We were lucky enough to chat to the prolific Jennifer L. Armentrout on the phone the morning after Chapter 5’s proof party where she was the guest of honour.
We wrangled as many deets out of her as possible. Here’s how it went:
Hey, Jennifer. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. How are you liking London? I love it. I haven’t had chance to see that much yet, unfortunately, but what I have seen I really like. The buildings and the history here is so rich. You don’t get the same in the US. It sounds strange but I just want to reach out and touch the buildings.
It’s not strange! We’re pretty fond of our architecture too!
In your latest book, ‘The Problem With Forever’, Mallory is such a strong character, but did you always know where her story was going? Or did it figure itself out while writing? I knew that many of my readers would relate to someone shy and being unsure of the right words to say in uncomfortable situations. I wanted to show someone finding their voice both literally and physically.
Was it a challenge to write from the POV of a self-made mute? Yes! I’m used to writing characters with quick comebacks and snark, or sass. So I struggled, especially in the beginning. But I knew it was a success after reviewers didn’t realise until several chapters in that she had barely said a word out loud.
So do you prefer writing standalones, or a series? For paranormal or fantasy definitely series because there is so much more to explore within that world. But contemporaries I prefer standalones because often the pair of characters have reached that Happy Ever After. They’ve paid their dues. Leave them alone now.
Can you name which is your favourite series you’ve written? I alternate. Next week I’d probably give you a different answer. The ‘Covenant’ series will always have a special place as it was the first one I wrote. But the ‘Lux’ series my readers love, and then there’s ‘The Dark Elements’ which was so much fun to write, and almost didn’t happen!
Can you tell us anything more about this new fantasy book you mentioned at the Chapter 5 Proof Party? I can’t say a lot. I will say that it is very loosely inspired by the Olympics. And I know that sounds weird! But I feel like I’m coming in on the tail end of the genre, and I wanted to come up with something that wasn’t common. It’s kind of historical, but not. Mid 1500s-1600s era. A little bit of magic. And there will be kissing.
Is there a genre or particular kind of story that you would want to write? I wait for the story to tell me what it is, like the new fantasy. I have to have the “right” idea. I would LOVE to write historical, but I’m too lazy to do all the research! Historical romance authors don’t get enough credit. They’re amazing.
Now that you are very much a “go-to” or “auto-buy” author for so many fans, does that come with any pressure? There is. It never lets up. There’s always going to be a book that they did not enjoy. But you have to quiet those voices in your mind that make you worry about that. There’s always going to be that one book that fails to please some people. You have to just accept it and keep writing.
We know you can write a book quite fast, so have you got any books or WIPs that have never, or will never, be publish? Do you ever want to revisit them? There was what I call my homage to ‘Supernatural’. I share a couple chapters online and I never finished it. There’s a lot of half-started books. Like I talked about last night, I tried to write a follow up to ‘The Problem With Forever’ with a main character with the same eye disease as I have. But it was too personal. And as an author you need to keep a distance between you and your books, otherwise it can be too hard to give it up to your readers.
Finally, for funsies: You’re stuck on a desert island, but you can have one book, and also one character from one of your own books… what/who do you pick? Just one? This could change so easily. But currently? I’d want to take Sarah J. Maas’ ‘A Court of Mist and Fury’. And I’d probably pick Katy (‘Lux’). I’d get annoyed with the guys after a few hours. So yeah, Katy; we could talk about books!
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