Sunday, June 21, 2015

Author Spotlight~Jena Baxter


A former student of the UCLA Writers Extension, 
Jena Baxter enjoys writing novels, 
screenplays, and an occasional song. 
She loves to encourage and inspire other writers 
to learn and explore the world of fiction.

Jena currently resides in Northern California
 with her husband, Amazon parrot, Rain,
and her little Maltese, Chase.


What made you want to write?

I’ve always liked to read and writing, but never thought I could write a novel. After years of pining over it, I finally bit the bullet. I took classes, went to writer’s conferences and enrolled in the UCLA Writer’s Extension online novel writing courses.

What was the first book you ever wrote?

It’s a YA/NA Sex, drugs and rock n roll love story called Pretentious, that I’ll be publishing either in short story or novella form soon. It starts when my main characters are teenagers and continues into adulthood. It’s about family, friendship, loyalty and betrayal. While we create our own realities, there are times when life just takes over.

When I was growing up I wrote poetry. While there were short stories here and there, I don’t remember them now. I think poetry has to be in our DNA because my son gave me a book of poems he wrote as a Christmas gift when he was thirteen.

What is your favorite out of all of your books, published or not?

That’s a tough question. I think I have to go with Pretentious again.

And what makes this your favorite?  

All of the above. I love the characters, but I’m one of those Authors who loves all of her characters. It’s a story about a teenager who lost his dad when he was a boy. His Dad asked him to promise to take care of the family. That kind of promise means less to a boy of eleven than it does to one of fifteen.

Danny’s entire life is trapped by the obligation of running his family’s restaurant. No girlfriends or homecoming games. Then his sister leaves making the situation worse. Then he finds the girl who knows what she wants and does what she has to draw him in. Together they run the restaurant and pursue the dreams Danny had already given up. The story is a little different because a lot of the time, Danny is his own antagonist. His innocence gets him into trouble some times.

What is your daily routine when it comes to your writing?

I try to write on a daily basis but lately, with a new release in February and another coming in June, marketing issues have absorbed more of my time. My new rule is no Facebook until I’ve written for an hour, but when I write I really need to sit down and go at it for hours at a time. Fortunately my husband sees writing as my job so I can do that.

What is something that you struggle with when it comes to writing?

I tend to become overwhelmed when I get to the beginning of the end. It isn’t writer’s block, but tension. I have my stories planned from beginning to end.

Who is your author inspiration?

Mary Stewart is one of them. Anne Bishop, Brandon Sanderson, Jeanine Frost.

What is your favorite book of all time?
The Mary Stewart, Merlin Trilogy. I love all of them. She uses a lot of culture and I love that. Her descriptions make me feel like I’m there. The writing is flawless. She’s an excellent storyteller.

Where do you see your writing career in 5 years?

I read for an international screenwriting contest every year so I would like to do more screenwriting. I have novels planned, ready to plan, and some that just need a rewrite. I guess the short answer is I’ll still be writing. Everyone hopes for that best seller so that’s my goal. Whether that happens or not is up to God and the readers.

List of works:

I have published two novels. One is called Reflections. It’s about a teenager in the Regency Era that is abusive to her servants. When she has one of her servants beaten, another servant curses her to live in a world she created behind her mirror. Juliette has to learn to take care of herself and what it is to have and be a great friend with a unicorn, beran (Part man and part bear) and a female centaur that’s insanely jealous of her.

The second novel is called The Carriage. It’s about a girl who is always arguing with her sister. They take a carriage ride in Central Park and Alexis finds herself disembarking in Victorian London where she meets a man who was recently murdered and brought back as a supernatural creature. Cultures constantly clash between Alexis and the world she’s fallen into.

I’m working on The Carriage II now.

Veiled Memories is about a Warrior Angel, Ilan, who loses his lifetime bonded-brother, Chayan when he becomes a fallen angel. He does everything in his power to save Chayan, but he can’t. He becomes rebellious and vulnerable. Given a Guardian assignment, Ilan finds himself in love with his charge. His job is to restore her marriage to a man who left her. Ilan decides to make her his own until he realizes heaven would never send a warrior on this kind of assignment. Something terrible lies ahead. Ilan doesn’t know what it is but he knows Lily and Bryan must be together to meet it. He covers Lily’s memories of him and waits with his friend Eytan for the trouble moving toward them.

Anything else you want to share:

Only to keep watch. I have more releases in the near future and many yet to write. You won’t be disappointed.