Friday, November 18, 2011

Book Club: Risen

Are you looking for a good book to read? Well you're in luck! I have been introduced to a great new book by Britney Jensen, Risen. Here's a little peek at what it's all about:

"Sunny is a fairly typical teenage girl – at least, she thinks she is – but when she wakes up on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, she knows things have taken a turn for the worst. She can't remember who she is or where she came from, and there is something off about her that she can't quite put her finger on. But before she can even begin to find the answers to these questions, she is quickly picked up and whisked away by Finn, a haunted and devastatingly handsome young man claiming to know who, or more accurately what she is. Determined to keep her safe, he takes Sunny to Reverence, a secret ghost town deep in the Montana mountains that is filled with people just like her.

In an atmosphere thick with mystery and mistrust, Sunny learns the secret of what she is and must come to terms with her impossible new existence. But her own mental struggles to accept what has happened to her aren't all she has to deal with. Sunny's presence in Reverence has put everyone in danger of being found by the dreaded Hunters. These highly skilled government agents are trained to track down and capture people just like Sunny, and they're coming after her. The agent assigned to find Sunny is cold and calculating, and he's got a personal vendetta against her that requires him to stop at nothing to get to her.

Risen is a dark, exciting, and at times romantic look into what might happen if something were to go wrong between this life and the next."

You can download and read the first chapter here, but I warn you, this book will quickly run strait to the top of your To Read pile. At least that's what happened with me! You can buy it on Kindle or in paperback at Amazon here. I was fortunate enough to steal some of Britney's time for a quick interview. Which in turn, makes YOU fortunate too because she's got some great advice, and even a few book recommendations for us. Enjoy :)


What made you want to write a book?
My love of reading! Is there anything better than settling in with a good book and getting lost for awhile? I graduated with a B.A. in English Lit, and after reading so much good literature and becoming attached to so many fabulous novels, writing a story of my own fast became number one on my bucket list.

How did you get started with your story?
One day, while perusing the web, I saw a strange picture of a girl in a graveyard that caught my attention and got things spinning in my mind. She was looking confusedly at a headstone and it just seemed a curious image to me. Out of boredom, I started playing the "What If" game in my mind. What if she was trying to find her OWN headstone? What if she didn't know who she was? What if SHE was the one who was dead? And let the macabre thoughts ensue. It all came rather quickly and it was exciting to me to have an idea that I could see all the way through to the end. Most times, when playing that game, I'd hit a roadblock, or it would just seem, well, dumb. But this was something different, something good, and so I started writing it out.

Is there a character in your book that you relate to?
I think there is a little bit of me in every character. Bossy, confused, protective, funny, introspective, irrational and explosive, yet cautious and prudent. Yep, I'm in there somewhere.

What was the hardest part of writing a book?
Oh my...where do I start? Ha! Since I already had the story and characters in my head, the hardest part for me was learning to be okay to write when the mood strikes, and not set a rigid hourly schedule for myself. I can't force the words if they're not there, and when I tried to set aside specific hours to write, it only left me frustrated. I learned quickly that I don't work that way. Now, I just set a goal of how many words I want to write for the day and try my best to hit it, regardless of if that's in the morning or the middle of the night.

What is the best part of writing a book?

There are so many good parts to writing a book, but by far, the best part is holding it in your hands for the first time after it's complete and thinking, "I wrote this." It's surreal and exciting, and the sense of accomplishment is absolutely priceless. It's like crossing the finish line of a marathon. You're tired and beat, but proud of your work, and against all reason, you can't wait to do it again.

You took a non-traditional path in getting your book published. Could you tell us a little about why you did it, and HOW you did it?
I decided to self-publish after a grueling and disappointing query process. I had requests for my full manuscript from various agencies, all seeming very hopeful and positive, then to get a a response with "Thanks, but this isn't right for us at this time." Talk about a let down. I was about to give up on the whole thing when my husband talked me into putting it out there on our own. It's actually fairly easy to do with minimal costs. It's free to publish on Kindle and Nook. All you have to do is format it, come up with a cover design (I'm lucky my husband and his buddies know a bit about graphic design), and upload it. We found that a lot of people wanted an actual copy of the book, and making it available as a paperback was super easy, too. We went with which is owned by Amazon. They are a Print-on-Demand company, meaning they don't print your novel until someone orders it. This is awesome because you don't have to front thousands of dollars to get your book in print. The costs involved in this are getting an ISBN #, which is around $90, and your own bar code, which is inexpensive as well. It's amazing what tools are available to self-publishers. Now I'm happy to be part of the booming indie-publishing crowd. It's fun and we all try to support each other. If any readers have any other questions on how to do this I haven't addressed, I'm happy to answer! Email me: and I'll do what I can!

What, do you think, makes a great character great?
Great characters are ones you can relate to, empathize with, or look up to. I love reading books that I can see myself or someone close to me in the main character. It puts the story that much closer to real life.

What are 3 of your favorite books/series/authors?
My all-time favorite book, one that I read every year without fail is Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury. Seriously, it is the most perfect book ever written and every time I read it I'm astounded at how Bradbury does it. The book is so good you can smell, see, taste, hear everything. If you haven't read it, I recommend it...highly, You're welcome. Ha!
I also love The Hunger Games series. Could Katniss be any cooler? And anything by Neil Gaiman. He's a mad genius.

What advice would you give to people with ambitions to write a book, or publish one they have hiding in a drawer somewhere?
What are you waiting for? Even if you don't have all the answers, or aren't sure where your book is going, just go for it! I didn't write Risen for anyone else besides me. I wrote it because I wanted to write it. So don't write your book trying to please agents or critics or friends, write it to please you. Write something you would want to read. And if you've already done that and have your MS collecting dust in a drawer, bust that baby out, dust it off, and get it out here where people like me are waiting to read it! Whether that's the traditional route, or the indie route, doesn't matter. Share your talent!

Twitter: @BritneyJensen

Thanks again Britney! You've inspired me in more ways than one, and I can't wait to put that to use. Everyone remember to check out her website and her book! And she's even been kind enough to give us her e-mail address if anyone out there wants to pick her brain some more. Thank you to some of my favorite people (and bakers) at One Sweet Slice for connecting me with Britney! Happy reading to you!

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