Please welcome Jenna Barwin, who’s here to share her five “writer’s life” photos!

The Photos

Something that represents something unique about you

I shoot underwater photography. Recently, I considered whether there was a link between the sea creatures I photograph, and my fiction writing. Denizens of the sea and vampires share this in common: they can be both beautiful and dangerous.

For example, this lionfish elegantly floats through the water, and is quite lovely to watch, but its spines contain a nasty neurotoxin. Unlike vampires, they aren’t aggressive, and they move slowly through the water, so it’s easy to avoid them.

Something that represents where you live

Dana Point is named after Richard Henry Dana Jr. He wrote Two Years Before the Mast, published in 1840, which chronicles his two-year sea voyage to California. Dana Point hosts a tall ships festival each year, and you can sail on craft similar to the one Dana wrote about. I had a great time at last year’s tall ships festival, and took this photo while sailing aboard the Spirit of Dana Point.

Your pet(s) or plant(s) or thing you care for (besides your human family/friends)

My mother passed away in 2004. She had a green thumb, and I have a thumb tattooed with a skull and crossbones. Plants I take care of rarely thrive. Well, I inherited her potted plants, including this bromeliad. I’m proud to say I’ve kept it alive 13 years, and it’s still going strong.

Something (not someone) that really frustrates you

Software updates are like Russian roulette. When I press “update now,” I can almost hear the gun’s cylinder spinning. Will it really update overnight, or will I come back in the morning to find it stuck in that endless spinning wheel of death? And after it finishes updating, will my programs stop functioning? I’ve lost days of writing time to updates that froze my computer. And anything that gets between me and writing frustrates me.

Something that brings you joy (besides writing)

Nature photography, both underwater and on land, is a source of great joy for me. This was the hardest photo to pick because I have so many favorites. I chose this great egret, taken in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. The bird was hunting along a river, stalking a fish, and struck, spearing its dinner. With a little shake of its head, the egret caught the fish in its mouth and gobbled it down.

Your outdoor photos are beautiful!

The Interview

What’s the elevator pitch for your latest published novel?

A research scientist is forced by her people to spy on the vampires she’s trying to help. One of those vampires is an expert winemaker with eyes the color of dark bourbon—and just as intoxicating—who’s hiding his own deep secrets. In the end, he learns to love again, and she learns to embrace her own decisions, which includes choosing him.

Dark Wine at Midnight, the first book in my urban fantasy Hill Vampire series, is available on Amazon.

What are you working on next?

Dark Wine at Sunrise is book 2 in the Hill Vampire series, and I’m currently editing it.

What are you currently reading?

Jeaniene Frost’s Into the Night, the final book in her series about Leila and Vlad the Impaler (just don’t call him Dracula). Jeaniene writes “couple series”—a series of books featuring one romantic couple. Once I fall in love with a couple, I like following their story through multiple books.

My Hill Vampire series is a couple series, although there may be other characters who find love too.

What are you currently watching (TV shows)?

The Magicians, season 2. I love the college angst mixed with superb writing and great characters.

Favorite fantasy creature, villain, or weapon not from your own work?

My favorite villain is Dr. Horrible from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Joss Whedon did a fantastic job directing this short video story, which exemplifies a saying we writers often hear: the villain is the hero of his or her own story.

Biggest challenge facing writers today?

Getting discovered. Indie publishing opened up the world of publishing to many books that the Big Publishers were afraid to take a risk on. But it also increased the number of books readers can choose from. It’s easy to get lost in the volume of new books being produced.

How can we meet that challenge?

First, deliver top quality writing and don’t skimp on the editing process. Second, put ourselves out there through social media and other reader-oriented opportunities. Readers won’t just stumble across our books. We have to go to where they are. Third, work with other authors to promote each other’s work. Working together, we’ve got this!

Where to Find Jenna

Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter: @JennaBarwin | Goodreads

Thanks for sharing your pictures and thoughts, Jenna!