Thursday, November 1, 2012

Book Release & Giveaway: Jen Naumann, Author of Shymers

Hi all,

Today I am talking to author Jen Naumann who writes in the paranormal genre. She has two published novels and her latest novel, Shymers, a dystopian novel set in the distant future, will be available November 2nd. After talking with Jen, I've found her to be a lovely person who enjoys her life and loves writing. Today we are talking about her, her writing and her latest novel, as well as sharing an excerpt from Shymers. Be sure to follow down to the end to join in on our giveaway!

Interview with Jen Naumann

Tell us a little about yourself

I was born and raised in southern Minnesota and now live on an acreage with my husband and two children. I also have two grown step-daughters and three step-granddaughters so there is never a dull moment. It’s fun being the cool grandma who isn’t even 40 yet.

Briefly describe your latest novel Shymers.

This book started with a friend asking me if I thought it would be nice to know how much longer we had to live. The more I thought about it, the more I decided it would be a terrible idea. Before long this dystopian world was born in which everyone is told their date of death (or DOD as they call it in the book). Olive, the 16-year-old heroine in the story, is raised outside of the Society where people are told the date they will die and is oblivious to their way of life. Quite unexpectedly, she is thrown into Society and forced to deal with the discrimination of people based on nothing more than how much longer they have to live.

What inspired you to write in the science fiction/paranormal and dystopian genres?

Honestly, I grow bored with real life and stories of things that could actually happen. I’m always telling my children we were given imaginations for good reason and we should use them as much as possible. My favorite movies and television shows are almost all paranormal in nature, so I guess I’m drawn to that genre. Whenever a new story idea comes to me, it always has a paranormal twist. There’s just something exciting about the unknown that I am drawn to.

Have you always wanted to be an author?

Yes! In third grade I wrote a story about My Little Pony and was so pleased with myself that I decided I wanted to write stories for the rest of my life. I wrote dozens of large novels in my teens, but lost focus after going off to college and starting a family. In my heart I always knew I would one day be an author. Recently, a close family member battled some serious health complications and I was given a wake up call, realizing that none of us are guaranteed a certain amount of time. I didn’t want to die one day regretting that I didn’t go after the one thing I have always wanted to do. It’s so crazy that after all this time, I’m actually making my dream a reality!

What made you choose to self-publish instead of go the traditional route?

So many reasons were behind this. I don’t have the patience it takes for publishing companies to review queries, and the trend is shifting away from traditional print anyway. With the digital age we are living in, it is so easy to do it yourself. There are thousands of resources available like editors and websites for advertising. Why give someone else a share of the money for your hard work? Also, I am a semi-professional photographer and I took courses in graphic design, so I wanted total control of my covers. Really, I am an extremely independent person and don’t like people telling me what to do (this is why I made a terrible secretary).

How much does your upbringing and/or lifestyle today influence your writing?

Fortunately, I was raised by very loving parents with solid, moral beliefs. I think that gave me the ability to balance right and wrong for my characters and write books for young adults that I can be proud of. Now that I have two children on the verge of entering their teen years, I am especially conscious of the underlying message that I will pass on to them with my writing.

How long does it usually take you to write a novel?

The first draft is usually done in a month or two if I go at it hard every day. The re-writing process can take just as long, or even longer. The three I have published started with a word count around 50,000 in first draft, and grew to 75,000-95,000 by the time they were finished.

Do you schedule your writing time or write at random times?

I try to make it a daily habit to write 3-4 hours per day, usually from late morning to early afternoon. This doesn’t always happen on the weekends, however, since my children keep me so busy. There are times when I’m so heavily into a rewrite that I only stop to sleep and eat.

Are you working on anything right now and can you share it with us?

Actually, I am trying my first middle school book for my 10-year-old son and loving every minute of it! I wasn’t going to touch the vampire genre in my YA novels since it is so overdone, but decided it would be fun to write a Goonies-esque adventure of a boy and his friends who try to save his older (and quite annoying) sister from vampires posing as a rock band. He doesn’t know I’m writing it yet, or that I’m going to have him pose on the cover with his friends. My daughter posed for my first book, and he’s been bugging me to be on a cover ever since. He’s going to flip.

Are there any self-published authors whose books you enjoy reading?

I honestly don’t pay any attention to whether books are self-published or not anymore. When I first read Amanda Hocking a few years ago, I had no idea she was self-published (or that she only lives an hour away from me)! After checking my Goodreads list, I can tell you that I really enjoy Lauryn April, Chanda Hahn, Maria Monteiro, G.P. Ching and Elizabeth Reyes, just to name a few (and I hope I’m correct that they all are indie writers)! There are so many talented authors out there without the backing of a publishing house.

Please share a little about each of the other novels you have written.

My first novel, What I’ve Done, is a coming of age story of a young girl who has lived a tragic life and stumbles across two handsome strangers with a paranormal secret. The book is quite moving, so you will want to read it with a box of tissues.
My second novel, The Day Zombies Ruined My Perfectly Boring Life, is the tale of a girl living in a boring small Minnesota town who discovers herself in the middle of a zombie outbreak. I had a blast writing this one because I was able to use my comedic side that my friends and family expect from me. Both books are available on Amazon and Smashwords.


Shymers Book Description:

In a distant future, Olive Mensing is raised in the solitude of the forest by her parents, away from Society. For a time she is happy and content, trusting in everything her parents tell her, and thinking she has the rest of her life ahead of her. But not long after her father’s mysterious death, Olive and her mother are torn from their home and thrown into the very place Olive was raised to fear. There she will discover the brutal truths her parents had tried to keep from her - a Society divided by two classes (Shymers and Futures) based on how many days people have to live, and a government that locks people away for rebellious behaviors.

