It is my honor and privilege to have been granted an interview with author, Jen Selinksy, a multi-faceted author of poetry, children’s books, and even cookbooks. This past June, she released “Runaway Choo-Choo”.
Jen Selinsky was born in Pittsburgh, PA. In 2003, she earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. In 2004, she earned her master’s degree in library science from the same school. Jen has worked as a professional librarian for over twelve years. She has published more than 170 books, many of which contain poetry. Her work can be found on the following sites: Lulu, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, Smashwords, Pen It! Publications, and Books-a-Million. She has also been featured in publications such as: The Courier Journal, The News and Tribune, Explorer Magazine, Liphar Magazine, and Indiana Libraries. Jen lives in Sellersburg, IN with her husband.
Jen, you’ve written and published over 160 books. What inspired you to write in the first place and what inspires you to continue?
I’ve always had an active imagination. One of the things which inspired me to start writing, during my tweens, were my favorite cartoon characters. I wrote little stories which revolved around them. It wasn’t much longer until I started making up works and characters of my own, and that developed into the great passion which stands with me today.
Your poetry relates to the music of several groups and musicians (from Aerosmith to The Eagles to Genesis). What is it about these musicians and their songs that speaks to your creative side?
Music has always helped me write. I’ve even written hundreds of my poems while listening to classical music and opera as well. When I listen to my favorite bands, their work helps me create some of my own. It’s something that I can’t really explain, aside from the fact that I’m an auditory learner.
You’ve written poetry about music, cook books, etc. What other avenues/genres would you like to explore in the future?
I would like to write a screenplay or a teleplay, which is something that I’ve never tried. I’ve also dabbled in songwriting, which is much more difficult than it sounds! I’m sure I could think of more genres I’d like to experiment with, given more time. I’m also thinking about starting an author newsletter.
Tell us a bit about your most recent book and how it came about.
Runaway Choo-Choo has been around since 2007. When I was finished writing the first draft, I sent it to several publishers who accept freelance submissions, and they all rejected it. Last year, (in 2016) I revised the work and sent it to Pen It! Publications. It was accepted almost immediately, and I’m very glad that I can now share it with others!
When writing about other artists, are there any copyright issues you have to contend with or do you have to request permission to use their likenesses or their music in your works?
When I write books, they are musical biographies or dedications to my favorite artists. I do not use other people’s photographs, song lyrics, or even direct quotes. For instance, Reach up for the Sunrise, my Duran Duran biography has a references section at the end. The list says where I got my information, even though I put things in my own words.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Sometimes, the hardest thing about writing is getting the motivation to start a new project. Other times, it’s knowing when to stop and move on to something else. Editing and marketing can also be difficult, especially when I just want to write and have others show interest in my work!
Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it and move on to write?
I have experience writer’s block many times. One of the most extreme cases was when I hardly wrote anything; this was from late 2010 to early 2011. Then, it came back with a vengeance! I wrote a Christian fiction novella, Forgiveness Lies Beyond, as well as wrote the bulk of my biggest novel to date, Springtime in London. I also penned many poems in between writing the two books.
In comparison to the amount of time you spend on writing, how much time do you spend on marketing your books? Any amusing stories about marketing your books?
I would like to spend more time writing than I do marketing, but the latter of the two is absolutely essential! I don’t have any amusing stories, as such, but that could change someday.
What do you find most challenging in your writing?
The most challenging parts of writing are all the edits and revisions I have to make, especially considering that I’ve self-published over 170 books! I’m grateful for the fact that Pen It! Publications has editors to help with the process, which can be extremely draining sometimes. It’s all worth it in the end, however, because my books all end up the way that I want them to be.
What advice would you give writers/poets just starting out?
My advice would be to keep going; don’t let anything get in the way of your drive. There were many times which I could have quit writing and even pulled some of my publications, but I’m glad that I didn’t. And, because of that, I might even be able to make a living one day doing what I love.
Here’s a blurb from Jen’s most recent release, Runaway Choo-Choo.
Runaway Choo-Choo: Benny got up early one morning and ran outside to play with his dog, Choo-Choo, but he was nowhere to be found. Benny eats a quick breakfast and sets out on a quest to find Choo-Choo. “When Benny finally finds Choo-Choo, he gets a big surprise. His dog has a new friend. What should Benny do now?”
If you’d like to follow Jen, please check our her social media sites posted below.
Links to Social Media:
Amazon Jen’s Amazon Page
Facebook Author Page Jen’s Facebook Author Page
Facebook Personal Page: Jen’s Facebook Personal Page
Twitter Page: Jen’s Twitter Page
Instagram Page: Jen’s Instagram Page
Pinterest Page: Jen’s Pinterest Page
Goodreads Author Page: Jen’s Goodreads Page
Jen, thanks so much for giving us some of your time and your insights into your creative world. I’m not sure about the readers, but my iPod will be set to Genesis this weekend as I read your poetry related to the band and enjoy my glass of bourbon & amaretto on the back porch. Please keep us posted on your upcoming works.