Interview with Jennifer Quintenz, Author of The Daughters of Lilith

March 1, 2014 Interviews 0

Interview with Jennifer Quintenz, Author of The Daughters of LilithThrall by Jennifer Quintenz
Series: Daughters of Lilith #1
Published by Secret Tree Press on 5-16-2012
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 281
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Braedyn is a normal girl just trying to survive high school with her two devoted friends, Royal and Cassie. Together they’re doing a pretty good job of shrugging off the slings and arrows cast their way by the popular crowd when a new boy, Lucas, moves into the house next door. Suddenly Braedyn finds herself falling in love for the first time.

But as her sixteenth birthday approaches, Braedyn discovers humankind is at war with the Lilitu, an ancient race of enticing demons that prey on human souls. Her father is a member of the Guard fighting against the Lilitu - and so are the new neighbors, including her crush, Lucas.

As her world starts to unravel at the seams, Braedyn learns the right answers aren’t always clear or easy. And as for “good” and “evil” – it all depends on how we choose to act.

Inspired by the ancient Mesopotamian myths of Lilith and her offspring, Thrall explores first love, strong friendships, and taking on adult responsibilities against the backdrop of powerful supernatural forces and life-and-death stakes.

Interview with Jennifer Quintenz

Can you talk a little about what the book is about?

Sure – The Daughters of Lilith series follows the life and adventures of Braedyn Murphy, a sweet if shy teenage girl who discovers around her 16th birthday that she is a descendent of Lilith, the mother of all demons.

Where did you get the idea for the book?

I love taking old mythology and seeing what would happen if it played out in a contemporary setting. In this case, it’s the ancient Mesopotamian mythology of Lilith (Adam’s first wife, before Eve), and her offspring.

What message do you want readers to get from reading the book?

That a person is “good” or “evil” by how he or she chooses to act. Even though Braedyn is descended from a demon, she still fights for her family and friends, and struggles to maintain her humanity.

How long did it take to write the book?

Actually, Thrall started out as a TV pilot, not a novel. When the pilot didn’t get picked up, my manager and I talked about what project I should tackle next. Usually, I’d turn to a completely new story, but with this story – I knew it could find an audience if I could just get it out into the world. I wrote the first draft in 2 months, then I did some rewrite passes based on notes from my manager and agent. Probably 6 months of work, total?

Who is your favorite character, or what character was the most fun to write?

Karayan is a lot of fun to write – she’s so snarky and self-possessed, but deep down she’s pretty wounded. I also love writing for Royal, and Murphy (Braedyn’s dad). And the stuff between Braedyn and Lucas is a lot of fun to write, too.

Can you talk about how you wrote it? Did you do any outlining? Did it take you in any unexpected directions?

I love outlines. I try to outline extensively before I jump into pages. With this book – my first book – I started with a TV pilot and a loose outline for the rest of the book, and that was a mistake. I should have done more work with the outline up front. Books 2 and 3 were outlined much more extensively, and it made the first draft and rewrite phases much easier! Yes, I am a huge believer in outlines. 🙂 Lots of unexpected things come up, and if they’re interesting I really try to follow them. I love being able to twist the story into a new direction. But – again – I try to do most of my exploration in the outline stage. It’s so much easier to rewrite a 20 page outline that it is to rewrite a 300 page book…

If you could go back and change anything in the novel, what would it be?

Good question! Hm. I think I would have delayed Lucas and Braedyn’s love a bit longer – tried to have them get to know each other as friends first, or maybe even as rivals within the Guard, and then let their love evolve a bit more slowly. But at the time I thought I had to get that established up front, because I wanted Lucas to have feelings for Braedyn BEFORE her powers kicked in… I didn’t want any doubt that Lucas fell for Braedyn for who she is, not what she is.

How did you come up with the cover?

I had a general idea of what I wanted it to look like, and so I went to a stock photo website to try and find an image that looked like the image of Braedyn I had in my mind. When I couldn’t find the right model, I picked a few photos and combined them in Photoshop. I got a photo with the right body language, another with the right expression… and I changed the color of her eyes and her hair. It was actually a lot of fun to work on the cover – and again, I learned SO MUCH the first time through. The covers for books 2, 3, 4, and 5 were much easier. (I’m working on the covers for 4 and 5 right now, but they haven’t been released yet.) Steep learning curve, but totally worth it!

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Probably ever since I knew people could be writers professionally… 🙂 My sister and I were always writing and illustrating stories as kids. Our house was filled with all kinds of books.

What was the first story that you ever wrote?

The first complete “book” I made – I think I was 10 years old – was called Earth Angel. It was about a young angel who gets hit by an airplane and falls to earth, then has to find her way home, becoming good friends with a sick girl along the way.

What are you favorite books and authors?

I love The Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, Sister Light, Sister Dark and the Dragon’s Blood series by Jane Yolen, the Harper Hall trilogy by Ann McCaffry, the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Harry Potter series… there’s so many excellent books out there. This is a great time for YA in particular. I’ve loaded up my kindle with all kinds of things I can’t wait to dive into… just need the time.

What are you working on next?

I’m actually pitching a TV pilot right now, but after that I hope to outline the last two books of the Daughters of Lilith series (it’ll be 5 books altogether). Then it’s a toss up between several ideas for the next series I want to write… If only there were more hours in the day!

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Do it! Write – every day if you can. Finish the stories you start, even if you lose confidence half way through. Once you’ve finished the first draft, you’ll have something to edit – that’s a lot easier than staring at a blank page. If you’re struggling with confidence or writer’s block, try one of Julia Cameron’s books like “The Artist’s Way” – it helped me get past a lot of self-doubt, and when i’m really stuck I go back to it or one of her other books (“Walking In This World” or “Finding Water”) for inspiration. But really, the key is just to write. Every story you write helps.

How do you juggle writing with family time?

That’s a great question, and it’s something I’m still working on. I’ve got a preschool-age son and a new baby on the way. I usually have at least an hour or two with my son in the morning before he goes to preschool, then I write while he’s away, and then we have our evenings together as a family. Sometimes my husband takes the kiddo off to the park on those weekends that I need to get another chapter written, but in my ideal world I’d be able to keep my work to the week, and spend more time with my family on the week ends. The flip side is, writing helps keep me sane, so I think I’m a better parent when I keep to my writing schedule. I love being able to hit my goal for the day, then put everything away and devote my full attention to my son and my husband at the end of the day. (When I say “writing time” – sometimes it’s for a novel or a creative project, and sometimes it’s a pay-the-bills article for my day job.)

About Jennifer Quintenz

Jennifer Quintenz is a film and television writer, author, and graphic novelist. She has written for Twentieth Television, Intrepid Pictures, and Archaia Studios Press. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son

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