A short interview with J Lenni Dorner and some pics.
Readers of fantasy
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
J Lenni Dorner began publishing under pseudonyms at age eight, and won several awards before turning eighteen. Education includes the Pennsylvania Governor's School for Excellence in Creative Writing semi finals and Penn State University's Honors and Scholars program. While embracing the ancient tribal traditions, J Lenni Dorner discovered a story originated by The Grandfathers. J is happily married and living in Pennsylvania (USA) on the original lands of the Lenni Lenape people. When not reading or writing, J enjoys video games (such as The Sims and Civilization), funny cat videos, finding new drawings of dragons on Pinterest, and watching movies. Look for a short story titled "EGOT and the Pond King" by J Lenni Dorner in the anthology "Wrong!" (Southern Star Publications, December 2014).
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My most recent publication is the short story titled "EGOT and the Pond King" in the anthology "Wrong!" (Southern Star Publications, December 2014). I was inspired by two different writing prompts. The first was a requirement to enter the contest- the phrase "I have a list and a map. What could possibly go wrong?" had to appear. The second prompt was a bit of humor about names and American entertainment awards- it lends to a joke inside the story. (EGOT is an acronym for "Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony." A distinction officially held by twelve people.)
I also spent my NaNoWriMo November working a fantasy book entitled "The Dagger in the Darkrise." I was inspired over a decade ago by an image of a woman with a sword. The story is finally coming together properly after all this time. I'm not sure it would have made it before, as the cast is diverse (though sometimes that isn't as heavy a factor in the fantasy genre). Timing is a big factor in the publishing industry.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I'm not sure how unusual it is, but I do prefer to write in silence. Anything louder than the hum of an air conditioner gets on my nerves when I'm pounding away at the keys. Also odd is that I will write a majority of my story from start to finish, rather than jumping around from various scenes and trying to glue them all together. I've scribbled a few ideas, notes, dialog exchanges, and character quirks on a notebook that I keep on the headboard of my bed. My sleep handwriting is terrible though, so I'm not certain what all of it says.
What authors or books have influenced you?
This is such a difficult question. I'm a product of my life as a whole. The time I made a left turn instead of a right might be just as important as the time I followed directions exactly. (Actually, I find that unintended paths are much more influential and life changing than planned ones.) That being said: Stephen King inspires me for the sheer volume of books he's sold. Writer, director, and actor Kevin Smith inspires me for his dedication to fans. I'm comforted at the success J. D. Salinger obtained while managing to lead a private life. J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, and Veronica Roth influence me because they managed success with debut novels, which is extremely rare. My favorite influential books on the practice of writing include "Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Solve Writer's Resistance" by Rosanne Bane (@RosanneBane) and "Save the Cat" by Blake Snyder.
What are you working on now?
I'm editing my NaNoWriMo fantasy book entitled "The Dagger in the Darkrise." Hopefully it will be ready by the next #mswl day. Also, I'm putting together my blog posts for the #AtoZchallenge2015.
What is your best method or website for book promotion
Seventy percent of the books I acquired in 2014 were as a result of a link on Twitter. Twenty percent were a result of a review I saw on a blog or on Goodreads. The other ten percent were either won or received as gifts.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don't be a writer. It's a lonely job filled with rejection and doubt. Even if you dominate the bestseller list and have five Hollywood blockbusters as a result, there will still be people who openly mock you. For Example: Stephenie Meyer. ILM was given the direction to make characters with what looks like "thousands of tiny diamonds embedded in the surface" of their skin, who appear as a "perfect statue, carved in some unknown stone, smooth like marble, glittering like crystal." Those are substances normally associated with strength, impenetrability, and longevity - all which are common vampire characteristics. But the public has declared that it's "nouns gone wild," because vampires are unlike diamonds, statues, or marble. So, if you're still angry at my telling you not be a writer, and are determined to jump into this pool of madness-- my advice is to be careful with your words. If you think the "anti-adverb police" are tough, and the "adjectives are for whimps group" is strict, wait until the "standards for nouns" people weigh in. In all honesty though, writing is still the best job in the world, and there is nothing I would rather do. You have to love it exactly as it is. Anyone who gets into writing for fame, money, or popularity is going to be miserable. Write because it drives you, because it yanks you out of a sound sleep to pound the keyboard with passion, and because you're willing to let your characters be your Horcruxes.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps.
What are you reading now?
"Write Great Fiction: Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint," "The War of the Flowers" by Tad Williams, "The Other Normals" by Ned Vizzini, and "The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms" by N.K. Jemisin.
What's next for you as a writer?
To battle the beast that is known as a "Query Letter."
3 or 4 books for deserted island?
The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling (it's the longest one), Wired for Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence by Lisa Cron, Moby Dick by Herman Melville.
What inspires you to write?
I write because I have to. I write for the same reason that I breathe, eat, or sleep. I write because my characters need me. I write because doing so reminds me that I am alive, that I have a purpose, and that the next page is a reason to wake up tomorrow.
Tell us about your writing process
A character gets into my head and demands to exist. The loudest ones win. The quiet ones attempt to kill them off.
Are you an outliner or a seat of the pants writer?
I will sketch a very basic outline after I've fleshed out the story a bit.
Do you create character sketches before or during your writing?
I start them before, and expand upon them during. Keeping track of all those tiny little notes is important.
Do you listen to or talk to your characters?
The characters aren't real good about ever shutting up. Seriously, I'm either a writer or a complete psycho. It's a thin line.
How do you interact with your characters while you are writing?
My interactions with them while writing are a bit touch and go, because sometimes (most times) I have to torture them a bit.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
To my understanding, some publishing houses have lists of frequent book buyers to whom they send alerts when a new book is published. This increases sales. So I start by looking at the success of other published books and work from there. It is also very important to research, because I've heard about several writers who published with someone that vanished, and took the rights and royalties with them! Scary stuff.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think it's going to be really interesting. There's a big flood right now from the indie section. Some of it is great, some of it is good, and some of it is in desperate need of editors. The larger presses are going to need to adapt to this new love of authors who don't need them. Those who can change, who can offer something amazing to writers and readers alike, will survive. Any who can't adapt will vanish in the next decade, tossed onto the pile with Enron, MySpace, and Pontiac vehicles.
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