May 31, 2013

Interview with Jen Minkman

When did you realize that you wanted to become a writer? What was the very first thing you ever wrote?

The first thing I ever wrote was a sci-fi story about four girls finding a crashed UFO, when I was ten years old. I learned how to type so I could write that story. It just HAD to be written!
Who is your literary hero?

I think I'll stick with Stefan Zweig and Ray Bradbury, because they are  both masters of short storytelling. People may think that writing short stories is easy, but it definitely isn't, and those two always manage to hook me with their stories. Stefan Zweig might not be very famous in the US because he's Austrian, but I think most people know Bradbury from his short sci-fi stories as well as Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles.
How much of your characters are based on your traits or someone you know personally?

In the case of 'The Island', the characters didn't have many of my character traits. I was really trying to channel something different.
Describe your characters in six words.

Strong and yet insecure, brave, curious, a bit unreasonable. Hmm, now that I see them on-screen, I suspect I may have some of those character traits after all :) (especially the curiosity and me being unreasonable sometimes when I'm cranky!)

Describe the world you created in six words.

Mysterious, closed-off, scary, small, natural, strange.
What scene was your favorite to write?

I liked writing the scene where Leia reads The Book for the first time.
What scene was the hardest for you to write?

The ending! I tend to always want to cram in too much at the ending, so I had to rein myself in a bit :)

What made you throw some Star Wars in? And why Star Wars itself?

When I started this story, I knew I wanted the Island community to have a weird culture and belief system based on a wrong assumption that grew over time, and I wanted it to be clear to the present-day reader that something clearly went wrong (but not tell them why until the end) so they'd get curious as to the how & what. It had to be practically universal, so every odd reader of dystopia would recognize the references to a famous movie story. My options were therefore limited - I think Lord of the RIngs and Star Wars were the only stories that came to mind that had heroes in them and are known by practically anyone. And since the hero of LOTR is a hobbit (which would be very hard to fit into the universe of The Island!), I chose Star Wars. 

What are you working on now?

I'm working on two things: translating my next paranormal/contemporary romance novel The Boy From The Woods into English, and writing a new story, set on Mars, featuring sci-fi, paranormal and dystopian elements. The working title is 'Dreams in Red'.
What's your favorite thing to do when you're not writing?

Reading! Haha :)