Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, Jennifer Pezzano – Jennifer is a literary junkie, with a lifelong love affair with words. A poet and writer who lives nestled in the beautiful valley of Southern Oregon with her partner and daughter. She spends her days furiously typing away at her computer while trying to balance the blend of motherhood and self-growth.
Thanks so much, Jennifer, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?
Jennifer Pezzano: I started writing when I was around 10 years old. It was a way for me to escape and lose myself in a world of my own fashioning. I have a vivid memory of my 4th grade teacher reading a piece of my writing to the whole class, and as we filed out for recess, he turned to me and said, “I better see you a published author one day.” So thank you Mr. Jones, for planting that seed within me.
JSC: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
JP: My writing style is heavily influenced by poetry. Being primarily a poet for most of my adult life, I tend to blend the dreamy beauty of prose into all my stories. Heavily descriptive, I pull in all the sensory aspects that help set the tone and highlight the subtle nuances of emotion.
JSC: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
JP: I do. Reader feedback is one of the most important things to me as a writer, and extremely helpful in determining if I am marketing to the correct audience or not. My current book is a bit of a unicorn when it comes to genre, so it’s been a tricky one to place in the right category.
JSC: Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
JP: I am a bit of a genre bender. I like to experiment with all facets of storytelling. But my stories do share a central theme, they all revolve around love and the journey to self-growth.
JSC: Are you a plotter or a pantster?
JP: I am a huge pantser. I suppose this is what makes writing so endlessly exciting for me. I sit down with only a vague idea in my mind and allow the story to unfold before me. I become both the reader and the writer, and it is such a fascinating and fun process.
JSC: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
JP: The initial push on this story took me about 3 months. Then the process of editing, refining, and revising took another year. That’s where the work really begins, writing it was the easy part.
JSC: What was the hardest part of writing this book?
JP: When to call it done. I could have easily coddled this story for another year, but at some point, you have to step away and allow it to leave the nest. I had become so invested in this story and in the characters that saying goodbye to it was really hard for me.
JSC: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
JP: I devoured Anne Rice when I was in my twenties and have always been fascinated by the concept of the vampire but was never fully satisfied with how they were portrayed. “Awakening” was born out of a desire to bring my own spin to the vampire trope, blending aspects of spirituality, healing, and eroticism, because I feel like all these things are so closely intertwined, and I feel like I was able to create a story that was unique and all my own.
JSC: Who did your cover, and what was the design process like?
JP: My cover was predominantly my design with a bit of help from someone with photoshop skills. I think I must have spent hours laboring over fonts, trying to evoke the right tone. But it was a really fun process, watching this idea come to life.
JSC: What are you working on now?
JP: I am currently working on a story much different than this one, with plans to release in late spring. It is more of a contemporary romance of sorts, involving a woman running from the pain of her past and a man trapped in the darkness of his disability. I also have a few other stories in their infant stages percolating in the back corners of my mind.
“I suppose in a way I had always felt that the veil of this reality was thinly drawn, that if I were to only reach out my hand, it would part before me, revealing a world much more complex than I ever could imagine.”
Jezebel is a solitary woman with a haunted past. Running a business in a small coastal town, she clings to the predictability of her days, seeking refuge in the silence. When an enigmatic new client comes into her life, she is drawn to him, unaware of the link she holds to his own tangled history.
He offers her a seductive proposal, and she is propelled into an entrancing world of pleasure that shatters her reality, and deeply alters her sense of self.
But underneath all his magnetism and power lies the human complexities of a grieving man running from his shadows. Will August surrender his centuries of pain and allow Jezebel fully into his life? And will Jezebel be able to navigate the landscape of what he has to offer?
Delivering a new meaning to the vampire archetype, Awakening is a multi-layered, sensuous, paranormal love story that reaches through the curtain of time. The intricate ties that connect these two to one another will forever transform the course of their lives, stretch the fabric of their reality, and awaken within them something deeper and more profound.
My footsteps pounded against the wet sand, ragged breath pulled at my lungs, my heart a violent pulse in my ears. Every muscle within me screamed to stop, but I kept going, pushing myself beyond my threshold. The cool mist from the ocean slapped against my face as I ran along the beach, the crash of the waves drowning out my tumbling thoughts until there was nothing left but blissful, empty silence. As always, my legs eventually betrayed me, buckling under the burden of my exhaustion, and forcing me to a halt.
I clasped my hands against my knees, gasping for air as the wind pulled at the loose strands of my hair, tossing them wildly about. I gazed out into the reckless, turbulent water as the tall figure of a man in a suit approached from the shoreline.His choice of attire was rather peculiar, like a misplaced apparition among the jagged landscape of rock and water. The wind whipped against his dark hair as he came closer, walking at a brisk pace with a look of deep contemplation etched upon his face. He greeted me with a nod as he passed, his eyes flickering over me briefly. The unexpected intensity of his gaze caused my skin to abruptly prickle with heat before he continued down the long stretch of empty beach; the fog curling around him like a shroud.
My eyes followed the outline of him until he faded from view, and I was once again the centerpiece of my solitude, alone on the beach. The breeze chilled my damp skin, and I wrapped my arms around myself, staring out into the water as if the depths held the answers to the unyielding weight of all my reflections.
With shaky legs, I turned and trudged through the sand, making my way across the parking lot and toward the quiet of downtown. The crash of the waves in the distance soothed me. I loved these moments, the encapsulated hush of early mornings before the bustle of the day descended upon the streets. The seclusion filled me with a deep sense of serenity that pulled at the threads of my restlessness.