Thursday, May 9, 2013


I recently got the privilege to talk to Elizabeth Richards and I took the opportunity to ask her a few questions over email! I'll get strait to it, heres the interview! 

What inspired you to write your first book? 
Black City is actually my second book. The first book I queried was a contemporary YA, which sadly didn’t get picked up. But I started writing it because at the time I wasn’t very happy in my career, and realized it was time to stop talking about being an author, and actually do something to make it happen! But the inspiration behind BLACK CITY was Ash. His character just popped into my head one evening, while I was watching a movie, and I became fascinated with this drug-dealing, supernatural boy who got a heartbeat when he met his true love. I knew I had to write a story about him. So the instant the movie finished, I grabbed my laptop and write the first scene! 

Do you have a specific writing style? 
I think my writing style is fast-paced and visual. I trained as a screenwriter, so that’s definitely bled through into my novels, as I like to write these cinematic set-pieces! Screen Gems recently optioned Black City, so I’m very curious to see how it’s adapted for the big screen. 

How did you come up with the title? 
My editor actually pitched the title to me, and I loved it. The original title of the book was CRAVING, but marketing very wisely suggested we change it. I’m so pleased we went with BLACK CITY—I now find it hard to believe the book was ever called anything else, as it’s just perfect!

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 
I don’t like books that try to be overly preachy and ram messages down readers’ throats, so while there are many important themes in BLACK CITY—it deals with racism, political corruption, and drug abuse to name just a few—it’s also a book about first love, kissing, and loads of action! So it really depends what the reader wants to take away from it. 

What books have most influenced your life? 
Growing up, I was a huge fan of horror books and James Herbert’s The Ghosts of Sleath was a particular favorite of mine. It was dark, creepy and thrilling, and that’s fed through in my own writing. I also love Stephen Fry’s books—he’s one of my all-time heroes. He’s just so witty and charming, and his books are both humorous and very naughty, which really tickles me. His book, The Liar, was my bible at high school, and inspired a film script that I wrote in sixth-form college, which helped secure my place at university (I did a BA Hons in Scriptwriting for TV and Film). Then, of course, there was Harry Potter…ahhh, Harry. That series has been a massive part of my life for so many years.  As soon as I read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, something inside me shifted, and I just knew I had to try writing my own novel. 

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? 
It’s one of those things that’s always been inside me, but I do recall one English lesson, when I was about nine years old, where we were asked to write a short story about a desert island. By the end of the class everyone else had written about two paragraphs, while I handed in three-sides of illegible scrawl, and my hero hadn’t even reached the desert island yet; we were still on the pirate ship! That was the first time I really tried my hand at creative writing and I loved it. From there, I used to carry an A4 notebook around with me and a red pen, wherever I went, and would constantly be writing novels and movie scripts. I started taking it more seriously in sixth-form college, and spent all my free periods writing. I knew then I wanted to be a writer, although it would take another 10 years before I wrote my first full-length novel.  

What was the hardest part of writing your book? 
I think it was creating the Darklings, because they needed their own history, biology, religion, etc. It took a lot of time to develop them, but it was also one of the most exciting aspects of writing BLACK CITY.

Do you have any advice for other writers? 
Write what you love to read! Don’t just write something because you think it will sell. If you’re passionate about a specific genre, then it’ll really shine through in your writing. 

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I just want to say a huge, squishy THANK YOU to all my readers for your support. I absolutely love hearing from you, and chatting about Ash and Nat, so feel free to Tweet me (@theredpenofdoom) or leave a message on my Facebook wall (! 

Thank you so much Elizabeth, you're amazing! 


Friday, March 8, 2013

Giveaway Winner!

The Helping Others giveaway is now closed! The winner of the giveaway was Sherlyn Goh! Congratulations! Even though the giveaway didn't hit 1000 entries, I will still be donating $100.00 to those in need! Thank you to everyone who entered, you've all impacted somebody's life! -Jen<3.xx

Thursday, February 7, 2013


So. To kick off the real start of my blog, I decided to host my first every book giveaway! Yay!   I felt like I needed to thank everyone who I've met online, because you've all impacted my life so much. I decided that 2013 will be my giving back year, not only to you all, but to everyone I can. Therefore, added to the prizes below, for every 1000 entries this receives, ill donate $100.00 too adults and children in need. I know it's not much, but I really care about helping these people and feel that no one deserves the life's they live every day. If I could, I would swap life's with one. Nobody deserves that!  Millions of people suffer every day in need of food, water and health care. We can change the lives of many, if we set our minds to it. On a good note, I did pull together as many prizes as I could fit into the box I have! Prizes are below.

