Friday, July 26, 2013

Author Interview - Jenny Darden

Hey there! The Penguin scored a pretty awesome interview with author Jenny Darden! Jenny is the author of Third Ocean Bodies are Always Dead.


DSP: For starters, tell us a bit about you, we like to get to know our authors as a person

Jenny: I'm thirty-three years old. I live with my boyfriend, who I met in seventh grade. (No, we haven't been dating this whole time. However, we did go on a couple of kiddie dates. My mom drove.) My only kids are my two dogs. I am not sure what kind they are. One may be half pug, half terrier. I suspect that the other one is part Jack Russell, part ferret. Is that possible?

DSP: Nice to meet you! And I wonder if cross-species animals are possible too, because I have a cat who I swear is part flying squirrel, and a dog that is half rabbit (he hops a LOT)!! So tell us, where did you find the inspiration for your most recent book?

Jenny: When I was a sophomore in college, I had this amazingly vivid and detailed dream...which ten years later became, more or less, Part 1 of TOBAAD. So I can't actually take a lot of credit for this part. The rest of the book was pretty much written by the characters themselves. I got to know them a little, grew to trust them, then I basically left them alone in my house with the keys to my car.

DSP: Oh, dreams can be such a great inspiration for short stories and novels. :) So, do you have any kind of ritual for writing? Such as, you have to write with music on, or you can only write when you’re completely alone, etc.

Jenny: I am an outdoorsy kind of girl. I wrote a large portion of the book while staying the weekend in a horse stable in the Big South Fork, subsisting on black coffee and MREs. Another huge chunk was knocked out while chilling with my dad on a floating house in Norris Lake. The weirder the locale, the happier my brain is. I'm also into soundtracks. If I'm blocked, I'll make a soundtrack of music that I think my characters would enjoy and play it on loop.

DSP: Who is your favorite character in your book, and why? How about the character you had the most trouble with?

Jenny: Wow, that's tough. I think it would be a toss-up between Angela and Lee. I like how Angela was this total bad-ass. And the development of Lee's character was fun for me, letting him grow from this sloppy college kid into a leader.

I had the most trouble with Sam, the villain. I still think maybe I was too hard on him. He was just so easy to hate!

DSP: I absolutely LOVE villains that fall into that "love to hate them" category! Now, when you sit down to write a book, a paragraph, or whatever you‘re working on at the moment, do you just sit down in front of the computer, or do you need an outline of some sort? Is there any other prep you need in order to organize your thoughts either before you write or in the process of writing?

Jenny: Every project is a little different. For TOBAAD, I had to make an imaginary trip itinerary, plus map an entire island. I also did insane amounts of research. We're talking everything from how to make things explode to what's the best way to smuggle drugs across international borders. I am pretty sure that my Google searches have gotten me into some kind of FBI database.

DSP:  Haha! I have a feeling they have the names of several authors that are "persons of interest" at this point, myself included, so you're in good company! Do you foresee any more books to continue this story? If so, do you think we can get a taste of what’s to come?

Jenny: I hadn't really thought of making it a series. However, someone requested a spin-off with Lee and Arly, Josh's little sister, as the lead characters. I may think about it.

DSP: Other than this most recent story, do you have any ideas for different books that might be published in the future? Care to give us a teaser?

Jenny: I am working on my next project already, but it's a love-hate thing. So, sorry, no teaser available yet!

DSP: Darn! Oh well. Do you have any aspirations to be similar or comparable to another author? Why?

Jenny: That would be a big hell, no. I like doing my own thing. And I am an editor at heart. If I've read it, chances are I've picked it apart.

DSP:  Haha, agreed on the Hell no part. What has been the biggest high since becoming a published author?

Jenny: Having my family tell me they liked the book.

DSP: Have you named the computer you use for writing?

Jenny: It is an older model Gateway laptop. I call it by a lot of names. None of them are suitable for print.

DSP: I understand completely. :) What is your greatest fear about being an author?

Jenny: I fear obsessing too much about things like sales and publicity. The worst thing for me would be to become one of those writers who just cranks out a book every year because they feel like they're supposed to.

DSP: Makes sense, and a very legitimate concern. Which leads me to my next question...Which of the characters in your book do you feel is the most like yourself, and in what way?

Jenny: Probably Josh. Like him, I can be a bit of a neurotic wreck. And my sense of humor is pretty dark.

DSP: From the first word to the moment it became available for purchase, how long did it take you to write and publish this most recent novel?

Jenny: I wrote the first couple of chapters in 2001. After that, I became frustrated and set the project aside for a few years. I picked it up again in 2010 and finished in June of 2012. Spent nearly a year editing it, and there you are. If I had a publisher, he would've killed me.

And now, for something completely different…some slightly off-the-wall and possibly irrelevant questions, just for fun! Let's get to know Jenny a little better!!

DSP: Are you planning to bring sexy back?

Jenny: No, he's mine now. Deal with it.

