Friday, November 9, 2012

Interview with Virginia Jennings

  Virginia Jennings is an awesome person from Goodreads. She's relaunching her sci-fi book, The Alien Mind, this month and asked me to participate in her blog tour. I got to ask her a lot of questions and she was patient enough to give me the answers.

What inspired you to tell this story?    The original seed idea for The Alien Mind was inspired by a comment I read somewhere once which stated that humans only use 10 percent of their brains; I wanted to know what we might be able to do if we could use all of it!
     However, I will say that my book has come a long way since its first release in 2005. My husband and children are the ones who inspired me to rewrite the story and turn it into what I had originally envisioned for it. Using Createspace enabled me to add my own illustrations to the cover and interior of the book in order to allow the reader a peak into my original vision of the scenes and characters in the book. This book now truly feels like a work of art completely designed by me and the culmination of an 8 year dream!
Who would you say your biggest influences as an author are?
I try to be very careful about letting one person or another influence my writing too much as I prefer to try to write something that has not been done to death before. However, for world building or character interactions I always fall back on movies and books. My go-to influences for world building and character interactions would be George Lucas' Star Wars movies and the books based off of that series, as well as Jk Rowling's Harry Potter. Instead of using them as formulas or making my characters and worlds sound JUST like them, I prefer to use them instead as 'examples'. "Does this world I have created have as much detail and unending possibilities as [insert example]." "Do these characters illicit this reaction in the reader like [insert example]."

The science in the book is pretty cool. My personal favorite is the hyper-dimensional time travel. What was your favorite part to write?
I'm glad you enjoyed it! I'd have to say my favorite part to come up with and to describe was the method Rivi uses to travel through space to the different planets. Trying to describe what an unfolded fourth dimensional cube looks like was quite a fun challenge. I also rather enjoyed writing the scenes where Rivi's friend Daniel walks the halls of her mind.
Rivi has to adapt to some confusing situations pretty quickly. How well do you think you’d react in the same situations?*Chuckles* Yeah, if I was honest I should probably be cast as one of the scientists who is running around freaking out when something goes wrong.

What sources did you draw on to design Aun and its people?
     I had an image of how I wanted the Aunantet to look years before I thought about drawing them. I knew I wanted them to have more simplistic features and to be bald with tattoos encircling their head and neck. Since the Aunantet have plain features, I thought it would be neat if they could tell each other apart by the description of who they are and their ability from just one row of symbols around their head.
     I also knew that we always wish we had more arms so I gave the Aunantet a third arm and leg. While drawing I pulled random images from the internet to get an idea of how lips and eyes should be shaped, but the rest was already in my mind. I had an image of Ankh already in my mind when I sat down to draw him so it was just a matter of teaching my hand how to copy what I was seeing in my mind.

Self publishing can be pretty overwhelming. What would you say were the biggest challenges you’ve had to deal with since you started?  Do you have any regrets?
     The biggest challenge in self publishing is knowing who is the right person to use as your publisher. Self publishing should allow you more control over your work's formatting, cover, price and distribution. It should also offer you the ability to walk away and try something else if it is not working for you. I'd say the first thing I would advise against is paying to have your book published. An author would be better off hiring their own editor and finding their own cover designer separately rather than paying thousands of dollars to a company that is going to sign you into a few year exclusive contract and not even help you promote your book. If you do decide to sign a self publishing contract with a company, make sure there is an option in the contract that allows you to leave and take your book at any time. My one BIGGEST regret is taking my second book to Publish America.

     My newest release, The Alien Mind, is published through Createspace. The process was liberating and inspiring! The biggest challenge was formatting the manuscripts headers and footers properly in the paperback version as well as getting the index in the kindle to work properly. Other than that I absolutely love being published through createspace, it is free, their prices for author copies are awesome, their program is user friendly, and the amount of control over distribution and pricing makes them one of my favorite companies.

What advice would you have for writers just starting out?
This is the easiest answer by far. Start a blog, then start a social networking platform, join a writers group- in that order. These two things are very important to growing your fan base and will be very helpful when releasing your first book, as well as teach you things along the way about your audience, tips of the trade, and other things you will be glad you learned ahead of time!

Author Info:
Virginia Jennings lives in South Carolina with her husband, three kids, and two cats. She graduated from High School at 16 and was published by the time she turned 18. She is the author of two science fiction books and has plans in the works for two fantasy books as well. Her ideal evening is spent watching Star Trek or Eureka with her family over dinner. She enjoys playing putt putt and watching the latest sci-fi or action adventure movie. She does most of her best writing in the car as her characters prefer to talk to her while she is driving. Finding time to write down what they tell her- now that is where the real challenge is! When she is not hanging out with her family or writing she also runs the 'Where Writers And Authors Meet' writers group online at or

On Goodreads:


  1. Thanks for having me Chelsea! I rather enjoyed answering your questions!

    For Chelsea's visitors... don't forget to enter yourself into the raffle today at:

    I will be raffling off free ebook copies of my book!

    And if you have any questions or comments for me, feel free to leave them here and I will be happy to stop by and answer them!

  2. Nice interview. I learned a lot about Virginia. Graduating from high school at 16 is quite an accomplishment, but not as impressive as being published at 18.

  3. Virginia: No problem. It's been a lot of fun.

    Mari: thanks for dropping by. Virginia's been so much fun to have around. :D