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Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m thrilled to have debut author Jenny Moyer here to share about her new YA science fiction/fantasy FLASHFALL. It’s gotten great reviews and sounds like a fantastic creation of a story combining science fiction, fantasy, and dystopian.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads

Orion is a Subpar, expected to mine the tunnels of Outpost Five, near the deadly flash curtain. For generations, her people have chased cirium—the only element that can shield humanity from the curtain’s radioactive particles. She and her caving partner, Dram work the most treacherous tunnel, fighting past flash bats and tunnel gulls, in hopes of mining enough cirium to earn their way into the protected city.

But when newcomers arrive at Outpost Five, Orion uncovers disturbing revelations that make her question everything she thought she knew about life on both sides of the cirium shield. As conditions at the outpost grow increasingly dangerous, it’s up to Orion to forge a way past the flashfall, beyond all boundaries, beyond the world as she knows it.

Hi Jenny! Thanks so much for joining us!

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

I’m a mom to three awesome boys, and live in Des Moines, Iowa with my husband who is a cinematographer. (He and I went to prom together and got married while we were at college in Seattle!) I grew up with a love of story (I never went anywhere without a book in hand,) and began querying literary agents when I was in college.

FLASHFALL is my debut, and anyone who picks it up will be holding in their hands my dream-come-true! It took me about eighteen years to get an agent and first book deal. (With lots of stops and starts in between.) Over the course of that time I wrote and queried seven picture books and three novels. I nearly gave up many times, but I persevered against very tough odds.

By the time I wrote FLASHFALL, I had learned to view rejection as part of the publishing process, and an opportunity to grow. I kept going to writing conferences, and doing what I could to improve as a writer. FLASHFALL took me three months to write and two months to revise. I knew it was my best work. I got agent offers on it very quickly—from absolute dream agents. That was when I knew for sure I’d made something special. I spent several months revising it with my agent before she sent it on submission and sold it in record time!

2. I love your story of perseverance. It's so inspiring! Where did you get the idea for FLASHFALL?

The idea for FLASHFALL began with my main character, Orion. I wanted to write about a girl who
got knocked down again and again, but kept getting back up—kept dreaming there was a better life beyond her circumstances. I had just gotten several rejections from agents on my second novel, and felt overwhelmed with discouragement. My publishing dream seemed beyond reach. I began writing FLASHFALL from that place.

I crafted the setting of tunnels and caverns from my own fears (I’m extremely claustrophobic), and the cordons were inspired by my experiences growing up in the Arizona desert.

3. I love that this is a combination of a number of my favorite genres: science fiction, fantasy, and dystopian. What made you decide to use a combination of these genres in creating your world? Did this create any challenges for you?

I love to escape to new worlds when I read. The same goes for my writing. There is just something so thrilling about creating whole worlds—and creatures, and governments, and bending rules of science. I love that there are no limitations to what my characters can do, and that I can surprise readers with settings they haven’t encountered before.

One of the books that has influenced me most is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I loved how she combined historical fiction with fantasy, romance, and time travel. I didn’t set out to write the genre-mashup that occurs with FLASHFALL, it just sort of evolved. In fact, when I first wrote the Conjurors, (who can manipulate organic matter), it didn’t occur to me to think “oh, this is fantasy—this is a sort of magic.” It wasn’t until I was getting ready to query my manuscript that I started to question whether or not it was okay that I did that. It turned out to be one of the things that drew agents to my book. They felt that those elements made FLASHFALL stand out from other dystopians.

4. I loved Outlander too! World building is so important in these genres, and your world sounds so cool. What was your world building process like and what advice do you have for other writers?

I wrote parts of FLASHFALL with a pickaxe in my hand, so I’d be reminded how the weight of my character’s gear would limit her mobility and her dialogue. I learned to climb and cave so I’d be able to layer true experiences over made-up ones. My goal was to infuse the world of FLASHFALL with as many details as possible so it would feel real to readers. From the customs and creeds of the Subpars, to the patches they wear on their sleeves. All of these details went into the writing of FLASHFALL in order to make the setting as immersive as possible.

I’m very visual, and part of my world-building process involves creating huge boards filled with images that inspire me as I’m writing and revising. To see what these look like, (and get a sneak peek at some of the things going on in Book Two), you can check out my Pinterest boards:

Working to help create the book trailer pushed me to develop the world even further. My husband and I designed the Seal of Alara (that is worn as a patch on the cavers’ sleeves,) and the designers at Macmillan ended up incorporating it into the jacket design. It’s actually imprinted on the cover of the book!

My advice to writers is to consider the details of your world. What makes it unique and sets it apart from other settings? A great tip is to layer your scenes with plenty of sensory details—what does the air feel like? What does your character taste? Hear? Think beyond what they see. Sensory details help readers feel like they are immersed in a scene instead of just reading it.

