Author Jen Minkman Interview and $40.00 Amazon Gift Card Contest LIVE HERE!

Shadow of Time by Jen MinkmanBBB: Tell us 3 things not in your bio we don’t know about you that might make us leery of befriending you. LOL

JM: Hmm. I really like death metal. To some people, that might give the impression I am a very dark and mentally unstable person, but I assure you, that’s not the case! Also, I tend to fall for younger guys – in fact, my husband is 11 years younger than I am. Somehow, I don’t fit into my own age group; people always think I am way younger than I actually am. And uhm, I am quite a slob. I HATE cleaning and doing dishes. So clean-freaks tend to steer clear of me!

BBB: What actors would you choose to play some of your characters if your book were made into a movie or a TV show?

JM: I’ve been asked this question before and I would really like Saoirse Ronan to play Hannah! She’s just so beautiful, but not in a picture-perfect way. I am torn about who should play Josh – I know a few Navajo models who look the part, but can they act?? At any rate, I would love to see Michael Spears, Graham Green and Eric Schweig in the ‘movie’ : they are awesome Native American actors.

BBB: How do you keep track of your world building?

JM: In this case, I had notes… LOTS of notes. And a timeline. Since the story is not relying heavily on fantasy elements, I didn’t need to build an entire world from scratch, but I did need to keep track of references to the Navajo culture, language, mythology and history that I made so I wouldn’t get mixed up.

BBB: Please tell us more about Shadow of Time and the storyline that drives it.

JM: Shadow of Time is about love and friendship transcending time, an old curse, Native American spirituality, the history of the Navajo people, and a profound belief that there is always hope and everything is connected. This may sound more spiritual than the average paranormal romance, and I actually think it is. In fact, my Dutch published coined the term ‘spiritual love story’ to categorize my book in Holland. I know from the description it may seem as if Shadow of Time isn’t a whole lot of fun, but it is – it’s just a tad more serious than most other books in the YA paranormal genre.

BBB: How many more books there be in this world?

JM: Just this one. I only write standalone novels.

BBB: Did you do any kind of research to determine the details of your characters lives / lifestyles?

JM: Yes, I read every book about the Navajo I could get my hands on. I wanted everything to be as realistic as possible, and I wanted to be proud of my work just in case Navajo people will actually read the book – I should represent them accurately. I wanted to get a feel of their way of life and belief system so I could convey that to my readers.

BBB: Are you a plotser or a panster? or a Planster (a combo of both – lol)

JM: I really try to be a plotser. I do write outlines for my books, and even a vague kind of outline for every chapter, but as soon as I start writing, I deviate from that planning because the main characters suddenly decide to take me somewhere else. Sound schizophrenic? It kinda is 🙂

BBB: What types of creatures can readers expect in your world?

JM: In this case? Shapeshifters and people with more than one lifetime under their belts.

BBB: What’s coming up for you in 2013 and 2014?

JM: My next book (The Boy From The Woods) will be published at the end of 2013 or beginning of 2014 (it’s already finished in Dutch, now all I have to do is translate the 200+ pages into English and publish it on Amazon) and the book after that will be called The Space In Between and will most likely be published at the end of 2014.

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  1. hi Jen, loved you post here today.

  2. How long did it take you to write this novel?

    • Hi Anne, it took me nine months because of the research I did… most of which didn’t even end up in the final draft of the book, but I wanted to get a feel of Native American contemporary life as well as the history of the Navajo, so it was hard work!

      • Answer the Author’s Question – what famous YA paranormal book should be turned into a movie next?
        – that would be Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergren

  3. Have your book been published in any other languages besides Dutch and English?

    • Not yet! I’m actually hoping the rights will be acquired by a Romanian publisher at some point as I have quite a few fans in Romania (don’t know why in that particular country, but I’m not complaining!). Of course, it would also be nice if a German publisher wanted to publish it as Germany is our neighboring country. 🙂

  4. what book or writer made you a fan of the paranormal romance genre? I really can’t remember.
    have you ever read a paranormal romance that was translated from another language into English, or are all the books you know in the genre written by native speakers of English? I can’t think of any paranormal romance that was translated from another language into English.

