Welcome! Pull up a seat and enjoy a chat with Today’s Tease JK Ensley
Your Name or Pen Name you use: Jennifer K. Ensley (JK Ensley)
Title of the book you are promoting: Cursed by Diamonds: Book 1 of A Dance with Destiny
Genre: Fantasy, Dark Fantasy (with a dash of love)
Welcome JK…I, LH have some questions for you 😉
LH: I wanted to be a ballerina, race car driver and a private detective when I was little. What did you want to be when you grew up?
JK: I wanted to be an action movie star, a professional basketball player, a tour guide (I had no bias as to where I would be touring), and a cartoon character like Alice in Wonderland. I didn’t care if I was the cat or the caterpillar or the girl, I just wanted to be skipping around in a world like that.
LH: I didn’t really have a literary influence, I just decided one day to start writing. Who influenced you in your writing career?
JK: In truth, my daughter. She is like me, a total book nerd. I wanted to put the story playing out in my head on paper and give it to her. Well, that’s what inspired me to write it, but magical stories of any kind are an inspiration to me. My family has some amazing storytellers in it. Family reunions were like magical adventures for me.
LH: I self published all of my books and was then “discovered” by a publisher. Are you an Indie or published author?
JK: I am an Indie. I didn’t look for a publisher. I just researched how to make a book, hired an editor, cover designer, and then self published.
LH: As an Indie Author, I was hesitant about being with a publishing company. If you are an Indie author, would you like to be published by a traditional publisher and if so, why or why not?
JK: I’m not sure, actually. I’ve never had experience in that world. As long as I get to write what’s in my head, I don’t care how it gets out there… I just want people to read it. Being published by a large company would give me a broader market I suppose. But the world is getting smaller and smaller. The internet, and awesome folks like you, are making the whole marketing thing much easier to tackle.
LH: This is easy for me…I’d invite Johnny Depp and I would not discuss movies! Who would you invite to dinner, living or dead, and what one topic would you NOT discuss with them?
JK: That’s a hard one for me. Hmm… I’d invite Sir Anthony Hopkins and I wouldn’t even mention Hannibal Lector. I would just sit and listen to all the fascinating stories this man must have.
LH: I personally think that there is way too much sex and violence everywhere in society these days and it’s everywhere but that Hollywood is one of the biggest contributors. Do you think that society as a whole is subjected to too much sex and violence and are you concerned about it? Ever feel conflicted and if so, why?
JK: Well… ancient history, as far back as has been recorded, has had this same problem, sex and violence. It doesn’t come from external things any more now than it did then. It comes from inside the individual. I mean, look at Nero as just one documented example. There were no movies or video games in ancient Rome, but dude was about as messed up as you can get. People have been twisted since time began. Now, I’m not saying that society today does not do its fair share of helping, but the evil is nurtured within. Perhaps the real problem is in parenting and guidance on all levels. The old saying ‘It takes a whole village to raise a child’ is a very true statement. We have as much a responsibility to other people’s children as we do our own. Just think what all your kindergartener can learn from those other 20 kids in class, good and bad. We all have to do what should be done at home. If every parent cared enough to teach their own kids right from wrong, that would be a HUGE step in the right direction. Even if you can’t change the world, you can give your offspring the tools they will need to be able to cope with the society they are given as legacy. And that’s how you change the world, one toddler at a time. If everyone did this, the problem would fix itself in just one generation. Teach them to love and respect, and they will mirror that in all they meet. Teach them that women are just objects and their fellow man is simply their next opponent, and you’ve created our next monster. Movies and games may depict this, but given a good foundation, a child will already know better… before they press play.
LH: I’m a huge softy and by no means a beauty queen… lol but, I truly would want world peace in the blink of an eye if I could make it happen…If you could change one thing in the world, in the blink of an eye, what would it be?
JK: Ignorance and racism, and I’m not talking about white people downing on others. I mean racism, period. If you don’t like someone, anyone, because of something they cannot change and had no say in, by the way they look on the outside. If you judge them or hate them simply because of the package they’re wrapped in… that’s wrong. I don’t care who you are… that’s wrong. And that would be your first step on the way to world peace.
