Talent Spotlight: Jena Leigh

The Variant series is about a young girl named Alex Parker who has special powers along with a few others called “variants”.

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********The author is Jena Leigh and I was lucky enough to get to send her a few questions based on both her, her book (and the rest of the series), as well as gain a few writing tidbits. I love the fun and honest answers that have been given. Thank you Jena for your quick responses! Check her out here. And you can follow her on tumblr too! Also make sure you check out both her books out now!

of Jena Leigh
Revival (the first in the Variant series) is about special people with amazing powers. The setting is mostly set in a cabin. Is there a special place you based this off of?
 I can only dream of one day discovering a home here in the real world that resembles the Grayson cabin! The design of their house in the Adirondacks was basically an amalgam of my parents’ home in North Carolina, a vacation cabin I once stayed in many years ago, and every multi-million dollar cabin I’ve seen on TV over the years.
There are the beginnings of a love triangle happening between Alex and the two boys she meets. Do you already know who (if either of them!) she ends up with, or are you just seeing what happens as it does?
I’d like to think that I know, but with a muse like mine you never can tell! She likes to keep things interesting and only rarely sticks to the original outline. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens!
Speaking of love triangles; how do you feel about them (i.e. Do you think every story needs them)?
Oh, good question! I’m a bit torn on love triangles. I wouldn’t say that every story needs them, but I’m not opposed to them, either. A well-written love triangle can really make for an excellent story, both as a main focus for a novel as well as a supporting thread—but only so long as it works for the story you’re telling. As a writer, if you’re just throwing in a love triangle because you think it’s what your readers will want, you might want take a moment to consider what it’s really adding to your story. I think a big part of the recent backlash against love triangles stems from the fact that, so often, they’re been thrown into a plot unnecessarily.
Will we learn more about Alex’s family and more about herself throughout the series? Or are you leaving it open ended?
We will definitely be learning more about Alex and her family as the series progresses!  Much of what’s happening to Alex now is a result of the things that happened to Alex and her parents (and to the rest of John Grayson’s original team members) many years earlier. Those past events will be brought to light in later books.
How many books do you have planned on for the series to be complete? Or is it infinite and you’ll take it book by book?
 Right now, I’m planning for four books to complete the series, but it’s definitely going to depend on how books three and four turn out. Lately, I’ve also been working on a collection of short stories revolving around the Variant Series characters. With any luck, it will be ready to publish soon!
What do you love about being an indie author?
One of my favorite things about being an indie author is the fantastic online community for indie writers. Everyone is wonderfully supportive of each other and there are so many fantastic resources out there to help authors with creating and promoting their work!
What is the oddest thing you’ve found yourself researching for your books (if any)?
Oh, geez. The list of odd (and oddly incriminating) things I’ve googled while writing is practically endless! How best to get away with murder, the technical specs of a non-nuclear EMP, the effects of ketamine on a human body when it’s being used as a tranquilizer…  I’m pretty sure that if the NSA is tracking my search history, then I’m almost definitely on some sort of watch list.
Tell us a little bit about your next book.
In Resistance, book two in the Variant series (due out February 11th, 2014), the stakes are raised even higher for Alex and the gang. As Alex struggles to get a grip on her newfound powers, she’s faced with a far more daunting assignment—survive the last few months of her junior year without accidentally losing control and leveling Bay View High.

But the risk of outing herself and the Variant population at large would be a lot easier to handle if the Agency wasn’t still breathing down her neck… and if Declan weren’t quite so distracting in his newfound role as Alex’s bodyguard.  As sparks of all kinds start flying, Alex is left struggling to keep her head above water and her heart in one piece. And when her freedom lands itself in the Agency’s crosshairs, Alex will be faced with the fight of her life.
Any tidbits you wish to share for inspiring or other indie authors?
Without a doubt, the most important piece of advice I can give to anyone getting into this business is don’t forget to have fun! Because too often, and all too easily, the business side of self-publishing can make you forget why you got into this in the first place—your love of writing. Don’t get so wrapped up in marketing and promotions that you allow yourself to lose your desire to create. Find ways to make it fun and stay inspired, so that writing remains something you love to do, and not just another day job.
Quick Q&A
Which would you pick- fame, money, happiness, or easy inspiration?
Happiness, definitely! 
How many drafts from first to final?
I often edit while I’m writing, so sometimes it’s tough to gauge. Also, each book is a bit different. Revival took three drafts, Resistance was four (due to some pretty major rewrites)—here’s hoping book three is a little easier to get on the page!
Do you fit any author stereotypes (Cat owner? Coffee/tea Addict? Messy handwriting? Recluse? Late night writer? OCD spelling/grammer (i.e. hate others who don’t use it properly or even yourself)?
I’m addicted to both coffee and tea, a borderline recluse when I’m neck-deep in a project, I’m OCD about my own spelling and grammar (but am rarely bothered by the grammar of others), and I write best around eleven PM. So, basically, I’m a walking stereotype! Just need to get myself a cat.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
People that talk/answer their cell phones in the middle of a movie at the theater.
What is one thing you love and could not live without?
Think I’ll cheat a bit and say that it’s a tie between music and books… The two loves of my life! Give me a great book and an amazing album and I’m one very happy girl!