  5. Hey Jen! I was wondering, why did you choose to write about the Navajo people? Do you feel connected to them?

    • Hi Isabel, I have always felt spiritual in the Native American sense: everything is connected, there is no reason why humans are superior to animals, and we should respect the web of life because this planet is home to us all. With that in mind, I wanted to write a book with a Native American main character, and the Navajos happen to have the largest reservation in the U.S., so I picked that as a location! I’ll be visiting Navajo Nation this summer 🙂

  6. Answer The Author’s Question – what book or writer made you a fan of the paranormal romance genre?
    eh, I guess that’s Twilight.

  7. Answer the Author’s Question – have you ever read a paranormal romance that was translated from another language into English, or are all the books you know in the genre written by native speakers of English?

    All English books by native speakers.

  8. Can you tell a bit more about your next book (The Boy From The Woods)? Do you have a blurb for it?

  9. I’m wondering why you only write stand-alone novels. Don’t any of your characters need a book of their own or do you feel like the story should just end with the one book? I always wondered why some writers write both series and stand-alones and some only do the one. I’ve never had the opportunity to ask a writer this question so I’m happy to finally be able to.

    • Hi Shannon! It’s not that I don’t think my main characters don’t deserve more books devoted to them, but in the case of paranormal romance, the main focus of a novel IMHO is the developing relationship between two people. In the end, I want them to get together. After that, there usually isn’t a story left in me anymore because the two of them got together and that was what I was ultimately working/writing towards. I don’t have the same approach when it comes to writing fantasy- for example – the first full-length book I wrote (and never finished, by the wayP was supposed to be part one of a trilogy. I might still finish it some day. But in that case, each book has a different story / quest / mystery / you name it, and it’s not just about two characters falling in love. 🙂

  10. Thanks for answering my question!!! And I look forward to you finishing that full-length book and its 2nd and 3rd parts (hopefully).

  11. Who are some of your favorite paranormal authors?

  12. What types of books do you enjoy reading? What are you reading now?

    • I like reading fantasy, sci-fi, dystopian, romance, chicklit, and sometimes historical novels! Right now I am reading Kismetology (a British chicklit) and right before that I was reading Quicksilver by R J Anderson (sci-fi-ish / romantic).

  13. Thanks for being here! So what was your favorite scene to write in Shadow of Time?

    • One of the first scenes I wrote was the scene in which the two protagonists kiss for the first time 🙂 I just HAD to get it out on paper (or laptop). apart from that, I also really enjoyed writing the historical bits in the book!

  14. Author’s Question – What book or writer made you a fan of paranormal romance?

    Christine Feehan and Sherrilyn Kenyon

  15. Thank you for the post. I found it interesting that you only write stand alone novels. With all the series out there are you ever tempted?

    • Haha 🙂 No, not really! I don’t know why. I just think that once I get an idea that would be too big for one book, I’d break it up into separate novels and create a series. So far, that hasn’t happened yet. But if I ever try my hand at dystopian fiction, I might write a series. I think that would work very well!

  16. Author’s Question – Paranormal romance from another language?

    Just English

  17. Kelley Armstrong and BITTEN made me into a PNR junkie :).

  18. Author’s Question – Movie

    Marked (House of Night) by P.C. Cast

  19. I like that you have a vague idea for your story and do some plotting but it’s really the characters who drive it. That can make for some interesting turns 🙂

    • Thanks! Yeah, come to think of it, all my stories are very character-driven. No matter how much twists and turns you incorporate in a storyline, no matter how smart the story or original the premise, a book stands or falls with well-written characters. If readers don’t sympathise with the characters, they couldn’t care less about the plot, I think.