Although everything seems backwards and hopeless in this new world, Olive makes a few new friends and develops her first crush on a handsome boy. But even then, things aren’t as easy as they should be. She finds herself caught up in a whirlwind of hatred, sadness and lies that spins out of control, forcing her to choose between what her heart wants and what she knows is right.

Add Shymers to your "to read" list on Goodreads.

Trailer for Shymers:

Excerpt from Shymers

 Cautiously, I glance down the brightly lit hallway and take small strides so as not to stand out any more. The weight of a thousand stares already burns holes into the back of my head. I had first tried smiling or giving a greeting to those who passed me by, but they had either laughed or stared back at me blankly. So I decided to keep to myself.

Frigid air blasts down on me each time I pass under little metal slots in the ceiling, and an overwhelming smell of something vile fills my nostrils, making me want to hold my nose.

The soldiers shoved a lightweight electronic square into my hands before sending me inside the office to register. I look down at the object, smooth and light in my hands. It is unlike anything you would find in the forest. How could something like this actually be made by people? No one told me what I am to do with it.

Flurries of whispers float around me, just loud enough so I can catch some of the words being said, none of which are kind and none of which I can truly understand the actual purpose of. I continue to walk straight ahead, avoiding eye contact and only looking to the classroom doors for the number 230, where I was told my first lesson will be.

I know of schools like this where boys and girls of all ages attend different lessons in the same building, separated into groups based on their maturity level. My parents went to one when they were young. Once it had even been a dream of mine to go to one. But now that I feel the unwelcome stares and hear their hurtful words, I wish I was anywhere else but here. I didn’t expect so many people. I didn’t expect to be treated like an outsider.

Although I haven’t been here long, I think I may finally understand somewhat why my parents tried so hard to keep me away from this cruel reality, these judging eyes and whispers. Everyone here is a stranger to me. How could they dislike me when they don’t even know me? Something about this place feels jaded and twisted, more like one of the scary fairy tales my father would tell me as a little girl.

All at once, a hand tugs at the back of my shirt. I turn on my heels with my arm out, expecting some kind of physical strike or insult to be thrown in my face. Instead, I am greeted with a pair of warm brown eyes.

“You must be the new Shymer everyone is talking about,” a girl in a plain gray frock says to me. Auburn hair hangs in waves around her smooth, light-brown face, and two little wisps at her temple are held back with a bright pink ribbon. Her flawless cheekbones are high, and her big eyes look back at me from underneath dark, well-sculpted eyebrows. A sliver of white teeth is visible behind her heart-shaped lips as she smiles up at me. From her small size I would guess her to be fourteen, possibly fifteen. She is striking, but not in a way that makes you gasp at first sight.

Lowering my arm, I open my mouth to answer before shutting it again. The truth is, I don’t really know what I am. Not in this world, anyway. I don’t even know what a Shymer is. Do I ask this girl what she is talking about? My stomach drops with the uncertainty.

“It’s okay,” she says with a shrug. “I am, too. Most of the kids here are Futures, but there are other Shymers. I can introduce you to them later.”

My eyes sweep the hallway to find a group of older girls gathered next to door number 230—exactly where I need to be. I had been so consumed with the whispers and stares that I had walked right past it. Collectively, the girls are gorgeous, a sea of flowing blond hair and bright blue eyes surrounded by some kind of heavy coloring on their eyelids. Each of them wears a colorful top that dips low at the neckline to reveal a hint of their large, well-tanned chests, paired with a vibrant skirt that falls just short of their knees. They stare back at me with cruel eyes, their lips tightly curled into mocking smiles.

“I take it Shymers aren’t welcome here?” I say to the girl.

Her eyes open even wider. “You mean you really don’t know? Haven’t you ever been in Society before?”

“Not since I was little,” I mumble in response.

I catch her gaze first questioning my hair, then my choice of clothing. I am dressed in the pink top my mother gave me for my sixteenth birthday and a pair of faded denim shorts. Just before entering the hallway, I had gathered my wild blond hair into a cluster behind my head to stay cool. Do I look unusual to her? Is that why everyone is watching me and whispering behind my back?


Author Bio:

I first remember wanting to be a writer as early as the third grade. I began writing long novels through high school, spending many hours at my green-screened Apple computer while other kids were hanging outside.

After meeting my husband right out of high school, I helped to raise his two beautiful little girls in our rural Minnesota home while attending college. I gave birth to our next daughter after we were married, and two years later, our son. For too many years I lost my way in life, and was stuck in offices doing mundane things. Recently, however, an earth-shattering event came along that reminded me every moment is precious, and we are only given one chance to live how we want. That's when I decided to do the one thing I have always been passionate about.

My novels always have a paranormal/science fiction flare as I find regular life too boring, and I enjoy using the darkest corners of my imagination. I am super passionate about movies, music, books and especially anything that makes me laugh. When not trying to follow the madness of my children's busy lives, I can be found at concerts, taking pictures, relaxing at our lake home, or on the back of my husband's Harley.

Where you can connect with Jen:






Smashwords Author Page 


Jen has generously offered to give away a copy of Shymers in either Kindle eBook or Paperback format - winner's choice. Just leave a comment below with your email and you will be entered. Giveaway ends Monday, November 5th.

I hope you will all check out Jen's books, especially her newest book, Shymers.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on the release..

    Thanks for sharing the post :)

    The book sounds interesting looks like a good read...