Monday, March 30, 2015

Interview & #giveaway:Jen McConnel author of Gods of Chaos @chapterxchapter @Jen_McConnel @month9books

Please join my stop on the blog tour for an interview with Jen McConnel, author of Gods of Chaos. Read through for a giveaway.


Title: Gods of Chaos (Red Magic #2)
Publication date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Jen McConnel

The gods of chaos cannot be trusted.

Since battling her best friend, Darlena’s grip on Red Magic has been shaky. She heads to Scotland after the Winter Solstice in search of another Red Witch.

On a sightseeing excursion with girls from her hostel, Darlena arrives at The Vaults, a mysterious underground city beneath Edinburgh. But there is something there that make Darlena’s instincts go haywire, as she lets loose a defensive burst of Red Magic, putting everyone around her in danger.

If there was ever a time when Darlena needed the help of another Red witch, it was now. But beware the witch who wields Red Magic.

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1. Where/how did you come up with the idea for your story? Did it suddenly pop into your head or were you brainstorming?

I used to teach middle school, and my students and I were using story starters one day. The sentence that sparked what became the Red Magic series? “She was a funny looking old woman, but…” I just started writing like crazy during the first period, and by the end of the day, I realized I’d stumbled into a really fun idea!

2. Did you start with the main character, the world or the overarching concept?

From the first, I knew this story was going to be in first person, and within seconds of starting that story starter, Darlena had introduced herself to me and taken the reins. She’s a really fun character to write!

3. Panster or Plotter? Or in between?

Total pantser on the first draft, but I’ve got pretty methodical approaches to subsequent revisions, where I plan and analyze. But for that first draft, I’m all about Anne Lamott’s advice in BIRD BY BIRD, and I embrace the “shitty first draft”.

4. Are you a fan of writing contests?

I’ve entered a few. I really love the SCBWI Carolinas Art and Writing Contest; it’s a great way to get feedback whether you win or not (and it was also a really big thrill to place second a few years ago with the first pages of another one of my YA manuscripts!)

5. How did you find your agent? How many query letters did you send?

Currently, I’m working without an agent. I had one briefly at the start of my writing career, but she left the business before selling any of my titles, so all the books I’ve got out I’ve queried on my own, directly to the publishers. I’ve lost track of how many agent and publisher queries I’ve sent over the years, but I can tell you that I actively started pursuing publication in 2011, and I’m sure I must have sent hundreds of queries and submissions by now. Persistence is key!

6. What's the best marketing tool you've found so far?

I love participating in book festivals and giving talks at schools, libraries, and conferences. Social media is a ton of fun, but I’m first and foremost a face-to-face person, and there’s nothing quite like meeting readers in person!

7. What do you like best about your mc?

I love that she’s stubborn, and I actually love her tendency to make bad choices…Darlena’s certainly never boring to write!

8. What do you like best about your main antagonist?

The antagonist of the series shifts between the different books, but the goddess Hecate remains the primary force Darlena is up against. I like playing with mythology to create a character who’s insanely powerful and yet, at the same time, limited by the choices of mortals. That’s true of all the gods and goddesses in the Red Magic series, and I’ve loved writing each and every one of them.

Thanks so much for hosting me!!

About the Author:

Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. A graduate of Western Michigan University, she also holds a MS in Library Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania.  When she isn't crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches college writing composition and yoga. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.  Her fiction titles include YA and NA, and she also writes nonfiction. Visit  to learn more.

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