  20. One of my first and favorite paranormal authors is Karen Marie Moning and Jeaniene Frost. I really liked the world-building and that is one of the most important thing I look for in paranormals. I want a world I can feel a part of and yet ahve it be different from reality.

    I think all of the paranormal books I have read have been by English speaking authors, though I wouldn’t mind trying one that has been translated if te blurb catches my interest.

    It would be interesting to see The Secret made into a movie. It was made into a tv series but a movie would be cool.

  21. When it comes to world-building, how do you start? The people, the society or landscape?

  22. To answer all the author questions
    – I started reading paranormal romance quite a while ago and I have read numerous authors so I can’t pinpoint one that turned me on to this genre.
    – I have never read a book that was translated from another language but am curious if anything gets lost in translation.
    – as far as what should be turned into a movie next I think the House of Night books by Kristin and PC Cast would make a phenomenal movie or television series. Even though it isn’t so much on the paranormal romance spectrum it is in the paranormal genre. Another series that would make a good movie would be Jennifer Lyons Wing Skayer Hunter series.

  23. Hi!

    I know in the midst of all the research, you probably came across so much info. So while doing your research did you have a favorite piece of information or favorite book that you found?

    (And FYI, you had me at shapeshifters!)


    • Hi Rae, sorry for the late reply! It was past midnight in Holland when I signed off. Yes, I came across a REALLY sweet Native American movie featuring Eric Schweig. It’s about a small town called Big Eden (also the title of the film) where two men fall in love with each other and the whole community is rooting for them to get together and plays matchmaker. Eric is a gay Indian. It is so incredibly sweet and it brings tears to my eyes to imagine that maybe one day, the world really will be like that: no difference between the approach towards straight or gay couples. We already came a long way in Holland, I hope this will also happen in the rest of the world 🙂

      • I was so tired I completely forgot about 6 hour time difference! So I imagine you’re sleeping even now. (Atleast I hope so!)

        And I’ll have to see if I can find that movie to watch. Thanks for that!

  24. Is there a genre that you would like to write in, but haven’t yet?

  25. What book or writer made you a fan of the paranormal romance genre?

    -Ooh good one!( If I can remember.) I think I started off reading more fantasy early on. It was my gateway genre to the hard stuff. You know, paranormal books, urban fantasy. 🙂 Then once that happened I read pretty much anything that I could get my hands on! But I think one of the first PNR books that I read was by Kelley Armstrong. I know there was something before that, because I was reading them before then. But for the life of me, I can’t get my years straight.

    Have you ever read a paranormal romance that was translated from another language into English, or are all the books you know in the genre written by native speakers of English?

    -I’ve never read paranormal romance from another language, but I have read an urban fantasy. I read Nightwatch and Daywatch by Sergei Lukyanenko. But that’s it. (As far as I know!)

    What famous YA paranormal book should be turned into a movie next?
    – None! I’ll spare you the rant. But in a nutshell I always feel like the book
    never gets the justice it deserves when made into a movie.

    • Rae, that’s right, I also read the Nightwatch book! (not in Russian, my Russian isn’t good enough for that yet) and I know what you mean by the ‘wrong’ kind of movie adaptations… I have to say I really liked Hunger Games, but maybe that’s because I watched the movie first and read the book later. The images were already in my mind at that point. Let’s see what I think of the next book in the series. I’ve read that but the movie won’t be out until November 2013.

  26. Do you have a favourite vacation spot?

    • H Cheryl, sorry to make you wait, I was asleep! (Different time zone) My favourite holiday spot is England, hands down. I used to go there all the time with my parents and sister in my childhood since both my parents are English teachers. And now me and my sister are, too! Apparently we were infected with the English language bug.