LH: With the traditional bookstore becoming obsolete and everyone turning to buying books online, I don’t buy the hype that “the cover is everything”. How important do you think book covers are now that almost all shopping is done online?
JK: Actually, I’ve purchased tons of books because of their cover alone. You see, I’m a book collector, of sorts. I love the feel of a book in my hand, the way it smells, the way it looks, how it matches others on my bookshelf. I agree that a cover does not justify the work it contains within, but if I don’t know an author and the book has a standard stock cover, I’ll probably just keep on clicking. But that’s just me, I’m a visual kind of person.
LH: I can remember wanting to write as a kid. I got a really late start! Have you always wanted to write and when did you start?
JK: Nope. I’ve always wanted to read, never even crossed my mind to write. I was the kid sent to ‘clean your room, young lady’ and an hour later Mom looks in and I’m sitting in the middle of my mess, reading, because I found a book I’d totally forgotten about. I’ve always jotted down little stories I’d heard when I was a child or poems when my heart felt like it, but I didn’t put my first serious novel word down on paper until my thirties.
LH: I love to see if I can see myself in a character. What interests you most about a story?
JK: That same connection. If I can’t relate to it, if I can’t step into the character’s shoes or walk beside them as the whole thing plays out, I just lose interest. I like when a book sucks me inside the story… whether I’m watching it or living it doesn’t really matter. My favorite books are the ones I can’t put down until I consume the last word… and then it takes me DAYS to come back to reality.
LH: For me, I just get hit with this whole movie in my head and start writing. How do you come up with your stories?
JK: You call them movies, I call them voices… lol. When my pen touches the paper, the story just flows out with the ink. I hear what the character would say next, I see their facial expressions; I’m walking right beside them as their life plays out for me.
LH: I can’t tell you or I’d have to…lol Are you working on anything now?
JK: Yep. I’m working on accompanying novellas. Filler bits for a sort of in-between the series type thingy. Is that about as clear as mud? 😉 I’m also compiling some short stories I’ve written. To me, a short story is kind of like chasing rabbits (when you lose focus on the subject at hand and go off in a completely different direction for a bit). Well, I chase lots of rabbits. J So I’m trying to corral them all and see what happens.
LH: I’m working on #6…3 are published and the other 3 are due out this year… How many books have you written? How many have been published?
JK: I have two books published, the third is with the editor, the forth is setting there waiting patiently, and I’m typing the fifth while writing the sixth. And now I’m working on the audio versions. Cursed by Diamonds should be available real soon. I’m like a kid at Christmas!
LH: I write for fun I don’t even dream of riches…Do you write for fun or money?
JK: I write because I have to… the voices demand it. lol And also because I love it, I can’t not write. It’s gone from being my therapy to my one true love. Whether I get a big fat bank account or not is irrelevant. I want people to read my stories, see what I see, walk through my world with me.
LH: Some of my family members had a bit of a problem with me writing my first book “A Beautiful Liar” because the character Maggie West is basically me…to a point 😉 They had a problem with the genre and me “putting it all out there” so to speak so I took a pen name. They eventually came around as I have never cared who knows who I am what I’ve done or what they think of me. I’ve never wanted to be famous, just infamous! What has been your biggest problem when it comes to family or friends when writing?
JK: My family is awesome. I’m blessed and truly thankful. I’ve always just done my own thing, spoke my own mind, and pretty much stayed in trouble for that most of my life. But I can always count on them to be supportive of my dreams, big or little. I think the hardest thing was just letting others in my world via my words and terrified they wouldn’t get it. I remember the butterflies and nauseous feeling…waiting for them to finally finish and give me a call. Happily, they liked it. And the ones who read (lots of people don’t take time to read) they are hungry creatures. J
LH: I have never experienced writers block…I have experienced writers “don’t want to”… Have you ever experienced writers block and if so, how did you overcome it?