5. You are certainly dedicated. Share a bit about Orion, your main character. Did she come easily to you or was her character development challenging?

Orion is a 16-year-old girl who is fighting to get herself and the people she loves out of a dangerous mining outpost, and into a city that is shielded from the deadly particles of the flashfall. She and her people are Subpars, able to endure exposure to the particles better than others, and so it falls to them to mine the dangerous tunnels near the flash curtain, in order to find the precious ore used to protect humanity. If they mine 400 grams of cirium ore, they can earn a place in the protected city. But just as Orion and her caving partner, Dram, are about to reach this goal, they discover the Subars have been betrayed, and that the only way to true freedom and safety is a path they’ll have to forge themselves.

As the best miner at Outpost Five, Orion has earned the designation “Lead Ore Scout.” She feels a deep sense of responsibility toward her fellow cavers, and while she’s brave and loyal, she can also be impulsive and reckless—and this leads to dire consequences in FLASHFALL.

Her character came to me easily when I was drafting, before I had any real idea where exactly the story was headed. I loved further developing and layering her character, and I’m so thrilled I get to write the sequel from her POV.

6. Your agent is Sarah Davies. How did she become your agent and what was your road to publication like?

I queried seven picture books and three novels before finally getting offers of representation from literary agents. I have over three hundred rejection letters! The worst rejections were the ones when I got really close (when an agent would request to see my full manuscript,) and I’d think “this is it!” Those rejections stung the most. It was after one of those experiences that I told my husband I was done writing. I wasn’t good enough. It was too hard. However, he wouldn’t let me give up. He knew that I loved writing too much, and that the publishing dream was such a part of me. He worked extra jobs so that I could take time to write. It was in the midst of that that I wrote Flashfall.

His belief in my talent was strong even when my doubts clouded my vision and the challenges seemed insurmountable. My family also cheered me on, and I knew it was quit—or keep learning, growing, improving and trying . . . Rejection is a natural—inevitable—aspect of the publishing process. Art is subjective, and not everyone is going to love your voice and your story. You have to embrace that, and use the rejections as learning experiences. When I began to view it like that, it took some of the sting out of it. I started to celebrate the fact that I was trying, that I was brave, and going after it. I went through a phase where I bought new shoes when I received rejections on full requests. Now I wear those shoes to book signings.

For me, it came down to my love of writing being stronger than the pain of discouragement. I kept learning, kept hoping, and kept creating.

Sarah is an incredible agent. I can vividly picture the moment I read her email expressing her interest in FLASHFALL, and telling me how much she loved my writing. I just sat there, stunned, then shakily wrote a response with my heart pounding out of my chest. Hers was the third offer of representation. When we had “the call”, one of the first things she told me was that she used to be a caver! For that, and many other reasons, she was the agent I went with. I’m so happy I did. She’s a very editorial agent, and she pushed me in so many ways as a writer. FLASHFALL would not be the book it is without her.

7. I love how you didn't give up. What have you learned about marketing from other debut authors whose books were released before yours? How has this affected your promotion of your book?

That it’s not about COMPETITION or COMPARISON—it’s about CONNECTION. This is my mantra when it comes to marketing. If I get on Twitter or Facebook or IG, it needs to be about connecting with friends, fellow writers, and readers. Connecting. Not about convincing them I’m awesome and that my book is worthy of attention.

It’s SO easy to hop on social media and lose all perspective. I have had to learn how to guard against this because focusing too hard on how someone else’s book is being promoted, or reviewed, or supported is the fastest way for me to lose my creative mojo. And at the end of the day, we are WRITERS. That is truly what matters. I learned some lessons the hard way with this, but honestly, they don’t give debut authors guidebooks. For most of us, we’re given this expectation to self-promote and market our books, and it can be really tough to juggle with writing deadlines and life.

I have a fellow debut author friend who always says, “keep your eyes on your own page.” Best advice ever!

8. I love the idea of focusing on connections when marketing. Share something that has really surprised you about your road from writer to having your first book release.

How extensive the revision process was! I sort of laugh when I think back on my naiive, “past Jenny,” and my delusions that my manuscript wouldn’t need “a lot” of edits when it sold to Macmillan. (hahahaha!) I got to have phone calls with the editors who made offers, and asked them what kinds of things they thought they’d want to revise with it. I didn’t understand then how arduous and lengthy that part of the process could be.

I was also surprised by how slowly the wheels of publishing turn. I waited months for my first editorial letter, and that is normal. There are just so many steps to the process, and they all take time. FLASHFALL will have taken over two years from its sale to its release.

9. Oh, I'm sure my manuscript would be all written up. What are you working on now?

Currently, I’m hard at work on the sequel to FLASHFALL. The design team is putting together cover ideas, and my editor and I have just settled on a title. We are working through revisions, and I’m swept up in the new adventures unfolding for Orion and Dram. Some very exciting things happen in Book Two!

