Interview with Jennifer Nielsen

Meet Jennifer Nielsen.


Jennifer Nielsen is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of The Ascendance Trilogy, the Mark of the Thief trilogy, and A Night Divided. Her most recent release is THE SCOURGE. She lives in Northern Utah with her husband, three children, and a dog that won’t play fetch.


In your bio, it states an an opening remark, she has shared her brain with imaginary characters.” What inspired this characters?

“I find inspiration everywhere: in music, the news, conversations, dreams, history, and sometimes when I’m wandering around with no particular thought in mind. There’s never a trick for anyone to finding a character or plot. It’s really about getting yourself in the place to notice those ideas, and then learning to ask questions of everything you see.
For example, if you were to see a woman walking down the street with a baby carriage, you might think nothing of it. Just a mom taking her baby for a walk. But then ask, “What if there was no woman, only the baby and carriage?” “What if it’s not noon – what if it’s midnight?” “What if the street is completely abandoned except for me and that baby carriage. Then what happens?”
Now you have a story.
But it all began with the most ordinary situation. This is how inspiration happens.”

Do you still have that “awful, failed attempt” of a full length novel in 6th grade still on your computer? If so, do you go back and read it occasionally or has it inspired any of your current novels?

“I do have it, actually, still in the folder I kept it in when I wrote it (a bi-fold with a picture of Disney’s THE BLACK HOLE movie – a blatant Star Wars ripoff. But it was cool, so I just had to steal it from my older brother). I’ve kept it to remind myself that I am a writer, and always have been, even before I knew that about myself.”

What motivated you to get your first story published? Can you tell us about the experience?

“I remember the moment it occurred to me that published authors weren’t “special” or “chosen,” – they were simply regular people who finished a story that someone wanted to publish and then learned how to access the publisher. Once I realized that, there was no divide between me and that published author – only knowledge, which I knew I could obtain with enough time and hard work. It did take me time, and far more hard work than I had anticipated, but from that first moment of realization, I knew that one day I would hold my first published book in my hands.”

What is your favorite thing, and least favorite thing, to do during the whole writing/editing process?

“To me, writing is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle – I have the picture in my head, and I want the written story to get as close to it as possible. But there are always times in the story when when I get stuck – like when I see the hole in the puzzle but there’s no piece to fill it. I love the part of the writing process when I finally figure out how to fill that hole, and when I love the way it’s come together!
My least favorite thing? Probably the waiting. There is always such a long wait between every step of the publishing process, and I’m not the most patient person, so when readers contact me and say they can’t wait for the next book, I completely understand – I hate waiting too!”

Did any of your characters from any of your previous books inspire characters for future stories, such as your upcoming novel The Scourge?

“Each book is contained within its own unique world, so there isn’t necessarily an influence from one book into another. However, since I write each book, I am the common thread. The themes, characters, and situations that excite me in one book may be carried through into another.”


“Thank you very much for the interview!”

Jennifer’s Social Media Links: (website)
@nielsenwriter (Twitter)
Jennifer A. Nielsen, Author (Facebook)

Thanks Jennifer for stopping in for an interview on A New Look On Books!

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