JK: I haven’t yet. Yes, I suffer from the same “don’t want to” affliction. But my stories have never reached a dead end or backed themselves up against a wall. When that happens, I’ll just take the down time as free time and catch up on all the books I have bought but not got to read yet. 😉
LH: I get asked all the time “Do you have any advice for new writers?”… Do you?
JK: Hire an editor and use beta readers. You don’t have to take their advice, but it never hurts to bounce ideas around. We can all learn a bit from others. That’s how we grow, as writers and as people. I’ve tried my best to support indie writers and first timers by buying their books. Most times, the story is entertaining. But if it’s full of typos, or there’s giant holes right through the plot, or they leave tons of unanswered questions, or don’t explain it properly (or worse, explain it too much) then I probably won’t buy their next book. I guess the best advice would be… Don’t click publish too soon! Read it, read it, and then read it the fifteenth time. Polish it up. This book is a reflection of you. You’ve put a lot of hard work into it. Show your story the respect it deserves and do your best by it. It will matter in the long run, I promise.
LH: I would not change one thing in my life as I would not be me if I did… If you could go back in time and change one thing in your life, what would it be?
JK: I wouldn’t change a thing. Good and bad, I’ve learned from it all. But if I had to say something, it would be that maybe I wouldn’t be so stingy with my hugs, smiles, or praise. I try not to be. But when I look back at those I’ve lost way too soon, I can’t help but wish I’d told them I loved them… just a little more.
LH: If I could go back in time and tell someone something, I’d go back and tell the founding fathers they were doing a few things wrong…If you could go back in time and tell someone something, who would you tell and what would you tell them?
JK: This one is easy. I’d go back and tell my little brother not to go to the lake that day. I’d spend the whole day playing with him and never let him near the water…
LH: I would freak out if someone contacted me and said they wanted to make one of my books or my series of book into a movie as I am really very shy in person and I’d probably go into hiding. I don’t think I could handle it. How would you handle it? Who would be the first person you told?
JK: That would be AWESOME! To see the dreams I carry around in my head all come to life…wow… I’m not shy. But I also know that they would probably just buy the rights to the story and then just do what they wanted with it. Everyone’s imagination is different. But it would still totally rock my face off! And the first person I would tell would be my son, Christian. I’d beg him to come home from school every weekend so we could watch it on HBO together. He’d just roll his eyes. But I’d be smiling like a Cheshire cat. 🙂
Thank you for that in depth and AWESOME interview JK…Now… for the fun stuff!
Favorite Beverage? Hot Tea
Exercise or Bubble Bath? Ehh, nowadays…Bubble Bath. 😉
Favorite Color? Is Sparkles a color? No? Then Pink.
Take out or Dine in? Dine in… unless he’s really cute. 😉 What? I’m kidding!
Camping or Hotel? Totally a Hotel.
Sports or Chocolate? Chocolate!!!
Dogs or Cats? Both.
Favorite Food? Mom’s cooking, definitely.
Favorite Song? Unchained Melody. I sing it really loud and totally off key in the shower.
Favorite Movie? Tombstone. Yeah, I’m you’re huckleberry.
Favorite Car? One I don’t have to drive… Taxi, please. A limo would be nice. Can I get a chauffeur over here? Thanks!
Sex or Chocolate? (The answer “Both” is totally acceptable 😉 Yes, and at the same time would be great, please! 😉
And now for the essay part of the interview 😉
If you could go anywhere for a week, with anyone you wanted and no one would ever find out about it…where would you go, what would you do and who would you take?
JK: I’d go to Japan while all the cherry blossoms were in bloom, during the wisteria festival “Fuji Matsuri”. I’d take my parents and my kids. Mom would LOVE to see that. We’d tour all the magical gardens of that land while I try every kind of tea I can get my hands on. Someday… I’ll do just that. 😉
Thank you for spending this time with us. Make sure to pick up your copy of JK Ensley’s
Cursed by Diamonds: Book 1 of A Dance with Destiny