Thursday, March 26, 2015

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Jennifer Oneal Gunn


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hi, Jennifer.  Welcome to The Gal.  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Jennifer Oneal Gunn:
Hello, my name is Jennifer Oneal Gunn.  (This is my full given name as well as my author name.)  My friends call me Jen.  I am an author, poet, editor, formatter, and cover artist.  Recently, I drew the illustrations for my children's book, Squishy Face & the Moon.  I am also the mother of two children.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Tell us five things about you that most people don't know?

Jennifer Oneal Gunn:
  1. Spiders freak me out!
  2. I love cake even though it no longer loves me.
  3. I have a back list I wish I had time to get out for readers.
  4. I started writing my first shelved novel (that will probably never see daylight) when I was fourteen and it's a romance.
  5. I'm not a very public person.
The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is the first book you remember reading?

Jennifer Oneal Gunn:
Hmmm, that would have been a long time ago.  I remember reading Charlotte's Web in grade school, but I've always loved reading, so I'm sure there were plenty of stories before that.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What made you decide to begin writing?

Jennifer Oneal Gunn:
I lived for the longest time with a vivid imagination, got in trouble for day dreaming, and had conversations with characters that weren't actually there for most of my life.  I wrote poetry and bits of songs for as long as I can remember, then as I got older, I tried my hand at writing books.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

Jennifer Oneal Gunn:
Absolutely.  I have a play list for every novel, series, or story I think will turn into a novel (or planned novel) that I've written.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have a special place you like to write?

Jennifer Oneal Gunn:
At my desk in my room, away from the chatter of people, in the middle of the night.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Jennifer Oneal Gunn:
Revising is more challenging to me than the first draft.  A first draft is sloppy, for me it has my own stage directions in it and I have to try to fill in those gaps.  When I revise, I have to think of how to fill those in.  Sometimes we write ourselves into a corner and have to go back and retrace our steps.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think makes a good story?

Jennifer Oneal Gunn:
A decent plot with a few twists and surprises always makes me want to read more.  Anything that is designed to hook a reader, make them want more, that is a good story.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What book(s) have most influenced you?

Jennifer Oneal Gunn:
I write in many different genres so that's hard to pinpoint.  I would say everything I've read from autobiographies for book reports as a child to hardcore horror through my adulthood.  I like a varied spectrum of books.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What inspires you most?

Jennifer Oneal Gunn:
I think that depends on the story you're trying to write, where the inspiration comes from.  I've been inspired by little things, I've also been inspired by hurtful and catastrophic things.  I think we as writers take a lot from life and use that as a basis for some of our work, without telling the true 'who, what, where, when, and how' of a given situation.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Where do the ideas for your book come from?

Jennifer Oneal Gunn:
My children's book was an idea I got as a story to write for my daughter who was seven at the time.  She came up with the names of the characters and I came up with the plot because I thought it would be a cute book.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which of your characters do you think is the most like you?

Jennifer Oneal Gunn:
A lot of my lead characters are, of course, some form of me.  In Squishy Face, Big Mama is my motherly side, talking to and teaching my daughter.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What have you learned creating this book?

Jennifer Oneal Gunn:
Prior to publishing this book, I didn't know I was able to draw the drawings for it.  I didn't have the confidence to do so, so it sat on my virtual shelf for two years.  I've been drawing for as long as I've been writing, but I've never felt confident in my art, until one day, I showed someone one of my drawings and they persuaded me to try.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think your readers will take away from this book?

Jennifer Oneal Gunn:
Hopefully, the readers will take away some time spent with their kids.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes your book different than others that fall under this genre?

Jennifer Oneal Gunn:
Really, the purpose of my children's book was to fulfill a couple of goals, to teach children in a simple manner and for parents to be able to do this is in a non-evasive way that is fun for both parties involved.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's in your 'trunk'?

Jennifer Oneal Gunn:
Well, as I've said, I have a back list, which includes a dark fantasy book, the second and third book in a five book paranormal romance series, the fourth and fifth book in that series which are still in WIP status, a fanfiction sort novel I want to put out either by Halloween 2015 or 2016, and I have a few short story ideas I would love to explore further when I have the time.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Jennifer Oneal Gunn:
They call me the Mistress of the Macabre, of course, this means more of the stuff I'm actually known for, which is the darker stuff.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Thanks for stopping by, Jennifer.  It's been great having you.  One more thing before you go.  Where can we find you?

Jennifer Oneal Gunn:
Thank you for having me!



About the book:
Squishy face is a little girl in a big world, which often frightens her.  Luckily, she has Big Mama to guide her and show her the way.  In this book, Big Mama teaches little Squishy Face about the moon.

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