Meet Jen Bair
We gave you a glimpse of Jen Bair’s awesomeness when we introduced the authors joining the Misplaced Adventures universe. Her first novel in the Hettie Stormheart series releases in a few months and we wanted to give you a bit of a glimpse of the brilliant mind behind it.
Jen Bair is an Air Force brat, Army veteran, and military wife. She loves traveling with her family to foreign places, real or imaginary, whenever she can. Her family is her life. Her writing is her passion. You can find her published works at http://jenbair.com.
Asked and Answered
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Wanted to be? Since I was a teenager. Capable of being? When I actually finished a complete story back in 2017. I tried writing a few times over the decades, but could never really get a story going until I realized I suck at pantsing.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Not everybody is a pantser. Apparently, I am a die-hard plotter and it’s the only way I can create a complete story. I was slow in realizing that and it was the biggest detriment to my start as a writer.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I seem to write best in the dark while listening to static. I play a 12-hour Super Deep Red Noise track on Youtube on repeat.
What do you hope readers get from your books?
I love characters with grit. Reading about them boosts my inner motivation to dig deep and persevere through whatever life throws at me. I want to write similar characters and hope they have the same effect on readers.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
A cheetah. I write fast and I’m super focused. I homeschool four kids, so my writing time does not exist in abundance. I have to carve out big chunks of time because I can’t write well with small chunks of time, so I make it count when I have it and I get more than a little snarly when the time I’ve carefully carved out is interrupted.
Why did you choose Cursed Dragon Ship Publishing?
One hundred percent because of my experiences with Kelly. Early on, I heard that writing short stories can help hone writing skills, which is absolutely true. At Superstars, I saw an anthology call from CDS and submitted a story, just like I’ve done with numerous other places. My story was accepted, but the feedback I got was spot-on and it made my story even better. I subbed again the next year and got more excellent feedback. Kelly is the best dev editor I’ve come across. On the third year, I met Kelly and her husband at Superstars and loved her personality. It jived so well with my own. That made me an even bigger CDS fan and I’m so glad I subbed to that first anthology call. CDS really goes the extra mile in being honest, approachable, and invested in their authors’ careers. They’re invested in the community and they help boost other authors outside their publishing house, too, which I love.
Does your family support your career as a writer?
So, so much, yes. My husband is the one who suggested I become a professional writer. He encouraged me to go to my first writing seminar, he’s my first beta reader and editor, and he’s fabulous at helping me brainstorm complex ideas. My kids are equally helpful and they’re all readers, which helps.
A Glimpse at One Good Eye
Book One in the Hettie Stormheart series
What made you decide to write about a witch?
In Kevin’s series, Misplaced Mercenaries, he mentions the Deep Witch and her coven of daughters. I thought the Daughters’ Coven was really interesting since there were a bunch of them and they were all literal children of the Deep Witch. I had written a story about a mercenary swordsman who was friends with a witch, Hettie Stormheart. That story got an Honorable Mention from Writers of the Future. I thought Hettie would work well as one of the Deep Witch’s Daughters. The swordsman will come into play later in the series.
Your series takes place nearly four hundred years before Kevin’s Misplaced Mercenaries series. What made you choose that timeframe?
When I went over all the worldbuilding notes Kevin sent over, I realized he’d fleshed out a millenia’s worth of history from the creation of the universe. I jumped on board the Misplaced Adventures train early on and the details weren’t solid yet because we didn’t have all the authors and hadn’t really started collaborating yet. I decided writing something outside the normal timeline would let me jump in without screwing up too much of anyone else story, so long as I stuck to the historical notes. It ended up working out really well and I got to do the origin story of the Deep Witch, which was awesome.
Is it creatively stifling to have to use Kevin Pettway’s worldbuilding?
Heck no. I hear about people who spend years doing complex worldbuilding and never end up writing anything. I am the opposite of that. I want to write the story. Worldbuilding slows me down. Kevin basically said, “Here’s a thousand years’ worth of history, multiple pantheons, and a continent with different kingdoms and customs laid out for you. Write a story in it.” That’s my dream gig! It could not possibly have been more advantageous to my strengths. I hope to get better at building my own worlds, but for now, I’m more than happy to play in his. Kevin is a phenomenal worldbuilder.
Your story has a lot of relationships between Hettie and her mom, sisters, boyfriends, foreign diplomats, and more. Were there any relationships that were difficult to write about?
I think the one I struggled with most was Hettie and her boyfriend, Elkin. His character tends to be loving and supportive and he’s a patient guy, so the snark and drama that lends much of the humor to this book doesn’t work with him. Besides, this book is not intended to be a romance, but if she’s got a boyfriend, there’s obviously got to be at least some of that. I kept glossing over it and my editor kept telling me to add more. She did a great job helping me find the right balance of romantic elements.
What’s it like working with the other authors in the Misplaced Adventures Universe?
Really interesting and loads of fun. They’re a wacky and humorous bunch and they’ve each come up with a story that’s wildly different from anyone else’s. Some of us have only ever met each other online because we’re scattered all over the U.S., but one of these days we’ll all be at the same convention and I’m sure the laughter will be heard for miles. (Or yards, at the very least, depending on how well the walls are soundproofed.)
Please join us in a CDS welcome to Jen Bair, the newest member of our crew. If you want to follow Jen and her adventures, make sure to check out her website http://jenbair.com/. She also has stories in Misspelled – Magic Gone Awry and Abandoned – An Anthology of Vacant Spaces.
Her Misplaced Adventures novel will be the first in the expanded universe. One Good Eye releases July 25, 2023.