A signed copy of Lullaby by Amanda Hocking
A two chapter critique from me
2 Surprise e-books - I like surprises ;)
A copy of The Archived by Victoria Schwab
A signed copy of the first five unedited chapters of my new book!

I know I didn't include many books, but the real point of the giveaway is to help others, every time you enter, you're helping.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Lindsay Cumming's holiday giveaway!

Author Lindsay Cummings is having a holiday book giveaway! There are ARC's and signed books! Today is the last day to enter so be sure to do so! You can earn up to 40 entries!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Interview with amazing authors!

Hi world. Michelina and I decided this would be fun to do so that everyone could see each persons different answer to the same questions! Thank you to Lindsay Cummings and Kristen Jett for participating! Enjoy and leave feedback! 

p.s. I know the numbers are pretty much all 1! Sorry, something went wrong!
  1. How old are you?

Michelina: I am 13 years old. 

Kirsten: 20-something. 

Lindsay: I'm 21! but I look like I'm 15

Jen: 13 years young, and proud of it! 
  1. What's your favorite genre to write?

Michelina: Anything fiction! Young Adult books are interesting to write because that is the audience I am in and those are the books I love to read! Sci-fi is my absolute favorite! Future dystopian books are fun because you have to have a wild imagination to think up the plot!

Kirsten: YA fiction. If I was to break it down more than that, I typically write paranormal romance or edgy contemporaries. 

Lindsay: absolutely YA futuristic, without a doubt!

Jen: YA futuristic sci-fi all the way! 

  1. What's your biggest goal?

Michelina: My biggest goal I'd to be successful in whatever I do. For the time being, that's my writing. I want to make my family proud! 

Kirsten: Wow, tough question. I suppose my biggest goal is to make either the NY Times or the LA Times Best Sellers List. I won't go into the politics of either of those lists, but it's something I've wanted since I was a little girl.

Lindsay: I would love to become a New York Times Bestseller before I'm 30. I don't know if that will happen...but I'm going to work my butt off!

Jen: My biggest writing goal is to be a New York Times bestselling author. But my life goal is to be happy.

4. Did you write when you were younger?

Michelina: Yes! I would always write when I was younger. Silly short stories with talking animals and fairies as characters, but writing all the same. I also enjoyed writing poems and won some writing contests when I was younger.

Kirsten: I've been writing since I was around six, if we include songs and poetry. I didn't begin writing stories until I was around eight. Before that, I would create stories on the spot, but not write them down.

Lindsay: I did! I loved to write little "talking animal" stories. My dogs, horses, ducks, etc, were all the characters.

Jen: Of course! I'd write stupid short stories (mostly about things I wished I had, or talking dogs) and I'd ask my dad to hang up a "show curtain" and force my family to sit and listen to me read it dramatically, like I was in a play. 

  1. What's your idea of an awesome main character? 

Michelina: My idea of an awesome main character is someone who no only you can imagine in your brain, but also is a part of your heart. My main character, Anastasia, represents who I want to be, she is bold, brave and not afraid of anything. A very successful author also once told me to give my good characters bad traits and my bad characters good traits. I love this advice, and use it often. It helps my characters become more real, and so I don't have a perfect, little, unrealistic main character.

Kirsten: An awesome main character is entirely relatable. She's vulnerable but tough, independent, and viewed as someone you could be friends with, or that you could become in the same situation. I fall for characters who seem real. 

Lindsay: Katniss Everdeen. Someone tough, but who still has a heart.

Jen: Waist-length blonde hair (with curls!), who knows how to shoot a gun but is also cute with boys.  

  1. What is your writing inspiration?

Michelina:  My writing inspiration usually comes in dreams. I believe that is when your imagination Is at full force, when there are no distractions to affect the thoughts and when subconsciously all the knots in the story unfold. I am extremely lucky when I can remember my dream, and I am even more fortunate when I have the opportunity to convert that dream into a story!

Kirsten: I'm fairly certain all of my writing inspiration comes from parallel universes where my characters really exist. If that's not the case...I have no idea. My inspiration can spark from seeing a painting of a person, and forming a character around them or hearing a phrase and building a short idea around it.

