Interview and Giveaway with author, JL Bryan

I’m thrilled to welcome J L Bryan to my blog today. I posted my review of his novel, Jenny Pox. I really enjoyed the story and I think you will too. Jeff has offered  e-copies of Jenny Pox to two lucky commenters. Details on how to ENTER and WIN are at the end of this post. Read on to see what Jeff Bryan has to say about Jenny Pox.

Thanks for joining me today Jeff. I really enjoyed Jenny Pox and I am glad you agreed to answer some questions on my blog today.

Thanks, Shelleyrae.  I’m glad you enjoyed the book, and thanks for having me over!

Q: There is some debate about how to categorise Jenny Pox – the protagonists are in high school, but the themes could be considered adult, there is romance, gore and a strong paranormal element. What audience did you have in mind as you wrote it?

Jeff: I wasn’t focused on a specific audience when I wrote it.  The story was very strong in me and very insistent about writing itself.  The first draft only took about a month because I couldn’t stop writing it.  I was only thinking about how to tell the story the right way. When it came time to bring the book out into the world, I just thought of it as “horror” because that’s one of the genres I write.  Readers told me it wasn’t really horror but paranormal, or urban fantasy, or dark fantasy, or YA dark urban fantasy paranormal romance. I did try to portray adolescence as honestly as I could, since that was the age of my characters.  I don’t know if you’re supposed to go PG-13 or something for a young adult audience, but I clearly didn’t do that.  I didn’t experience my teenage years behind any kind of reality buffer, and I didn’t include one in Jenny Pox, either.Categorizing it is only important as a kind of shorthand way of letting readers know what to expect.  While there is some difficulty categorizing it, from the response it seems like people are really enjoying it.  So hopefully readers will let other readers know about the book, and just describe it in their own way.

Q: Jenny is a skilfully developed character, but as a male author, why choose a teenage girl as your protagonist?

Jeff: The honest answer would be that when I received the story idea—when it bubbled up from the old subconscious—it was very centered on this character Jenny, and she came completely developed.  I knew everything about her and her life all at once.  So it would have been an artificial process to try and make that character male, and I don’t think “Jimmy Pox” would have been quite the same. I’m sure there are particular reasons for this.  It’s a more extreme contrast to think of a girl having these violent powers than a boy, for example.  She’s a scrawny and small girl, and she seems weak and shy based on her external behavior, but really she’s acting this way to hide a massive, terrible power, a kind of godlike power to make people dead with little more than a thought.

Q: Ashleigh has twisted her power into something dark and selfish, do you believe the adage” absolute power corrupts absolutely”?

Jeff: Absolutely!  “Power” to me, in the real world, essentially means the ability to aggress and get away with it.  Political power is aggression—starting wars, or herding millions into prisons and camps, wiping out entire tribes.  The people who do these things are rarely punished.  They are often remembered as great and heroic leaders in the history books. People generally hate to be aggressed against, and want aggressors to be stopped.  In order to endure, power must wrap itself in mythology and claim to be something more than aggression.  Aggression and deception are the means by which human beings rule and are ruled.  So to gain power and hold onto it means, inherently, to aggress and deceive.  Aggression plus myth equals power. I like how the contrast between Jenny and Ashleigh’s powers worked.  Jenny had the most obviously aggressive power, and she isolates herself from others to avoid using it.  Ashleigh’s power would seem to be the least aggressive, but she manages to use it in an extremely aggressive way and to rule over others.

Q: The triumvirate of powers in your novel are unusual, what inspired them?

Jeff: Everything grew out of the character of Jenny.  She had this power where she couldn’t touch anyone without spreading horrific disease, and I knew she was going to meet the one person she could touch.  So he naturally needed a power that countered hers.  I was actually several chapters into the first draft before I realized Ashleigh had one, too, but then it was obvious.  And once I realized that, I understood every detail of how the rest of the story would play out.

Q: I kept waiting for a fourth power to make itself known, was it a deliberate choice to not counter Ashleigh’s power because of the way she had twisted it?

Jeff: It wasn’t necessary to explore the fourth in the scope of this story.  But you’re right that there’s an imbalance.  Someone out there has the opposite of Ashleigh’s power, and actually I know all about that character, but he didn’t have a role in this story.  If/when I get to writing a sequel, he would have to be part of it.

Q: The explanation for the powers of the three was unexpected, is it based on any particular myth?

Jeff: The only particular mythos I thought about was one I didn’t mention specifically, which was the universe of H.P. Lovecraft.  I was thinking about his monsters, the Old Ones from the deep, from the chaos before the coming of order to the universe.

