I found Bethany Jennings through her hashtag game #WIPjoy and soon started hearing about her short story Threadbare. The premise piqued my curiosity and I decided to dive in. I’m so glad I did! The story is moving, genuine, and engaging. I immediately connected with the themes, almost as if this story was sparked from conversations I’ve had with my friends! I immediately hunted down the wonderful Miss Jennings and she was gracious enough to give me this beautiful, encouraging interview!
Hello, Bethany! Introduce yourself:
Hello! I’m a writer of science-fiction and fantasy (usually for YA readers), a freelance editor, and sometimes a graphic designer. I’m also a homemaker and the mom of four kids under the age of seven. No, I don’t get much sleep. 😉
Where did the inspiration for Threadbare come from?
Last summer I was forced to put away a story I’d been working on for over a decade – which was one of the most painful things I’ve ever done. There was the very natural grief at “shelving” a long-term dream, of course, but on top of that, I was plunged into loads of uncertainty, self-doubt, and the realization of how that project and my long-term goals as an author had become hidden idols in my life. I struggled with all this for months; every time I thought I’d gotten past my issues, I’d find a deeper complication to work through. I began to think of myself as having “tangles” from which God was gently helping me free.
One day I thought, “What if there was a girl literally trapped in tangles?” And Threadbare was born. I didn’t really expect to even finish the story! I considered it a way to process my own struggle, and at one point I thought I was going to stop writing it because I didn’t think it was helping me move forward. But ultimately God brought me through to the end of my own tangles, and that healing was what enabled me to actually finish Threadbare. I’m so grateful! He not only gently taught me and helped me through my pain, but He also confirmed my calling as an author by letting me turn my struggle into a story that stands on its own and can encourage others! Threadbare is a testament to His goodness in every way. 🙂
I’ve seen some of your other fans begging for a full-length novel. Is that likely to happen? If not, are you working on any new projects?
At this time, I don’t plan to write any full-length novels…but I do have ideas for more short stories about some of the other characters. *mysterious wink* And my current project is a fantasy short story, titled Dragon Lyric. It’s very different from Threadbare, delving into my darker, more hard-hitting side as an author.
Can you tell us anything more about the interesting world you created in Threadbare? Any fun facts that you had to leave out?
One of Bess’s teammates used to be a Drifter… I may delve into that in a future story… 😀
I understand you are also a freelance editor. What is it that you love most about editing other authors’ work?
I love cleaning up prose! Making sentences smoother and snappier – while maintaining the author’s voice – is something I really enjoy. And actually, even more than editing, I enjoy helping authors write the blurbs (back cover descriptions) for their books.
Have you read any great indie books lately that you’d recommend?
I highly recommend “The Girl Who Could See” by Kara Swanson! – a YA sci-fi/urban fantasy novella that releases on June 1st. That story grabbed me by the heart, and is in some ways similar to my own work, with strong themes of hidden realities.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring indie authors?
Be rigorous about making your books professional and polished – editing and cover art can be expensive, and sometimes the editing feedback is hard to hear, but it’s all worth it to make your book really shine. 🙂 And becoming “known” as an author is a long and difficult process; have patience with that, and expect that you’ll need to publish quite a few stories before your readership starts to really grow.
What are three tools you use as an indie author (or that you’d recommend)?