Author Interview with Erin Jensen

EJ Author InterviewI am excited to have Erin Jensen, the author of the Dream Water Series, back on the blog today for an interview and to share the latest installment in her series, Dream Sight.


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1. Dream Waters was a truly unique and beautiful experience for myself as a reader. Can you describe where your drew inspiration for the story from or how the idea first came to you?

Thank you, Danielle. It’s always touching to hear a reader say that my story my story spoke to them. I work as a pharmacist by day, and my career has given me the opportunity to converse with mentally ill individuals at many points along the spectrum of sanity — from the unmedicated schizophrenic to the well-adjusted, high functioning properly medicated patient. In every conversation I’ve had with these individuals, no matter how coherent, I’ve looked into their eyes and seen a soul struggling to connect—to be understood and respected. These poor souls carry such an immense burden, living in the same world as the rest of us and yet perceiving it as something entirely different. It’s heartbreaking to witness. I suppose at it’s heart, DREAM WATERS is my completely fictional attempt to comprehend why mental illness exists.

Originally, DREAM WATERS was meant to be Book 2 in my series. It was going to be the backstory for one of my side characters (Charlie), who was the cousin of one of my original main characters. A few chapters into the writing of my original Book 1, I felt the need to step aside and write a bit of that backstory to get a better feel of where Charlie was coming from. Several chapters in, my husband asked when I was going to get back to writing Book 1. That’s when I realized that this was Book 1. Who knows? Maybe I’ll go back to that original story one day—although, I suspect it’d need a massive overhaul because my writing has matured quite a bit since that original project.

2. Charlie felt incredibly familiar as a protagonist. I found myself establishing a connection with him almost immediately. Was his character or traits influenced by anyone in your life?

No, Charlie just sort of came to me. He’s not modeled after anyone real. Although, I always picture my books playing out like movies in my head. In fact, when I create a character, I almost always pick an actual actor to play the role in my mind. When I describe their physical traits and mannerisms, I am usually describing that actor. I’ll often watch YouTube clips of their movies and interviews before sitting down to write to keep their mannerisms fresh in my mind. Charlie has always been played by Rupert Grint (minus the red hair) in my mind.

3. Has the experience of publishing your first book in this series changed your writing process with the 2nd and 3rd books in anyway?

Absolutely! There is definitely a learning curve to every step of the writing, editing and publishing process. I’ve learned (and continue to learn) what works best for me along the way. It’s a much smoother process once you develop a rhythm. To be truthful, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing the first time around. Now, I almost always begin with a rough outline, written on index cards. Each scene I envision becoming a part of the book is jotted down (just a brief sentence or two) on a card. That makes it easy to rearrange the order of events, just by rearranging the cards, adding and subtracting new chapter ideas as I go along. When I’m not sure what should happen next, I can flip through the cards to decide what direction to take in the next chapter. I’ve also found a great group of beta readers to give me feedback on my first drafts. And once the manuscript goes to my editor, I start right in on the next book.

4. I obviously hold Charlie very close as far as protagonists go. Who are your favorite character(s) in the series and why?

I do have my favorites, but I don’t share them because I don’t want to give anything away to readers who haven’t read all the books yet. I love all of my characters (with the exception of Frank. He’s not very lovable). My favorite chapters to write are the ones from the point of view of characters who are nothing at all like me. There’s something thrilling about slipping inside the mind of a villainous character or a crotchety old man and telling their tale. Every character is a product of their circumstances and life experiences. There is always a reason for the rage or hatred or whatever sort of passion drives them. I find it fascinating to unravel what makes them tick and what drives them to do the despicable things that they do.

5. If I understand correctly, there are at least 4 books planned for this series. Do you have a conclusion in mind at this point or are you sort of just seeing where the story takes you?

