Name: Jennifer Oneal Gunn
Where are you from?
I come from a small Midwestern town in Missouri. I’m also the single mom of two kids. I love to learn and have been working my way through Indie vs Mainstream writing since 2010. I’ve been an editor since 2011, having worked with a few companies, I was the editor-in-chief of my own small house until we shut up shop due to not making the money we needed to stay open. To this day, I write and try my best to help other authors.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My latest news is, I’m going into semi-retirement with editing so I have more time to write.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I was fourteen when I began writing. It was something I had to do.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was told I needed to by my agent in 2010. She said I needed to, so I did. Once a hobby, it became a profession.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I was sitting on the bank of a creek, visualizing a movie in my head. (It all started with the movie script then turned into a large novel over time.)
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I don’t know. I would say it was straight-forward.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I have many titles. Sometimes it takes until the end of a project to find one that sticks, sometimes it doesn’t.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
It depends on which one of my books a reader picks up. The first one, Mystik Legends, one of the themes there is family, but also, women are fighters. Even in scary situations, my girls fight. In another one, Fire, Ice & Blood, it’s family. Family trumps everything.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Fiction is fiction.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life? A mentor?
I have several favorites, too many to name, I love reading as much as I do writing. I love different genres too. Mayhem, mystery, intrigue, death, love; it’s about entertaining my mind.
I wouldn’t say I had a mentor so much as I had a bunch of them.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
My best friend used to write thrillers. I love his work. He’s someone I met because of writing. He’s one of my favorite Indie authors. What sparks my interest is that he wasn’t afraid to write something gritty and raw, opening a line of sight that most people are scared of. His name is Erik J. Ekstrom and his books are on Amazon.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My Indie writer friends, of course. They’ve been a lot more supportive than family. I think that’s because they understand us.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
It has been since the years I had an agent in 2010.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I always wished I was able to make the details thicker and more refined at the same time in those older books, but what’s done is done.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
It’s been with me my whole life. When I was a kid, my imagination would often run wild at times when it wasn’t supposed to. I think the fascination with words started when I began to understand what signs said. I was small and I suddenly knew what the words were. It enamored me. From then on, I was curious. I wanted to know more, always.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
This is from Tortured Souls-The Story of Jake and Holly Book 2
Swiftly, she ran down the darkened hallway toward the staircase leading to the upper floors of a sterile hell. Three floors above her, the bell tower sat undisturbed in the darkness of the wooden shaft surrounded by the stone exterior of the Fair Acres building. Holly knew she was trapped within its walls without a means of escape. She glanced around at her surroundings as her feet hit the cold cement floors of the basement level. There was a row of black metal doors on each side of the hallway she was in. Each door had a tiny window to view the person trapped inside. The overhead lights were sparse and dim. Behind her, she heard screeching which turned her blood cold and made her move faster. As she looked for a place to hide, Holly glanced around, turning her head, scratching her scalp. Not only did her head itch but her skin did too. The electrode marks on her temples stung and the patches of dry skin where they once were flaked.
Holly reached the stairs to the upper levels not having found a place to hide. She decided to climb the steps and go back to her room; a place where she could at least be alone with her terrified thoughts. Reaching the top of the staircase, she looked through the tiny window in the door to the main floor. Her heart raced in her chest. She saw no one moving about in the hallway. The darkness poured in around the place, hidden were the inner demons, in the shadows cast by the walls. She wrenched open the heavy door and slowly crept into the dimly lit hallway, trying not to slip or squeak across the tile floors. She gently ran her hand along the white paint on the walls, guiding herself toward her room. Her brown eyes filled with tears as she got near the door to her sanctuary in hell. She opened the door and silently entered the place of nightmares. In the dark, as her watery eyes adjusted, she found her bed; a cold steel frame with the fluff of an old camp mattress, a moth-ridden scratchy gray wool blanket, and a pillow filled with down feathers that stuck out of the material it was sewn into. Holly sat on the bed with her head in her hands, sobbing as the tears flowed down her face.
