Today we welcome Jennifer Crowfoot, author of The Devil of Oz and Sins of Oz.
Question 1. What or who inspired you to write?
I’d never stopped to ask myself this question before; I’d never considered why? I’d just opened up my laptop one afternoon, sat before it and started writing, quickly finding out that I couldn’t, and didn’t want to stop.
Now, as I ponder this question, I smile as I finally come to the simple honest conclusion that it was the character’s siren-voices that encouraged, and also inspired me to write. Plain and simple. I wanted to tell their stories. It wasn’t through any influence of famous authors or the latest bestsellers, or even because I had grandiose visions of fame and money – which I didn’t, by the way. The imaginary worlds in my head opened up and I saw how they were full of interesting, sexy and chatty characters who insisted that I tell their stories.
Question 2. What attracted you to write in your particular genre?
I write in a mixture of fantasy/romance and paranormal/romance with an Aussie flavour. These are my chosen genres, the ones I feel drawn to and safer expressing my thoughts in. I adore the combined elements of magic and supernatural in them and, when I write, they give me the freedom to allow my imagination free reign.
I love reading stories that combine humans with preternatural creatures, so I believe it was only a natural progression that my taste in writing follow my taste in reading.
I have a passion for angels, in particular fallen angels, fairies, witches and warlocks, and the idea of a love story between humans and these beings intrigues me.
Question 3. Which character did you most enjoy writing about?
Oh, this is an easy one to answer: Lucifer from The Devil of Oz and its sequel, Sins of Oz. He was my most enjoyable character to write about. He is endlessly portrayed as an evil entity; the horned, raging, twisted Godfather of the Underworld, so to speak. Yet, in my mind, I saw none of that; he was the complete opposite of everyone’s perception of him. I wanted to show the world a different side to him, the one I saw. The Fallen Angel who loves his soul mate with great passion and not the heartless, wicked beast.
Question 4. Which writing achievement are you most proud of and why?
I’m proud of all my writings, but the one that probably has a larger place in my heart would be Tainted Magic. This story was the reason I started to write in the first place; its characters were the ones who whispered to me to tell their stories. It was also a hefty, chunky novel to write for a complete beginner.
This book and its ensuing sequel were a trial by fire for an ordinary little housewife who hadn’t made up stories since English lessons at school many years earlier, and really hadn’t the foggiest idea what she was doing, grammar-wise. I’m now 100% sure that I broke every literary law known to man, nay, known to the universe, with my first clumsy efforts at writing these books.
Yet, with every subsequent re-write I did, and as my primitive editing improved slightly, I fixed, smoothed and polished them to the best of my ability.
The day I published these stories was like finding my pot of gold at the end of the writer’s rainbow. To finally be able to share with the world these characters who I held so much affection for was a proud moment I’ll never forget. I’d done it. Even though the road from the seed of an idea to the fruition of a story had been incredibly difficult at times, I hadn’t given up.
Question 5. What do you do when you are not writing?
Writing consumes much of my time, but, when I’m not detailing my character’s lives, I read. A lot. I also play social darts in the local competition. I’m nicknamed the ‘secret weapon’ and the ‘silent assassin’. I suppose it’s because I’m tiny and look very unassuming and non-threatening, but, put a dart in my hand and, if the stars align just right, I can be ferocious.
I was an avid gamer until I started writing. Computer gaming, Playstation, PSP, I had a weakness for them all. Still do. Unfortunately, now I don’t get to spend as much time on it as I would like to.
Question 6. Who is your favourite author and why?
Without a doubt, Stephen King is my favourite author. As a kid, my chosen genre to borrow from the library was horror, and, as I grew up and then discovered Stephen, well, let’s just say my bookcases attest to my addiction to his writing. They dip beneath the weight of my collection of his massive tomes.
I’m in awe of his ability to weave a story; he is the master of horror, suspense and character development, and I completely lose myself in his worlds. His novel, Salem’s Lot, is the only book I couldn’t leave on my bedside table for a night.
I always took it out of my room after I’d read it, for fear that the characters would creep out and get me while I slept. That’s how powerful his imagery is to me.
I also have a love for the brilliant Aussie author, Traci Harding. Her characters invite me into their world so effortlessly and, once there, I lack the will to leave until I take their journeys with them.
Question 7. Pet hates?
Spiders. Snakes. Heights. These three are my personal idea of Eternal Hell, and, living in Australia, I’m guaranteed of one thing. And that is that, apart from some of the strangest-looking creatures known to man inhabiting this continent, there is the small matter of the broad range of heart attack-inducing arachnids and nasty serpents living here with me as well. Urgh!
Question 8. How did you choose the title for your book/s?
That is a difficult thing, I must admit. Choosing a title for a book is – for me – like choosing a name for your child. To an author, books are your children, an extension of yourself if you will, and the last thing you want to do is saddle them for all eternity with an unsuitable and ridiculous moniker.
My method is simple, really: I look for the essence of the story, what the main theme is and form a title around that. For instance, Tainted Magic was so named because the story rotated around how one of the characters took the most powerful good magic there was to be found in his world and warped its power for his own wicked ends.
Question 9. Have you got a particular ritual preceding or following the completion of a book?
No, not really. By the time I’ve finished writing one book, I’ve already started plotting out another, or actually started writing it. This is essentially what I did with Sins of Oz, the sequel to The Devil of Oz.
I had already started another story (which I’m working on now) and, in truth, I’d never intended The Devil of Oz to be anything more than a one book story, but as I was writing my new story I noticed more and more how these older characters wouldn’t be quiet. They kept whispering, telling me what was happening in their world, and I knew I couldn’t finish what I’d started until I finally told this other story.
Question 10. Do you have any superstitions with regards to your writing?
Not with writing, no. In life, yes. Plenty. No umbrellas opened inside. Throw salt over my left shoulder if I spill it. Wish on a falling star, but fortunately I’m not superstitious with my writing.
Question 11. How do you market your books?
Mainly through word of mouth. As an Indie author, I don’t have the support of a huge conglomerate behind me for marketing purposes, but I do have a powerful and wonderfully supportive network of family and friends who tell their friends about my work and how to get it.
I also post links to my author’s page at Smashwords via my Tumblr and Twitter accounts. I’m always posting links to my books on both my personal and author Facebook pages, which my family and friends then share for me on their pages. I also have all my books listed on my Goodreads author’s page, but, for me, people’s recommendations of my work has been my only way of marketing myself.
Question 12. What sort of music do you enjoy?
I have a broad taste in music, but some habits never die and I have a particular weakness for heavy metal. I listen to Pearl Jam, Rammstein, Metallica, Korn and Limp Bizkit, but I also love Evanescence, Daughtry, Nickleback, Silverchair and older stuff like Tonic and Simple Minds. Led Zeppelin’s music is also an old friend.
Question 13. Who is the first person to read your book when you feel it is complete?
I have a couple of beta readers, but mainly it’s my daughter, Sarah, who reads each chapter as I finish and offers me her advice. I also have another two lovely ladies who read through my work and offer advice.
Question 14. What is your favourite drink?
Apart from good ’ole caffeine, I mainly just drink Pepsi Light. I can’t drink anything with sugar because, at my height, approx. 5ft 2in, I get curves in all the wrong places with the influx of sugar. This, combined with a lack of exercise – typing vigorously doesn’t qualify as exercise, sadly – I get, to put it quite bluntly, a fat arse.
Question 15. What has been the best moment in your life so far?
Warning: cover your eyes, clichéd answer coming up. That would be my wedding day, followed closely by the birth of my four children. After the agony had worn off, mind you!
Question 16. Have you ever been in trouble with the police?
No. I’m the typical goody-two-shoes. The world’s most boring person. Never even had a speeding ticket or library fine. Nothing.
Question 17. One thing you’ve always wanted to do, but never have? Why?
I must answer this question back to front and incorrectly I’m afraid, so please bear with me. I’ve always wanted to ride in a helicopter and nearly blew that chance when I was handed the golden opportunity to do just that. As I suffer from a terrifying fear of heights, the very thought of hovering around in a – quite frankly, something that looked like a child’s toy – scared the life out of me. Yet I knew if I didn’t do it, if I didn’t conquer my fear, I would miss out on the experience of a lifetime. I’m proud to say I did it, and it was the most exhilarating experience of my life.
Question 18. Favourite style of dress or item of clothing?
I’m a girly girl and I love to wear dresses. I have a weakness for very feminine clothing and heels and I really like Goth clothing; it’s so sensual. I’m a sucker for anything in black; most of my clothes are in varying shades of ebony. Even though I say I will get more colour into my wardrobe, I always find my hand reaching for garments in shades of moonless nights.
I would really love to step back in time just so I could wear the beautiful velvets, satins and crinolines of yesteryear. That clothing appeals to me, but I’m afraid it would not go down well in my local supermarket nor be practical in everyday life. I couldn’t imagine myself driving in a crinoline dress; it would be difficult to say the least, but a girl can still dream.