Yes, there will be at least four books in the series, maybe more depending on how long it takes to cover everything I intend to. The conclusion will be a little of both. There are some plot points that are set in stone, and have been from the beginning—but even stone can be smashed. Sometimes the characters have a mind of their own and when I sit down to write, their veer off in an entirely different direction than I intended. Sometimes you just have to go where the story (and the characters) take you. I suppose that’s only right, considering it’s their story.

6. The cover art for the series is gorgeous! Could you share a bit with us about the process and how it came into existence?

Thank you! I adore my covers and their designer—who also happens to be my husband.
I originally hired a professional designer for my first book cover. After months of anticipation, he sent me a cover that was a complete disappointment. I’m pretty picky about my cover art because that’s what first grabs the reader’s attention. They always say “don’t judge a book by its cover” but let’s be honest, everyone does. If the cover doesn’t catch your eye, you’ll never even pick up the book. Fortunately, I discovered that my husband is amazing at bringing my visions to life. He always gives me the credit because the concepts are mine, but capturing the feel of the book in an eye catching way is an impressive skill. I’m lucky that we make a pretty great team!

7. I know you have a family and work as a pharmacist also. What has been your biggest challenge as a writer?

Time!! Finding the time to write, edit and promote my books is always a challenge. But I squeeze it in whenever I can because it’s absolutely worth it to me. I rarely sit down to watch television before eleven o’clock at night — and more often than not, I fall asleep ten minutes into whether we’re watching. I spend most free minutes during the day doing something bookish. If it isn’t writing or editing, it’s promoting my books on social media or answering interview questions or—my current project—tying ribbons on bookmarks to hand out at signings. If I could add a few extra hours of uninterrupted writing time to my day, I definitely would!

8. Have you written or are you working on or planning any titles outside of the Dream Waters series? What’s next?

Yes, I have been working on an unrelated book lately. I don’t want to give too much away just yet, but the concept for the book was inspired by a character from the show Supernatural. I recently posted a picture of the characters on Facebook with the caption “Random question: Do any of my FB friends watch this show?” because I was hoping to find some Supernatural fans to beta read and it turns out, a ton of my friends watch the show. My favorite response to the FB post was a reader who said “My youngest son is named Dean Samuel!” The book is still in its infancy, but I’ll be sure to share more details with my readers later on!

9. What is the most important thing you have taken away from your experience as a writer?

I would have to say self confidence. I have a lot more self confidence than I started out with. It’s a terrifying step to put yourself out there and share your labor of love with the world. I didn’t even tell most people in my life that I’d written a book until shortly before I released DREAM WATERS. The response from everyone I know—coworkers, friends, family, former fellow students, pharmacy customers, etc.—has been overwhelmingly positive. I am so glad I worked up the courage to share my stories with the world because there is nothing I would rather do.

10. Last but least, I always ask: Do you drink tea and if so, what is your preferred cup?

I do drink tea, although I am more of a coffee drinker. My favorite is chai tea with a splash of milk.
Thanks for the interview, Danielle! As always, it’s been a pleasure chatting with you!


dreamsightbk 1
Dream Sight (Dream Waters #3)
By Erin A Jensen
Publisher: Dream Waters Publishing
ISBN: 9780997171273
Pages: 496
Genre: Adult Contemporary/Fantasy

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Synopsis: 

The clock is ticking for Emma Talbot—if her dormant memories don’t resurface soon, her past will be forever lost to her—but that’s the least of her worries. Abducted from her home by her husband’s worst enemy, Emma is running out of time in more ways than one.

No longer bound by any limits—moral or physical—the Dragon King sets off on a rampage to discover the whereabouts of his missing wife and retrieve her from the monster who took her. And any creature who is fool enough to stand in his way may well condemn himself to a fate worse than death.

As the royal family’s crisis escalates, Charlie has his own struggles to deal with. The weight of the world now rests on his shoulders and although he is physically capable of shouldering the burden in his emergent form, his ability to control the bestial urges that accompany his newfound power might be another story.