  27. What movies or books (other than your own) coming out in 2013 are you most looking forward to?

    • Good question! I’m curious about the movie they made of The Host, Beautiful Creatures and Catching Fire. I am also eagerly anticipating the final installment in the Divergent Series, and I would like to read another book in the world R J Anderson built in Ultraviolet and Quicksilver (though there aren’t any plans for that yet). And in the TV series department, I can’t wait till the Walking Dead starts again!

  28. If you could live in any time period when would it be?

  29. what book or writer made you a fan of the paranormal romance genre?
    I read one of Christine Feehan’s “Dark” books and was instantly captivated

  30. Are you planning on researching/writing about other cultures other than the Navajo? Or have you already?

    • Hi Bethany, I am ideed researching another culture right now, or more specifically a religion: the Yezidi religion from an area in Kurdistan. I am using elements of that to incorporate in the dreamworld my main character Moira ends up in every night after casting a spell at an ancient stone circle with her sister and brother. It is due out for release in October 2014 hopefully.

  31. I got into paranormal reading Laurell K Hamilton’s books (although I don’t much read them anymore.)

  32. I’ve always read scifi/fantasy but when Twilight came out I had to see what the fuss was all about and have probably read something in the genre every day since. How much time do you spend reading instead of writing

    • Hi Linda! Twilight did the same thing for me 🙂 And I think I spend about as much time reading as I spend writing, but there are times I just don’t feel like creating and just absorbing, so I’ll read, and there are times when my own book and characters ‘grab’ me and won’t let go of me till I finish writing their story, so there’s no room for reading 🙂

  33. Hi,
    I became interested in fantasy when I read the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in elementary school. After that I read all the Tolkien books and was sold on fantasy. The move to paranormal fiction was not a big leap. I loved sci-fi and fantasy but after I had a kid and was working I didn’t make time for reading. When my daughter FINALLY became interested in reading, I tried to encourage her by reading the same books she read. Even though I don’t really like Stephanie Myers writing style. My daughter wanted to read the Twilight books and I’d heard there was controversy so I read them first to make sure they were appropos. That’s when I began reading voraciously again and dove into paranormal.
    My favorite authors are Patricia Briggs, Kelley Armstrong, Kim Harrison, etc.

    • Hi Beth, I also remember being addicted to the C.S. Lewis books about Narnia! I must have read them a thousand times. And Tolkien is a genius. I have always loved fantasy worlds, but I have also always liked the link with the ‘normal’ world in books, so kids being swept away to a fantasy realm or a human girl falling in love with a boy who’s not quite normal is something that captured my interest early on.

  34. I like the sound of your book!

    Where do you usually write? Home, a cafe, etc. ?

    • Thanks, Julie! I usually write at home (in my study or in the bedroom) with music that suits the mood of my book. I especially like writing in my study lately because it is MY room, I won’t be disturbed there and it feels like the room is dedicated to writing and creativity, whereas the bedroom is no longer MY bedroom because I recently got married and now share that room with my lovely husband!

  35. Thank you, Jen, for sharing with us. Looking forward to reading the story. Best of luck to you!

  36. have you ever read a paranormal romance that was translated from another language into English, or are all the books you know in the genre written by native speakers of English?
    All in English. I have soo many I want to read, I can’t imagine how I’d cope if I had more that were translated added to the pile.

  37. what famous YA paranormal book should be turned into a movie next?

    PC Cast’s “House of Night”

  38. How many books have you written?

    Sorry all the others have already took all my Questions.LOL

    • Hi Stacey 🙂 So far, I’ve written three books, the first of which is only available in Dutch (a chicklit called ‘Back to School!’). The second one, Shadow of Time, is now available in English and will be published in Holland coming September. The third book (The Boy From The Woods) is with an editor right now, and will hopefully be published in both English and Dutch at the same time – winter 2013/2014. I am currently working on my fourth book, The Space In Between, and hopefully that will be available in fall 2014. Thanks for asking!

  39. Answer The Author’s Question – what book or writer made you a fan of the paranormal romance genre?
    =Christine Feehan and Sherrilyn Kenyou & Karen Marie Moning and a hole lot more.

