Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
I’m Jennifer Juan, and I’m a writer and musician from the UK. I primarily write poetry, and I’ve released several volumes of poetry. I like to use language in different ways, such as in my books, as well as pairing those words with imagery to create visual poems. I also create musical and spoken word content, along with a weekly podcast about poetry, called Sincerely, Jennifer x.
What is/are the story(ies) behind your book(s)?
My previous collection, 27, With A White Lighter, was based around the idea that you can be an adult, but still be completely bewildered by what that means. I think for a lot of people, they reach a certain age, like twenty seven, and they feel they should have done a lot more, or that they should be doing certain things less, and it can be very confusing and difficult to wade through it and feel like you’re doing okay. My upcoming collection, Ol’ Brown Eyes Is Back, which will be released on May 31st, is really about overcoming that doubt. I wanted to express the simultaneous joy and fear of finding out who you are, accepting and embracing that, and moving forward to change the world in your own unique way.
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of inspiration from my dreams. I wake up often, feeling like I’ve just been exploring a completely different world, and I use those memories, of the places I’ve seen, and the days I’ve lived, in my dreams, to create new projects, when I’m awake. My subconscious really surprises me, sometimes.
How do you deal with creative block?
I like to listen to records, or go for a walk somewhere. I find a lot of peace when I’m around flowers and trees, and when I’m there, I can normally uncover any creativity that is trying to hide from me.
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
This may just be a personal preference thing, but I find that a lot of poetry collections these days use the black and white minimalist cover design, and it makes it very hard to tell different collections apart, because a lot of them look the same. I think your cover is your first, and sometimes your only chance to stand out and get the attention of a potential reader, so while it might make sense to use a popular kind of cover that has been successful for others, sometimes it can be better to stand out from the crowd a little, and make your cover a bit more personal to you and your work.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
I feel very blessed to have been receiving mainly positive reviews so far, but when someone doesn’t connect or click with my work, it’s okay. It’s a learning tool, really. You can take that feedback and use it to improve what you do, so I think of it as something useful really.
How has your creation process improved over time?
This time last year, I was able to work on my written projects, but wasn’t able to find as much time for any other kind of content, but now I am able to balance things a little better, so I am able to release a weekly podcast, a visual poem every week, and I still have time to work on written projects, so I think the biggest improvement is probably in time management and productivity. It allows for me to present my work in different ways for my audience, so that they can enjoy my projects in a lot of different formats, depending on their preferences.
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
I think for me, it’s a healthy balance of the two. I create content that I enjoy, but I listen to and use a lot of the feedback that I get from my audience, because it is very helpful to have some outside perspectives.
What are your plans for future books?
I’m releasing a new poetry collection on May 31st, entitled Ol’ Brown Eyes Is Back, which I’m really excited about. It has some personal things in there, a little commentary on the world around me, and some narration of my journey. I’m really looking forward to being able to share that with everybody. I’m also working on a special collection of short stories for Halloween, a little later in the year.