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Who is Jenna Renae Reed? I knew she was a brunette through and through, she had beautiful soulful eyes, she was gorgeous in all the right ways, but not so much that she was intimidating.
The only person I could even come close to relating Jenna to would be Evangeline Lilly, the actress from Lost.
But who is she?
What makes her her?
Jenna was the character I couldn't quite get a read on. Their story changed so many times through the course of a year of writing it. But it all boiled down to the fact I couldn't get to the heart of her. She keeps herself tucked away like that. She doesn't want you to look too closely at the pain inside her.
She is a part of me in that aspect. I knew how to write that.
I love every character I write, even the "bad" ones. Because, to me, they represent being human. They make real life human mistakes.
So when I first started writing Jenna I wanted her to be that cool, fun person she portrayed in A Dance Worth Dancing.
Though the more I wrote the more she dug her feet in and wouldn't allow just the cool, fun person to show. What I was writing wasn't her. Not truly. There is a reason she uses humor as a decoy, there is a reason why she ticks the way that she does, but I wasn't writing that.
Right then, I knew. I knew it was me.
I didn't want to write that.
I was already putting her through enough with Nolan, I didn't want to write that.
It's funny now when I think about it, but she whispered to me and told me it would be okay, that she would survive.
Oh, it hurt.
It hurt to write that part of her. But if I would have never dug deeper into her I don't think we would have the story that we have now. With my other characters it's pretty cut and dry on who they are. Jenna made me work for it and showed me along the way that even through the pain, beauty can prevail.
And every book, every character, since then has been a little bit more special just for that reason.
So the backstory to Jenna may not be this big profound story, but I do give her credit for making me into the writer I have become. Setting me on this path that I am on now.
Through tragedy, beauty can prevail.