Jennifer L. Armentrout is a No. 1 New York Times and No. 1 international bestselling author of more than 50 novels in the romance, new adult, young adult, fantasy and paranormal genres.
Armentrout, 37, is also the originator of the ApollyCon book convention. Her 2014 novel “Wicked,” is currently being adapted for the screen, and her latest, “Moonlight Sins,” the first in the “de Vincent” series, releases next week.
Mara White: Which was your most difficult novel to write and why? Is there a particular novel over others that brings you the most pride?
Jennifer L. Armenttrout: Hands down, the most difficult novel for me so far has been “The Problem with Forever.” The main character, Mallory, was nothing like any of my other characters, so it was hard getting in her head and telling her story. Since it was the hardest story for me to right, it is also the one that brings me the most pride. Whenever readers come to me and talk about Mallory and her struggle and how they related to her, it really makes all the screaming and hair pulling I wanted to do while writing worth it.
MW: In which genre do you feel the most comfortable or most authentic writing? Is it ever hard to switch back and forth between genres?
JA: It’s never been hard for me to switch between contemporary and fantasy or young adult and adult. Switching back and forth is like a palate cleanser for me and keeps me from becoming burned out on one genre. Both are authentic to me and I’m equally comfortable writing them. If I weren’t, I wouldn’t be writing them.
MW: I am absolutely thrilled that you’re so prolific and yet, you’re a self-proclaimed pantster. How does that work? Have you ever followed a character through a completely different plot than the one you’d originally envisioned? If so, which one?
JA: I do what I call generic plotting. I have a basic idea of what I’m writing about — how it begins and how it ends. Then I start writing, starting at Chapter 1 usually and letting the characters tell the story. That can mean by plot changes or stays the same.
Usually, when I get halfway through the book, I plot the remaining book, chapter by chapter to make sure I cover everything I need. Sometimes that works. Sometimes it doesn’t and I have to scrap eighty-some thousand words.
MW: What was your childhood like? Did you write stories as a kid? What are some of your hobbies outside of writing?
JA: I grew up very poor and during the summer, my mom would walk my brother and I to the public library where we’d check out books and spend a great deal of time at. That’s where my love of reading started. I started writing in the 8th and 9th grade, writing my first novel during algebra class. I love gardening and working outside. I also love decorating and redesigning rooms, much to my husband’s displeasure.
MW: Tell me about Apollycon. How did it start? What has it become?
Jennifer Lynn Armentrout’s new novel, “Moonlight Sins.”
JA: ApollyCon started back in 2014 as a way to celebrate a release of a new book of mine, “The Return” in the “Titan” Series. The name and the passes are all taken from that series. I wanted to do a signing, but not by myself, so I invited several of my author friends and other authors I’d met, and ApollyCon was born.
It’s crazy to me how much it has grown. ApollyCon started as a one day event, with just 50-some authors signing and a couple hundred attendees. Now it’s an actual convention that takes places over several days, has over a hundred bestselling authors appearing, and more than twelve hundred readers in attendance and thousands more interested in attending. I think what makes ApollyCon stand out is that it’s an event that features young adult, new adult and adult authors as well as indie, hybrid and traditional published authors.
Organizing and running an event the size of ApollyCon isn’t easy, and I’m beyond proud of my organizers, Stephanie Brown and Hannah McBride. With the success of ApollyCon, we’ve launched a secondary, smaller signing in 2018 called The Origin Event, which coincides with the release of the first book in the “Lux” series spin-off. The Origin Event takes place on Nov. 3 in Austin, Tex., and tickets for the event will be going on sale soon.
MW: Some of your works are coming to the screen, what can we expect?
JA: We can definitely expect to see “Wicked “move from the option stage to the in-production stage with Passionflix, a streaming service similar to Netflix but that focuses solely on romance. “Wicked” is their first paranormal/urban fantasy and I’m so excited to see that story come to life.
MW: “The Problem with Forever” won a RITA Young Adult Fiction Award. Why do you think it resonated with readers?
JA: I think it’s all about Mallory and her struggles with finding her voice, feeling confident in speaking out. Even though Mallory’s shyness is crippling, readers can still relate to her uncertainty and her fight to be heard.
MW: What’s coming next from you?
JA: 2018 is the year of new series from me. My new adult series kicks off Jan. 30 with the first book, “Moonlight Sins,” releasing from Avon, HarperCollins. I had so much freaking fun writing this book and introducing the very fun, very bad de Vincent brothers. And then on Oct. 30, the first book in the “Lux” spin-off comes out.
Mara White is a contributing writer to the New York Daily News, where she covers hot topics, breaking news and intriguing authors in the romance and erotica genres. She also writes for the Huffington Post where she conducts in-depth interviews with women (and the occasional man) who write in the genre. She is the author of the best-selling “Heightsbound” series, a contemporary erotic tale set against the gentrification and culture clash in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood. She also co-authors both romance and erotica novels with author K. Larsen. White is a graduate of Columbia University and holds a BA in Spanish Literature as well as an MFA in Fiction Writing from The New School.
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