Interview with Jennifer Stanfield

How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I've registered with Bookbub and Bookgorilla and those are both fantastic for introducing me to new books. I also like to periodically explore Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc to see what's new.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Oh, we're stretching back here. It would have been something when I was very young. I particularly remember my two younger sisters and I writing a bunch of stories when I was ten or eleven. They weren't good stories, they were stories about animals with our names and were mostly meant to insult one another. I remember writing myself as "Cheetenny" the cheetah and I think I wrote my sister Sara as a pig. The only one I remember much of is a story in which we were in a race and she lost by a landslide.
What is your writing process?
I do a lot of thinking first. I have a bunch of partially formed plots kicking around in my head. I tend to mull them over before I fall asleep at night and start with a central element I want in the story and slowly build off that. Sometimes ideas flood in, other times it takes a bit for everything to come together. Once I have a tentative framework for the idea, I just start writing, even if the scene I'm envisioning is out of order and I haven't figured out what will lead up to it yet. I figure it's best to just get it down so I don't forget anything and worry about tying it into a cohesive whole later.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't remember. I've read so many books over the years and I've been reading since at least first grade. My mom was instrumental in developing my love of reading and she read to me frequently as a child. As I started to learn to read, she read with me, helping me along. I don't have the first clue what the first book I read on my own was. I do remember her reading my sisters and me a lot of Little House on the Prairie when I was very young. I loved her voice and wanted to be able to read like her.
How do you approach cover design?
I tried to do it on my own since I have tooled around with GIMP and created some sprites for a game my husband is making in his spare time, and I thought they turned out rather well. I wanted a fairly simple cover, something with a strong solid color base and featuring the Elder Sign H.P. Lovecraft designed. I failed miserably. After much frustration, I asked my husband and he made it for me based on my specifications.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Nook I got some years ago. Maybe five years ago? I don't remember for sure. It's getting old and I should probably replace it with something newer, but it's served me well.
Describe your desk
I write on a laptop that sits on an end table next to my loveseat. The table is flush against the loveseat, so there's no room to put my legs under it. I sit curled up on the loveseat and lean forward to type. There's also a lamp on the table, which is a cherry table with a large glass center and is square shaped. The table's too small to hold anything else.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I'm a big fan of post-apocalyptic stories so I knew I wanted that sort of setting, but I've been getting burnt out on zombie apocalypse (I enjoy it but it's everywhere nowadays). I started considering other sorts of apocalypse and my husband suggested Cthulhu as we both enjoy Lovecraft's works. I thought it would be fun to explore, so that determined my setting.
Beyond that, I wanted to write a story that wasn't all about some tortured preternatural hunk who is irresistibly drawn to the heroine and they both get swept up in their eternal love for each other. I think that sort of story underestimates readers. YA readers aren't all looking for an escapist romance, wishing some vampire/werewolf/fairy/angel/whatever would come sweep them off their feet and make them complete. They know a relationship doesn't complete you; you are a whole person on your own. I wanted to give readers something that isn't about romance or young women being rescued by their love interests, or even about only young women! Men read, too, so I wanted characters that a variety of readers could relate to.
That's why my book follows three very different protagonists. I also wanted to portray a range of perspectives to add complexity to situations that arise. I didn't want to have a clear 'right' or 'wrong' to situations the characters encounter, but instead I wanted to emphasize that different people will view the same situation different ways and more than one viewpoint can be valid. I also wanted to emphasize that many situations in life involve compromise and that moral questions are almost never black and white.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
There are a number of motivators that all came together at the right time to set me on the path of being an indie author. Probably the biggest is that I've never really been happy with the jobs I've had in my past. They were alright, but never something I was excited about and I was always just counting down the minutes until the workday was over. I've long enjoyed reading and loved the idea of being a writer, but didn't have the confidence in myself to believe I could write something worth reading, so I never pursued a writing career before. I envisioned sending manuscripts to publishers and being sent rejection after rejection in return.
Once my second son was born, I found I really didn't want to go back to the grind of working 9-5 at a job I wasn't passionate about and feeling like I was working my life away. I started brainstorming jobs I could do from home when my husband suggested I try writing a book. With the recent explosion of writers self publishing, it seemed like it was actually a viable option and once I started I found I actually had a lot to say and the story started flowing. I'm really excited about my Elder Sign End Times trilogy and I'm having a blast fleshing out the story line of the second book. After the trilogy is finished, I have a bunch of other stories just waiting to be written as well. Ideas keep crowding my mind, waiting for their turn to be written, and I finally feel like I can do them justice. I finally have a job I'm happy to do each day and that keeps me going.
What are you working on next?
Right now I'm working on the second book of my Elder Sign End Times Trilogy, entitled The Dreamlands. I don't want to give much away, but it follows the further adventures of the first book's characters. After that I will write book three and finish the trilogy, which at this point I am considering titling The Mountain of Madness. I don't intend to write more about the same characters after that, but I like the world so I may write other books in that setting further down the line. It won't happen anytime soon, though. After the trilogy is done I have three or four other stories I want to work on. I'm debating if they will also be trilogies or if I'll write one-off books. Maybe some of both, we'll see.
Published 2014-11-29.
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Books by This Author

Elder Sign End Times Trilogy Book One: Arkham
Series: Elder Sign End Times Trilogy. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 70,580. Language: English. Published: November 29, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Horror
Five years ago the monstrous god Cthulhu awoke from his slumber under the sea, sending most of the world into madness. In the aftermath, terrifying creatures entered our world, a cult of human-sacrificing Cthulhu worshippers emerged, and humanity has struggled desperately to survive. Saeko, Dell, and Kelsea are three such survivors, who have lived in the underground bunker of Arkham since age 14.