Interview with Jessica Kenley

Who are your favorite authors?
Ha! I don't think I've ever been asked that! Dad is definitely my favorite author, although he never got any of his works published. I have one of his "story poems" in my book Kidowed that he wrote for my son Ethan at Christmas. When my sister and I were teenagers, we were always in a tizzy about one thing or another. If my Dad had inadvertently caused the tizzy, he would write us a poem apology. He's the best. Anyway, other authors, wow, there are a lot--Maya Angelou, Anne Frank, Frank McCourt, my friend John Wilson (also unpublished but I may steal from him too), Jewel Kilcher, Shel Silverstein, Maurice Sendack (who I share a birthday with!), Dr. Suess, Roald Dahl, Dave Pelzer, Lolly Winston, Eleanor Roosevelt, Henry Ford, Benjamin Franklin, Mitch Albom, George Orwell, Daniel Quinn...okay okay that's probably enough.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My kids!!!!!!!!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Wellllllllllll, these days I am usually either knee deep in sand or water or glitter or play-doh with a 4 year old little girl or elbow deep in poop or barf or pureed vegetables with two little boys. Or any combination of these things. With a big smile on my face!
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Word of mouth usually. Friends or family members mention books to me that they liked, and then I go look them up, or sometimes I get ideas from Facebook posts or Goodreads.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Oooooooh yes. I wrote a story from the viewpoint of a Kermit the Frog lunchbox that thought it was abandoned but alas was rescued by a little girl with pigtails and they lived happily ever after. I think I was 6 or 7 then, but I'm not sure. Then, when my little brother "Cool" came along when I was eleven, I wrote another story entitled, "Something Is Drooling On My Shoulder." It's illustrated and everything!
What is your writing process?
My writing process goes something like this--I'm in the middle of doing 47 things and holding a baby with my right arm and a child is sitting on my left foot and the dog just barfed on the floor and the phone rings and what the heck am I going to make for lunch?? and I think of a great idea so I scrawl it down in the many notebooks I keep laying around. Then at three o'clock in the morning I relish the silence and type my thoughts while absorbing the dark and quiet.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Yes, it was a Little Bear story and the book was blue and I don't remember what it was about, but I can tell you that I was pretty darn proud of myself when I turned the last pages, like they were last steps in a marathon, and exclaimed, "I read a book all by myself!!" That was a good day.
How do you approach cover design?
Well, the cover for Kidowed I really wanted to portray how I felt at the time I wrote the book, and I think it does a really good job. My brother "Cool" took the picture of me at the cemetery and it was a beautiful day and the colors were so vibrant an we did a million different shots but it all looked WAY too cheerful to me--I mean, it is a book about babies dying. I didn't really want it to look like a celebration. So Cool started messing around with the colors and making the pictures darker and finally we came up with the cover on the book now. He thought it was morbid, but I still think it's perfect.
What do you read for pleasure?
For pleasure I read anything I can learn from. I like useful messages in small chunks, so for pleasure I'll read Time magazine or Mother Earth News or memoirs. When I was working as a veterinary technician, I used to relish the time I had on my lunch break because I could sit for a few minutes and eat and read veterinary medical journals about new and exciting advances in the field. So I would go back to work energized and also just a little bit more knowledgeable.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I don't have any devices so I'm going to have to say my laptop. I don't really understand why there are so many variations--I'll stick to my plain old computer as long as they'll let me.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I have done no marketing other than sharing on Facebook and asking friends to do the same. I was shocked though, when I went to Toronto to speak at the DebRA National Congress and made my book free for that weekend in lieu of a donation to DebRA International (because they paid for my stay), a total of 5360 copies were downloaded in two days. THAT was amazing. Kidowed was #46 out of over 1 million ebooks on Amazon at one point on September 16th, 2012, and #1 if you searched specifically for free memoirs. Pretty awesome. Every time I clicked the refresh button, the number went up. I was incredibly excited that so many people that had probably never heard of EB would learn about it and possibly talk about it and/or take action.
Published 2014-07-01.
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Books by This Author

Series: Walking The Mile. Price: $4.95 USD. Words: 66,820. Language: English. Published: June 16, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs
In this book you'll find the the struggles, sorrows, and triumphs of the author after she has two children with a rare and universally fatal genetic disease. As she travels through her hellish journey, you will experience unexpected humor, endless love, and learn how strong one family can be while they walk beside her.