Swanky Seventeener Kim Foster recently interviewed Sweet Sixteen Jenny Moyer, author of the YA sci-fi/fantasy novel FLASHFALL, published by Henry Holt/Macmillan on November 15, 2016.
About the Author:
Jenny Moyer studied writing at Seattle Pacific University, and has written and voiced national commercial spots. She co-owns Luminary Creative with her filmmaker husband, Jacob. They have lived all over the U.S., and currently call Des Moines home.
She keeps busy with her three boys—who are steadily growing taller than her–and her three pound dog (who stays small, and mostly just sits on her legs while she types.)
One of Jenny’s dreams came true the day Sarah Davies invited her to join her list of talented authors at Greenhouse Literary. Now when she sips lattes at coffee shops and daydreams, she can call it ‘work.’
Orion is a Subpar, expected to mine the tunnels of Outpost Five, near the deadly flash curtain. For generations, her people have chased cirium―the only element that can shield humanity from the curtain’s radioactive particles. She and her caving partner Dram work the most treacherous tunnel, fighting past flash bats and tunnel gulls, in hopes of mining enough cirium to earn their way into the protected city.
But when newcomers arrive at Outpost Five, Orion uncovers disturbing revelations that make her question everything she thought she knew about life on both sides of the cirium shield. As conditions at the outpost grow increasingly dangerous, it’s up to Orion to forge a way past the flashfall, beyond all boundaries, beyond the world as she knows it.
Kim: Your video called “A Dreamer Becomes an Author” is gorgeous and inspiring! (Actually I loved all your videos and vlogs). In your videos you talk about the rejection you faced on the path to becoming an author. Were there times you felt like quitting? How did you pull through and keep going?
Jenny: I queried seven picture books and three novels before finally getting offers of representation from literary agents. I have over three hundred rejection letters! The worst rejections were the ones when I got really close (when an agent would request to see my full manuscript,) and I’d think “this is it!” Those rejections stung the most. It was after one of those experiences that I told my husband I was done writing. I wasn’t good enough. It was too hard. However, he wouldn’t let me give up. He knew that I loved writing too much, and that the publishing dream was such a part of me. He worked extra jobs so that I could take time to write. It was in the midst of that that I wrote FLASHFALL.
His belief in my talent was strong even when my doubts clouded my vision and the challenges seemed insurmountable. My family also cheered me on, and I knew it was quit—or keep learning, growing, improving and trying . . . Rejection is a natural—inevitable—aspect of the publishing process. Art is subjective, and not everyone is going to love your voice and your story. You have to embrace that, and use the rejections as learning experiences. When I began to view it like that, it took some of the sting out of it. I started to celebrate the fact that I was trying, that I was brave, and going after it. I went through a phase where I bought new shoes when I received rejections on full requests. Now I wear those shoes to book signings.
For me, it came down to my love of writing being stronger than the pain of discouragement. I kept hoping, kept believing, and kept creating.
Kim: FLASHFALL is YA sci-fi/fantasy—what drew you to writing this genre?
Jenny: I love to escape to new worlds when I read. The same goes for my writing. There is just something so thrilling about creating whole worlds—and creatures, and governments, and bending rules of science. I love that there are no limitations to what my characters can do, and that I can surprise readers with settings they haven’t encountered before.
Kim: You’re a mother of 3 boys (mother of boys, unite!). How do you juggle writing and family?
Jenny: I try to always put my family first, but honestly, it becomes a bit of a struggle when I’m on deadline. I’m up early, and as soon as the kids are off to school, I’m in writing mode. My mornings are the time I’m most productive. (Hellooo coffee.) Once they’re home from school, I’m the primary bus driver. So much of FLASHFALL was edited in my car while I waited for my boys outside basketball practice and piano lessons!
I think we’re all busy. Lots of people tell me they would write if they had time. I don’t think anyone really “has” time. We have to make time. Sometimes it’s carved out in little snatches of minutes in between the rest of life.
Kim: Which scene or characters were the most difficult for you to write and why?
Jenny: My editor asked me to rewrite one of my villains in FLASHFALL (the outpost director, Cranny.) She wanted him to have different motivations, and it’s one of her suggestions I’m most grateful for. An even harder character to revise was Commissary Jameson. He’s hiding a lot of secrets that unravel over the course of two books. It’s been a trick to “sew in” enough hints for readers that will make his backstory plausible when those reveals happen.
Plotter or pantser?
How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
I promised myself that if I ever sold my book, I’d go to New York and meet my editor and publisher. So I went over my birthday, and met up with my agent and editor. It was epic!
What is something your readers would never guess about you?
I once studied Gaelic and planned to move to Scotland.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Chocolate fudge brownie
Where do you write?
Mostly on my couch near a huge window (with my dog lying on my legs.)
Top 3 things on your bucket list?
- Travel to Italy with my family
- Ride a horse on a beach
- Publish a picture book
About the Interviewer:
Kim Foster writes novels about thieves, spies, and assassins. Her YA debut GAME OF SECRETS, out in Fall 2017, is a historical fantasy—a spy thriller set in an alternate Victorian world. Prior to becoming a writer, Kim went to med school and practiced family medicine for several years (don’t worry; it doesn’t make much sense to her friends and family, either). Kim lives with her husband and their two young boys in Victoria, British Columbia, where she’s hard at work on her next book.
GAME OF SECRETS, coming Fall 2017 from Sky Pony Press/Skyhorse