Interview with Jennifer Withers

What is your e-reading device of choice?
I like both the Kindle and the Kobo. Although the Kobo Touch, which is what I own, isn't as fancy as the Kindle, I find it really lightweight and easy to read off.
What is your writing process?
Writing is a job. If you want to be any good at it, or get anywhere with it, you need to do it every day. I normally write first thing in the morning, for one hour, and in that time, my goal is to hit 500 words. If I do more, then great, but 500 is my minimum. If I don't get it done in that hour, then I finish up when I get home from work. This is when I'm actually in the process of writing, but that hour can also be used for brainstorming, working on characters, or world building. For me, I have to set aside a specific time to work - it's what keeps me motivated.
Describe your desk
It's a desk I've owned since I was in highschool, bought for me by my parents. It's a wooden desk with a wooden chair, and although it's a beautiful rich brown hue now, it used to be baby blue. Don't ask - apparently it was the done thing in the 90s to paint your desk blue. Or it was just me.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I lived in a tiny town called Potgietersrus, in South Africa, until I was 10 years old. My father was, and still is, a pig farmer, and so I spent the first years of my childhood on a farm outside of the abovementioned town. It was an Afrikaans town, and at that age, Apartheid was still a large part of our landscape. When it ended, and Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first black president, I was only 12 years old and very sheltered from the brutality of what had been happening in my country for years. Today, race is still a very contentious issue for most South Africans. Having that background growing up, and being a part of a family who, back then and still now, believe in the rights of all human beings, has given me a strong sense of equality. It's an issue that's at the heart of my first novel, The War Between.
When did you first start writing?
When I was seven years old. I liked to bang out stories on my mom's old typewriter, stories which inevitably revolved around dragons, damsels in distress, and handsome princes. I liked to let the princesses, or damsels, save themselves most of the time. My mom still has the stories packed away somewhere. It's as I grew up that I realised how much freedom and joy lay in writing a story where I got to make all the decisions, and that best of all, I got to decide on the ending.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It's a story set in my home country, South Africa, in a region called Gauteng. It's set in a world following a human war over resources, and the only known cities left in The Waste, is Toria and Jozenburg. Toria is the human city, while Jozenburg is inhabited by superhumans - beings who are identical in appearance to humans, but have extraordinary gifts like telekinesis, mindreading, and superior strength and speed. The crux of the story is what happens when these two worlds collide.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I don't really think of myself that way. I had a story I wanted to tell, and I didn't want that story to be at the mercy of someone else's opinion. I will go this route with my next book, and all the books that follow, because this way it's in my hands, and I get to decide where my books will end up. I get to decide my own fate.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Creating worlds that don't exist, or spinning a version of the world we live in now. Creating characters out of nothing but my imagination. And best of all, to put out a story that others can get immersed in, and can live in. That's the greatest reward of reading, isn't it? To live as someone else, in a place you've never been to, just by turning the page of a book.
Who are your favorite authors?
Stephen King and Jodi Picoult vie for the top position as my favourites. I also love Jojo Moyes, and of course, Suzanne Collins. Who didn't love The Hunger Games?
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I'm on Goodreads, which is a great platform for writers and readers alike. You can add books you've read, add shelves, like dystopian or favourites, and based on your choices, you then get recommendations. You can see what your friends are reading, and recommend your reads, or get recommendations, from them. You can add books you want to read, so you don't have to remember the names of every book you may have seen online!
Published 2016-02-23.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The War Between
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 131,340. Language: English. Published: February 5, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic, Fiction » Literature » Literary
A human war over dwindling resources has all but destroyed the world. In a country once known as South Africa, two cities struggle to survive.