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Giveaway and Interview: Author Jenny Schwartz Speaks About Short Fiction

ANNOUNCEMENT:  The winner of  Jenny's giveaway is Sally Jenkins.  Congratulations Sally!

I'm delighted to introduce my special guest this week, author Jenny Schwartz from Australia.  Jenny's novella (novelette really!) 'Drawing Closer' has just been published by Escape Publishing in Australia.  Jenny writes steampunk, a truly fascinating genre of fiction based in the age of steam but often incorporating fantastical supernatural elements.  'Drawing Closer', however is contemporary romance.  As Jenny's latest release is short fiction, I was brimming over with questions to ask her about it, as I too write and have had short fiction published in print (although I'm trying to branch out into longer fiction).

1. Hi Jenny, great to have you here as my guest today. At 10,000 words, your new Escape Publications release (escape/release, OMG did you notice that) is quite a bit longer than a regular short story but quite a bit shorter than a novella too. As someone who has been recently writing short fiction for the print market, I've been finding that markets for short fiction are shrinking. Digital publication seems to have changed all that. Do you agree?

Hi Maria, I can’t tell you how excited I am to be visiting your blog and chatting about books,
books and more books—oh, and short stories!

I wish I didn’t have to agree with you on the shrinking paper market for short stories, but it seems like women’s magazines are definitely reducing or eliminating their short story sections.Magazines like “The People’s Friend” are still going strong, but it’s ages since I’ve submitted and sold anything to them. I love short stories, but I think the market has definitely moved to digital…and I’m following it!

For anyone interested in the market for short stories, I recommend Womagwriter’s blog. She’s amazingly generous in sharing her knowledge.

2. Ah, I'm also a follower of Womagwriter.  She's brilliant.  The writing community is full of people who are generous about sharing their knowledge, I've found.  Were your previous releases short fiction too?

Pretty much. I have three paranormal novellas (angels and djinn in the “Out of the Bottle” series) and two steampunk novellas (“The Bustlepunk Chronicles”) out with Carina Press. I seem to naturally write short. Both as a reader and an author, I love the emotional punchiness of shorter stories…all the intensity of longer fiction, but respecting the fact that so many of us are time poor.

3. Do you enjoy writing short fiction particularly and why?

I guess I’ve hinted at it earlier, but to flat out say it, my prediction is that shorter fiction will flourish in the digital world. It respects that lots of things are competing for our attention and time. It hooks you in and it’s totally, utterly a read-anywhere experience. It was the articles on cell-phone fiction in Japan a few years ago that really got me thinking about the rise of short fiction,

4. Are you also writing longer fiction?

Longer fiction is something I want to do. I have a few ideas, particularly in the steampunk world, that need more space than a novella provides. But my first love remains short fiction.

5. What's your favourite book of all time and who is your favourite writer?

Picking one book is near impossible, but I’ll go with Barbara Hambly’s “Bride of the Rat God” just because the mix of early Hollywood and awesome paranormal inventions takes some beating.

My favourite author is easy: Terry Pratchett.

6. I'll have to check out Terry Pratchett, I'm not at all familiar with this author's work.  Thanks for that piece of information, I love checking out new-for-me authors. Now Jenny, back to you.  The question I wanted particularly to ask is: did you have to wait for a long time to be published?

Not really, but not because I’m amazingly successful. I took the baby steps to publication path. In fact, I’m still on it. I wrote a lot of really short short stories and submitted them to digital, magazines, often non-paying ones. I found the editors incredibly supportive. They helped me develop my craft and gradually my backlist of novellas has grown. I can’t say enough in praise of the generosity of editors—including Nas Dean, editor of “Drawing Closer”. Thanks, Nas J

7. What advice would you like to give to aspiring, yet unpublished writers out there?

My answer follows on from the previous question and is in praise and support of editors. My advice is not to be scared of editors, but to learn from everything they share with you. Some of my most memorable and helpful interactions with editors have been personalised rejections. Find the editors you really love, follow their blogs and tweets and learn from them. Your writing craft skills will benefit, plus you’ll be the first to hear of any opportunities to submit directly to your hero editors.

8. That's interesting, I know that your editor for 'Drawing Closer' is our lovely mutual friend, Nas Dean.  Jenny, tell me a little about 'Drawing Closer', as it's your new release.

'Drawing Closer' is like a mini-Mills&Boon. I adore category romances and I wanted to see if I could write one in miniature…and one with a much-loved Australian setting. Fremantle is a centre for the Arts in Western Australia, and that was perfect for my potter hero, Nick, and my wicked sketch artist and painter, Zoe.

Thanks, again, Maria, for this chance to visit your blog and chat about my passion: writing. I
hope everyone enjoys 'Drawing Closer'. 

I will be giving away one Kindle copy of Drawing Closer to one commenter today.

Thanks for sharing with us today and thanks for the giveaway, Jenny.

Click here for reviews of 'Drawing Closer'





Zoe Loyola has a secret. Just between her and her sketchbook, she loves sculptor Nick Gordon. Her drawings of him are hot and naked.

Nick has a secret, too. He’s being blackmailed. Protecting his family means ignoring his desire for Zoe.

But in the world of art, passion breaks every rule and secrets are made for sharing.

Buy Links:


Amazon UK

Escape Publishing


  1. Thanks, Maria, for the chance to visit and answer some great questions. I'm interested to hear other people's take on them, especially on the future of short fiction.

    1. Jenny, Edith here is a member of the same writing group as me, we get together to write and critique short fiction. I want more of my writing group friends to see this post.

    2. Perfect! then I can learn from you guys. Finding markets, keeping motivated, promoting short stories ... it all takes so much energy. Let alone writing the little critters ;)

  2. This is such a thought provoking interview. I shall have to check out some digital publication options. It's all so exciting! Oh yes and your novella sounds great. I particularly enjoy any writing based on characters who are artists! Edith xxx

    1. Edith, I don't know about you, but for me I have a large streak of envy when I think of artists. I'd love to be able to paint and the tactile satisfaction of pottery must be immense.

      Good luck with digital publication. It's amazing what opportunities are out there now.

    2. Great to see you over here, Edith, I want more of our group to see Jenny's post.

    3. Like you Jenny I love anything to do with art and textiles. My novel idea is based around a textile theme......And yes Maria this is such an inspiring interview we need the whole group over here!! :) Edith xxx

    4. Edith, I know who your comment reminded me of! one of Penny Jordan's early romances where her heroine restored tapestries. Such a fantastic author. Now I'm really curious about which textiles you're writing about :)

  3. Hi Jenny,
    You are a busy girl today. Melbourne, one minute, India the next!

    I've *known* Jenny for quite a while through the Romance Writers of Australia, but I think I've learned more about her here than in all the years on the loops :) I have your book on my Kindle just waiting to be read. Soon, soon, she promises.

    Great questions, Maria.

    1. It's a whirlwind! :)

      Weren't Maria's questions great? They really made me think...just as when you gave me the freedom to choose a writing craft topic to post on at your blog, I knew I'd have come up with something special!

      RWAus is brilliant for getting people together. Can't say enough in praise of them and its members -- thanking you, Serena, for your fantastic support of its digital conference midyear :)

    2. Thank you Serena! Well, from Melbourne to Lucknow and back, today's a busy day for Jenny. We're at late AM here at Lucknow just now.

  4. Great interview, ladies! And your book sounds fab, Jenny. Congrats!!

  5. The book was indeed incredible thanks for the interview Maria!

    1. Thank you, Desere! I'm smiling so hard at your comment, my face hurts :)

  6. I wonder how many of your readers are writers excited to visit Fremantle, and wanting an early taste? What a timely coincidence!
    Great feature, fun questions.
    You're in my Christmas TBR pile, Jenny :)

    1. I hope everyone LOVES Freo ... you'll all be locals by the end of Drawing Closer, so you might as well practice the affectionate nickname for Fremantle :)

      I cannot wait to meet everyone at the RWA conf. Cannot wait! that stranger hugging you...that's me!

      and I'm honoured Drawing Closer will be part of your holidays, Elise.

      Happy holidays, everyone!

  7. An interesting interview and it confirms my thoughts that the only way forward with short fiction is digital. Now I've just got to learn how to format for Kindle, Smashwords etc. ...

