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Stack of Books

Jenny Cook

Hi! I’m Jenny. I was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In my free time, I write stories, edit videos, and study all the ways I can cook and bake with lemons.

Question 1: How have your past experiences influenced you as a writer?

Everyone is influenced by their life experiences, and I’m no exception. The bulk of my writing is therapeutic: answering questions I’ve always wanted to ask, exploring philosophies that intrigue me, etc.

Question 2: What do the words “writer’s block” mean to you? 

Writer’s block is a blend of several inhibiting factors: lack of confidence in one’s abilities and ideas, crippling perfectionism, and impatience with yourself.

Question 3: What is your writing process like? Are you more of a plotter or a pantser?

A: Definitely more of a plotter. An outline helps me write the first few scenes, and those scenes allow me to see which gaps need to be filled. Plus, I’m a goal oriented person, having a checklist to bounce off of is essential to my process.

Question 4: Do you play music while you write — and, if so, what’s your favorite?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. If yes, it needs to be instrumental — otherwise I’d just get distracted by the lyrics being sung. Christopher Larkin’s soundtracks for Hollow Knight are some of my favorite pieces of music for writing. His tracks are dripping with atmosphere, and they manage to tell a story through key signature, tempo, and instrumentation.

Question 5: What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about writing?

Creating anything is like jumping off a cliff and building your wings on your way down. Writing is, at its core, the process of making choices and risking making the wrong ones. Don’t ever let that stop you from trying!

Question 6: What do you think is the best way to improve writing skills?

A: The more you write, the better you will be. It’s like a muscle — in order to develop and maintain strength, you have to train it. Also, reading your work aloud will help tremendously with honing in your writing’s rhythm and cadence.

Question 7: What do the words “literary success” mean to you? How do you picture it?

We as a society picture success as a financial achievement, but that’s a tertiary goal for me. I want to write stories that I want to read, and if that story manages to connect with at least one other person, then that’s real success for me. The size of the audience doesn’t matter — it’s the quality of your audience that counts.

Question 8: As a writer, what would you choose as your inner beast? 

I’ve always been a wolf girl. Writing is a lot like being a lone wolf. It’s solitary work, and it’s not an easy path to take. Editing, however, can be like belonging to a pack. Find friends who are writers and if they’re willing, let them read your work — their insights can be invaluable, and this kind of support system makes the grind much more bearable.

Question 9: If you had to describe yourself in just three words, what would those be?

Creative, Persistent, Thoughtful

Question 10: If you could invite any three people for dinner, whom would you invite? 

Honestly, just my three closest friends: Anna, Madisyn, and Emily. They mean everything to me, and I couldn’t picture any better dinner guests.

Jenny Cook
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