In the Spotlight with Bayou Book Junkie ~ Author Jenna Kendrick (Exclusive Giveaway)
Hi Jenna and welcome to Bayou Book Junkie. I hadn’t actually known of Jenna’s existence – shame on me, my BAD! - until I got a copy of Stuck with You (book 1 in her Reinvented series), which had me breaking out my (admittedly dated) ‘American teen angst’ playlist and having a great time. She totally took me by surprise with this one, and immediately AFTER I finished, I moved RIGHT onto The Eighth Night, a very different STORY that’s heartbreakingly beautiful and that made me want more, more, more. So, yours truly went nosing and found Jenna, who was kind enough to clear up that Make Me Believe (book 1 in her Hawaiian Haven series) is connected to Stuck with You, and to let me into a couple of secrets that hopefully she’s about to share with readers. Jenna has been published since 2015 and is currently working on a couple of projects that I’m dying to get my mitts on.
BBJ: Hey Jenna! First, thanks so much for agreeing to sit down with us today. Please tell us a bit about yourself and the current project(s) you’re working on.
JENNA: Thanks for having me! I live in upstate NY, so I spend a good portion of the year trying to stay warm and dry. The project that’s currently keeping me out of the elements is Beyond Belief, Hawaiian Haven #2, which will be released on January 31. I’m also writing Better by Thirds, which is the next Reinvented book.
BBJ: Can you tell us about the ‘furry creatives’ that are rumoured to roam freely over your desk? Do you by any chance mean those most amazing of beasts…. 🐈 🐱 🐾? You mean to say, you’re a fellow slave to cats? We Brits are moggy-mad, and I’m the cat’s mother to Romeo Blue (no, not my porn name; it was just a case of liking both names and not realising til too late how they sound together, lol!), Harry Beau and Sophie (19.5yrs old and 👑 of all she surveys). Can we have pics, please?
JENNA: I am owned by three cats and a dog. Loki (8yo orange tabby) and Tamiris (10yo brown tabby) have been with me since they were kittens. Iris is the newest addition; she’s a 10-year-old, long-haired, gray/black cat who joined the family the day after the horrible shooting in Orlando. I went to a cat adoption clinic “just to look,” and she came home with me. Loki and Iris take turns sitting on my desk, taking over at the keyboard if my fingers stop moving. Tally is a 12-year-old goldendoodle who’s usually curled up by my side, picking up the slack when I’m too busy to cuddle cats.
BBJ: You’ve written NA stories and adult MM, but do we hear mention of…shifter tales in your future?
JENNA: Yes, there’s a shifter series in the works. It’ll be darker than my contemporary and NA stuff, focusing on outcasts who are forced to interact with other species and non-shifters.
BBJ: Could you tell us a little about the crossover Reinvented-Hawaiian Haven upcoming tale, as well as book 2 in the Reinvented series? And, sorry, yes, book-greed surfacing here, how many tales are planned in the Reinvented series, seeing there are so many characters who need their own tale?
JENNA: For everyone who’s read Stuck with You and been wondering about Jamie’s brother Tyler, the Hawaiian Haven series answers those questions. Beyond Belief is about how Tyler and Jamie reconnect and how that fills emotional holes in both of them, which helps deepen their relationships with Drake and Seth, respectively. Better by Thirds, Reinvented #2, is about Jamie’s roommate, Christian. Right now, I also have plans to write Daugherty’s story. And there may be a surprise or two down the road!
BBJ: Do your friends and family know you write gay romance? Are you open about it, or is it a secret entrusted to a few?
JENNA: Everyone in my life knows what I write. I’m very fortunate in that I don’t have family censure or my other career at risk, so for me to hide it would imply there’s shame in what I write about. I’m proud to say that I write gay romance because everyone deserves love and a happily ever after.
BBJ: As you know, I absolutely loved Ari and Kai in The Eighth Night, but you left me wanting more, more, more of them (sorry, more book-greed!) – might there be another short tale about them? Some freebie reads? Any outtakes? Please?
JENNA: Kai and Ari have been talking to me lately, saying there’s more to their story, so there may be some scenes or possibly even a sequel to come…
BBJ: Name 3 things about the hubs that you love and three things that drive you nuts. And, if I were to ask Mr. K the same question, what do you think his answer would be?
