Today, Rekka and Brian are joined by Jennifer Foehner Wells, author of the Confluence series of Space Opera novels which launched in 2014. The latest entry in the series, VENGEANCE (Book 5), just released on August 31.
Hybrid Author, sold her translation rights to Random House Germany, Japan, and Russia localization.
Met Judy Blum (maybe) in 4th grade at a young writers conference. At age 11, neighbor loaned her Bradbury short stories and her love of SFF was born (A Sound of Thunder). Captivated by the What If and the building of characters (over the science). Day of the Triffids by John Windham still comes to mind for her in the tree-filled wilds of Pennsylvania.
Not a lot of confidence or life experience. Starting novels that were medieval historical romance. Pre-internet, it was difficult to seek answers about where she was getting stuck. Didn’t think she was ‘smart enough’ to write SF.
Wrote for recreation as her kids grew up, and shared her SF fan fics to great response. She was told she should be writing for profit and began writing Fluency. Wrote a particular scene that she felt very proud of and which gave her the confidence to keep going. The novel-length fan fic, Future Memoratia, is still on fanfiction.net.
She sought an agent to find her more streams of income by selling foreign language rights to international markets, Danny Bearor. She also hoped to possibly sell her domestic print rights while this was still happening in traditional publishing. Toby Mundy, who was works with film and television rights for which interest keeps being expressed.
With Fluency’s release, Jen hit a need in the marketplace that traditional publishing seemed to be serving. Indie SF authors were still rare at the time. There was a resurgence in SF movies (Guardians of the Galaxy and others), so the audience was there and wanted more. Some people suspected she was a more accomplished author working under a pseudonym. She picked the cover, after searching on DeviantArt for an artist, because she worried that a photomanipulated cover would result in a copyright infringement filed against her. She spotted Stephan Martiniere’s art on National Geographic’s website. The artist was able to come down on price to fit within the budget.
She has two parallel storylines happening in her series, and the covers for her second character, Darcy, are in a similar color palette but created by Galen Dara.
She had 10,000 followers on Twitter before she launched her first book and by engaging with them genuinely was able to get sales by announcing, “I did a thing!”
She contacts editors when she hits 20% in a new draft, to schedule the editing process and keep herself accountable to a deadline.
Sirantha Jax novels by Anne Aguirre gave Jen the confidence to write more character-based stories. People who are looking for hard science fiction are not her audience. She even got yelled at for using “coded” hard SF cover art while including romance and character building.
Sporks wielders unite!