Q: What do you think Jenny would have chosen to do after graduation if things had ended differently?

Jeff: I don’t see her going to college, since she was pretty clear on that—to her it seems like way too many chances of coming into contact with others, plus a big reminder that she’s not going to fit in anywhere.  She probably would have stayed in Fallen Oak for the most part.  If she traveled, she would keep to the countryside and avoid cities.  She’s most comfortable in the wilderness, away from people.

Q: I know from your author biography that you studied Renaissance Literature at Oxford, is Jenny Pox the type of book you thought you would be writing?

Jeff: I’ve always written speculative fiction.  My earliest stories, back in first or second grade, were about ghosts and aliens.  I never went through a phase of wanting to write the Great American Novel or anything like that.  I like stories that tap deep into the imagination.  I think genres like horror, fantasy and science fiction operate at a kind of mythic level, and I like exploring that.

Q: Jenny Pox’s blog is a clever idea, what sparked you to create it?

Jeff: I was really trying to figure out how to get some use out of my blog, which I’d left abandoned for many months.  I was learning about feedburner and things like that and wanted to see if I could find a way to use social media as artistic media.  I ended up making blogs and Twitter accounts for the main characters in Jenny Pox, kind of extending that story into another dimension.  I’m still working on it.  The main timeline of the book runs from August to Easter, and things really kick up in October, so I need to get busy! I’m not sure what kind of outcome there will be.  My main goal is to get the characters interactive with each other.  After Easter, the story’s over, so the blogs and Twitter posts will be left as a kind of extension of the story.  Until then, readers can interact with the characters if they want to.  I’m not sure how that experiment will play out!  {Visit the blog by clicking here.}

Q: You write mostly horror and science fiction, which authors in the genre inspire you?

Jeff: In horror, I find it very enriching to read classics like Poe and Lovecraft.  I grew up reading Stephen King, and I have most of his books.  Clive Barker was another major influence for me.  There are ways that his stories really stretched my understanding of what the horror genre was and could be, at an age when I probably shouldn’t have been reading Clive Barker. In science fiction, some of my favorite writers are Frank Herbert, Robert Heinlein, William Gibson, and Neal Stephenson.

Q: What are you reading at the moment?

Jeff: Right now I’m reading an advance review copy of Draculas by J.A. Konrath, Blake Crouch, F. Paul Wilson, and Jeff Strand.  This is a collaborative horror novel about vampires, and I’m really enjoying it.  Next I want to read Hollowland, which is a new zombie novel by Amanda Hocking.

Q: Can you tell us anything about the project you are working on now?

Jeff: I’m actually trying to finish up the last chapters of one so I can get it to the editor.  It’s a horror story about a supernatural e-book that behaves like a ghostly computer virus.

Thank you Jeff.

Thanks for having me on your blog, Shelleyrae.


J.L. Bryan studied English literature at the University of Georgia and at Oxford, with a focus on the English Renaissance and the Romantic period. He also studied screenwriting at UCLA.  He lives in Atlanta with his wife Christina and assorted pets. His website is


Win one of two e-copies of Jenny Pox!

(Open international)

To Enter:

Leave a comment that includes your name, email address and country.

Recieve an extra three entries if you tweet, blog or facebook this contest. (Include a link in your comment entry)

Recieve 1 extra entry if you follow Jenny Pox on Twitter (leave your twitter id)

Recieve 1 extra entry if you follow Ashleigh on Twitter (leave your twitter id)

Receive one extra entry if you follow Jenny’s Blog or Friend her on facebook

That’s seven extra chances to win!

Good Luck! The winners will be drawn using on October 29th 2010.


Read the first few chapters of Jenny Pox for free at Smashwords

Buy Jenny Pox for the best price at:

Amazon (paperback or kindle)


Also available at:

Apple iBookstore

Barnes & Noble

Diesel EBookstore

24 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Tweets that mention Interview and Giveaway with author, JL Bryan « book'd out --
  2. Lou Rohde
    Oct 19, 2010 @ 14:17:33

    Great interview! It’s great how the ideas just come and write themselves. I’m looking forward to reading this book myself and more of JL Bryans!

    Lou Rohde
    Twitter ID: lourohde (following Jenny and Ashleigh)
    Tweeted: Interview and Giveaway with author, JL Bryan:
    Following Jenny’s Blog



  3. Mandy
    Oct 19, 2010 @ 14:42:52

    Thanks for this chance to win Shellyrae. The book looks amazing!



