Interview with Jasmine Denton

Jen: Today we’re happy to welcome Jasmine Denton to Romancing the Book.  Jasmine, will you please share a short bio with us?

Jasmine: Sure. I live in a small southern town in Virginia, with my fiancé and a needy but adorable cockapoo named Rambo. When I’m not writing YA fantasy or paranormal, I’m writing about social issues that I think have a big impact on teens. And when I’m not writing, I’m usually enjoying television series’ on Netflix.

Jen: Tell us about Soul of the Sea.

Jasmine: Soul of the Sea is about Mykaela, who thought she was a normal girl in a normal world until she and her best friend are targets of a paranormal attack one night. The attack leaves them drowning in the ocean, where Mykaela’s rescued by a mysterious stranger who disappears before she can get his name. While she’s mourning the death of her friend, her small coastal town is in an uproar about similar mysterious drownings that are definitely no accident. Things take a surprising turn when the boy who rescued her shows up wounded on the beach outside her home. Her family takes him in and offers him a job at their hotel, unaware that he’s the key to understanding the strange deaths that have plagued the town for over a decade.

Jen: At what age did you discover writing? When where you first published? Tell us your call story.

Jasmine: I was ten when I decided to start my first story, but I’d been dreaming of being a writer for long before that. It stemmed from being an avid reader—I’d been enjoying the R.L Stine and Babysitter’s Club books for years by the time I finally started writing my own stories. I was first published when I was twenty-two, but the contract was signed when I was twenty-one. I don’t know that I have a ‘call story’ exactly: writing has been my passion for so long that I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t what I wanted to do.

Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?

Jasmine: A little bit of both. I’m a firm believer in plotting. I like to have a map or some guidelines to go by, even if they’re just loose ones. I find I work best when I have a list of scenes to work on. I make one of these every day, and I check the scenes off as I finish them. There’s something very satisfying about marking a scene off the list, and it’s even better once you’re nearing the finish mark and you can look back and see the work you’ve already done. This method helps me the best because I don’t write a book from chapter one to the last chapter. I just write the scenes that come to me, often the most dramatic ones come first. Without plotting, though, this method would be a disaster.

Jen: Do you struggle with deadlines? How do you deal with the pressure?

Jasmine: Not really, I’m usually pretty quick at what I do because I focus on each book completely until the task (whether it’s writing or editing) is done. Whenever I feel pressured though, I just listen to some music and try to relax. It helps that I’ve never missed a deadline or needed to have one extended, so I believe my publishers would be alright if I needed a little extra time. They know how hard I struggle to meet the deadlines and that if I need more time, there’s probably a good reason. They’re supportive like that.

Jen: Would you still write even if you didn’t get paid?

Jasmine: Absolutely. I love to write, and I know that characters and stories will never stop coming to me and even if I tried to stop, I think I’d still end up picking up that proverbial pen to tell their stories. That’s why I like to say writing isn’t a job, it’s a calling, at least for me. This is what I was born to do, or at least but if you don’t believe in destiny, just call it my most ‘passionate passion’. I’m a writer, it’s not what I am, it’s who I am.

Jen: Is there a genre you’d like to write? Is there a genre you’ll probably stay away from? Why?

Jasmine: I’d like to write a horror novel, a bone-chilling supernatural one. I’ll probably stay away from chick-lit (or comedy) because I don’t do very well with the light, comedic side of things. My stories tend to be dark, about right and wrong, and good and evil. Truth be told, I really don’t think I’m a funny person and I probably couldn’t pull it off. Give me a heartbreaking scene to write and I’ll excel, but with comedy, I fall flat on my face.

Jen: How much of your actual life gets written into your fictional stories? Have you ever written yourself into a story?

Jasmine: Not a lot. When I was younger, I used to write my feelings into a character to vent, but I think that’s just something all teenage writers do. Originally, I did write myself as a character in the series I co-authored with my sister (From the Damage) but I ended up taking her out because she was too depressing. LOL. I think it’s just a little too revealing to write about personal experiences, but I do boil those experiences down to the core emotion it left me with and draw from that. For instance, there could be a character in a book of mine that feels exactly how I did in high school for very different reasons.

Jen: Do you become attached to your characters and have a hard time letting them go, or are you happy that their story is told and you can move on?

Jasmine: I become very attached. I don’t think I’ve written for characters that I’ve had to let go yet. All of my books either have a sequel or are part of a series, just because I’m so curious to find out what happens after the initial book has ended. I’m very lucky to be working with publishers who understand and encourage that.

Jen: What five authors or people, past or present, have been important to your writing? What question or comment have you always wanted to say to them?

Jasmine: Wow, this is a really tough question.

  • The first writer that comes to mind is S.E. Hinton; I’d want to say “Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing The Outsiders. I love it so much I read it every year. ”
  • And to Nora Roberts: “Your work-ethic is an inspiration. I can only hope to be as productive a writer as you.”
  • Mark Schwahn: “One Tree Hill was the best show ever! I loved the depth, symbolism and artistic value of the show. And by the way, I have a TV series I think you’d love…:)”
  • Joss Whedon: “Wow, is there no limit to your imagination? And kudos for creating larger-than-life characters like Buffy and Angel, but Faith deserves a spin-off too!”
  • Tracey Mitchell: “I can’t thank you enough for believing in an ‘unknown’ like me. Your ‘yes’ to Soul of the Sea took me from amateur to professional, and opened so many doors. I can’t thank you enough for that.”

Jen: What did you do to celebrate your first book?

Jasmine: Unfortunately, nothing. I ended up being sick that day, so I had to stay in bed and watch the last season of Buffy. But it was kind of fun, I hadn’t let myself relax and enjoy a TV series guilt-free in awhile. I’m kind of a homebody, that’s my version of celebrating.

Jen: What’s next for you?

Jasmine: Hopefully, Sci-Fi. I want to write about sexy aliens with cool-looking powers. Or, I’d really like to do urban fantasy. I’m between projects right now so it could go either way.

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?

Jasmine: Twitter: @Jasmineldenton; jasmineldenton.wordpress.com; www.curseofthesea.com is the official website of the Curse of the Sea saga.

Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

Jasmine: What do you look for in a heroine? In a hero?

Jen: Any final thoughts before we close?
Jasmine: I’m running a contest on Goodreads, where one lucky person will win a signed copy of Soul of the Sea. The only requirement is that you must live in the U.S. http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/10939-soul-of-the-sea

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