Learning The Key of F – An Interview with Author Jennifer Haskin
Jennifer Haskin is a portrait artist who lives in Olathe, Kansas and does contract childcare work. She is a member of Saavy Authors, Missouri and Nebraska Writing Guilds. She won the Young Author’s award two years in a row, and has had poems published in school magazines, Lodestar, Inklings and Read. She has stories that need to be told to the world.
Her upcoming fantasy novel The Key of F is due out in May of 2018. It will be the first in the Freedom Flight Trilogy series of books set in the fantastic world of Algea.
The Key of F is about an eighteen-year-old orphaned girl being trained as a Takanori warrior. Fale starts having visions that come true, but when she changes one to save the life of a biomechanical man, strange men start following her… with weapons. Her only clue lies in the ancient key she wears around her neck. Can she discover the plans against her, learn her own powers, and keep from falling hopelessly in love with the biomechanical man trying to help her, as well as fight for her own life? Or is there more at stake than she could have imagined?
Jay Sandlin (GWW): Hi, Jenn. Thank you for granting me an interview. I’m excited to learn more about you and your novel. Thank you for the privilege of your review and the time you are spending on me! Some of the best tips come from other authors. What tips do you have for new authors?
Jennifer Haskin: Write every day. Lots of people will tell you this one, but let your mind wander. What is a book no one has written? What was that dream you felt so involved in. Keep a notepad by your bed. Most of my best ideas start out as dreams. Then, write without stopping. Don’t get one chapter written and go back to fix it. You will never get past chapter one. I have seen it many times. You have to write that whole, sloppy, terrible first draft down. Put it away for a week. THEN, go back to the beginning and fix it all. Have your friends read it. Find some beta readers to help you content edit, by filling in holes you didn’t notice and keep everything plausible. I was on my 11th draft when I found my agent, so don’t be discouraged that no one is buying your book on the first draft. Keep editing until they do. And never settle, this book is your baby, you have built it from nothing. Half of the people will love it and half of the people will hate it-usually for the same reasons- so write out your passion and stand tall behind it. Good luck!!
GWW: When did you know you wanted to be a writer? Did you always want to be a writer?
JH: have been writing all my life. When I was in the fourth grade I won the Young author’s award with a book called, “Why Rabbits Have Short Tails.” It was a fable. I was so excited, that I put effort into my next book. In the 5th grade, I won again. This time with a fantasy called, “Rainbow on West Avenue.” (Rainbow was the aliens name.) I wrote a lot of poetry in my spare time, and one day, my freshman year in high school I got a package in the mail from my 8th grade English teacher. She had submitted one of my poems to “Read Magazine,” and they published it. Her note said, “Now you are a published author.” It felt so good that I began submitting all of my (dark and dramatic) high school poems. I was published by High School and District-wide publications several times.
Then I put it down and didn’t touch writing for many, many years. It’s never to late to pick it up. Then one night I had a dream of The Key of F, and as I woke up, I saw credits scrolling. It was like God was saying, “It’s a book, stupid. Get up and write it.” So I did.
GWW: I’m often surprised by what inspires my stories and where those ideas lead. What gave you the idea for your novel?
JH: I saw one scene in a dream, but I knew the MC and her friend, and lots of backstory. I decided to get up (at 6 am on a Sunday) and just write out the scene and all the understood backstory. I wrote for the next 13 hours without stopping. At 7pm, it was time for dinner, and I was finally done. It was all out on paper, and for the next two and a half weeks I worked to write fast enough to get the words down as the story came to me. Then I set it aside, read a few books, and went back to begin fixing it. Thirteen drafts later, I found an agent and a publisher.
JH: That’s a good question. I think I define wizard magic, and mage magic differently than other books, but really it’s a classic tale. Two people, against their will, falling in love and being forced by circumstance to save the day. There is no couple like Fale and Keron, though. There are just a lot of twists that (hopefully) the reader doesn’t see coming.
GWW: Which of your characters is your favorite? Why?
JH: It’s really a tie between Fale and Gasten. In book three, the reader learns about Gasten’s past and what made him who he is today. I love the journey through his life from sweet boy, to evil dictator of a secret battle. Fale, though, is me in part, especially when I was a teen. She is transparent, very headstrong, acts without thinking, can love everyone except herself, and believes in the greater good.
GWW: What will fans of the genre love about your story?
JH: It has not only magic but wizards AND mages. There is a whole world of alternate history as if Pangea never separated. There are so many secrets! The author is uncovering secrets until the very last paragraph. And hopefully, the battle scenes kick butt.
GWW: When you’re not writing what do you like to do with your free time?
JH: I am a mom of 5, so I’m busy driving a lot, but I love to read and you can take books anywhere. I am a junior literary agent at the Corvisiero Agency, so I help other authors get published. I love crafting, I can make anything out of shrinky-dinks! And I am a portrait artist, I draw and paint people using pencil and watercolors. You can see more at: www.facebook.com/HaskinOriginals
GWW: Several of the authors I’ve interviewed were drawn to other creative pursuits. Are you the creative type? Any painting, woodworking, or other creative endeavors?
JH: Ha ha. Yeah, see above. My dad is a fabulous woodcarver, he is often on a woodcarving magazine cover. www.wildlife-woodcarver.com . I tried to be carver when I was a kid, but the third time I put a knife through my thumb, I gave it up. I do have a few pieces that I made, though. I enjoy sewing, and crochet, as well as jewelry making. I’m kind of a Jill-of-all-trades.
GWW: What three books are you most likely to recommend to a friend?
JH: Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas, made me want to write. Sanctum by Sarah Fine, made me laugh, cry, and love characters. Ember by Tess Williams, it is in need of edits badly, it was self-published years ago, and I knew the author. But she died in an unfortunate taxi crash while helping poor children in India. The story though, got me excited in fantasy.
I recommend each book’s series, as well.
GWW: Any new projects in the works for fans to keep an eye out for?
JH: Ooh, yes. I am writing a YA dystopian that is exciting, and complicated. My friends say it is miles above my current trilogy.
You can find Jennifer Haskin and all her work HERE: