Guest Fox – Jillian Jenkins

Please welcome Jillian Jenkins. She’s a fellow Astraea Press author, and has a very interesting guest blog today!

The Hard Places

The first rule of writing I’ve always been given is “write what you know”. It’s a pretty basic rule, but intimidating for me since every time I think about writing what I know, I think about how I don’t know all too much to begin with. I’m not the deep experienced traveler, for example. Then again, I know nothing about what it’s like to be a witch, a dragon, or an alien, and I write about those all the time.

Some how, I got over my fear of “not knowing enough”, and realized that writers are supposed to share their knowledge on life. And while I still am not sure I know “a lot” of things, I’ve grown more comfortable with sharing what I do know about being a human with emotions. Then my novel asked me to write a “hard place”.

A hard place is a topic, or area, that hits so close to home as an author, you’re not sure you want to write about it. Because if you write about it, then people will know just how vulnerable and weak you are. These topics are always so powerful that the author puts so much more into them than they do anything else they’ve ever worked on. Tears are often involved. It’s a big, dramatic, emotional, place to be. And scary.

Each author has a different kind of hard place. Mine came in the form of spirituality. My latest release, “Legend of the Great Dragon”, took me to a whole new emotional level. The timing was all kinds of interesting, because a lot of what the main character was feeling were things I was feeling. Or perhaps I was projecting myself into the character? It’s hard to be certain, because I was writing in that hard place. Sometimes, while writing, authors get so absorbed in their work that they become one with the story.

The topic: Is there a God and why should I believe in one? Regardless of your opinion on this topic, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that you’ll at least understand why this could get angsty. I won’t share my conclusions in this post. If you’re curious, you’ll be able to find the answers in my writing. The point is, it was hard. There were lots of tears and lots of words added, deleted, and then added again. Hard questions were asked and then answered.

While going through this emotional journey of writing, I can’t say I learned everything about the universe. I’m certainly not an expert on my hard place. But the joy of the hard place is that the emotions that come out are raw. If the author is brave enough to face their fears and tackle it, they can share knowledge on a subject that can never be found in a research paper or online.

You can find more of Jillian following the links below:

Barnes and Noble:


About Iris B

Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London as well as Canada where she actually had met her future husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper has only recently emerged, but now her laptop is a constant companion. Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her beautiful two daughters as well as her dog. Next to her job at a private school she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio
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4 Responses to Guest Fox – Jillian Jenkins

  1. jeff salter says:

    very powerful & thought-provoking.
    And timely. In fact, I’m writing a “hard place” piece right now. It’s a ‘short’ which I intend to submit to AP when it’s ready. It’s a companion piece to the novel currently in editing at AP.
    And it contains some of the dialog I had with my dad as he was dying.
    Even putting those words in a fictional setting, with different characters, was very difficult. When I read those phrases, I remember how I felt, nearly 10 years ago, as my father and I talked during his final days.
    It’s truly a hard place.
    But I think it will ring true with readers … and I believe it should be shared.


  2. I understand completely; I have a few WsIP that I am getting the strength to follow through on.
    But then we also have the times when we write and everyone is so certain that it is based on your own feelings or experiences, right? then it’s “Knock, knock! Hell-ooo? Writer!”
    It is never advisable to ‘fake’ it; a reader can always tell and there will be slip-ups, but not about feelings; they differ from person to person, from dynamics and age.
    Nice to have you aboard today.


  3. Lisa Orchard says:

    Great post Jillian! It’s interesting to see how each writer goes on their own emotional journey when they write a story.


  4. Thanks for sharing, Jillian. I have a hard place that I’ll be addressing in a future WIP and I’m trying to prepare for it. I hope I’m able to deal with it as well as you have.


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