  40. You said your books are stand alone… but do you ever interconnect characters?

    • That is an interesting question Vanessa! I was actually planning on interconnecting characters, so that some main characters from my first book would have a cameo appearance in the second book, but in the end it was just too complicated. The first story is set in the U.S. and the second story in Austria, so I gave up trying to somehow connect the characters…

  41. Maybe Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series or Holly Black’s Tithe…

  42. A Wrinkle in Time. I just love Madelaine L’Engle and her books!

  43. Gosh… um??? I am not sure if I have read one that had been translated… hmmmm

  44. What was your favorite childhood book?

    • As a child, I read so many books I couldn’t possibly name just a single one, but the Narnia Series, the Wrinkle in Time series, The Mother Earth Trilogy by Thea Beckman (a Dutch writer) and all the books written by Tonke Dragt (another Dutch writer) feature high on my list of favourites!

  45. Have you ever written fan fiction? For what fandom?

    • No, I haven’t! Not really… I admit to having written some kinky stuff b/c me and my best writing buddy used to write each other steamy stories just for the fun of it, and those stories would often be set in the Star Trek universe (yup, geek alert), but it doesn’t really count, I’ve never actually uploaded it to a fanfiction site (I’d probably die of embarassment, haha!)

  46. I think what made me interested in the paranormal genre was the twilight Saga, because it showed me first that romance can also be a paranormal story.

  47. I think all the books in the paranormal romance genre I read were in English. I think that no matter how good the translation is there always are some things that get lost in translation or are not translatable at all into a different culture, so I prefer to read a book in its original language – if I know it, of course:)

    • I agree about reading books in their original language if you can – I do that too! For the record, some of my reviewers mentioned the way the translation of my book didn’t feel like a translation at all, probably because I felt like I was writing the book once more, just in a different language. 🙂

  48. I’m not sure if they are famous, but I’d like to see more paranormal books with angels made into big movies, like Lauren Kate’s Fallen or Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. We’ve already seen vampires and werewolves.

  49. Your book sounds like an original idea! Have any Navajos read Shadow of Time yet?

    • Hi Liz! I haven’t heard from any Navajo readers yet, but I am considering sending a letter to the Navajo Post – they might want to put a little piece in the newspaper about my book when they see the good reviews I’ve been getting on Goodreads and Amazon so far! 🙂

  50. I have once read a book by Elena Melodia (an Italian writer) that was translated into German, which was quite good.

  51. What book or writer made you a fan of the paranormal romance genre?

    The Dark Series by Christine Feehan.

    Have you ever read a paranormal romance that was translated from another language into English, or are all the books you know in the genre written by native speakers of English?

    As far as I know I haven’t read any translated books.

    What famous YA paranormal book should be turned into a movie next?

    Soul Screamers by Rachel Vincent

  52. It is interesting to me that you write stand-alone novels only. Do you like to read novels in a series, or is a stand-alone novel your favorite way of reading as well? I love series, so I’m curious to get an author’s take on it, and to see if your writing and reading preferences are different.

    • Hi Beth! Oh, I absolutely love reading books in a series, IF the writer manages to write a well-rounded story with a bit of a cliffhanger or open ending so we’ll be curious to know more, but it isn’t a must to buy the next book. Far more often these days, first books in series never come to any kind of conclusion and could never stand-alone as is. Also, most series suffer from the second-book-nosedive-curse. Somehow, second books feel like fillers in most cases, a sort of necessary evil to bridge the gap between the first (where all the questions are asked) and the third (the grand finale). Having said that, there are some series that don’t do this (Hunger Games / Paranormalcy / Unearthly Series).
      As for me and my preference for stand-alone novels: I think it’s because every single romance book I read as a teenager/YA/NA was always a stand-alone book. You start books like that with the hope and expectation that the girl and boy / man and woman will end up as a couple by the end. IMHO, if they do, the story is over… unless you want to write books about relationship problems, people breaking up for silly reasons (New Moon!!) or couples having kids. That’s just not so interesting to me, not to read about and not to write about. I also think that if I forced myself to write paranormal romance series, I’d just be rambling on and on and on, and the storyline wouldn’t be that gripping or action-packed.

