Author Jen Ponce is a self-proclaimed pantser, which means she follows the story to see where it goes. That’s the fun of writing for her—going on an adventure with her characters into worlds unknown! An inspiration for all us authors, to be sure! Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.
Hey, my name is Jen Ponce. I’m a lover of all things creative and enjoy dabbling with lots of different things: crochet, drawing, embroidery, knitting, painting, beadwork, woodwork, sewing, etc … I’m a Jane of all trades but mistress of none, so to speak. I have three great boys, three cats, and a pleco called Mali.
When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing long, long ago because I’ve always had stories running through my head. I used to put on puppet shows for my family—I wrote the plays myself and then performed them when I was 10ish. My best friend in grade school and I used to create elaborate stories and act them out with our Barbie dolls. When it got too embarrassing to haul the Barbies around, we started writing the stories instead.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I thought of myself as a writer once my friend and I started putting our stories down on paper. They became more than playtime; suddenly, I saw the potential of the written word in a way I hadn’t before.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
Burning the Devil is a dark contemporary romance about a poor mechanic named Gwen and a mysterious actor named Neo.
What inspired you to write this book?
Like 90% of my books, in came in a fervor dream. I was so intrigued by the idea that, when I woke up, I started writing. That was almost ten years ago and the book doesn’t much resemble the dream I had except where it counts—the slow descent into darkness.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I love stories that drive forward and that’s how I tend to write. I don’t like long, descriptive scenes or wandering prose, and so I avoid those things as much as I can in my own work.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
I had a hard time naming this book. It was first called Gates of the Phoenix and later changed to Burning the Devil when multiple rewrites made the first title nonsensical.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. I want people to question how they fall in love. I want them to think about what they will and won’t accept in their own relationships. I want them to question how well they vet people they meet.
Are experiences in this book based on someone you know or events in your own life?
I work as an advocate for people who’ve experienced sexual and domestic violence, so I always write about relationships and what can go wrong. (Even when I don’t mean to!) I think it’s important to showcase what violent relationships look like and help readers identify red flags.
What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?
Stephen King has always been an influence. I find his writing absorbing and thought-provoking—plus I always love a good scare.
There are many romance writers that I love, too, Jennifer Crusie, Julia Quinn, Johannah Lindsey to name a tiny few. I find their passion for their stories to be invigorating and inspiring and I was inspired to write because of the romance books I read when I was younger. I don’t write much romance now, but I still am proud of the foundation of knowledge I gained from reading all those love stories.
If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?
On Writing, by Stephen King was the book that inspired me to finish my first novel on my own. Until then, I’d only written with my friends. His book gave me the creative umph to kick my own butt and get it done. It’s funny because most of the books he recommends reading I just think are awful. But he inspires me!
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
I designed this cover. I had an idea in mind that fit with the book and the character and figured I could make it come to life.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Read widely. Consume writing books. Offer to beta read for other authors. Practice. Practice. Practice. Don’t expect others to answer all your questions or do your work for you.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I’m a reader too. I love books that are exciting, adventurous, and meaningful. That’s what I try to write, too. The beauty of today is the endless possibilities, book-wise. We have choices and that’s the most amazing thing … that and the instant gratification of downloading a book from Amazon and starting to read it all within seconds.
Burning the Devil