Nanowrimo spotlight: Jean Davis – Author, Blogger, NaNo Participant

Programming note: I’m still looking for Spotlight interviewees for this year! Post a comment or email chriskelworth at gmail dot com if you’re interested.

Good afternoon! I’ve been too busy to post this spotlight for a little while, but–here’s Jean! Jean, tell us a little about your Nano experience:

2016 will be my 11th year participating in NaNoWriMo, and my 8th year serving as ML for my region. Shortly after finishing my first novel (which took double digit years). I heard about NaNoWriMo from a writer on a fan fic site on which I was participating at the time. Writing a novel (albeit a really rough draft) in 30 days seemed like an outrageous prospect given my prior experience. As it turns out, that was, in fact, possible! After proving to myself that I could churn out a really rough draft in a month, I decided to start taking this whole writing thing seriously – joining a critique group, learning a whole lot about writing, and later, getting published.

The only year I did not reach 50K, was the one year I was building a house and I knew going in, that year wasn’t going to be a winner. However, I always enjoy spending time with my local NaNo community, which is by far, the best part of the whole challenge, so I dove in anyway. I also spent several years doing the Young Writers Program side of NaNo with elementary students. Thankfully, my children grew up and though one stopped participating, the other one has joined the adult program, allowing me to spend much more time with my adult participants and my own writing.

What are you writing about this year?

This year I’m writing the second half to a YA Sci-fi novel I started once during NaNo as a short story that panned out into a bigger idea, and again last year as novel but then set aside to write another novel because the middle of the plot wasn’t quite clicking with me yet. I have notes this time (I’m not usually a planner), so that should help keep me on task. My daughter should too, she really wants to read the finished book. She wasn’t at all happy with me when my novel intentions got hijacked last year.

Where are your backup files, and why?

If you’ve ever lost a even a day’s worth of writing, you’ll back up all over the place. The loss of your creative efforts is a severe motivation sucker. Recently an unexpected windows update and a Word auto-save malfunction caused a week’s worth of editing to vanish into the ether. I was most displeased. No one wants that any time of year, but especially not during NaNo when you’re pushing yourself so hard. Protect your words! My writing is now auto-saved to Google Drive. I also do a back up to a flash drive and a network drive every couple days.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?

Commit to writing your novel. Which beyond making time to write every day means: Get yourself some support, either from family and friend. Get involved with your region for more support and motivation. Log in to the NaNo forums or your regional forums and glance at all those progress bars to see where yours comes in. Set up a reward for yourself when you reach 50K as extra motivation. This could be a winner shirt, guilt free time for a game, movie or show you’ve been wanting to watch/play, or dinner at your favorite restaurant.

Sneaky Ninja question! Who is your favorite author ever – you have to pick just one!

This answer would change widely depending on when in my life you asked the question, but at the moment, I’m going to say George RR Martin for the simple reason that even though it’s been so many years since the last book, I’m still anxiously waiting for his next one.

Sahmara book cover, written by Jean Davis

I recently published my second novel, Sahmara, which was my first NaNo novel in 2006. It is available in print and ebook and currently free with Kindle Unlimited.

Busy with their own war, the gods of Revochek lose control of the destinies of their people. The gods aren’t the only ones staring at defeat. The country is in ruins, its people killed or prisoners. If all of Revochek falls, the balance of the gods will be broken, paving the way for Ephius, the god of Atheria, to plunge the entire world into war.

One young woman escapes her Atherian captors only to find herself alone, unarmed, and starving. Torn from her life of privilege and the arms of her ma’hasi lover, Sahmara is unfit for life on the run. The well-being of her family is unknown, and if Zane hadn’t been killed, he is a slave. No one is coming to save her.

Desperate, Sahmara prays for help. She does not expect her prayer to be answered by an ancient woman with a thirst for blood or that her single desperate plea might be the one that rescues them all.

You can find more from Jean at her blog. Thanks for sharing this with us, Jean!

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