Hi everyone! I hope you had a happy 4th of July.
Today, Forward Scribes welcomes Jenna Rose Robbins, the author of Faithful and Devoted: Confessions of a Music Addict...
You can find her and her work here...
Check out the interview below!
1. Tell us about yourself.
I’m currently a digital nomad supporting my country-hopping lifestyle by coaching writers on improving their author platform, editing manuscripts, ghostwriting, and writing for my personal projects (books and articles).
2. Growing up, was there a book you read that made you desire to write for a living?
Every single book I read. But Peter Pan has always been a favorite. I re-read it almost every year to remind myself to never grow up.
3. Did you have another ideal career besides writing?
I’d always thought I wanted to work in film. But after doing so for a couple of years, I found I didn’t like dealing with all the egos. So I took a job as editor of a startup website. I’ve mostly worked online since then and have always enjoyed the left-brain/right-brain combination of coding and writing. I still do some web consulting, but the majority of my work is in the writing and editorial realm.
4. When did you first start writing?
From as early as I can remember. I recall punching out stories on my mother’s manual typewriter when I was four or five, my tiny fingers getting bruised each time they got stuck between the heavy keys. By the time I was in kindergarten, I was reading stories to the class — some my own, others library staples.
5. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I like to get out and explore whatever city is “home” at the moment. That can be checking out the top to-dos on popular websites or finding a local to show me around. I also read and watch a lot of films, so I like to check out books or movies about local lore and history.
6. What does your process look like? Any necessary rituals to bring the words about?
Every project is different, at least in terms of structure. The one constant is that water — whether it’s swimming, kayaking, or just taking in a sunset at the shore — always seems to cure my writer’s block. Heck, even a long shower can do the trick.
7. Has real life and writing life ever merged?
I’ve ghostwritten and edited more than two dozen books, so it’s merged on more than one occasion. But the first book with my name on the cover was a memoir, which is the ultimate expression of real life and writing merging. When I was a teen, many of my friends would say, after a particularly embarrassing or egregious incident, “I know this is going to end up in one of your stories.” Few real-life incidents have (so far), but many have informed my fictional tales. And, of course, my travel writing is always based on actual experiences.
8. What kind of research do you do and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Even when it’s a memoir, I do a lot of research, just to make sure my memory is on point. I was rather embarrassed when a reader pointed out in my recent book that one of my observances was not in line with fact. Even though it was an issue few people would catch and which had no bearing on the overall story, it made me decide to be even more diligent with fact-checking in the future.
9. Where do you come up with your ideas?
Almost all of my ideas are rooted in some true-to-life tale. In the young-adult novel I’m working on, the idea sprang from a story I read on some tabloid website, and the rest of the story grew from a big “what if X happened next?”
10. Tell us a little about your book. How did it come about?
I wrote a short (twelve-page) version of the story, a memoir of my time following the band Depeche Mode across Spain, as an essay for a class in grad school. My advisor wanted me to make it my thesis, even though I had another idea — an idea that was the very reason I’d come to grad school in the first place. But I was also working full-time and, before I knew it, I had only one semester left to write my entire thesis. The memoir seemed a lot easier to write than my original idea, since it wasn’t as research intensive, so that’s what I ended up submitting.
11. What was the process like for this book?
After writing the original twelve-pager and a book proposal for two separate classes, I pretty much pounded out the majority of the book in a little over a semester. I had a hard and fast deadline, and since work was paying for grad school for a limited time, I didn’t have much choice but to toil away until I had a finished product. Once I graduated, the book sat on a virtual shelf for a few years. But when the band announced their tour, I realized I needed to get a move on. So I had a lawyer vet it (for libel reasons) and rushed to self-publish.
12. What was the hardest part of writing your work?
Trying to recreate characters I hadn’t seen in nearly 20 years. I was really thankful I’d kept a journal during that time. That helped immensely. Even small details, like the way someone pronounced a certain word, brought back a flood of memories.
13. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in the creation of your manuscript?
That I have a far better memory than I thought — and better than most other people’s. When I discussed some of the incidents with people from the book, they either had absolutely no recollection or, in some cases, denied they happened altogether. Then I’d find something that would prove my version of the memory (a ticket stub, for example) and more often than not they’d remember.
14. Do you have a favorite chapter and would you like to share a sample?
Not a favorite chapter, per se, but there was one incident that everyone loves to hear about: when I fell asleep on the lap of Alan Wilder (my teen crush) and drooled on his leather pants. The following excerpt takes place in a Madrid night club, the second time I met Alan in person:
I began to change course when I caught him looking at me. He now knew me, might even remember my name, so there was no way I could run away like a lovesick groupie. And so I continued my pace and, as gracefully as I could have hoped for, allowed myself to sink into the soft comfort of the leather couch.
“Hi,” I said as casually as my hormones would allow.
“Hello again.” He returned the smile, and I felt my innards melt down through my belly and straight into my toes, leaving me a quivering exoskeleton of empty flesh.
As per the rules of civilized conversation, it was my turn to speak, but I had to consider every word before it passed my lips, lest I make a complete doofus of myself in front of my idol and crush of a lifetime. This meant that, with my synapses firing slightly slower than usual, my next sentence was long in coming. But when I got it, it was brilliant.
“Want to dance?”
Alan laughed. But it was not the hedonistic cackle I might have expected. I reminded myself that he was not a head cheerleader seeking to sap the life force out of a member of the nerd herd. His laugh was amiable, intending no harm.
“I’m so drunk I don’t think I could stand.” His smile dazzled in the nightclub lights, which, unlike the thinning crowd below, continued to flash and spin unexhausted, willing us both to get up and groove. In the black light, his teeth shone a comical ultraviolet and, when I looked down, I saw that my pasty legs were a similar hue. I tucked them under me, mortified at my skin tone after being in Spain for half a week.
The rules of propriety dictated that I once again continue the conversation, but I was saved from further humiliation by Martin, who flopped onto the couch on Alan’s other side. “Excuse me,” Alan said politely, and the two bandmates dove headfirst into a conversation obscured by layers of pulsating beats.
Rather than eavesdrop, I peered out at the dance floor, hoping to catch a glimpse of my companions. But my vision was so blurred by fruity drinks and lack of sleep that I couldn’t make out the waiter in front of me when Martin stopped him for another round. Alan even ordered another drink for me and, despite the awareness I was well past my limit, I accepted. There was no possible way I could turn down a drink bought (albeit at an open bar) for me by any member of the band, let alone by the one who made my hormones hit high notes.I waited for my drink, the cushy couch beneath me slowly sapping the last of my energy. I propped up my head with one arm,
Thanks for tuning in. Also, be sure to interact with Ms. Robbins at the following links:
Take care :)