I met Jenai through a group on Facebook. When she needed help making a promo video for her book, I dressed up like a pirate and filmed myself dancing around to help her out. She’s an amazing writer, inspirational book marketer, and all around awesome mermaid!
What inspired you to become a writer?
I’m not entirely sure if there was anything that really inspired me to be a writer. Unless the alphabet counts? As long as I can remember—and as long as my folks can recall—my lifelong dream was to be a published author. As soon as I learned to spell, I was ready to write. In fact, when my mom used to tell me I could be anything I wanted to be, so long as I worked for it, I was insistent that I’d be a writer by profession. So again, there’s nothing that really inspired me to write. I just was sort of born this way.
Are you published anywhere?
I have a novel published by MommaShark Press, available in paperback and kindle on Amazon.com right now. Here’s the link to those:
My publishing group is currently moving to Ingram’s printing distribution this year, so soon, my books will be available in hard cover as well—and even distributed to bookstores, both corporate and independent, apart from Amazon’s distribution network. You can learn more about that in updates on my Facebook page:http://www.facebook.com/OfficialJenaiMarek
In what genre do you write?
My current published fiction genre is under the children’s/YA adventure umbrella, with elements of fantasy woven throughout the narrative. My novel has two sequels in the works, that will be published at the ends of 2018 and 2019 respectfully. I also have a nonfiction piece in the works, that will look at autism spectrum disorder and its place in the publishing and writing businesses. My nonfiction is not currently scheduled for release at this time, but I’m anticipating it will come out between 2019 and 2020.
Tell me about the things you love to write or what you’ve had published.
I love to write adventure stories that inspire children to dream. One of my primary goals as a writer is to contribute to the culture of story-telling through my novels’ narratives. I want to compete with today’s modern technology in an effort to keep reading (as a pastime) alive and well. I hold no ill will toward video games, social media, other technological advances that have catalyzed a culture shift away from reading for pleasure—though I do want to be instrumental in keeping books celebrated for their entertainment value.
What is the most challenging part about being a writer in the genre you’ve chosen?
The most challenging part of being a children’s/YA author is perhaps the growing apathy toward reading as a hobby—as I mentioned before, is a growing concern in the technological age. Trying to engage the minds of young people, when they have so many other opportunities to be entertained by high-tech amusements (which require little imagination or thought,) is definitely a hurdle—even for adult fiction authors. And then there’s the influx of self-publishing, thanks to that very same technology. With anyone capable of publishing their books while also cutting corners, the book pool has become difficult to differentiate the quality from the quantity. But the good news is: these are all challenges that also separate the wheat from the chaff. I can actually gauge my own success by how much I accomplish in spite of these challenges, and I believe other passionate authors find the same peace in that challenge.
What writer(s) do you look up to?
It’s probably no secret that I’m a fool for Robert Louis Stevenson. Treasure Island has long been one of my favorite stories of adventure, danger, and courage. It was one of the first introductions to pirate tales, and definitely what inspired me to write a pirate adventure novel of my own. Especially after having my son—who is the main child I wish to inspire with my writing. Other than Stevenson, I’m also a great fan of C.S. Lewis, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Charles Dickins, Franz Kafka, Ernest Hemingway, and Edgar Allen Poe. “All that we are or seem is but a dream within a dream” has so much meaning to me, as a writer. Because all that I am or seem to be, is put into my fiction. After all, a good fiction story is just the beautiful dream of its author. As far as my tastes for more modern literary work, I adore Isabel Allende, Banana Yoshimoto, Kurt Vonnegut, Yann Martel, and Haruki Murakami.
Do you have any funny stories about your writing adventures?
I think the funniest story about my writing is that I actually dress like a pirate for my book signings. I feel like there’s nothing more exciting for children to meet an author, than meeting an author who is completely immersed in the world they create. There’s no reason to take myself so seriously, so I tend to dress and act as if I am a part of the world I created. It adds a little magic to the experience, not only for my younger readers, but for myself as well.
Is there anyone you’d like to promote?
I’d like to promote Write Up Our Alley (WUOA) on YouTube. WUOA is a collaborative channel created by and for authors and writers. I’m actually a member of that channel, but we have another 7 authors who contribute video content focused on what it’s like to write for a living, publish, and hone our shared craft. It’s a great new channel that will hopefully have a good long run, and provide a lot of wonderful information and helpful tips for other and aspiring writers. You can check them out here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1js9o9U8PcRhj0GSX8TW3A
Where can we find you on social media?
Thank you so much to Jenai for answering my questions and letting us in on her creative process. She didn’t mention it, but she and her family are still rebuilding their lives from the terrible hurricanes in Texas. Their home was destroyed and they’ve only just started to rebuild. The best way to support her is to buy her book and spread the word!
She’s also about to launch a Kickstarter campaign for the sequel to “The Dangerous Voyage of Gup The Sailor” that you can keep up with on her Facebook page.