Today we’re joined by Jenna Rose. Jenna is a phenomenal author who specializes in LGBTQ+ romances. She has currently released two novels in a planned 5-book series. It involves a mysterious supernatural society and a pair of PIs who try to solve the mysteries in their communities. It sounds like a fascinating read and Jenna obviously loves writing it, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I write LGBTQIA romances. My favorite genre is fantasy, and science-fiction, but I have some stories in the works that have a more contemporary setting.
The books I have published are written with co-author Katey Hawthorne. They take place in a world where a supernatural society exists in secret alongside our own, and follow Lowell Kanaan, a private investigator and wolf shifter, and John Tilney, an author and pyrokinetic, as they work together to solve mysteries in their community. Lowell’s a gruff kind of guy with a heart of gold underneath it all, and John (who’s demiromantic!) is a sweet and tenacious oddball.
There are currently two books out in a planned series of five. The first in the series is Kanaan & Tilney: The Case of the Arms Dealers, and the second is Kanaan & Tilney: The Case of the Man-Eater. I will mention that the books do contain sex scenes, so if those aren’t your jam, you can skip over them or they just might not be the books for you. Thanks to the publisher I’m currently with, sex scenes are no longer more or less required, so future books of mine will not always have them. 🙂
What inspires you?
Man, so many things! I save pictures of places all the time. Natural wonders, different kinds of houses, abandoned places… Anything that I think would make for a cool setting. Other books inspire me too. I might read something and realize hey, I’d love to see a steampunk story with queer characters, or, it might touch on a subject that I would have liked to seen explored more.
Also, I play Dungeons & Dragons and I find their character creation system in the current edition weirdly useful for coming up with character concepts.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
The list of things I wanted to be when I grew up changed a lot when I was a kid. One day I’d want to be a Power Ranger, then the next I’d want to be an archeologist (because, you know, Lara Croft), annnnd then the next I’d want to be a zoologist. But, writer was the one thing that was always on the list. I loved how books contained whole worlds you could get lost in, and I always wanted to create my own and share them with people.
Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?
Haha! I don’t, but now I feel like there should be.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Be comfortable with things not going the way you expected them to. There will be times when a plot point won’t always work out the way you hoped, and now and again a character will surprise you and do something unexpected. Hell, sometimes you’ll end up writing something completely different than what you started with. And you just kinda gotta go with it.
When I was younger, when I dreamed of being a writer, I didn’t see myself writing romance. I wanted to write Young Adult novels. LGBTQIA romance is something I kinda stumbled into. Turns out, though? I love writing romance. I’m having fun and getting to tell stories I love. It’s totally not where I expected to end up, but now that I’m here, I’m glad that I did.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I identify as biromantic demisexual.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I’m lucky to work at a publishing company that works hard to be inclusive, so I’ve never run into any issues with anyone at Less than Three Press, or with any other authors. However, I do unfortunately get the occasional review that’s acephobic or just uneducated about asexuality in general.
I think, like with anyone, I have my good days and bad days when it comes to dealing with prejudice or ignorance. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes not so much. On the days it’s harder to brush off, I try to remind myself that part of why I write LGBTQIA fiction is because of how little representation there is out there. A lot of people don’t know or understand what asexuality is and, my hope, is by putting it out there in my writing that it will help educate people. And if not? Well, my writing isn’t for them. It’s for people, like me, who want to see themselves in stories. If even just one person out there feels a little bit less alone, or realizes that they are not broken and are fine just how they are, because of something I wrote, then that’s all that matters.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
This is a tough one. There are a few things I hear all the time, even from my own family, but I guess the most common would be is that asexuality isn’t a real thing. I’ve seen arguments that aces just haven’t met the right person, that we need to experiment more with sex, or that we just have low sex drives and medication would fix things. I’ve even seen accusations that asexuals are making it up for attention, or so we’ll be included in queer community without actually being queer.
But the craziest thing I’ve heard? I’ve legit had my own family tell me that my lack of interest in sex is normal for women. Lots of women feel like I do, so clearly asexuality is a made-up thing and why do I need a special label for it anyway?
It’s a lot of bullshit arguments with nothing to back them up other than ignorance, sexism, and acephobia.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
You’re not alone. I know that there are times when it feels like you are, and that you might always will be, but nothing could be further from the truth. There are people out there, both asexuals and allosexuals, who love you and accept you for who you are. There’s an entire community eager to embrace you. You belong, you’re valid, and you are loved. And, if you ever need anyone to talk to, I’m here for you.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
They can check me out at my website (http://www.jennarosewrites.com) which has links to my Facebook, Tumblr, and other social media accounts as well as information on where to find my books.
They can also head on over to the official Kanaan & Tilney website (http://kanaanandtilneyinvestigations.com).
Thank you, Jenna, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.