Lindsay: In terms of people, Suzanne Collins, Lauren Oliver, Veronica Roth, Beth Revis. In terms of reasons why I write, it's to overcome my illness and make something of myself!

Jen: My inspiration comes from dreams. I have a notebook beside my bed that I use to write them down in the night. One of the people who inspires my the most is Stephenie Meyer. But, my real inspiration is because I want to prove something to the world. I'm writing to show people that you don't need to be special of some sort, or be a certain age to do what you love. 

  1. If you could have a conversation with one person alive, or dead, who would it be?

Michelina: I would have a conversation with my Nonno. He is still alive, but suffers from Alzheimer's disease. He was a very smart man and I wish I could talk to him when he was young and well. 

Kirsten: I would want to talk to Edna St. Vincent Millay. Her poetry has inspired me since I was a teenager - I even had a few of her poems taped to my door! It would be amazing to hear specifically what inspired several of them. 

Lindsay: If you could have a conversation with one person alive, or dead, who would it be?- Oh gosh...honestly, it would be Meadow Woodson, the main character from The Murder Complex.  I loveeee her.

Jen: Stephenie Meyer. She’s one of my favorite authors and I could talk to her all day. 

8. What's your biggest writing obstacle?

Michelina: My biggest obstacle would be the fact that my family is not very supportive of my writing. They don't read my work and say that non-fiction is better than fiction. I disagree entirely and think that writing is a great way to spend my time! I am thankful for friends Jen and Ainsley who have been overly supportive and whom I am extremely grateful for!

Kirsten: My biggest obstacle would be finding the time to write. I have a full time job, so I usually only have a couple of hours of free time on the average weekday. I have so many writing projects I want to do, but not enough time to write them all!  

Lindsay: writing when I'm sick or exhausted, which happens every day. Chronic Fatigue sucks, and sometimes, I just want to go back to sleep!

Jen: One of my biggest obstacles is adults underestimating me before they even know me and hear what I have to say. 

  1. Explain your book in 30 words.

Michelina: A Universe contained seven planets, races, books, and a high council. The antagonist tries to rule by destroying all evidence of order. Will Anastasia find the books and restore universal order?

Kirsten: Girl meets her favorite writer in the airport -just as the zombie apocalypse breaks out around them. Can an apocalypse writer save the day in real life?

Lindsay: Two teens struggle to survive in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birth rate.

Jen: Mia's life is perfect. Until the worlds power source is gone, but Mia has a gift. Using it, she's able to find answers to the world, but is she strong enough? 
  1. Do you have a special tradition on when, where or how you write?

Michelina: I think writing when you are tired is a great way to get your ideas flowing and to let your imagination run free. I used to prefer writing with a pen ad paper because it prevents hesitation during writing. I also found it useful to take with me anywhere. Recently though, I switched to typing as a first resort because writing would take too long with pen and paper and then I would have to re type it up anyways. I usually write at my desk or at school. 

Kirsten: I usually drink jasmine green tea while I write. Other traditions change for each work in progress. Usually I change jewelry to wear something like what the MC would wear. 

Lindsay: I get up in the morning, feed my 3 dogs, make some peppermint mocha, and sit on the couch and write. I set a stopwatch, so I can track my writing times. I take a nap, wake up, and do the same thing again (minus feeding dogs). Sometimes, I move to my writing office when the family gets home.

 Jen: I like to write facing a window, and when it’s cold and snowy. Also, when I’m out anywhere I like to play out scenes in my head according to whats happening in real life. For example: I’m at the grocery store and while walking out, a normal man looks at me and starts walking behind me but I safely make it home. *In my head:* The repulsive smell coming off of the man that looks at me mischievously makes my stomach churn. I quickly scurry around the corner and hide behind a trash can while peeking out behind it. I see his black, grubby boots approach me. I ruff hand grabs my ponytail and I scream.
Yes, I do this all day even though none of it actually happens.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Welcome to my awesome blog! I decided it would be cool to start a blog for readers and writers like me :) Anyone who likes to read and write, no matter what age will like my blog! Ill be posting things like books I'm reading, my writing journey/difficulties, and anything you guys think would be cool :) If you would like to be a guest poster on my blog, if you want to write a post about something you think should be addressed (a good book you read, a writing tip, etc) Then email me at: writingjengray(at)hotmail(dot)com

Hope you enjoy!!

~Jen<3 xoxo.