  4. Kathy Mcpherson
    Oct 19, 2010 @ 16:09:53

    Great interview Shel, the book sounds great!



  5. Chrizette
    Oct 20, 2010 @ 02:51:17

    Please enter me in the giveaway.

    Posted on my blog:

    Follower on twitter (@allthedaysof)

    baychriz at gmail dot com



  6. Stella (Ex Libris)
    Oct 20, 2010 @ 03:05:11

    I have to admit, I haven’t heard of this novel before, but I’m really glad you just drew my attention to it as the premise sounds intriguing!

    And what an interesting interview, thanks for asking the exciting questions a reader would wonder!

    Off to read more about Jenny Pox 🙂 Thank you for the great giveaway!!

    +3 tweeted:

    +3 posted on Facebook:

    +1 follow Jenny on Twitter (@Stella_ExLibris)
    +1 follow Ashleigh on Twitter (@Stella_ExLibris)
    +1 friended Jenny on Facebook: Stella Ex Libris

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com



  7. Stella (Ex Libris)
    Oct 20, 2010 @ 03:05:42

    ps: sorry forgot to say I’m an international entrant (from Hungary – Europe)



  8. Kelly
    Oct 20, 2010 @ 04:55:44

    Thanks for hosting this interview and giveaway!
    I think the book sounds absolutely stunning and I really liked Mr. Bryan’s take on corruption by power!

    I’d love to be entered!
    I’m Kelly from Greece and my email is yvantis[at]hotmail[dot]com

    Extra two entries if you tweet or facebook this contest.

    1 extra entry if you follow Jenny Pox on Twitter (@yllektra)
    1 extra entry if you follow Ashleigh on Twitter (@yllektra)
    1 extra entry if you follow Jenny’s Blog or Friend her on facebook (Kelly A. // Kelly Anastasop…)

    Thanks so much for this opportunity again and good luck to everyone 🙂



  9. Heather
    Oct 20, 2010 @ 05:18:44

    Please enter me!
    I tweeted here:
    I follow both Ashleigh and Jenny Pox @littlebearries
    I also follow Jenny’s Blog under the name you_were_almost_right
    Thank you!



  10. trish dechant
    Oct 20, 2010 @ 22:01:18

    I saw this book on B&N’s website and it looked very interesting! Very original concept and I am dying to read it.



  11. PinkStuff28
    Oct 20, 2010 @ 23:20:38

    Please enter me !

    I follow both Ashleigh and Jenny Pox I follow both Ashleigh and Jenny Pox @raluk15

    I follow Jenny Pox (PinkStuff28)



  12. Krysta
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 06:35:39

    Hello! I’d love to enter!
    My name is Krysta, I live in the United States, and my email address is

    Tweeted here:!/Delirious_Kris/status/27958893274

    Following both Jenny Pox & Ashleigh @Delirious_Kris



  13. Kulsuma
    Oct 22, 2010 @ 09:30:34

    Hello! The premise of this story is so unique and I would love to read it. Thanks for the giveaway!

    From United Kingdom



  14. Rad Hall
    Oct 22, 2010 @ 17:05:26

    I’d love a go.

    Blog sidebar
    Friended on facebook




  15. Trackback: Blog Hop & Follow Friday Oct 22nd « book'd out
  16. -petit
    Oct 24, 2010 @ 12:02:40

    Debora Lima / Brazil
    blog follower: -petit
    twitter: @petit_sayumi



  17. Irina Andrei
    Oct 26, 2010 @ 15:40:45

    Hi, my name is Irina, I’m from Bucharest, Romania. I’d love a chance to win this book! ^^
    My e-mail:

    Thank you!♥



  18. Estrella Azul
    Oct 26, 2010 @ 22:07:43


    I’m Estrella, and I live in Romania.
    Thanks for this chance!

    My e-mail is:
    estrella [dot] azul20 [at] gmail [dot] com



  19. Trackback: Blog Hop and Follow Friday Oct 29th « book'd out
  20. Chel
    Oct 29, 2010 @ 17:40:05

    Thanks for participating in the contest. I’d like to enter. I added you to my twitter (books4learning). My address is Thanks.



  21. Tonya Dean
    Oct 30, 2010 @ 08:23:50

    Would love to win this book! Thanks for the chance.




  22. Arceli
    Oct 30, 2010 @ 16:31:02

    Thanks for the giveaway! I’d really love to read this book.




  23. Trackback: Winners! Jenny Pox by JL Bryan « book'd out
  24. Trackback: Review & Giveaway : The Haunted E-Book by JL Bryan {Blog Tour} « book'd out

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