(Awww...come on...please?)

DSP: If you could be any cartoon character for 24 hours, who would you pick and why?

Jenny: Lana from the show Archer. She's a total smart-ass, and she gets to play with guns.

DSP: How many ridges are there around a quarter?

Jenny: Don't make me do it! I am a bit of a counter. Bricks, cracks in the sidewalk, stuff like that. It bothers me if the number is odd rather than even. I may actually be OCD.

DSP: Do you believe in fate or destiny?

Jenny: No. I believe that everyone has limitless potential if they are just willing to put the work in.

DSP: What are your thoughts on string?

Jenny: Some days they are balloons. Other days they are yo-yos.

(Very insightful!)

DSP: What is your favorite song?

Jenny: This question is impossible to answer, because the answer changes by the second. There are nearly 5,000 songs on my IPOD. And yes, I listen to ALL of them. Right this second, I'm loving "You Got Me Thinking" by The Bahamas.

DSP: Do you have any tattoos? If so, how many, what are they, and where are they on your body? (PG-13)

Jenny: Just one. A black dragon. On my right hip. And I had it done before Stieg Larssen's book came out.

DSP: What’s your favorite candy? Ice cream?

Jenny: My favorite candy is Cadbury Mini Eggs! I stockpile them every Easter. My boyfriend has to ration them, or he will have a fat girlfriend. I am not much of an ice cream person. I prefer chocolate cake.

DSP: Would the 8-year-old version of yourself kick your ass or praise you for what you’ve done with your life?

Jenny: Mini-me would think I kick total ass. Everything I wrote when I was eight got either thrown away or hidden under the bed. I was so private about my writing. Now I'll do a poetry reading, publish online, whatever. I finally reached that freedom point, where I just don't care.

(That's the spirit!!)

DSP: What is the last song you listened to?

Jenny: "Must've Been Dreaming" by Marcy Playground.

DSP: Do you have any talents you haven’t shared with us?

Jenny: I can identify most songs by the first two or three bars. Also, I am crafty. I do photography, oil painting, knitting, etc. And I have the uncanny ability to dance to ANYTHING.

DSP: Imagine you’re the sole survivor of a plane crash at sea, and you awake stranded on a deserted and uncharted island in the Bermuda Triangle. Nobody knows you’re there, and you have nothing but the clothes on your back. You’re all alone, and there’s terrifying sounds coming from deep within the jungle. Late that night as you’re starving, a large suitcase washes up on the shore. You open it up. What’s in the suitcase?

Jenny: A lighter, extra lighter fluid, a few MREs, a snorkel, mask, and tickle stick (for lobstering), butter (for the lobster), a (really long) good book, and stuff to make s'mores. I can handle a little danger, but I draw the line at starvation and boredom.

I like the way this gal thinks!! Especially her survival plan for living off the island-I think I wanna have her on my team when the Zombie Apocalypse happens!! (Can you wield a gun and other weapons, too?)

Here's a bit of info on Jenny and her awesome book, Third Ocean Bodies are Always Dead!


Jenny Darden was born in 1979 in Knoxville, Tennessee. She began writing at the age of eight and never really stopped. Because she likes to eat, she graduated from the University of Tennessee with a doctorate in veterinary medicine. However, her undergraduate years were spent dabbling in the arts, particularly creative writing, and editing for the Phoenix, the campus literary and arts magazine.

Third Ocean Bodies Are Always Dead is Jenny's first novel and is based on a (very detailed) dream she had while in college. It took her ten years to come up with a beginning that met her standards, but only two years to write the entire book. Most of the writing was done on her front porch, in coffee shops, at a floating house on Norris Lake, and during one wild November writing binge in a horse barn in Big South Fork, living off of black coffee and MREs.

Jenny currently resides in Seymour, Tennessee with her boyfriend, Gideon Scott, and her two terrier mixes, Mr. Fluffy and Roswell.

Keep up with Jenny at the links below!!

Let's show her book page some love on Facebook!!


College student Josh Mackenzie's vacation starts off with a bang when his best friend is murdered by a drug runner at a cruise port in Barbados. Hoping to protect himself and his three unwitting pals from the same fate, he grudgingly allows "Sam" to recruit him as a drug and weapons mule. And, as if all this wasn't bad enough, Josh also has to contend with Angela, a brilliant, spunky sixteen-year-old with a troubled home life; and Selena, a Cuban maid with a penchant for high drama and a weakness for beauty treatments.

But making it off the boat alive turns out to be the easy part. A botched smuggling job, a hostage situation, and a police inquiry later, Josh realizes that no man is an army...unless he calls for reinforcements!

Make sure you get your copy of Third Ocean Bodies are Always Dead on Amazon today!!

A big THANK YOU to Jenny for stopping by and letting us get to know her! We hope you stop back by later down the road and keep up updated on all your awesome accomplishments. The Drunken Penguin and I wish you nothing but the best of luck in all your endeavors, Jenny. :)

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