    1. Sally, good luck!

      I've had a practice run with Pressbooks, but I'm very much an amateur. The whole self-publishing world is so exciting it's daunting. So many opportunities.

      [If anyone's curious about my practice run with Pressbooks, the results are free reads downloadable from my website. "Guarding Christmas" is even seasonally appropriate!]

  8. I wonder how many readers you attract who are writers visiting Freo next August for the conference? A taste of Fremantle while we wait!
    Fun interview, I'll be reading your title over Christmas.

  9. Sorry about the double comment - didn't think the first went through.

  10. Congrats, Jenny! And I love what you said about shorter fiction! I think we'll see a rise in it as people have less and less time. I heard about the cell phone novels too in Japan. Those sound really cool.

    1. The cellphone novels in Japan really caught my attention. What was that old saying, the medium is the message? I'm sure the guy didn't mean it this way but I'm starting to think that what sells best will be defined by how it's delivered and digested (though that's an inelegant word, sorry).

      Of course, if next year turns out to be the year of the EPIC novel, I'll be so embarrassed :)

  11. I've only published short fiction so far - short stories and novellas. I'm not very 'wordy' by nature so I've found the shorter lengths suit me, yet I know of some authors who have to prune their work, whereas I'm usually looking to bulk mine up a bit!

    Escape Publishing provide lovely covers - great to have a romance publisher down our way - sending you a wave and gidday from over here in New Zealand.

    1. Cherie, I think some of us do naturally write short. Luckily, now we can embrace our conciseness :)

      *waves hi back across the miles*

  12. Hi Jenny and Maria,

    Sorry, sorry, sorry for missing in action. Got back online but it will be short bursts only.

    Great interview, and thanks for the mention Jenny. I saw your January release cover! Isn't it fab?

    Thanks Maria, you ask some great questions, lady!

  13. It is a shame we're losing so many magazine type markets for short stories. This form does seem to be increasing in popularity with ezines though and of course we can self publish short stories or collections of these.

    Short stories are great for people to read on electronic devices in spare moments and I think they might reach new readers in that way.

    1. That's my hope, too, Patsy. I mourned the loss of traditional magazine markets, but now I'm truly hopeful that something exciting will happen for short stories with these new devices.

    2. That's why I was very keen that as many of my magazine writing friends as possible should view this post and see that while the market we're aiming for is closing up, other markets are opening. I think many of them were offline possibly because of the Christmas preparations, but I'm going to continue to ensure that as many womag writers as possible see this post even in the new year. I shall continue to promote it.

    3. That's cool! We're all in this together -- readers, editors, publishers and authors -- shaping whatever the future of reading will look like. I guess I should include the techies, the people who design our ereaders, too. Definitely a new world!

  14. Welcome back Nas, lovely to see you here again.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the interview.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Maria, however did you manage to get Jenny here to India? She's answering my questions in Fiji at Romance Book Paradise!

      Jenny, you seem one flighty lady!

    3. There's an old Slim Dusty song ... "I've been ev'ry where, man..." that's me this promo week and a bit. It's been wonderful! Everyone's made me so welcome.

    4. Nas, on Tuesday, Jenny did blog appearances simultaneously in Lucknow (here) and Melbourne (Serena's). She answered every comment promptly and I don't know how she did it. She's quite an energetic lady all right! Harness that to the power of the net and you've got a dynamo!

    5. A dynamo :) That's such a nice thing to say, Maria. Whereas the truth is, I just love to chat, and you and Serena (and Nas!) have wonderful blog communities to chat with. Thanks for having me drop in :)

  15. Congratulations SALLY JENKINS!

    You've won a copy of Drawing Closer. If you contact me via my website with your email address (just to defeat the spammers harvesting our email addresses) I'll gift you a copy of Drawing Closer to read on your kindle or sort something out for whichever ereader you use.

    Happy reading!

    I love to hear people's responses to my stories, so everyone feel free to message me (my website has all my contact details) or share a review of Drawing Closer. Thank you for your support.

    And a huge shout of thanks to Maria for having me visit :) I've had a wonderful time.

    1. Many thanks, Jenny. Looks like something good to start my reading for 2013!


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