[Interview] Jen Bee
On her personal blog, she describes herself as a "recovering student, future tea shop owner, practising telepathy by staring at blank pages."
She is the author of Sally Carter, a blog novel that follows the life and adventures of Sally Carter and Detective Hood.
In this interview, Jen Bee talks about her writing:*
When did you start writing?
Thursday 20th February, 1994 at 3:09pm ... No, I've been making up stories as long as I can remember, though only a few made it onto paper at first. It was just something I did, that and reading.
As I grew older the stories I read grew longer and so did those I thought up, which I then started to write down.
What made you want to get your stories published?
I wanted to write books like those I read, long before I understood what publishing meant. This is probably a good thing or I may have become too overwhelmed to go on. Now it's too late, I love writing, wherever it takes me.
I'm still going about reaching that end, working towards finishing stories, and next year, my final year of studying creative writing at uni, my modules will include E-publishing and Writing & Publishing 2.
I write and submit short stories to competitions and magazines and online. My current project is a blog-story, which I start posting from the June 1, 2010. It'll be updated fortnightly with short fiction, mostly, and some interviews, news stories, recipes, etc. too.
How would you describe your writing?
In general terms, the blog-story is a fantasy-detective series, hopefully quirky, humorous, and fun. As is my other stuff.
My aim is for it to be enjoyed predominantly by young adults, but also to be accessible to younger readers (my sister, 12) as well as older.
Which authors influenced you most?
Tolkien. Exactly how is a bit fuzzy, but I love The Lord of the Rings - to read, not write.
More recent influences include Neil Gaiman and Jasper Fforde, because they seem to just go ahead and write what they want without worrying about being too wacky, as I used to.
Have your own personal experiences influenced your writing in any way?
I dread to imagine ... I'm sure my mum will spot something.
What are your main concerns as a writer?
Currently, finishing uni. One thing at a time.
So far I've learned it can be a scary world out there for writers, so I hope to learn as much as I can before wandering into it.
Do you write everyday?
Yep. Notes, e-mails, Tweets ... Writing is writing and you never know where you may bump into an idea.
I do story writing too, mostly for assignments at the moment, and soon I'll have my blog story to keep up with.
I keep no schedule. If something needs finishing, I do nothing else until it's done, not even Doctor Who. When I'm not writing, I'm thinking of things to write, characters, ideas, stuff to change. Usually not on purpose.
How many books have you written so far?
Nothing finished yet. The aforementioned assignments take priority for another year.
My current project, which I'm publishing online in a blog, follows a Detective (Hood) on a slightly magical island, and a writer (Sally) who sometimes assists him. I'll be writing it as I go or else I'll never get started.
There have been no great difficulties so far. However, while this project kicked off a couple of years ago, it is really only now beginning.
Which aspects of the work you are putting into the project do you enjoy most?
Unexpected ideas. Writing. Happy feedback, because it's always good to have anything you've done appreciated.
What sets the work apart from other things you've written?
The style is similar to another project, which follows two adventurers trying to make a living, but the Hood and Sally stories are on a much smaller scale and, come to think of it, probably a bit darker too.
Also, I have a bunch of other ideas, similarish action-adventure-fantasy-comedy, different characters/worlds/etc.
Started a romance once, for an assignment, an adventure-romance, interesting experience, may look at it again one day.
What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?
I'll get back to you.
*This article is based on an email interview with Jen Bee which took place in May 2010
- New crime novel co-written by 26 authors, By Alison Flood, The Guardian, July 5, 2011
- Books Gone Wild: The Digital Age Reshapes Literature, By Lev Grossman, Time, January 21, 2009
- Blog Novels [Lists], Conversations with Writers, November 27, 2008