Interview with Jen McConnel

Jen McConnel-0034Tell us about your publishing journey…

I’ve been writing for most of my life, but in 2011, I decided to seriously pursue publication for my work. I self-published my first novel in 2012, which was later acquired by Bloomsbury Spark and re-released in 2013, and my first YA novel came out in earlier this year from Month9Books. My career is absolutely hybrid; I’ve got works with small presses, digital first imprints, and large presses, and I plan to self-publish again in the future, too. It’s a great time to be a writer; there’ve never been more options, and that’s wonderful! 

What do you love about being an author?

It’s so incredibly cool to be able to tell stories. I love playing in my fictional worlds and getting to know my characters! Meeting readers is really awesome, too; I particularly love visiting middle and high schools and connecting with young writers. 

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?

I’d love to sit down with Scarlet O’Hara, although we’d probably get into a fight; two strong, opinionated women in one space would either be amazing or disastrous! I’d like to eat whatever she would want to serve. Knowing her, it would be decadent and delicious! 

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

You know, I never know what to do with that question! I honestly haven’t cast any of my novels, but it would be amazing to see them brought to live on film or TV! 

Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?

Classic monsters. DRACULA is one of my favorite books to re-read each fall!

 If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?Daughter of Chaos

 I’m a total history nerd, so it’s nearly impossible to pick just one era. I guess if I knew I could get home whenever I needed, I’d love to pop back to the days of the last Cleopatra and get a glimpse of the fall of Egypt. I’ve always been obsessed with ancient Egypt! 

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?

 Just keep writing. Seriously, there’s very little stress in my life that won’t melt away if I keep writing and keep practicing yoga.  

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

 I’d love to be a witch, ala Practical Magic, because, come on! Who doesn’t want to be that cool? 

Where do you write best? 

I tend to fast draft, and lately I’ve been drafting on my laptop at my dining table. When I dig into edits, I work best on my desktop. Sadly, I’ve never been able to write in a coffee shop, although I do love a good Starbucks break whenever I get the chance! 

What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

I just finished STOKER’S MANUSCRIPT by Royce Prouty, and I loved it! It was a great gothic read, particularly for fans of the original DRACULA. 

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

Since I write in a lot of genres, I don’t really know how to answer this question! I write YA paranormal, contemporary, and gothic, and I write NA contemporary, mystery, and paranormal. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to try my hand at Sci Fi, but I’m not an avid Sci Fi reader, so I wouldn’t even know where to start!

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 DAUGHTER OF CHAOS (YA), THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY (NA), and the upcoming BEAUTIFUL CURSE (YA).  to learn more.

 Connect With Jen:

 Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Facebook | Blog | Website |


Book Review: Daughter of Chaos by Jen McConnel

Daughter of ChaosSynopsis:

There comes a time in every witch’s life when she must choose her path. Darlena’s friends have already chosen, so why is it so hard for her to make up her mind? Now, Darlena is out of time. Under pressure from Hecate, the Queen of all witches, Darlena makes a rash decision to choose Red magic, a path no witch in her right mind would dare take. As a Red witch, she will be responsible for chaos and mayhem, drawing her deep into darkness. Will the power of Red magic prove too much for Darlena, or will she learn to control it before it’s too late?

DAUGHTER OF CHAOS is the first in the RED MAGIC paranormal YA trilogy.

About the Author: 6451403

Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. Since then, her words have appeared in a variety of magazines and journals, including Sagewoman, PanGaia, and The Storyteller (where she won the people’s choice 3rd place award for her poem, “Luna”).

She is also a former reviewer for Voices of Youth Advocates (VOYA), and a proud member of SCBWI, NCWN, and SCWW.

A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. When she isn’t crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches writing composition at a community college. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.

Twitter @Jen_McConnel, and visit to learn more

My Review:

Paranormal entities seem to come in and out of fashion. We had vampires, then zombies and now it seems that witches are ‘in’. I’m not really a believer in writing about what’s ‘in’ apart from the timing issues (it takes quite some months to write a book) it can dilute your characters and taint the author’s theme and premise. I’m unsure as to whether Daughter of Chaos was written in the successful wake of Beautiful Creatures, or was well underway before all the witchery kicked off – either way it’s a far superior book.

A world where magic is accepted is a much more interesting one to me than one where it’s hidden. This freedom allows the author to go places that the ‘secret’ constrictions fences off. The opening to this book really sets the tone of this, when a goddess appears in the character’s living room, disturbing her popcorn and TV session.

From a writer’s perspective. I must admit that it took me a while to feel for Darleana. From her random declaration to ‘red magic’ to her humourless and bland reactions to events. Maybe I’m too old for certain YA books, but I always feel that a really good YA should span the generations. Characters are tricky things for authors, you make them too crazy and readers get annoyed, you make them too soft and readers want to slap them. Darleana did seem to tread a fine line between these traditional YA facets, so I certainly didn’t hate her or want to shake her by the shoulders till her chewing gum drops out. But I wasn’t really invested in her either. I need to point out here, that this character apathy is purely down to me and my own tastes. I can still remember what it was like to be a teen, and back then I’d have probably wanted her as a BFF.

The front cover is beautiful and really stands out – so this book will certainly stand out when readers are scanning through blogs, e-shops and the like.

Overall I’d give Daughter of Chaos 4 out of 5 stars, a promising start to a YA series. If you hankering for some spellbinding prose, look no further.