A few minutes passed and Holly let her emotions out until she finally realized she had to figure out how to escape the horrid ammonia, copper, and feces smells along with the crusted paint falling all around her. This ancient place with its decay and rotten wasted spaces wasn’t her home or her family. She stopped crying and looked about in the dark. She remembered the words she transcribed in blood on the wall she sat up against. Jake wouldn’t want to know what she wrote and it would break his heart to see it. Maybe someday she would tell him. For now, she couldn’t think of the copper smell from her own blood or the memory of her first night and the utter sadness running through her mind when she cut herself and wrote the tome into the shedding layers of paint behind her. She had to think of how she was going to be freed of the sheer madness of the place. These people thought she was one of them. Was she really, actually insane and her whole life with the man she loved nothing but a dream? No. Jake was real. The night he saved her was real. Her son was real. Her son…her baby boy. He was definitely real.
I have to get the hell out of here! I need help. What do I do? This flea infected, piss soaked, shit box has to have an exit I can get out of. I just have to find it!
Holly narrowed her eyes as she thought about all the ways she might be able to get out. She pictured the doors, she saw the cameras and the guards. Fat fucking bastards! She saw them fiddle with their keys. A thought crept through her mind then she pushed it away. She knew she couldn’t pretend to like one to get those keys. They’d beat the hell out of her and probably worse.
Holly smashed her eyes tightly together and thought of Jake. I need him right now! Goddamn it, Jake if you can hear me, I NEED YOU! HELP ME, PLEASE!
“Holly, wake up!” Jake said. “Holly Mae, if you can hear me, please wake up!”
“What the—” Holly said, stirring from sleep. “What’s going on?”
Jake hugged his bride. “Oh, my god, woman. I-I saw something so horrible. So horrible.” He began to rock back and forth holding onto Holly.
“Jake, what the hell are you talking about?” She was confused.
“I saw it. I saw you in the asylum scared out of your mind, calling for me,” he said softly, his heart pounding.
“I’m right here, baby. With you.” She stroked his cheek. “Right here.”
“You know how my dreams are…they—” he said still holding her tightly against his chest.
“I know. We can only try to find out how and where so we can try to stop it. Baby, I don’t what’s going to happen or when, but we’ll face it. You know we will.”
“I don’t want to lose you,” he said.
“Never,” Holly said, clinging to her husband.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
In most of my novels there is always a bit of history. The challenging part is knowing where to twist it and still make it believable.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No. I do a lot of research. One day, to set foot on the land some of the scenes in my books take place, that would be exciting.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I did. I love digital art and am passionate about that as well.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I think the hardest part of writing any of them is letting go. Once you’ve created the world, the people, the situations, saying good-bye is always the hardest when you get finished.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
The first one taught me a few things: it’s not as easy as everyone thinks it is, revisions are your friend, and not everyone will like what you have to say.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead?
I’m not always sure. For my series, I used to think I wanted someone like Jensen Ackles to play the lead. (My main character isn’t a woman in that series.) I love Supernatural.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Do it because you love it. Revise because you care about your work. Editors are invaluable to you.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Always, read more books.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I have several, some are reference books, some are for enjoyment.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No. That was a long time ago.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
The heartwarming family stuff.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I wish I were more of a people person, alas, I’m not. Crowds give me the jitters. Otherwise there would be a lot of people I’d love to meet and the reason would be just to meet them.
Fiona: What do you want written on your headstone and why?
I’m not sure I would want this written on a headstone. Maybe said in a eulogy instead, something about how I tried most days to be a good person. Not that it always worked out, but that I tried.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Writing is no longer a hobby. It’s been life for most of mine. I like sewing a bit, reading, listening to my tunes, drawing, silence at times to reflect.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
All types but mostly fantasy or mystery shows. Horror movies. Comedies.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music?
My favorite food is fettuccine alfredo. I make a homemade sauce. My favorite color is pink (believe it or not), and I like all types. My favorite is rock for my writing.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I’ve already done a lot with this short time I’ve been out in the open with my writing. I used to promote people, I’ve edited for years now, I’ve interviewed people, set up websites, ran a small publisher with a couple of friends. I don’t think my writing life has been lacking in the least.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Where to find me: