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!

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