JENNA: I love his easygoing nature, his unflagging support, and that he can turn almost any situation into a Hamilton reference. Things that drive me nuts? How he can wash the dishes but ignore spills on the counter, that he sometimes procrastinates even more than I do, and that I need to pile extra blankets on my side of the bed because he’s always warm while I’m freezing.
He’d probably say he likes my sense of humor, my willingness to keep him company while he watches TV shows I don’t have any interest in, and that I can turn almost any situation into a Hamilton reference (if he doesn’t beat me to it). I drive him nuts with my odd (for a non-writer) sleep cycle, the way I frantically clean before game night even though our friends don’t care, and how I’m always turning up the thermostat when he’s just turned it down. ;-)
BBJ: Can you tell us a bit about what inspires you? Is it RL, music, personal events, topical stuff, all of the ABOVE?
JENNA: I find inspiration everywhere. It can be a song, a news article, pondering what would happen if someone with one personality type or situation meets their diametric opposite—or someone exactly like themselves, which makes them aware of their own flaws. My degree is in psychology, so I’m fascinated by the human condition and what makes people tick.
BBJ: So, Jenna, you live in Upstate New York, which is clearly very, very different to the NYC that we Brits see so much of in films/media. Can you tell us about the area and what made you settle down there?
JENNA: Albany is a small city surrounded by the Adirondack Mountains to the north, the Catskills to the south, and the Berkshires to the east. It’s also within about 3 hours of NYC, Boston, and Montreal. You don’t have to go far to reach either the country or a big city. This is the 9th state I’ve lived in, and it’s also where I’ve lived the longest (10 years) because of the wonderful family of friends I’ve built here.
BBJ: What do you do in your spare time? What’s your idea of the perfect day off?
JENNA: I like to bake and surprise friends with care packages. I’m a geek, so a perfect day off would mean a new episode of Yuri on Ice and game night with friends. And lots of time to read!
BBJ: Admittedly, my brain works in weird ways, so Stuck with You had me taking a trip down memory lane and singing along (badly!) to Wheatus, The Offspring, The Divinyls, Sum 41 and the likes – do you have playlists for when you’re writing? Care to share some of your favourite songs with us?
JENNA: I have playlists for my books, but I only listen to them when I’m NOT writing. I like to write in silence at home or with the ambient noise at a coffee shop. When I was writing Stuck with You, my playlist included The Magnetic Fields, Okkervil River, The Decemberists, and Imagine Dragons.
BBJ: Name 5 things on your ‘regular’ bucket list and on your “book-writing” bucket list.
JENNA: Regular bucket list: Go to Australia, hike the Camino de Santiago, learn how to do calligraphy, learn how to knit, donate more than $1,000 at once to the Ali Forney Center. Book writing bucket list: Publish 5 books in one year, make a bestseller list, have a book translated into multiple languages, travel abroad for a research trip, truly touch someone with my work.
BBJ: And now, the quick-fire round:
A night out on the town in NYC, or a night at home snuggling up with Mr. K on the sofa? At home with Mr. K
What’s your star sign and how typical of it are you? Taurus. I’m very stubborn, but I also like helping others and like to think I’m pretty down-to-earth.
What’s your favourite waste of time? Reading obscure Wikipedia entries
Italian, Greek, English, Spanish, American or French (can refer to food, drink and/or guys, lol – you choose!). Spanish and French – food, drink, and guys! Lol!
Finally, Jenna, what’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done, and were there witnesses to it? I had a crush on a guy in college, and the only person I told was a close friend. Who neglected to tell me that he was dating my crush. Of course, he told his boyfriend, making the humiliation complete. Yet somehow, we all remained friends afterwards.
BBJ: Thanks for popping in, Jenna. We hope you had fun and we’ll be watching out for more from you – please write quickly!
JENNA: This has been fun, thanks!
ABOUT JENNA KENDRICK:
Jenna Kendrick writes contemporary, new adult, and paranormal romance about smart guys with a propensity for snark. Jenna went to a small college in the woods of Western Massachusetts, where she alternated between bare feet and hiking boots and used dining hall trays as a mode of transportation in the winter. She fell in love with creative writing after writing a satirical essay to get out of yet another literary analysis assignment. Unable to choose a coast or climate zone, she bounced around the country before settling in Upstate New York. She lives with her husband and several furry creatives, some of whom think of her desk as their own. This may be why Jenna's developed a sudden urge to write about shifters.
Connect with Jenna here:
Jenna is very generously giving away a Print (US Only) or E-copy of Stuck with You. Winner’s choice.a Rafflecopter giveaway