J.B. Kantt: It all started when I needed to complete a language arts requirement for my undergraduate degree. My friend suggested that I apply for a class offered by my college's Creative Writing Program because she loved it. So one day, at the end of my freshman spring semester, I sat down at my computer and wrote a two-page story for the beginner fiction course application. It was then that something just clicked—I got so lost in writing the story, and I enjoyed it so much that I knew I wanted to write more. Fortunately I was accepted into the creative writing program, but it didn’t start until the following fall semester, so in the mean time I wrote story after story over the summer. It only took a couple months to realize what a strong passion I had for writing. That was the summer I wrote my very first book, which was an incredible experience that I couldn’t get enough of. :)
LBBB: How long did it take for you to write your first book?
J.B.: It took me one month to write (the first draft of) my first book. I've written five other novels since then, and I've written them all in a month or less as well. I'm the kind of writer that likes to completely finish a story once I get started (despite the fact that there are often multiple drafts to come).
LBBB: How do you come up with ideas for your stories?
J.B.: Most of the time random ideas just pop into my head when I least expect them; I guess that's what happens when you have an imagination as wild as mine. :)
LBBB: What is your writing routine like? Do you have a set schedule or are you flexible?
J.B.: My writing routine is to type on my laptop with slower music playing in the background. I usually keep a song on repeat for a while, until I get sick of it. Sometimes I'll have the TV on in the background instead, but the show that's on has to be something that I can block out while I'm writing.
My schedule is definitely flexible, and I think it has to be since I'm currently a student as well. I've found that I tend to write more at night, which makes sense since I consider myself to be nocturnal at times. :)
LBBB: What inspires you to write?
J.B.: I definitely take inspiration from life in general, from my personal experiences to other people's experiences, from other books to other TV shows and movies, from people I know to people I wish I knew.
LBBB: Are any of your stories written from personal experience, or any character traits that mirror yours?
J.B.: There's a character in my debut novel, Roses Are Red, who is a shy tomboy, which definitely mirrors me. Other than that, I'd argue that I tend to make my main characters sassier and more strong-willed than I am. :)
LBBB: When in a slump, what do you do? If you read or listen to music, what are your go-to books or music?
J.B.: When I'm in a slump, I tend to cheer myself up by watching TV or visiting my favorite websites like Facebook or People.com.
LBBB: How do you respond to negative feedback/comments with your work?
J.B.: If the negative feedback/comments are constructive, then I definitely take them into consideration. However, if the feedback/comments are negative just for the sake of being negative (i.e. they are just plain mean and hurtful), I tend to ignore them.
LBBB: What is your writing space like? Do you work anywhere or do you have a special place just for your writing? Messy or clean?
J.B.: My writing space is usually in my room, whether that be my dorm room or my bedroom at home. Sometimes I write in my living room, but that's only if no one else is around (i.e. it's late at night) since it can get loud in there. It's typically a clean space (otherwise I can see myself getting distracted with wanting to clean it up).
LBBB: Do you have a favorite author? Series?
J.B.: I have two favorite authors: Harper Lee and David Klass.
One of my favorite series is the Chet Gecko Series, because I remember I used to read those books all the time when I was younger (which says a lot since I didn't really like reading when I was younger).
LBBB: Any fur-babies?
J.B.: I have a yellow lab who I love to death! :)
Her debut novel, Roses Are Red, is the first of the Blood, Sweat, and Tears Series. J.B. hopes that her journey to publication helps other writers realize that through hard work and dedication, anything is possible, no matter how old you are or how long you’ve been writing.