Purchase: Amazon.com

dreamwatersDream Waters (Dream Waters #1)
Purchase: Amazon  iTunes  Barnes&Noble  Kobo

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dreamworldDream World (Dream Waters #2)
Purchase: Amazon  iTunes  Barnes&Noble  Kobo

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Erin Jensen is the international best selling author of the Dream Waters series. A part-time pharmacist and a full-time creator of imaginary worlds, she lives in upstate New York with her ridiculously supportive husband, two sons (who are both taller than her) and a Yorkshire terrier who thinks he’s the family bodyguard. She once vowed to get a dragon tattoo when her books reached a milestone number of reviews, but she no longer divulges that number— for fear that she might actually reach it and have to go through with it!

Follow Erin: Website  Twitter  Goodreads


I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Erin for her time today and also a huge congratulations for making the best-selling list!

Happy Reading!

Danielle ❤

Connect With Me: FacebookTwitterTumblr and Instagram

Dream Waters (Dream Waters #1) Review

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Dream Waters (Dream Waters #1)
By Erin A Jensen
Publisher: Dream Waters Publishing
ISBN13: 9780997171211
Pages: 418
Genre: Fantasy

Blurb:

All his life, Charlie Oliver has watched the people around him morph into creatures that no one else sees. Unlike the rest of the world, Charlie remembers the Waters that transport him to the Dream World each night. And he sees glimpses of people’s Dream forms in the waking world. Condemned to spend his waking hours in a psychiatric facility because of his Dream Sight, Charlie doesn’t expect anything to change. But everything starts changing the day Emma Talbot walks through the door in the middle of a group therapy session.

Haunted by memories of the events that led to her admission, Emma plans to end her life the first chance she gets. But something about Charlie stops her. From the moment they shake hands, his friendship feels safe and familiar. As Emma begins to let down her guard, Charlie catches a glimpse of the fiery-eyed dragon that lurks behind her Dream form. Each night, as Emma dreams of the man who’s been banned from visiting, Charlie searches the Dream World for the monster that shadows her. But when Emma’s suppressed memories begin to surface, Charlie finds more monsters than he bargained for.


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Before I move forward, I want to address something I have noticed. I am seeing Dream Waters classified as YA Fantasy by some readers. I have to disagree. Maybe those who read the genre more can put a valid argument forward as to why I am wrong, but the sexual content says adult in my opinion. (I would like to add that the sexual content was used to establish a clear character connection and worked very well for me in this sense).

With that being said, Dream Waters is definitely a fantasy novel, make no mistakes. But it has also managed to be so much more. It is a story full of magic, love, adventure and mystery all wrapped into one beautifully presented package.

Our main character Charlie is anything but ordinary. And it is this very fact that has kept him locked away in institution after institution his entire life. Cursed (or blessed?) with the ability to see the Dream Form of others, he is misunderstood to be delusional and schizophrenic. Faces and people change before his very eyes. But it is all real as he happens to be connected to a Dream World that really does exist. Now, abandoned by a mother who could not understand, he spends his days alone, wandering the halls of a psychiatric ward living with this “gift”.

Then one day everything changes as the young, frightened and beautiful Emma is admitted. They quickly become friends as he vows to protect her. But will she be able to accept the truth about Charlie? And why has she been placed in psychiatric care? As their friendship develops, secrets are revealed. Charlie soon discovers more than he imagines and the real adventure that ties them both to the Dream World begins to unfold.

Charlie is by all means, a wonderful main character. He demonstrates that he is caring and protective through the love he quickly develops for Emma. He is also somewhat snarky and defensive as he has spent years being shuffled through the system and alone. While I was unable to fully fall “in love” with him, I grew fond of him very easily. There is a certain amount of sympathy established when we realize he lives with this ability that has altered his entire existence. I also found his need to defend Emma, charming. For me, I adored Charlie the way one might a younger child. He is simple at times, exposing his more sheltered and needful side. But in the end he wants to be the good guy, and he is.

Emma was a bit of a challenge for me. Charlie adored her, therefore I felt obligated to do the same. However, I was struggling to even like her in the beginning. She was almost too helpless and fragile for me. It was not until more of her story was revealed that I was able to establish a small connection. I realized that she was damaged and hurt. Her suffering made her character slowly come to life as her credibility was established.

One of my favorite aspects of Dream Waters was the constant element of surprise. While there was a lot of mystery built around learning Emma’s story, the biggest enjoyment was the true revelations of the supporting characters. Keep your eye on them. The author has beautifully placed and created each with real purpose.

If the title does not speak to you enough, the world building is imaginative and refreshing. We are shifted between what we have always perceived as the only reality and the truth Charlie has lived with, the Dream World. While awake in one, you sleep in the other. The author has assured that these worlds coincide perfectly by avoiding any unnecessary frivolities. She exposes the readers to a concept that is fascinating but never “too much”. Each plane is constructed exquisitely through alternating narration that is presented chapter by chapter in a clean and precise manner.

Avoiding any unwarranted confusion, the writing is fluid and elegant. We are introduced to a truly distinct idea that is presented in the most engaging manner. While there is a lot happening within Dream Waters there is never a moment where it begins to feel overwhelming or drawn out.

The final result was a captivating read that left me satisfied yet excited for the next installment with an unexpected twist at the end. I am trying to keep this review on the lighter side because Dream Waters is a journey of discovery. If I had to use one word to sum up Dream Waters, it would be stunning.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Purchase Dream Waters (Dream Waters #1):
Amazon.com
Barnes&Noble.com

Celebrating The Holidays With Friends – Erin A. Jensen

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Many of you have seen my recent giveaway and posts regarding Dream Waters by Erin Jensen. It is one of my current reads, and I have been completely entranced with her writing and the very distinct story line.

This is probably my last “Celebrating The Holidays With Friends” guest post as the holidays are approaching rapidly and time seems to be limited. I could not be happier than to conclude this segment with Erin. She is always genuine and kind with each interaction, providing a wonderful and welcomed experience. She has been continually supportive and giving. I cannot thank her enough for all that she has done! I am excited to have Erin share a bit more about who she is. While I could spend a lot more of my time explaining how wonderful connecting with her has been, I will let her post speak for itself.

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A Guest Post by Erin Jensen

A few words about my journey, advice for my past self and my undying gratitude to book bloggers:
I’ve been tossing around different ideas for a guest post since Danielle generously asked me to write one.  I’ll be honest, this is the first guest post I’ve written.  I published my debut novel, Dream Waters, in April 2016 and Dream World (book 2 in the series) on October 31st.  I spent three years writing and editing Dream Waters without telling anyone but my husband, our two sons and my best friend that I was even writing a novel.  Eight months later, the grocery store where I work part time as a pharmacist is selling both my books, people walk up to me on the street and tell me they loved my books and people on the other side of the globe are reading my stories and tweeting about how much they loved them.  When I stop to think about it, I’m astounded by everything that’s occurred over the last eight months.  I mean, I’m still the same introvert that I was a year ago, except for the fact that I found the courage to step WAY outside my comfort zone and chase after my dream.  Maybe that’s why I felt so daunted about writing this post.  I’m not someone who feels particularly comfortable being the center of attention and quite honestly, I still find it hard to believe that people would be interested in reading what I have to say.  I’m not going to attempt some grandiose masterpiece of a post, because that’s not me and I doubt it ever will be.  So after much consideration, I’ve decided to share five things I’ve learned from my journey and wish I could go back and tell my past self.
1.  You’ve only got one life.  Don’t waste it being too afraid of failure to chase after your dreams.
Even if my books had tanked, I could look back on this experience and be proud that I went for it.  I’ll never have to look back on my life, wish that I’d been bolder and wonder what might have been.  No matter the outcome, I threw caution to the wind and put my heart and soul out there to be criticized and judged.  I’m not going to lie, there were plenty of terrifying moments and more than a few tears along the way but I’ve never felt more alive.
2.  Share your hopes and dreams with the people in your life.
If I’d known how supportive and enthusiastic my family, friends and coworkers were going to be, I would’ve told them I was writing a book so much sooner.  These amazing people in my life have become some of my biggest fans.  The first time one of my coworkers came into the pharmacy with my book in hand and asked for an autograph, it felt odd.  I stood next to these people every day and my signature was all over the place in the pharmacy.  Why any of them would want my signature was beyond me.  I’m used to family, friends and strangers asking me to sign their copies of my book at this point, but I’m still floored by their enthusiasm.  They’ve shared my social media posts, told their friends and coworkers about my books, chosen my book for their book clubs to read and basically shouted about my books from the rooftops because they’re genuinely excited about my writing.  Their words have also gotten me through plenty of days when I doubted myself and seriously questioned my choices.
3.  There’s more than one way to publish a book.
One of the reasons I waited so long to tell anyone about my book was that I spent a year sending query letters to agents and getting rejected.  Each rejection letter reinforced that voice in my head telling me I wasn’t good enough to do this.  My best friend kept encouraging me to self publish, but I needed that validation from a professional to believe that my book was good enough.  Eventually, I started reading more about the self publishing process and considering the possibility.  I liked that I wouldn’t be signing away any rights.  The final say on the cover, the story inside, the title and every aspect of the process would be mine.  Instead of waiting around and crying over rejection letters, I could be putting my work out there to find its way into the hands of readers.  I might never have worked up the courage to go through with it if my husband hadn’t sent my book out for a few professional reviews beforehand.  The positive feedback from those gave me the confidence to reach for the stars, start my own publishing company and publish Dream Waters on my own.
4.  It’s important to connect with other authors.
I live in a pretty rural town in upstate New York, so finding other authors seemed like an impossibility at first.  But I found other authors on Twitter and discovered how supportive the writing community could be.  Independent authors are happy to share the posts of fellow authors and help spread the word about their books.  I’ve even found an author friend on the other side of the world.  We write back and forth every day about our struggles to squeeze time to write into our day, our progress and life in general.  Other people in my life are supportive and sympathetic, but she gets it in a way that only a fellow writer can because she’s been there too.
5.  Book bloggers are the most amazing people on the planet.
I’m not just saying this to butter them up.  I genuinely mean it.  Whenever I read articles written by independent authors, they always stressed how crucial book bloggers were to their success.  I honestly knew nothing about book bloggers.  To me, the whole process of contacting them to inquire if they’d be interested in reviewing my book felt like querying agents all over again.  Maybe that’s partially because I read an article that referred to contacting them as “querying.”  I just didn’t have a thick enough skin to put myself out there to be rejected again.  I wear my heart on my sleeve, and each rejection felt like a crushing blow back in my querying days.  I’m not sure what made me reach out and contact my first book blogger, but I couldn’t be more thankful that I did.  Book bloggers aren’t the cold pretentious people that I feared they’d be.  They’re MY people, book loving people who want what I want, to share the stories they love with fellow book lovers and spread the word about new books that are out there waiting to be read.  Every blogger I’ve contacted has been wonderful.  Many of the ones who had too much on their plate to review my book still graciously offered to post a spotlight or an interview, as did lots who were excited to read and review my book but apologized that they couldn’t do it immediately (which I never expected them to do).  I am truly thankful to all the book bloggers who’ve taken the time to help spread the word about my books.  You, my fellow story lovers, are the reason that I write.

About Erin

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Erin Jensen is a part time pharmacist and a full time creator of imaginary worlds. She lives in upstate New York with her ridiculously supportive husband, two wonderful sons that she couldn’t be prouder of and a Yorkshire terrier who thinks he’s the family bodyguard. She’s an unapologetic coffee addict, and her happy place is anywhere she can squish her toes in the sand while listening to waves crash onto shore with a good book in hand.

 

 

Learn More:

erinajensen.com

Follow Erin on Twitter @ErinAJensen