I’m very excited to welcome author Danielle L. Jensen to the blog today! The second book in her Malediction Trilogy, Hidden Huntress, is out next month, and I’m helping publisher Angry Robot promote it. If you’ve read Stolen Songbird, the first book in the trilogy, and loved it as much as I did, then you’ll be interested to learn about Danielle’s writing methods. So, with that, please join me in welcoming Danielle to Books, Bones & Buffy!
Danielle L. Jensen Writes: The Where and the How
My writing routine and the space I’ve done it in has varied quite a bit over the years. I’ve never been a fulltime writer – I’ve always had another job – so I’ve had to fit writing in around whatever else I was up to. I drafted STOLEN SONGBIRD while I was studying for my English degree and waitressing at night, so I wrote on my days off and in between classes, and there were many times I went a week or two without opening the manuscript. Because I didn’t have an agent or a publisher, I worked when my muse felt inspired. That didn’t last!
Not long after I signed my book deal, I took a job requiring me to be out of town for three weeks at a time, which meant that I’d work for twenty-one straight days, fly home, and then spend a week trying to catch up on life. The bulk of my writing happened during the twenty-one days. I’d typically work nine hours, have a quick meal, then write for three or four hours. Writing would take place with me tucked into bed, laptop balanced on my knees, and classical music playing in the background.
When I was working at home, it was usually in my office, where I sat like a proper writer at a desk. Usually with my Harry Potter mug filled with coffee.
That was how I did the editorial work for STOLEN SONGBIRD, how I drafted and edited HIDDEN HUNTRESS, and how I started BOOK 3. It was a very busy time, but I loved that routine.
The copy edits for HIDDEN HUNTRESS arrived in February of this year, two days after our daughter was born. I’d been under the impression that newborns slept a big chunk of the day. What I hadn’t realized was that it would be in twenty-minute increments, which meant “free” time was over almost before it started, and that even if I lucked out and she slept for forty minutes, I’d be too tired to take advantage of it.
But my deadlines remained, so I talked to other writers with kids to see how they managed, and I immediately began implementing their tips. Now, I am a master of typing with one hand, my computer has voice-to-word software (which occasionally records baby babble), and you can often find me typing at the kitchen counter, bouncing up and down to keep the baby strapped to the front of me happy.
I drag my laptop around the house so I can maximize any free moment to answer an email or edit a page of manuscript, and instead of using naptime to shower or sleep, I finish guest posts or take notes on plot points. Drafting new words takes place in the hour between her bedtime and mine, and as you might guess, noise-cancelling headphones are a must!
And when I’m lucky enough to get away for a few hours, I escape to a nearby café where the WiFi is free and the coffee is organic! Those are the most precious writing moments, and that’s when I get most of my new words written.
Thank you Danielle! I can honestly say, as a mother myself, I’m super impressed that you’re managing to write at all with a new baby in your life:-D Check back later this week for my review of Hidden Huntress!
About the author:
Danielle L. Jensen was born and raised in Calgary, Canada. At the insistence of the left side of her brain, she graduated in 2003 from the University of Calgary with a bachelor’s degree in finance. But the right side of her brain has ever been mutinous; and in 2010, it sent her back to school to complete an entirely impractical English literature degree at Mount Royal University and to pursue publication. Much to her satisfaction, the right side shows no sign of relinquishing its domination.