Name Jennifer Ott
Where are you from – Reading, Pennsylvania
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I am a transplant Californian. I left the northeast years ago for the the sun, the sand and the surf. I studied fine art and fashion design in college, which provided me the opportunity to study and travel around the world. I started writing seriously while living in New York City taking part of Gotham Writers’ screenwriting workshops. After several of my scripts made the finals of several contests and budding interest from production companies in Los Angeles, I headed west. Currently, I am rewriting many of my scripts into novel form.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I am releasing my umpteenth book (I lost count), Desperate Moon, which I started writing years ago while living in New York. The story is about a woman vampire, who falls in love with a scientist whom she hopes will discover a remedy for her condition.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing when I was twelve. I remember watching the movie “Bridge on the River Kwai” and was so taken with the drama I started writing my first book…I never finished it.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I wrote and complete my first novel when I was 24. It was awful, but I knew I was a writer at that time despite my budding career in the fashion industry. When I was working at Ralph Lauren in New York City, I started studying screenwriting. Screenwriting gave me a great foundation for understanding story structure, plot, character development and most importantly dialogue.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first published book was a short nonfiction book called Ooh Baby Compound Me, which is a satirical take on credit card companies. My first fiction book I published is Wild Horses, which was inspired by a relationship gone bad. Wild Horses is a satirical fantasy about women who train as racehorses to compete for men. Some have compared it to “Sex in the City” meets “Alice in Wonderland.”
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I’d say so. I love, love, love John Steinbeck. I think his writing his my biggest influence however, my writing has been compared to Kurt Vonnegut, or my book Edge of Civilization has. My main focus in writing is character and dialogue. I am really picky about character and dialogue.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I do not remember. LOL. I started it so many years ago; I’m not sure what it was.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The book is humanizing the “vampire” condition. I think the biggest message is how we judge someone as “evil” or look for monsters when they are struggling with issues that can’t be controlled. The book also questions society as a whole and how we define humanity.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
It is a historical fiction. Much of the book is realistic, with real historical events seen through the eyes of a vampire who lived for 600+ years. It is the perspective a “nonhuman” watching humanity evolve through history.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Well…the main love interest was inspired by a very soulful looking German painter. I was very taken with him at the time. Musically inspired by Sarah McLachlan’s song “Possession.”
“Listen as the wind blows from across the great divide
voices trapped in yearning, memories trapped in time
the night is my companion, and solitude my guide
would I spend forever here and not be satisfied?”
This was the inspiration. 🙂
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
John Steinbeck has been my greatest influence. It was Milan Kundera’s Life is Elsewhere that truly inspired me to write my first novel.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
My friend Tumika Patrice Cain. She has such an amazingly powerful voice.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I am working on a silly situation comedy novella. I am a woman writing a book about a man writing about women.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My mentor, Dr. Ardys Reverman
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. Although not doing it full time currently, I am doing writer for hire projects as well as publishing my own works.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. I had some difficulty determining how it would end, but I like its ending.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I think it’s always been in me. It’s hard to explain. I’m not one who loves words, and books. I just have stories and characters inside me burning to be told and be heard. I sometimes feel I am just a vehicle for characters to share their stories. I didn’t chose writing. It chose me.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I post excerpts from my books for people to read. I find it is the best way for readers to get a flavor for the story
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
No. Not really. The challenge for me is when I am not writing. I tend to go a little batty. LOL
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
John Steinbeck. His characters are second-to-none. He has the ability to write quirky, off beat characters that are so relatable and you care so much for them. He is also a brilliantly succinct writer. He can tell a story, create a scene with just the perfect words without over-writing.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, but I have traveled extensively. Desperate Moon takes place in both Berlin and Prague. Two cities I had the great fortune to visit. I was able to bring personal accounts of each city into the story.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
A freelancer did most of them however since I have a fine arts background I have designed Desperate Moon and a couple others.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
My main character is a vampire. She is a very strong woman with perspective and experience few would ever know. It was hard understanding her at times and her intent in certain scenes.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
My main character, even though she lives in society, she is separated by her condition of being a vampire. What I learned through her interactions with other characters, taught me about my own interactions with people in my life.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write and write every day and when you’re blocked and don’t feel like writing. Writing like anything takes practice. The more you do it, the better you get.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I remember reading Judy Blume and Nancy Drew, but I think the one book that really struck me as a girl was Diary of Anne Frank.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Pretty much everything. I laugh and cry at the drop of a hat.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
John Steinbeck. Not only was he a brilliant author but a humanitarian. I would also love to find out what he thinks about literature and publishing today.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Law & Order and the News. I’m a news junkie.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Colors blue and orange
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Film maker. I’ve actually taken acting and film making courses.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My website is www.JenniferOtt.com
The book is currently available for preorder on Amazon.
Amazon US http://amzn.to/1LKUBnV
Amazon UK http://amzn.to/1Rnk7Br