(Variant Series) Resistance: My Review

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The Variant Series book #2 is here! After a long wait to see what happens to Alex and the gang, it is here. How exciting for readers and the author alike! Jena Leigh CONGRATULATIONS on book #2. I was beyond excited to read this (so you know book 1 was great!) and it did not disappoint. 

Alex is still on her journey to find out more of both her past and what the future holds. She is also very determined to beat all odds of fate and what others have planned for her. In the end she gives in slightly, but continues to stick to her morals and do things her way. Cassie continues to be the most amazing best friend that you would wish to have. While you'll root for Alex's romance with a certain boy (not going to give it away, but if you read this first book you'll have a good idea); I also had the secret hopes of another (my heart broke for him, while wanting to scream at him all in one breath). I am still torn (but that is what the semi-love triangle does) between which couple should truly be together due to the loves bring out different sides of Alex; both great. They also both love her, but in different ways making it that much harder to really choose (IMHO). The triangle is not truly explored, so it's not obnoxious and maybe it's because of the first book that you really know, but it's there. 

While not only rooting for Alex, you're rooting for them all to win and prevail against all odds. They do. Mostly. It's not overly dramatic, and although it is a fantasy novel, it also oozes reality in slivers. You can (or I could and I doubt I'd be the only one!) notice little bits of "that could be written about me." moments throughout the book. I think that makes this book a gem and a great read in and of itself. Besides that, we get to delve more into all the characters, and get introduced to some great new ones. 

Love. Drama. Supernatural. Perseverance. 

*Another quick read and if you have not read the first one, getting both will make sure you are not itching for number 2 already. I cannot say the same for book 3 (haha). I'll just have to wait patiently. 

(Fairville Woods Series) Into the Ashes & Through the Eyes


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Book #1: Besides being a fantasy junkie, I also love "olden times" based books. What I truly love about From the Ashes is that both characters were born in another time (early 1900's), yet it takes place much later than that. Olden times with a modern day twist! It also consists of romance, supernatural, and curses. From the moment you start reading you want to see what happens to Lundy, a beautiful young girl that is possibly dying. This is not just her story, but the captivating Harlan's as well. You root for them every step of the way in hopes of a happy ending. Simone Snaith does not disappoint with her twists and turns, and beautifully written words. Without giving too much away, the story guides you on a special journey the two take together not just for love, but for Lundy. Soul mates if it ever existed would be these two, and it is shown from the first moment they meet. It is not just a love story though, it is about overcoming destiny and making it up as one goes along. Just wait until you get to the ending, and the great thing is you do not have to wait for the second in the series!

First off: Congratulations to author, Simone Snaith for finishing and getting the sequel out. 

Book #2: Through the Eyes is the thrilling sequel to From the Ashes and it is filled with all the greatness of the first, but continued further. Simone Snaith has really taken the time to nurture the series and remain true to the first book. Although the curse has changed, which changes one of the characters slightly (enough to tell even from the beginning), it does not differ from the hopes one might have for Lundy and Harlan to get their happy ending. If anything, it makes you convinced they will, but with all the twists within you get the elusive feeling it may not end as well as you thought. I also loved how new characters are added, which makes it a bit more realistic, and lends to the new content fairly well. The ending wrap up of the book was fantastic, and although I wished for a few things to be different; it was a great ending. 

Vampires. Ghosts. Curses. True Love. = A recipe for greatness. 
*Another wonderful read that you do not want to put down and you definitely do not want to end. It will suck you in and possibly keep you an insomniac due to not wanting to put the book down and dreaming of a love like there's. 



Harlan has not changed (although he'd need a wig) for my pick for the actor, but for the actress I'm torn between the two of these.

(Variant Series) Revival: My Thoughts

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Fantasy novelists and readers unite! Do I have a fantastic book for you. It is called Revival (Variant Series book #1) and it about a young girl (junior in HS) who's life gets a bit complicated after her emotions (and unsuspecting powers) cause her to fry an entire computer lab. The life she had turned upside by this one act caused by watching her boyfriend KISS another girl in front of her (who wouldn't have an angry and sad moment?). All her life Alexandra Parker was normal (as normal as one can be; good grades, good boyfriend, great friends) and it was perfect, well almost perfect (having your parents die in a car accident when you are little and forced to move towns and go live with your free-spirited aunt makes it impossible to have a perfect life). Enemies, a stalker, a best friend caught in the mix, and new friends create a very wild ride in the life of one Alexandra Parker. Follow her journey as she learns to navigate her newly minted life, the truth of who she is and what really happened to her family (and others). I guarentee you'll root for Alex and friends (and her possible love life), and curse the enemies that makes you want to join forces to help stop the enemies all along wishing the book never had to end. Although the book is wrapped up rather nicely, there is still a bit of a cliffhanger (to lead into the next book, I am sure).

Love. Supernatural powers. Drama. Girl Empowerment. = AWESOME

A MUST READ FOR ANY fantasy, ya adult, love story with a twist FAN.

**Another great tidbit? I read this book in a 2 day span and is perfect on a kindle for a quick read on vacation (or during the trip to get there). There is also wonderful paperback versions (I prefer to feel the book, but kindles are amazingly versatile!)

I am also one of those individuals that really picture the characters and create my own fantasy cast (I am sure I am not the only one!): 

How did I do? Read the book and let me know what YOU thought! 

Leaving you with one more thought (because I am a fantasy/supernatural junkie): If you awoke with super powers, what would you want them to be?