Jenna Greene has had a passion for writing and storytelling since she was a child. She now balances her time between her family, teaching sixth graders, and writing YA novels. Her latest novel is Heritage, which is book two of a series called Imagine. Wanting to learn more about her career and Heritage, I was able to interview her for ScifiPulse.net.
Nicholas Yanes: Growing up, what were stories you loved experiencing? Are there any you still enjoy revisiting?
Jenna Greene: I loved the ideas of adventures and heroines. My earliest memories involved swinging a ruler around, pretending it was a sword, and crying, “For the honor of Grayskull!” Obviously, I’m pretty exciting Netflix just released a new She-Ra: Princess of Power adaptation.
Yanes: When did you know you wanted to become a writer? Was there a single moment in which this goal crystalized for you?
Greene: I think it was always there. A teacher told my parents early on that I had a gift for writing and the notion stuck. When I was seven, I wanted to be a fairy princess/writer. In middle school, I wanted to be a zoologist/writer. Whatever career ideas crossed my mind, writer never left.
Yanes: You are also a teacher. How do you feel teaching has helped you become a better writer? Do you ever use your students as beta readers?
Greene: I think being a teacher helps me relate to the YA age group. I know what they like, and dislike, and how their minds work. When we do creative writing, I’ll share snippets of what I’m working on, but I try to focus more on their material than mine. A lot of them read my novels after I’ve published them.
Yanes: Heritage is book three of your Imagine series. What was the inspiration for this series as a whole?
Greene: The inspiration came in snippets, from an image of a character, to a scene, to a theme. The beginning and ending of Imagine were very clear from the beginning.
Yanes: In regards to Heritage, what goals did you have for this book before you started writing it?
Greene: I wanted it to continue the series, but not repeat any events or actions. I wanted to bring new characters into the forefront, without abandoning old favorites. I hope I communicated that the characters aren’t perfect, and that not all their choices are going to be ideal.
Yanes: Becky Thatcher is fantastic character. What were some of the inspirations that went into her creation? On this note, as Becky has grown as a character, did the character develop in a direction you didn’t initially plan for?
Greene: Becky is the character most like me. (Just younger). She’s the idealist, the imaginer. She has an innocence about her, though she is still able to learn and grow and keep her true nature. I think she’s developed on the path I originally intended, though the obstacles placed in her way have altered from the original draft of the first book.
Yanes: With Heritage set in a universe that has magic, how did you find balance between magic existing without it being used a deus ex machina?
Greene: There are deliberate limits on the magic my characters are able to use. In fact, for each book, the magic either isn’t understood or isn’t controllable. Magic is as much an asset as it is a disability.
Yanes: Looking back at the time you’ve spent writing Imagine, Reality, and Heritage, how do you think you’ve improved as a writer?
Greene: I think I’ve improved tremendously. My descriptions of landscapes and locations has improved. My characters are growing in complexity and variety. My wonderful editor, Cassie, has taught me how to make a scene flow better and has helped my pacing.
Yanes: When people finish reading Heritage, what do you hope they take away from the experience?
Greene: I hope a lot of their questions from REALITY are answered, with a few remaining to tackle in the last book. If I’ve triggered their emotions in any way, I know I’ve done a good job as well.
Yanes: Finally, what else are you working on that people can look forward to?
Greene: I have another release set for January 2019. The novel, Reborn, is a YA dystopian about a teenager named Lexil who is forced into slavery because of the marks on her skin, which state she is someone who has lived before.