Question 19. Ever had a stalker?
Um, no. *laughing*
I’m not, and can’t see myself ever being a part of that exclusive glittering stratosphere of fame that brings that kind of ‘adulation’ with it, but thank you for asking; it makes me feel ‘almost famous’.
Question 20. What is the most interesting lesson you’ve learnt about yourself through your writing?
Hmm. *scratching chin* I have learnt I have a thicker skin than I ever imagined I could possibly have, and I have a strength of will and character I never knew was lurking beneath my shy, timid, pushover girl exterior.
Also, I was always a ‘start something and finish later’ kind of gal. Now I have the strength and tenacity to actually see something through to the end, which the burning need to finish my stories has given me. There’s no way I’d ever leave any of my characters swinging in the breeze, whistling Dixie and twiddling their thumbs while their storylines dangled like yoyos because I was too lazy to write their endings.
Question 21. Please share with us your favourite recipe for a dish you love to make or eat.
Oh, okay. Cooking is not high up on my list of ‘fun-things-to-do’, but I do cook.
Every. Single. Day.
One of my favourite things to eat, especially in winter and on cool days during the year, is a lamb, beef or chicken casserole, slow-cooked in the oven for at least 3 hours.
I don’t really have a recipe for this – I cook this ad-lib style – meaning I throw into a large foil dish whatever veggies I have on hand: carrots, onions, peas, mushrooms, capsicums, pumpkin and my meat of choice.
I usually use lamb forequarter chops, which I place on the bottom, and then place the assorted veggies over the top. To this, I add curry powder, usually a teaspoon and a bit, a couple of teaspoons of salt, liquid stock (either beef or chicken; it doesn’t matter), flour (for thickening), assorted sauces – like barbeque and sweet chilli. Mix it all together and then cover with a lid of foil and place it into a moderate oven (160/170°C fan-forced) for at least 3 hours. We usually have this with mashed potatoes.
Another dish I used to like to make when my kids were younger (and even more so to eat) is Caramel Dumplings – I have a notorious sweet tooth and these have just the right amount of gooey sweetness.
And, ta-da, I actually have a recipe for that.
For the dumplings, you’ll need:
1¼ Cups self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
30g (1oz) Butter
⅓ Cup sugar
1 Teaspoon vanilla
⅓ Cup milk
For the sauce, you’ll need:
30g (1oz) Butter
1½ Cups brown sugar, firmly packed
Pinch of salt
1½ Cups water
Dumplings: Sift flour and salt into a basin, rub in butter, and add sugar. Add combined milk and vanilla; stir well.
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan, stir constantly until boiling, and then reduce the heat. Drop tablespoons of dumpling dough into simmering sauce, cover, simmer for 20 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream, ice-cream or, if you fancy, just plain.
May I say that was one of the most interesting things I’ve done. Your questions were really fun, and well thought out; they made me think. I’d never stopped to consider a lot of what you’d asked me before and it was an eye-opener for me.
Jennifer Crowfoot is the indie author of six published books. Amongst these are two short stories, Death and the Call Girl, and Matilda, as well as two series, Tainted Magic Book #1 and Lust, Lies and Promises Book #2. The Devil of Oz Book #1 and Sins of Oz Book #2.
Married with four children, and nine grandchildren, Jennifer lives with her husband and bad-tempered Maltese terrier, Beau, an assortment of chooks, finches and a French-speaking Quarrion (or Cockatiel) in the beautiful Hunter Valley in N.S.W., Australia.
Before devoting herself to full-time writing, Jennifer worked in a variety of jobs over the years, from making burgers in a café, to working behind the counter in a small general store, to cleaning in a boutique B&B. She counts her greatest accomplishment as raising her children and watching them grow into responsible adults with children of their own.
You can connect with Jennifer on her Twitter page: https://twitter.com/greatsummerland
Or follow her blogs on Tumblr: http://j333m.tumblr.com/
You can also view all of Jennifer’s work on her Smashwords page:
Or follow this link to her latest work, Sins of Oz:
In this sequel to The Devil of Oz, heartbreak sneaks into Lucifer and Annabelle’s blissful life in the form of an old and vengeful enemy. His actions force Lucifer into disobeying the only rule he has yet to break.
From the wide-open landscape of Dis, to the gaudy lights of Kings Cross in Sydney, Lucifer is forced to hunt down one nearly as powerful as he and settle a few scores along the way.