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Jenny. You can find Jenny at:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/_JennyMoyer
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jennymmoyer/
Watch the book trailer: https://youtu.be/OSdmoqRnjfw

Jenny has generously offered a copy of FLASHFALL, a t-shirt, and exclusive swag for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through November 26th.  If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. This is for U.S.

Here's what's coming up:

Tomorrow I'll be participating in the Gratitude Giveaway Hop. 

Then I'm starting my holiday slowdown because everything slows down so much with NaNo and the holidays. I'll be visiting you but not posting as much.
On Monday, December 5th I'll be back with a guest post by MG Jenny Lundquist and a giveaway of her new MG THE CHARMING LIFE OF IZZY MALONE and a 10 page manuscript critique. Jenny is a fantastic middle grade author who nails her characters' voices, so this is a great opportunity for someone. 

Hope to see you tomorrow!


Karen Lange said...

Congrats, Jenny! Wishing you much success. I agree with Natalie, you are an inspiration. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

Natalie, appreciate the intro to Jenny. I also appreciate your hard work in bringing these wonderful authors to us. :) I'll pass on the giveaway this time around. Have a great week!

Unknown said...

I love genre mash-ups, too! I'm glad Jenny stuck it out through those 300 ejections. She really deserves her success at the end. :)

Greg Pattridge said...

What a great sounding new book. Just goes to show how rejection can propel and author to write a fantastic novel. Jenny kept at it and fulfilled her dream. Congrats!

Tamara Narayan said...

Eighteen years and didn't give up? That is inspiring. I often think I'm an idiot for continuing on this writing path when I could actually earn a salary by going back to my day job. Luckily I can choose art over money--for now.

Freefall sounds like a great read and I'd love to win a copy. My email address is tamara(dot)narayan(at)gmail(dot)com.

Christine Rains said...

Congratulations to Jenny! The cover is fantastic, and the story sounds just as great. I love reading that Jenny never gave up. Perseverance is the key to success.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Congratulations, Jenny! Neither you nor your character gave up. Those rejections don't matter now. Plus I'm sure it was fun learning to climb.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Best of success to you, Jenny. Congratulations on your first novel. I hope there are many more to come. Love the cover.

cleemckenzie said...

The first book is always a dream come true, but I know how much work went into that dream, so my congratulations on sticking with it and seeing that dream completed.

sarah said...

My favorite are in the science fiction, fantasy, and dystopian genre so this sounds like an awesome book:)

abnormalalien said...

This sounds like a fun and exciting novel. Your road to success: equally inspirational. Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

I keep seeing this book everywhere! It's definitely my genre and that cover is spectacular!

Bethany13 said...

this book sounds great! love the title and cover!

S.P. Bowers said...

Jenny, thank you for sharing your journey. I'm at the stage where I've been getting a lot of rejections on full requests and it's been very discouraging. I have thought about giving up. Your post was very inspirational, and it has made me hope again. Thank you. I look forward to reading your book.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

FLASHFALL sounds great and I love the cover. And reading and writing to escape is my thing too. Best wishes, Jenny!

Jemi Fraser said...

Wow - sounds fabulous!! Love the thought of writing with the pickaxe! That would definitely remind you of the limitations it would create :)

nrlymrtl said...

I follow as S. Voss and I shared this on my FB. Thanks!

Danielle H. said...

I just saw the trailer for this book yesterday and if anyone is not sure if they want to read this book, then the trailer will put you in the definite yes to read. Thanks for sharing today and I shared on tumblr.

Jim said...

I love science fiction and i am a GFC Follower

Penny said...

I follow by GFC and email. Flashfall sounds really interesting.

KB/KIM said...

I love your advice! (And your tenacity) Authors don't talk about the journey to publication enough. I've often heard the mark of a true writer is one that keeps going. We're in this together!

Crystal Collier said...

Eighteen years? That's quite the journey! Way to persevere, Jenny!

Natalie, I think slowing down for the holidays sounds like the perfect plan. In fact, I'm going to join you on that front.

finnthefearless said...

Loved your story, both the personal and what's in print! finnthefearless(at)gmail(dot)com

MeganC said...

I checked out your book trailer on Youtube...so cool! Congrats on a great book, and thanks for good advice about writing.

Natasha said...

Sounds like an amazing read!!
Thanks for the chance to win!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

Linda Mitchell said...

Wow....a chance to hold someone else's dream come true! Best of luck on Flashfall. It sound great...and I love knowing a sequel is in the works already.

Sydney said...

Great interview! Flashfall looks and sounds great! I've been wanting to read it since before the cover was revealed. Thanks for the chance! xinyi1467 at gmail

Rachna Chhabria said...

Congratulations Jenny. Eighteen years is a sign of your perseverance and strong determination. Good luck with Flashfall.

Unknown said...

What a fabulous interview and story of perseverance. I would love a chance to win the book.