novels (such as Twilight, Vampire Academy, The Hunger Games, etc.)


Combined with my love of all things history and fondness for exploring myths and legends, I find these stories come more naturally than others. As Episode Interactive primarily caters to a younger audience, too, I kept my stories there to a certain guideline, which best fitted Young Adults. Since I’m not a big fan of gore or writing anything too explicit, I found using this platform to gage my target audience really helped the transition to writing novels.


I do intend to write novels catered for adults in the near future, as well as teaming up with my older sister on a children’s book.

 

7.     What is your favorite part of the writing process?


My favourite part of the writing process is editing the first draft. There is something about cutting out unnecessary words and paragraphs and fixing punctuation that makes me smile. I think it’s because in doing so, I know I’ve managed to create another story, something that continues to amaze me. It’s very similar to when I complete a chapter, knowing I’m another step closer to finishing. The only thing that comes close to it is the initial excitement of a new idea, one I’m sure I can carry on.

 

8.     Why do you love writing?


Out of everything I’ve tried over the years, I love writing because I know I can do it. I may not be perfect and still have a lot to learn, but there are many stories in me needing to be told. I love the ability to escape reality and dive into a new adventure, and better still, to be able to wield that magic of allowing others to escape, too.

 

9.     Plotter, Pantser, or a combination of both? Explain your process.


I’m a bit of both, really. Mainly, I like to plot out my novels, first from the initial idea and characters, then to each chapter. Almost always my novel (including the first draft) never ends up how I imagined it would, with scenes and chapters usually writing themselves from new ideas as I go.


Usually, when I get the main plot idea, I jot a few things down and hope for the best that it is solid enough to form a complete story. Nine times out of ten, pantsing it usually works out for the best.


10.  What do you need to work on? (character development, plot, worldbuilding, etc?)


I think I most need to work on character development and my narrative style. Whilst building off established characters was easy in FanFiction (even with minor characters), it is alot harder to create a whole new set of characters and their interests and motivations.

When I wrote White Wave, it was easy to establish characters as they were based on past experiences and people I’ve met along the way. I knew them intimately enough to know what they wanted and how they think, including little details such as favourite colours and child-like ambitious—things that didn’t even make the final cut. 


However, after churning out one story after another, it becomes difficult to avoid repetition. I believe my characters could benefit from a deeper look, and I’ll be focusing on such in my latest novel edits. My narration style, too, could use work, avoiding the typical adolescent voice for something more intimate and unique.

 

11.  What is your writing environment like? Do you write with a pen and paper or computer? Do you need quiet or play background music?


My current writing environment is chaotic at best. I’m currently waiting on taking back my own home office, where I can sit at my desk and write without interruption (here’s looking at my cats and their penchant for walking over the keyboard.)


At the moment, I’ve taken to sitting on the couch with my laptop and a steaming cup of tea (that I inevitably forget to drink and have to make fresh… about twenty times). The television is usually on as background noise, but I prefer to write in silence without distraction. I form a little bubble, focusing on my writing.


Usually, I find writing at night when the house has gone to sleep—including the geese, dog, and chickens, who love to call for my attention just as I come up with the perfect sentence or find the word I’ve been looking for. I seem to get a lot of motivation to get stuck into my writing past ten o’clock, even if my body is telling me it’s time to think about retiring for the night.


Sometimes if I don’t have my computer at hand, I take to writing in a notebook I keep by my bedside table. If I get an idea I know I’ll forget by the morning, I’ll scribble it onto a random page and hope for the best that I can later decipher it or remember why the idea had me so excited in the first place.


12.  If you could travel to any ‘dream’ destination in the world to write, where would it be?


I’d love to go to the United Kingdom to write, including anywhere in Ireland overlooking farms and fields, just about anywhere in Scotland, or in the Lakes District in northwest England. I feel most at peace writing in front of an endless view of nature and fresh air (not to mention the benefits to my eyesight taking a break from the screen). 


I’m lucky enough to have a good mountain view here in Tasmania (Australia), but more often than not, the weather doesn’t permit staying outside for too long (or birds flying overhead who have an exceptional aim if you know what I mean). I know the UK doesn’t quite have a good reputation when it comes to weather, but it would certainly be worth the move.

 

13.  Are parts of your book(s) based on real life experiences or imagination?


My novel has a bit of both. Whilst some of the characters, let alone their emotions, are based on real life encounters and experiences, much of it is purely based on my imagination. For example, my high school peers were a lot friendlier and less competitive than those at Beaumont Academy, but some of the interactions were based on past experiences. Sadly, we did not have an underground secret society (at least not one I was invited to). I may have also borrowed the physical appearances and names of people from my past, but their personalities and actions are, of course, entirely fictional. On that note, the school’s founder, Lady Jane Beaumont, is loosely based on Lady Jane Franklin, who loved exploring back in her day.


The legend of the camera stealing the soul has been around for as long as the camera itself has (mainly in Japan, but in other cultures, too). However, and here is a spoiler, the idea of it literally taking a person and trapping them inside a polaroid is purely from my imagination. 


In my story, White Wave, the characters are largely based on people I know 9with exaggeration). For example, Talise is a middle child like myself, and just like myself, her experience in the world is largely guided by her familial relationships.

 

14.  Out of all your stories (or your current novel) who is your favorite character and why?


Talise Gold from White Wave (novel coming soon) has to be my favourite. I love that Talise is not perfect, and certainly not the strongest when it comes to being able to manipulate water, but she owns it. Despite the expectations placed upon her because of her princess status, she still manages to charm everyone around her. Her strength comes from seeing the good in others, in being brave despite her fears, and staying true to her beliefs. I hope that she will motivate girls (and boys) to keep trying no matter what.


