I learned about Jenna Lockwood through a fellow indie author, who pointed me in her direction a few days before her debut was set to release. I then spent a good amount of time stalking her Instagram page, read up on her book and made sure to get myself a copy when it was released. Never Till Now was an absolute blast and I enjoyed the push and pull between Adam and Lauren. And when I finished, I made sure to let Jenna know how much I loved her book and how desperately I was waiting for the next one!
Jenna’s a stay-at-home mom who writes when she finds the time and was once even a foodstagrammer! She enjoys cooking and makes a mean sauce, so if you’re looking for recipes or tips, I’d say that Jenna’s a good source of information. While romance has always been the genre that speaks to her the most, Jenna admits that one day she’d like to write a children’s book with her son. They’ve already got some ideas down and it’s just a matter of making it all happen!
While Jenna is working on the second book in her debut series, the first is available in Kindle Unlimited. So make sure you pick it up today!
What inspired you to write—was it another author or books you read as you grew up?
Going back in time to baby Jenna for a second. I read books in school (duh), and I wanted to entertain people with my imagination as well. I learned to read English a bit later since I was in a French program. Shout out to my mom for the patience and working with me to fall in love with reading. Once I got over the difficulties, I was unstoppable. I started writing poetry and short stories to read to my younger siblings. Chicken Soup for the Children’s Soul was read over and over. Of course, there was Junie B. Jones that kept me laughing. Author life was a long time in the making.
Why did you choose romance as the genre to write in?
I’m such a sucker for it. I’ve read it all my life. I spent countless hours at a young age, reading and writing stories that I knew were not age appropriate on fanfiction. Shh. Haha I love the character growth, the toxicity and putting myself through angsty heartache.
Why did you choose to self-publish instead of going the traditional route?
I can’t sign over my rights. My debut took around 9 months from start to finish, so it really is my book baby. I think most indie’s will say the same about being a control freak and wanting their story cultivated the way they imagine it to be. I love all the steps of working with a cover designer, choosing my editor and what I decide to change story wise. My deadlines are made by me and I enjoy the flexibility of that.
What’s the best and worst part about being an indie author?
The best part is being able to choose who you work with and have a final say. I love every part of the publishing process… except figuring out how to add a debut to goodreads. That part caused some grey hairs! The worst part is probably marketing for me. Figuring out how to use TikTok and reels has been an interesting challenge since I am not up to date on the new technology. But I am capable of learning!
Do you write full time or is this something you do on the side? And would you want to write full time?
I’m a full time mom at home, so I write when I can. Mostly at night or on the weekends when my husband takes our little guys out for the day. I would love to write full time, when the kids get older.
Other than writing, what is something you enjoy and are really good at?
I love knitting, though it’s been over a year since I’ve knit anything worthy haha. I absolutely LOVE cooking and creating recipes. I used to have a food blog and food instagram showcasing my favorite recipes I created. I’m still whipping up new sauces and meal’s daily. I no longer have my foodie accounts since my priorities have shifted to motherhood and my dream of being an author.
If not romance/subgenres of romance, what genre would you like to write in?
Definitely children's books. My son wants us to write one together. We have a few that are still in the works, but I need to narrow down the storyline and make things more simple. I’m so used to writing tens of thousands of words with immense detail.
What are some of your all time favourite books—ones that you recommend to people or can reread multiple times?
Oh, goodness! Can any book lover narrow down this answer?
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, is a book I read in high school and have read a few times after. The wittiness makes me smile. The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks is one of the only books that has made me cry, so ‘Well done, Nick!’ Beneath the Hood by Emily Mcintire is a book I hold so dearly to my heart. Honestly, there isn’t one book by Melanie Harlow I’ve yet to rate under 4.5 stars!
What are your top 5 tips or pieces of advice for aspiring authors?
Write the story the way you feel it needs to be written. Feedback is great and helpful, but really listen to your characters.
You CAN write a book. Don’t stress about only writing X amount of words that week. Especially for a debut.
Don’t be afraid to ask authors questions. This community is such a blessing and we have each other’s backs! We want you to succeed and are willing to help. So, ask away.
Don’t compare yourself to other authors. We all have different schedules and creative minds, so focus on your personal goals and celebrate small wins!
It’s hard to think of five tips without sounding super generic. lol
Can you briefly tell me about your debut?