  53. I’ve never read a paranormal romance translated from another language. Is there one you’d recommend?

    • Oh–yours, I’ll bet! 🙂

      • haha 🙂 you guessed correctly! I have it on good authority (my US editor and a picky reader who runs the blog What’s Beyond Forks) that the book doesn’t read like a translation at all (I know some people can’t shake the feeling something is ‘wrong’ with the writing style of a book when it’s a translation, but Shadow of Time apparently doesn’t suffer from this at all)

  54. I haven’t read any paranormal romance novels, or at least none that I can think of. When I was much younger, I read some paranormal suspenseful novels by Lois Duncan–they scared me to death but I could not stop reading them!

    • That reminds me of me as a teenager watching The Twilight Zone or the X-Files by myself in the living room after my parents went to bed… I’d be so scared I would run up the stairs in the darkness to get to my room and hide myself under the blankets!

  55. Thanks for the ga!The book is great?Where do you find your inspiration?

  56. What three folks living, dead, real, or imaginary would you invite to dinner and why.

    • Hi Pam! Interesting question 🙂 I would invite:
      1. Jesus – to hear what he really has to say (am not sure his teachings are still100% perfectly preserved after 2000+ years)
      2. David Bowie – because I’ve been a fan of his music since forever
      3. John & Yoko (I know technically that’s two people, but they were SO together I hope you’ll allow it!) – because I’ve been a Beatles fan for a long time, John is my favourite Beatle, and John & Yoko are my favourite famous couple 🙂

  57. Hi there! What are your thoughts on audiobooks? Do you listen to them? Are any of yours available, and if not, do you think they’d “read well” in that format?

    • Hi Joani, I have to say I’ve never listened to an audiobook – I simply can’t focus on a book being narrated on a CD. Quite often, when I am reading, I put the book down and contemplate the things I’ve just read (or I’m thinking – cam I use an element like this one in my own story somehow?) and then re-read the passage, and so on. So audiobooks aren’t suitable for my reading style. Having said that, I think my book would do well as an audiobook, because it’s suspenseful and fast-paced, I’ve been told 🙂

  58. I have to say Laurell K Hamilton turned me onto para romance.
    As for a translated book, I have also read Nightwatch. I saw above you read them also. did you like the movie? It was okay, but of course things differ. They did do a movie for daywatch too, but I don’t believe the third one is out yet or if they are going to. I’m gonna have to look into that one.

  59. I also think it would be cool to see the House of Night series turned into a movie. They could do so much with that!

  60. I bought the book, it sounds really good. Looking forward to starting it. I did see a lot of good reviews for it. I’m glad you’re going to the Navajo Nation this summer. You should get to see a pow wow, they are incredible to see, and out west they are huge! I’ve gone to smaller ones here on the east coast.

    • Hey, thanks for buying the book! I am so happy the book is getting good reviews abroad – it’s one thing to get published in your own country, but another matter altogether to cross the border and notice people like your work there, too! And yes, I am very much looking forward to visiting Navajo Nation and possibly going to a powwow. That must be amazing 🙂

  61. the first paranormal book I remember was Linda Lael Miller vampire books and I was hooked. She only wrote 3 and they were great. This really date me lol since they came out long ago.

  62. Nope I haven’t read anything that was translated from another languege that I know of.

  63. My son loves sherrilyn Kenyon’s Nick book and thinks they’d make a great movie

  64. I know the contest is over, but I have to ask – Is The Space In Between an homage to How to Destroy Angels? (Trent Reznor is a lucky man! His wife is the lead singer and she is gorgeous AND talented.)