Popular YA author Jenni Frendswith talks about the roll-out of her books in paperback, including the much-anticipated THIS YOUNG JESUS Vol. I. She talks about the future of the series, other projects, paperback vs. ebooks and life at new house Blujesto Press.
Q: Jenni, your books seem to be coming out all over the place! I liked your recent interview for your poetry book, HAIKU FOR YOU. Is that not coming out in paperback?
A: Well, I do still have a few books that are Kindle exclusives at the moment. I suppose it’ll be up to Blujesto Press if they see paperback or not. They already spend so much time and energy on me and my books, I feel badly that I’m dominating their attention. But they seem to be pretty attentive to their other writers.
Q: They just put out the third novella in your series THIS YOUNG JESUS. PANTHEON saw a supernatural battle between Jesus, Joseph and Annabelle and the Roman Gods themselves.
A: Yeah, it was a great third book, a great way to wrap up the first “season” of that series. I really like THIS YOUNG JESUS, which, for those who don’t know, follows the teenaged Jesus as he travels through ancient Britain and Europe with his adopted uncle and mentor, Joseph or Arimathea. A pretty, plucky teenage street thief, Annabelle, travels with them, and she narrates the stories. There’s a lot of adventure, romance, suspense. They face human foes and supernatural enemies, it’s got all kinds of neat story stuff going on, great romantic tension between the characters. It’s great.
Q: And it’s in paperback now as THIS YOUNG JESUS VOL. I.
A: Yeah, it includes DEMON, HOSTAGE and PANTHEON. Collected, I think they make a great piece. I like them individually too; but read them together and it’s really epic.
Q: Will the collection come out for Kindle?
A: Definitely, yes: I think because the Kindle and the paperback markets are different, Blujesto wanted the paperback out now. But they want to wait a bit on the Kindle because, as you said, PANTHEON just came out for Kindle.
Q: Will there be more books from this series?
A: I hope so. As I was finishing this three-book order, Blujesto asked me if I’d be interested in a mainstream, contemporary romance series. So we worked a few things out and that’s what I’ll be doing next. They should all be out by the end of the summer. After that, we’ll decide if I do another three THIS YOUNG JESUS books, which are YA books, or three more of the mainstream romance series. Another possibility is that I do the sequel to STONECRAFT.
Q: That’s your YA thriller in the TWILIGHT vein. It came out originally in paperback...
A: When Blujesto Press acquired the rights, the first thing they did was take it out of paperback. They put it out with a new cover for Kindle, with excerpts from my other books and a new cover. Now it’s back in paperback with even more excerpts. It’s great -- very fast-moving, thrilling, adventurous. It’s a great love story and there’s a terrific sequel waiting to be written. But I’m trying to let Blujesto make these choices. I’ll write almost anything!
Q: The other paperback release is TRU SYNDRA ELLA.
A: Yeah, that’s a romantic comedy that’s finally in paperback. Really a sweet, funny story; a modern CINDERELLA from one of the stepsister’s point of view. Like STONECRAFT, it’d make a great movie. Unlike STONECRAFT, I don’t see a sequel in it. I’m glad to see it out in paperback though. I think even though THIS YOUNG JESUS gets more attention, the novels (STONECRAFT, TSE) will eventually find a wide and appreciative audiences.
Q: Blujesto Press seems very active.
A: They are, but mostly because they picked up authors with lots of material ready to go. And since Blujesto has these novella series as part of their marketing model, they have a lot of books to put out. I think it’s great. I love the ebook thing, Kindle. It’s really made reading popular again.
Q: Who do you read?
A: Well, as a writer, I don’t really read for leisure; I do so much of it in my work. I did read the new Blujesto Press book called ABIGAIL & TRENT, the first of their new Amish Avalon series -- bonnet books, they’re called, but this one is amazing. Faith Brunell really has something there.
Q: You don’t see her as competition?
A: No, if either of us hits, the other gets to keep writing. That’s how publishing works, it always has and it still does. I don’t know Faith Brunell, but a good writer’s a good writer, what can I say?
Q: Do you know if Blujesto is looking for other authors?
A: I don’t think they are. I suppose anybody could take a shot.
Q: Like writing in general?
Q: You’ve been in paperback, in Kindle, then in both. What’s your take on the Kindle revolution?
A: I think it’s for real. In ten years, the vast majority of book sales will be ebooks, I’m guessing. But for now, paperback is still vital. I’m glad Blujesto is getting into paperback, especially for the THIS YOUNG JESUS collection and other new things.
Q: They issue three novellas in Kindle, then collect them into one paperback. At least that’s what they did for THIS YOUNG JESUS.
A: And for their AMISH AVALON series too, I’ve heard. Although I guess they put out ABIGAIL & TRENT in paperback right off the bat. I don’t blame them, but I think that one’s the exception. Mostly it’s 3 + 2, or three novellas get you two collections, one in paperback, one on Kindle. The paperbacks are on Amazon, all kinds of online distributors carry the Blujesto books. But the 3+2 is what my deal for the mainstream romance series would include, I’m sure.
Q: Can you talk about that series?
A: Not too much. It’s gonna have romance, adventure, peril, suspense, a good amount of erotica, fairly vanilla. It’s a traditional romance series; with my own twist, of course.
Q: Well, I can’t wait. Thanks again and good luck with the paperbacks. And I hope to read more THIS YOUNG JESUS novellas!
A: Y’know what? Me too!