Why did you pursue writing?
I’ve been making up stories for as long as I can remember. As a little girl, I had an entire imaginary family and spent countless hours with these people, acting out their stories. When I was old enough, I started writing down the things going on in my head. The earliest one I remember was a story about a young honeybee who made a wish to have the ability to see in the visible light spectrum. His wish was granted and he spent the afternoon delighting in the vibrant array of colors he saw around him. But when he grew tired and wanted to rest, he realized that, without the ability to see ultraviolet light, he could not find his way home. The poor honeybee died hungry and alone. I was about 8 years old when I wrote that story, and I have yet to watch a story unfold where I didn’t lose a beloved character to death.
In high school and through college, I had several teachers who encouraged me to pursue writing as a career. While there has never been a time in my life when I wasn’t writing something, it wasn’t until The Todor Trilogy that I decided to publish my work and make writing a career.
What inspired your book?
Not quite two years ago, I was working on a novel that showcased the marginalization of women in 1950s America. Prior to that, my novels had all been historical fiction with a strong love-story theme and I was searching for a way to add some kind of deeper meaning to my work. I had thought this political/feminist angle was the way to go, but it didn’t feel right to me. To be blunt, I had no passion for it. Every bit of it felt forced. So I put the work down for a few days and decided to give my writing mind a rest. You know how the best ideas always come to you when you’re thinking of something else? That’s exactly what happened to me. I was in the kitchen, making dinner, not really thinking about anything at all. I began chopping vegetables, and the repetitive rhythm of it put me in a sort of meditative state. Then, in a flash, I saw the entire Todor Trilogy in a vision before my eyes. The world of Todor came alive in my imagination along with every character in it. I watched the whole story play out along with layer after layer of deeper meaning. There was no question. This was the work I was meant to write.
How long have you been publishing your work?
I have had numerous articles published over the years, but my first published novel was Revelation (The Todor Trilogy, Book One) in December 2013.
What’s your writing environment like?
Currently my writing environment is in flux as we just bought a new house and are in the moving process. I’ve generally been pretty flexible about where I write. Wherever my butt happens to be is where I sit to write. My plan for the new house, however, is to set up a proper writing station complete with desk and window out of which to stare. I suppose the one necessary requirement of my writing environment is at least one purring cat.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on Unity, the third and final book of the Todor Trilogy. I am very excited about this one! I won’t give any spoilers, but I can promise readers that the questions they’ve accumulated through the trilogy will be satisfied. I’m also writing The Todor Concordance, which will be available for free from my website. In it, I explain where I came up with character and place names to help shed some light on those deeper meanings I mentioned earlier. In addition to that, I am working on merging my writing career and spiritual healing career. Very soon you will be able to find information about my healing work on my http://jennanewellhiott.com website as well as special packages to celebrate the integration.
Author, healer, all-around kook, Jenna Newell Hiott boasts of having a limitless imagination, unless it’s nap time. While many of us had an imaginary friend as children, Jenna had an entire imaginary family—complete with a second set of parents and three siblings—all of whom lived in a make-believe world of Jenna’s own creation. One could say she’s been writing fantasy fiction since she was old enough to use words. And she never outgrew it. Out of this hyperactive imagination, Jenna created the land of Todor: a world of magic, intrigue, and power plays.