Ren Youkai from The Beaumont Egalitarian Society, on the other hand, has charmed me despite his role in the story. Apart from his love of pulling things apart to see how they work and his mischievous smile, I love that Ren always seeks to cheer everyone up despite his own problems. His fierce loyalty may be misplaced in some situations, but he never seeks to let anyone down or hurt them.

 

15.  Which was the easiest character for you to write, good or evil?


I’m surprised to have found that writing evil characters is actually quite easy once I establish their motivations. Once I get into their minds and understand how their actions correlate with their thoughts, they are quite easy (and fun) to write.


Lorelei, the main character from my most recent Episode Interactive story (Lorelei) is best described as morally grey, as is her love interest, Castor. Fed up with society and constantly being let down, it was quite easy toeing the line between someone who has good in them, and someone who could care less what people think about them. As thieves, neither character shows particular care for their victims, even if they try justifying their behaviour in a Robin Hood manner.

 

16.  Are there certain characters you would like to go back to?


I cannot wait to write more about Ren, as well as all the characters in both White Wave (including more on Adrian Winters and characters from the Earth and Air kingdoms) and The Beaumont Egalitarian Society. I’ve invested the most time in them and know them as though they exist in real life. (Don’t worry; this is perfectly normal author behaviour… or so I’ve been told. I’m perfectly fine, I swear.)


I’d like to invest more of this time really shaping one of my characters in my upcoming novel, Call Me Rumpel. Sean Smith features as a main character, yet I feel he could use a lot more shaping up and exploration. How I’m going to do that, I’m not quite sure at this point, but I can’t wait to get stuck in with him.


17.   Is there a theme or idea you love to work with?


I absolutely love exploring myths and legends, as well as history, in new ways. For example, I’ve taken two Japanese legends (cameras stealing souls and kitsunes haunting dreams) to create my novels, The Beaumont Egalitarian Societyand The Kitsune’s Lullaby. I find these myths and legends give me more plot ideas than purely plucking things out of thin air, or rather, help shape my plots from initial ideas. In The Kitsune’s Lullaby, for example, my initial idea was to write about a murderer haunting a new student’s dreams.


To give it more shape, I researched various legends involving creatures and nightmares, and when I stumbled upon a kitsune’s role in dreaming, the idea really took off. It was particularly fitting that the characters who become his victims are all creative, which is believed to aid a kitsune’s (who are normally supposed to be allies to humans) ability to invade the mind and control.


I love using historical figures to form my characters and stories as well. So far, this has only helped form a poorly-thought-out mafia story involving a modern-day girl inspired by Elizabeth I, and her mafia don father, Henry. In my defence, this was during my romanticised mafia reading phase, where the story seemed to have a lot of potential. Perhaps I will revisit it one day, but right now, Elizabeth I’s memory can be safely free of avoiding unrequited high-school crushes and laughable attempts at portraying organised crime. Writing a story set in a magical school is a goal for the future, one I’m excited yet equally nervous to try out considering the genre’s popularity.

 

18.  What are you working on now? Any interesting projects in the works you want your fans to know about?


At the moment, I’m in the final stages of a secret Episode Interactive project, which I hope to submit in the next few days (which I’ve been saying for a few weeks… but any day now…). I’m afraid I cannot say too much about it due to contracting, but I hope to be shouting about it from the rooftops if it proves successful.


Other than editing my upcoming novel, Call Me Rumpel, I’m hoping to resume work on my other novels. These include the sequel to The Beaumont Egalitarian Society, and the novelised versions of White Wave, The Monsters We Hide, As You Wish, and of course, The Kitsune’s Lullaby. My mind is constantly changing my enthusiasm for the order of these, but I hope to get the next novel out by the end of the year, and two (or more) each year following.

 

19.  What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has? Write it out here, then answer it.


“Can we turn this into a Netflix series?”—the dream of many, many authors worldwide. Sadly, I don’t think it will be likely that this will happen for The Beaumont Egalitarian Society (the chances are slim to none that anyone will read it in the first place, let alone diminishing even more as I am a first-time writer), but I still hold out that hope. I’ve heard that many first-time authors have this belief that their novel will be the next big hit (and sometimes they are!), but the reality doesn’t quite work out that way.


I’ve already achieved my deepest wish in publishing a book, but I am a dreamer, and I wouldn’t say no. For now, I’ll keep improving, and maybe one day, will achieve greater things. The first step is getting my stories out of my mind and into the world. If I don’t try, I won’t know what could happen.


20.  If you were to recommend a book to your best friend, which one would it be?


The Lifeguard by Richie Tankersley Cusick (the author of Buffy). This Young Adult murder mystery is pretty tame for its genre, yet it is the first murder mystery I was ‘brave’ enough to read (about thirteen or younger). I fell in love with the entire concept, and ever since, I’ve continued to re-read it again and again and used it as inspiration for my own novels. This is based on personal taste, of course, but I love curling up on a rainy night and letting my imagination run wild.

 

21.  Help your fans get to know you. Share a hobby or interest of yours and tell us a bit about it.


One of my favourite hobbies is collecting antiques. From dinosaur bones and teeth (again, I’m fine, I swear), to Roman, Byzantine, and Greek coins, Egyptian jewellery to viking rings, all the way to Victorian and Edwardian jewellery, cameras, and other treasures, nothing is safe from my curiosity. The time period doesn’t particularly concern me, as most eras of history have always fascinated me. 


Nothing in my collection is likely to be considered to be museum quality, but I don’t seek perfection in my collection. The very fact that someone has held that item in the past, that it is older than anyone alive and has managed to survive time, has my heart beating fast. To me, these items are priceless, with their own stories to tell.


One day, I hope to put my collection on display in a mini-museum for others to see and enjoy.


 


 


8 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page