Today our guest is author Jennifer Reinfried for her book series ‘A Grim Trilogy‘. Jennifer is an avid reader, loves gaming, comics, zombies, and playing bass. We have conducted an interview with her about her books in ‘A Grim Trilogy’:
1. Eventually, did one of your lead female characters (as you had aspired before the start of writing this story) become who you had wanted to create? What has changed?
Definitely. In the first couple of drafts, the character Emma started out as more of a love interest, even though she was one of the criminals trying to take the city’s superhero down. For a long time, I considered her to be kind of on the side, which definitely reflected in the writing. Betas said they had a difficult time connecting with her. After a suggestion of a new beta, I gave Emma a different history, one readers could sympathize more. Once that was added into Grim Ambition, her entire character changed in amazing ways. She had new goals for her life that reflected in her interactions with other characters, especially Isaac and Shawn. It is also very interesting watching her interact now with the other lead female of the trilogy, Mari, who doesn’t show up until book two (Grim Judgment). Emma became stronger and smarter than she’d ever been, and is now a pivotal part of the entire trilogy.
2. How did the character art and bios process become more interesting or challenging?
I’m very happy so far with how the character art has turned out. The biggest challenge of doing the art is making sure I perfectly communicate to the artist how every single character looks in my mind. Often, I will use actors that have a similar look, and send the artist a long, very detailed description of each character, in addition to some excerpts of the book itself. The artist has been very good at communicating back and forth with me during the creation of each piece. So far every one of them has turned out better than I ever imagined, and I’m very excited to see more of them. The downside of it is, if I get a piece back and end up not liking it, the artist has to start from scratch. That hasn’t happened yet, and I think, with how well he portrays what I see in my mind, I never will.
3. Which new experience(s) did you gain after editing and re-writing your first book in A Grim Trilogy?
I learned so much from the people that helped me edit and revise my book. One huge thing I took away from it all was the difference between a “telling” and a “showing” sentence. If you have too many parts that are telling, it slows the story’s flow and can even become boring, so it’s very important to make sure your writing shows the reader what is happening instead of simply telling them. Something else I now make sure I do while writing is use “he said,” “she said,” etc. Once in awhile isn’t bad, but it’s never really even needed. Instead, using action tags in place of them helps the story keep its pace and gives the readers more to visualize with the action while the person is speaking.
4. The logo design and campaign was really exciting and creative. How do you intend to spread it out further?
I’m having a blast with promotion! The logo opened up so many other ways for me to be creative. In two of my contests, people could gain points when they drew the logo somewhere in public and posted a photo of it on social media, tagging the site. I also have a lot of merchandise available on Redbubble for people to buy, such as t-shirts, coffee and travel mugs, framed art, iPhone cases, and much more. Promoting the logo and the book itself in advance helps spread the image around. When Grim Ambition is published and available in stores, people who have seen the logo or the art somewhere before will remember it when they recognize the book on the shelves.
To continue to spread it further before publication, I intend to hold more contests, and release more art and excerpts. The more people share my work on their own feeds, the more the word gets out to people I am unable to reach. Those that have been supportive and help share my posts and art are helping me and the book in so many ways, and I couldn’t thank them enough.
5. How do you describe your feelings when your book has finally been completed while in the final review before submitting to agents?
A large array of emotions is constantly flowing through me. Excitement is at the very top, and hasn’t been quelled since I started writing Grim Ambition. This trilogy, its characters and the journeys they go on are always at the forefront of my mind, every single day. To finally be so close to releasing this story to the public brings an excitement I’ve never felt before.
Of course, I’m also extremely nervous. This is my heart and soul, and I’ve spent nearly every single day since May 2016 working on the trilogy in some way. It’s terrifying to think that, no matter how much I put into it, the book could fail. I have to constantly keep myself optimistic to ensure I don’t start doubting myself, because doubt would lead to giving up, and that is not an option, now or ever. Other emotions this process has brought forth are impatience, confusion, irritation, frustration, happiness and joy, pride, and did I mention excitement? There is so much excitement!
Something amazing I discovered was that, even though I work two jobs at the moment, my level of stress has greatly diminished since I started writing A Grim Trilogy. Most people think I’d be more stressed than before, but that is not the case. Being able to finally work on something you’re passionate about and is calming, and the emotions I’ve been able to transfer into the books has been shockingly therapeutic. I encourage everyone who has ever thought about writing to do so, as it is one of the best, most fantastic things I’ve done with my life so far, and I’d hate to know others don’t take the leap into this satisfying journey themselves.
6. Which was the most appreciated feedback from your beta readers? Why did you choose this particular feedback among the rest? How did it effect your story line?
Throughout this process, I’ve now had eight beta readers. My core betas were chosen for their love of the genre, and because they were all avid readers. This feedback helped me with flow and character development as well as general punctuation I may have missed. However, once the book had been completed and edited a few times, it needed a professional’s eyes. I ended up getting extremely lucky by meeting the brilliant Wendy Vogel, who has already been successfully published. Her suggestions have changed Grim Ambition from a good book to a great story. Working with her, I was able to increase the intensity of the novel tenfold, keep the flow perfect, and strengthen each of the main characters in fantastic ways. The book reads much better, and is way more exciting. Her feedback was invaluable, and I can’t wait to work on the second and third books with her after Grim Ambition is published.