Today, we have an opportunity to talk to S.C. Jensen. Jensen has written the book, Tropical Punch (Bubbles in Space #1) First, let me thank you for joining me. I appreciate you giving me your links and I want to share those with our readers.
A: Hi there, and thanks for having me! You can find me on my website/blog at www.scjensen.com. Facebook: www.facebook.com/scjensen.author Instagram: www.instagram.com/scjensen.author and Twitter: www.twitter.com/scjensem_author
Not sure how you keep up with so many social links! I do well just to do facebook, a blog, and a website. Can you tell us a little about yourself and what led you to start writing?
I’m a bit of a hunter-gatherer when it comes to writing ideas. I love to read and watch movies and visit art galleries. I’ve always got interesting bits and pieces floating around in my head. When they start connecting in interesting ways, and I see a pattern emerge, a little bell goes off in my head that says “This is a story!” and I write it down.
A: I’m a Canadian author and science fiction enthusiast. There’s nothing particularly remarkable about me, I don’t think. I’m just one of those kids whose nose was always in a book when they were growing up.
I'm always struck by Stephen King's advice in On Writing where he says if you aren't a reader you shouldn't write and the best writers are avid readers. So I'd say you are on track.
I’ve always lived half-ways stuck inside my own head. The natural extension of that was to start writing my ideas down, so that I could tell people I was “a writer” not “a crazy person.” I’ve been a published author since 2014, and this is the first year I’ve delved into indie-publishing.
I saw a link to your 2014 book, The Timekeepers' War (SEE THE BOOK HERE) put out by Necromancer Press. It looks good as well. Where do you get your inspiration, information, and ideas for books?
A: I’m a bit of a hunter-gatherer when it comes to writing ideas. I love to read and watch movies and visit art galleries. I’ve always got interesting bits and pieces floating around in my head. When they start connecting in interesting ways, and I see a pattern emerge, a little bell goes off in my head that says “This is a story!” and I write it down.
How did your new series, Tropical Punch, emerge?
How did your new series, Tropical Punch, emerge?
This particular series happened when I was reading a bunch of old noir detective novels by Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, and watching a lot of cyberpunk media like Blade Runner and the Matrix and Cowboy Bepop. And I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to have a hard-boiled detective novel set in a futuristic city? Except the detective is sober. And a woman. And a cyborg. And she really likes doughnuts…
That’s kind of how my brain works, haha.
Do you ever write characters who reflect your own life?
A: In one way or another most things I experience end up in my writing, even if it’s just a sensory detail or snippet of overheard conversation. One aspect of my life that I have intentionally included in this series is that the main character is an ex-drinker. I struggled with alcohol abuse for many years, so I guess that’s an ex-hobby? It’s a big part of who I am, and it was important to me to create a female character in recovery who deals with sobriety on top of all the challenges the plot throws at her.
I spent many years as a counselor working with people in recovery. I admire both your transparency to share and your daily victories. Someone who has overcome addiction has tremendous personal strength and often great insight to help others. What advice would you give someone who wants to be a writer?
A: Never stop writing! Try to write a little bit every day, study authors you love, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and share your work! The worst thing creative people can do is try to hide their passion. Share it. Even the crappy stuff. It’s part of the process!
That helps me. As we do this interview, I am on the backside of trying my first NaNoWrMo (write an entire novel in one month). It has been a challenge. I've needed people speaking wisdom and encouragement into my life. What is the best advice you have ever been given as a writer?
A: Nobody is born a brilliant writer. All brilliant writers start as amateurs. The only way to get better is to try, fail, and try again, and fail better. You can’t be afraid to do the work.
Do you write full-time or around another job? How do you schedule your time to write?
A: I write full time. My “real job” is business writing for the mining and transportation company.
Now, that in itself is super interesting.
A:But this is contract work, so I usually work on one project at a time. Occasionally my fiction projects overlap with my business projects, and then I prioritize whichever has the closest deadline.
Hiring a professional development editor was a life-changing experience for me. It taught me to look at my writing in a completely different way.
How many hours a day do you write?