The Siblings of Heir series, in a whole, is about three siblings and their lives and struggles within. They all deal with personal real life issues and insecurities. Adam (from Never Till Now) is my ‘not so typical’ billionaire and feels guilty for wanting out of a life that most people strive for. His journey focuses around finding more purpose and meaning to life. Lauren grew up in the foster system and has been dealt some rough cards. She’s a young nurse practitioner and her journey to let her guard down is so heartbreaking, yet beautiful. I love how each character remains true to themselves and their personal growth was very real.
From your debut, who is your favourite character?
Lauren 100%. This book is Lauren’s. I originally started this series for Adam. Lauren completely took over and her story broke me over and over. She’s sassy, strong willed, guarded (for good reasoning) and her emotional journey for healing was amazing. A close second is Mallory, Adam’s 7 year old niece, who is such a little firecracker! Well beyond her years and so full of life. Reader’s always comment on how much they enjoy her scenes.
What inspired your published stories? How and when did you come up with these stories and plots?
I am Canadian, but I spent my childhood up until my first year of college in the Bay Area of California. I was reminiscing about a coffee shop I enjoyed in San Francisco and an idea spark with a book location. The scenery inspired Lauren moving to the city and taking in everything around her. The plot sort of downloaded to my brain one night while filling out character profiles. My brain would also play out scenes while washing dishes or driving. I swear I'm not crazy. You writers understand me, right?
How much of yourself do you put into these characters?
There are definitely parts of me and certain situations I wrote about in Lauren. Her wittiness isn’t far off from mine. I only like to eat ice cream the way she does. (You’ll have to read to find out what that’s about.) Along with a few other things I want to keep to myself. Adam’s longing for chopping wood instead of numbers, is definitely an ode to my hubs.
When you write these stories, what are you hoping your readers will feel?
I did NOT intend to make SO many readers cry. I am glad Lauren’s story impacted readers emotionally the same way it did for me. When writing Never Till Now, Lauren’s journey of healing and accepting love, spoke loud. My book dedication is “For those who have never felt the immensity of love, you are worthy of it.” I mean that. I wrote this for those who have felt the weight of the world with heavy pasts. To those who believe happiness is out of reach. This book is surfaced with witty banter and spice, but the journey of self love and healing, holds its depth. Readers can feel hope.
What is a story/stories that you really want to tell?
Yes and no. I started this book as a light romcom with heavy spice. There is a lot of sass and witty banter between the characters, but darker themes lace through the pages to take the reader on an emotional journey. I didn’t want to put Lauren through what she went through. I ignored the voice in my head for weeks, yet she kept asking me to write it. I listened and the story took a different turn, but I LOVE the finished product.
What’s next on the bookshelf for you? Anything you can tell us about a future project?
There will be three full length books in the Siblings of Heir Series, and one novella about a side character who has stolen many hearts at such a young age… There is also a complete standalone after the series, BUT I still am not able to bring myself to write the ending. It is angsty AF! I don’t know if I can stomach the end right now…you’ll have to look out for that novel.
What are your most and least favourite tropes?
Ooo give me enemies to lovers and all the forced proximity books!!! Age gap! Brother’s best friend? Um, yes please! I’ll read anything angsty and toxic. I read some second chance romance, but I am SUPER picky.
What are some tropes you want to write in the future?
Book 2 is friends to lovers. Readers can also expect, age gap, fake relationship, forced proximity, lifelong enemies to lovers in future books… maybe ALL in ONE book. ;)
What are some topics (sensitive and otherwise) that you think should exist more in romance?
Answering from a reader's point of view, for me, reading fiction is a way to check-out from reality. Like tuning into a TV show or a movie. It’s difficult to answer this because you can’t please everybody with a book. I feel if people are looking for healing on a certain topic, they can find a fiction story that deals with it. Sometimes I read to relax and have a laugh, and other times there are books that become therapy I never knew I needed. Shout out to Emily Mcintire for writing me one of those!
What is your favourite thing about the romance genre?
Most important—the romance book community. This group is overwhelming with support and love. I enjoy living in fictional worlds that I wouldn’t want to be my reality. I’m all for toxic book boyfriends, but I don’t need that drama in my reality. I love how words can trigger emotions and take us on a journey to a happy ending.
THIS OR THAT
Ebooks or audiobooks
Historical romance or romantic suspense
Single or Dual POV
Standalones or series
Music or silence while writing—instrumental music
Plotter, pantser or plantser—I don’t know why I bother, because the characters change their minds part way through anyway.
Tea or coffee
Cold or warm weather
Morning person or night owl
Illustrated cover or photo cover
Buddy read or Solo read