Author Spotlight: J.L. Kenna
June 12, 2023 • News
CJC: How did you get started as an author and what made you want to pursue that field?
JL: I’ve always wanted to be a writer. In college, I took screenwriting classes and was interested in writing for television. Early in my relationship with my husband, I wrote a couple of music videos for him to shoot for bands. About three years ago, I read a romance series which sparked an interest in reading as many romance novels as I could get my hands on. Now, I’m writing them. Never did I think I would write a novel, let alone three.
CJC: What do you find to be the most rewarding and challenging part of being an author and what hurdles have you overcome while striving towards your goals?
JL: The most rewarding part is simply accomplishment. I found myself in a phase in my life when everything seemed functional and routine. I wasn’t sure if I could step outside of the box enough to accomplish something so huge. The simple fact that I wanted to write a novel, I craved to get a story out there that people actually read and liked. There’s a feeling of accomplishment that comes with following through and succeeding that fuels me. It’s enough for me. The biggest hurdle for me is time. Time away from my family is hard. And as an indie author, it is a full-time job; it’s nonstop networking, promoting, managing, etc. Thankfully, my family understands and supports my growth. And I want to show my kids that putting time into accomplishing something you’re passionate about is never time wasted.
CJC: Which novel has been your favorite to write and why?
JL: Under the Night Sky is my debut novel. The more I write, the more seamless and natural it feels. I don’t agonize over each sentence the way I did with my first. For that reason, I feel a little more blood, sweat, and tears (so to speak) went into Under the Night Sky than the rest. It will always feel like my baby.
CJC: For first-time readers of your work, which book would you recommend?
JL: Midnight Confessions. It’s the first book in the Beautiful Bastards series.
CJC: If one of your books were made into a movie, which would you select and who would you like to star in it?
JL: Oh boy. I’d like to see Midnight Confessions made into a movie. It’s a classic enemies-to-lovers trope. I think it would be fun to watch. Andrew Biernat is the cover model for the book and my inspiration for Aleck Fox, my male main character. He’s also an actor, so maybe him—to stay true to my inspiration. And I think Sofia Carson would make a wonderful Winter Sommers.
CJC: For those looking to become an author, what advice would you give them?
JL: Oh, my gosh, I have so much. But I think, foremost, give yourself grace. It’s easy to sway between feeling accomplished and feeling like you’re wasting your time. It’s a hard (saturated) field to break into. Stay true to yourself and believe in your ability—your audience is out there.
CJC: If you could co-write a book with any author, who would it be and why?
JL: LJ Shen was the first author I truly fell in love with. I started with Sparrow and then got lost in her entire library. I would love to co-write a book with her.
CJC: Favorite motto?
JL: If you’re going to do it, overdue it. That’s how you know you’re alive. -Ani DiFranco
CJC: What do you do to overcome writer’s block?
JL: I read. Reading always inspires me to write.
CJC: In one word, how would you describe your writing style?
JL: Oh, I don’t know. I’m drawn to stories that have a bit of a roller coaster feel, so I suppose I write my stories with the same turbulence. My characters tend to agonize over their decisions, suffer from their pasts, and find humor in their present. I write with a lot of angst, but also humor. At least, I think I’m funny. I also love to build the tension between my main characters to the point of pain—so if you can’t endure being edged, I may not be your author.
CJC: Which do you find harder to do… writing the blurb for your story or selecting the cover?
JL: The blurb! The blurb is the bane of my existence.
CJC: Do you have authors who inspire you? And if so, who and why?
JL: Yes, I was an avid reader before becoming a writer. My favorite authors are LJ Shen, Emily McIntire, Anna Huang, and Tessa Bailey. Their writing styles and voices always speak to me.
CJC: What is your writing process like?
JL: I’m a total plantser. First, I decide what tropes I want involved. From there, I decide what characteristics would complement those tropes; and my characters are born. I then decide what tortures them and what they might overcome, how they antagonize and complement each other, and so on. That’s about all the planning I do before I start writing. Once I’m writing, I feel like my characters write their own stories.
CJC: What new projects are you currently working on and what are your goals for the remainder of the year?
JL: Right now I’m mapping out the third book in the Beautiful Bastards series. From there, I’m looking to move onto another series—a slightly darker series—that I’ve already semi-planned out. You may know more about my new series later in the year. Shh… That’s all I can say about that for now.
CJC: Any final thoughts you would like to share with the CJC Photography readers?
JL: Thank you for taking the time to read about me and my books! I love being involved in this book community. Getting to meet and work with supportive and kind people like Christopher and Eric G is EVERYTHING in this business. So, thank you!
CJC: Thank you J.L.!
Stay up to date with all of J.L.’s latest released here.