Jennifer Brozek discusses writing styles and creating engaging characters

Scifipulse recently had the honour of interviewing Jennifer Brozek. She is an American freelance author, a game design writer, an editor and a small press publisher.

Scifipulse recently had the honour of interviewing Jennifer Brozek. She is an American freelance author, a game design writer, an editor and a small press publisher. During this interview Jennifer talks about the difference between writing for children and writing for adults. As well as advice for coping with rejection. In her own words:


Jennifer Brozek is a wordslinger and optimist, an author, media tie-in writer, an editor, and a collector of antique occult literature. She believes the best thing about being a full-time freelance publishing industry professional, is the fact that she gets to choose which 60 hours of the week she works. In-between cuddling her cats, writing, and editing, Jennifer is an active member of SFWA, HWA, and IAMTW. She keeps a tight writing and editing schedule and credits her husband with being the best sounding board ever. Visit Jennifer’s worlds at or on Twitter @JenniferBrozek.


SFP: What made you want to be a writer?


Jennifer Brozek: I think I’ve always had stories I wanted to tell. It wasn’t until I really got into gaming and had an outlet for that storytelling that I realized I could be an author – a professional one – as well as a reader.


SFP: Do you think that writing for children requires different skills than writing for adults does?


Jennifer Brozek: Yes. I think it does. The author needs to have that sense of potential and ability to just “go for it” against all odds. Much of the writing for adults needs to be grounded in the pragmatic and the sound. Writing for children and teenagers doesn’t require that kind of thinking. Nor does it require the adults in the story to be right, correct, or the heroes. When writing for younger readers, you need to remember who the heroes are: the younger characters. Adults in stories can be obstacles or helpers, but they aren’t the problem solvers. Sometimes, this is a hard concept to get around.


SFP: Do you plot out your books or do you let the story develop naturally?


Jennifer Brozek: I tend to know the shape of the story before I write it. Like road signs on a long trip. But, the meat of the story, the emotional and visceral connections, often happen naturally. It’s good to know where you are going, but nothing says you can’t stop to sightsee along the way. Once the novel is done, I can look at it as a singular story. Only then can I see what I have missed, where the holes are, and what needs to be added or subtracted.


SFP: What would you say to encourage writers who keep having their stories rejected?


Jennifer Brozek: Always write what you want to read. That way, you are always entertaining at least one person – yourself. This allows you to enjoy what you do as you work. It also allows you the opportunity to decide what you really want out of your writing career. If the act of creation is a joy, it gives you the opportunity to determine who you want your audience to be. This allows you to choose the publishing route to follow or shoot for: self-pub, small press, boutique press, traditional press. This is such an exciting time to be a writer. You get to choose your publishing adventure.


SFP: What are you working on at the moment?


Jennifer Brozek: I’ve just signed contracts for two new Shadowrun YA novellas. They are the third and fourth in the Mosaic Quartet. So, right now, I’m doing a lot of reading, research, and thinking. This is one of my favourite parts of writing, all of the potential is still there.


SFP: What would you say is the secret to creating an engaging character that readers will root for?


Jennifer Brozek: Make them relatable in some way. All of us have random fears, random flaws, random joys, random quirks. Give your characters something the reader can understand and identify with. Not just the victories or the fails. Give them something they love and/or hate to do when they aren’t being the main character of the story. Make them real enough for your readers to love or hate – but not ignore.


SFP: Following on from that question, what to you makes a good villain or antagonist?


Jennifer Brozek: No person ever wakes up one day and thinks: “I will be a bad guy today.” A good villain or antagonist will be like everyone else, except they will take their position that step too far. They will make a decision that they are right about something, and they will follow that conclusion to its logical next step in broad strokes without second-guessing themselves. “The military is killing people so I will do everything I can to eliminate it from the world.” Or “Joe represents everything I see as wrong in this world, so I will do everything I can to kill Joe or control them.” A good villain or antagonist is the person you see living next door who has taken things three steps too far in a neighborhood squabble.


SFP: And finally, if you could change one character, story arc or plot point in one SF book, what would you change and why?


Jennifer Brozek: I’ve thought about this for a while, and in the end, I wouldn’t change any particular character, plot point or story arc. As both an author and a reader. I accept the stories as written – for good or ill – because that is what the author intended. It would be arrogant of me to say that I could have done better. Even if I don’t like what happened to the character or the story, I learn something from everything I read. Those lessons are my own and I cherish them.


Scifipulse would like to extend our most heartfelt thanks and warmest best wishes to Jennifer Brozek for so graciously taking the time to answer our questions.


Check out our Alan Dean Foster interview here


Check out our S. T. Gibson interview here

Autistic citizen journalist for Scifipulse. Aspiring writer, cosplayer and actor. Capable of morphing.
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