A: When I am drafting, my minimum word count goal is 3000 words a day. Usually I can do this in 5 hours. I will write 5-8 hours a day depending on what else is going on with my family, and often have 5-8K word days. And some days go really well and I’m done my 3K in 3 hours and I call it quits.
That is pretty impressive. What is your favorite part about writing?
A: Writing, for me, is all about personal challenge. I treat writing the way some people treat training for a marathon, or playing guitar until their fingers bleed. The joy, for me, is in the achievement. Meeting challenges, reaching goals. I push myself very hard. I’ve written more than half a million words this year. Next year I’d like to double that. I keep pushing the number of words I can do per day and the quality of those words. It’s not fun, exactly. But it is very rewarding! (Don’t worry if this sounds awful to you, it would to most people, and you certainly don’t have to write like this to be a “real writer.”)
What does literary success look like to you?
A: In some ways I already feel successful. I’ve completed a major goal this year, finishing the entire Bubbles in Space series, a novella, and a couple of short stories for anthologies. I’ve learned a lot about indie-publishing, and about myself as a writer.
Financially, I will feel like I’m a success when my husband can retire and we can spend more time together! Maybe the kids, too.
Well, hopefully this interview will help market and make that dream possible. Please tell us about your current release.
A: Tropical Punch is the first book in the Bubbles in Space series. It’s a noir sci-fi thriller series about a cyborg detective who gets in way over her head, pisses off a mega-corporation and the chief of police, and ends up hiding out on a luxury space cruise.
The first book is similar in style to the noir detective thrillers of the 1930s, and I even borrow and adapt some of the slang of the era, but as the series progresses and she gets more and more out of her depth it becomes more of a technothriller.
What exciting story are you working on next?
A: I just wrapped up Cherry Bomb (Bubbles in Space #5) for release December 13, 2021. I will be doing two more stand-alone novellas in the sister series HoloCity Case Files, which are traditional mysteries featuring Bubbles Marlowe’s early cases. Next year, I’m starting off with a new technothriller series, set in the same city but with an all new set of characters.
Who are your favorite authors?
A: I read very widely, and this is an impossible question to answer! In sci-fi, I love Margaret Atwood, N.K. Jemesin, and Octavia E. Butler, Larry Niven, Christopher Moore, William Gibson… the list goes on.
Several of my favorites as well. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
A: Octavia E. Butler’s Lilith’s Brood trilogy!
Not sure I've read that. I'll have to check it out. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
A: In the early stages, the first couple of books I wrote, hiring a professional development editor was a life-changing experience for me. It taught me to look at my writing in a completely different way.
What is your writer’s kryptonite?
A: As any parent will probably say… children.
True that. What part of writing and publishing was most difficult for you?
A: Advertising and marketing is by far the biggest challenge! I’m still learning, and will probably always be learning as the landscape is always changing!
If you figure it out, please let me know! Are you involved in any writer groups?
A: I no longer participate in any writing craft groups. My work goes straight to my trusted editor and beta readers. But I do belong to a number of professional author groups, and I highly recommend all writers considering indie-publishing check them out: 20BooksTo50K and Self Publishing Formula.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thank you for taking the time to learn a little bit about me. If you have any questions or would just like to geek out about books, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org! I love email. I hope you delve into Bubbles in Space and have a fantastic adventure!
One more time, where can someone go to purchase your book?
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08WRW13L5
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08WRW13L5
A cop down on her luck. Disability. Loss of an arm on the job. A small PI start-up with a little shot of income from a lucky break that came with a free admin. A crime. A case. All the stuff that makes a great crime novel. Add in a cyborg arm, body scanners, a futuristic world where water and vegetables cost a week salary, a demi-god wannabe, and an emotional support pig. What you have here is a great story in the spirit of Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell (the book, not the Scarlet Johansson movie), or Neuromancer but with the one liners of a Dirty Harry film. Edgy with lines like “They’ll find your pink nippled corpse in the harbor” or “we can debrief anytime you need,” but never drifts into gore or erotica with no plot motivation. Be sure to upgrade your accessories to pink and jump on this series. The story ends well resolving all the open questions (I hate crime novels that leave major questions unanswered). Jensen also does a great job allowing the world she created (skin tech and evolving machines) to open the story for the next book.