Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Visit with Jenny (JR) Turner by Margot Justes

Jenny Turner is a very talented Echelon author, not only is she talented, she is gracious as well. Please take a few seconds more and watch her book trailers…they are riveting and absolutely thrilling.

So here without further introduction is the award winning author - Jenny Turner.

Thanks so much for having me here, Margot!

I think the one thing most non-writers or aspiring authors don’t realize is that writing is actually a very small (though highly enjoyable) part of a writing career. When I set aside time to free write, I’m in heaven. This normally happens at least once a day, every day, when I‘m in the heart of a new book. My next favorite moment comes when the book is fully completed and I get to do the first round of edits. This is where I get to use my thesaurus liberally, play with sentence structure, amp up the emotion and dig into how best I can showcase my character’s journey. I should, however, back up some…

Before I can even begin writing in earnest, I draft a synopsis. This can be loads of fun as well. It’s where my imagination has the most freedom. The what if’s part is thrilling for me, though not quite as great as the writers high. Without this synopsis, free writing can paint me into corners I don’t like at all. It is essential to how I create. Of course research plays a big part in what I choose to write and depending on the type of book, I may take as long as a year, or just a few weeks to make sure my plans are feasible and believable.

Even before writing the outline or synopsis came years of honing my skills and learning the craft. I liken it to a four-year college course. I studied at least forty hours a week for four years before I wrote the book that eventually became my first release. (Though Stark Knight was the third book I had written.)

Once the book is edited, hopefully it has a home. Right now I’m working on a new six-book series called Extreme Hauntings for young adults. Echelon Press expects the first one in September of 2008. Otherwise, the book goes into submission um…I mean it goes through the process of getting out of the slush pile and into print.

The work doesn’t end there. Once the book is accepted, it goes through a series of edits, works It’s way through an art department for a cover, comes back to me for final approval, and then it gets a release date based on the timetable of the publishing house.

And then there’s more work ahead. Advertising, promoting, book signings, tours, conferences, and book selling venues such as Printers Row every summer in Chicago. We shouldn’t forget about internet options either. A website, blogs, membership in forums, trailers, and much more become handy tools of the marketing trades and all take time to create or maintain.

I get more questions about the book trailers I create than any other advertising or marketing strategy I’ve used and I’ve used a bunch! I use Windows Movie Maker, a free program that came with my computer. It’s a simple program to use, once you’ve figured out the basics. Most of what I do is drop and drag for the pictures I’ve downloaded from (using a one month subscription, I’ve saved $15,000.00 so far!) Add in the music supplied by local talent found at MySpace, special effects, lots of adjustments, and a trailer is born.

Here are the two I just completed for my Knight Inc. series featuring the band Less of 12 ( ):
Silent Knight

Good Knight

In the end, the break down of time spent on this career I love looks like this:
10% researching and preparing
10% editing
20% writing
60% on promotion, marketing, networking, scheduling and making appearances, attending conferences and book selling events.

It’s difficult to explain this to those not already imbedded in the industry. The romantic notion of a hermit living on bread and wine in a garret, pounding out deeply emotional and brilliant novels is a beautiful fairytale, but a more accurate picture is a half mad-unicyclist trying to avoid pits and potholes while juggling with one hand precious treasures like home, family, friendships and everything we are outside of being authors. The other hand, of course, is writing the next deeply emotional and brilliant novel.

It’s a great life!

Jenny (J.R.) TurnerJ

Till next Saturday,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris
The Heat of the Moment
available on

1 comment:

Margot Justes said...

This was an awesome post-thank you so much for doing it.