Writing a novel can be a challenge under the best of circumstances. In the words of novelist Joyce Carol Oates, "Getting the first draft finished is like pushing a peanut with your nose across a very dirty floor." But writing a novel can be an especially daunting task for authors whose daily lives are already impacted by neurodiversity. These authors often struggle with focusing, organizing their thoughts, structuring a plot, finding the time to write, and even reading works by other authors. Fantasy author Jennifer L. Jacobson lives with both dyslexia and ADHD, which has lead to some specific challenges, but hasn't stopped her from diving into writing and storytelling headfirst. Here are some insights into her inspirations, her challenges, and her process.
An interview with fantasy author Jennifer L. Jacobson; about her life, inspirations, and what she's learned along the way.
What inspired you growing up?
Nature deeply inspired me as a kid, and it still does. Playing in the woods around my house led me to believe in the power of wild places and I loved to imagine the memories they held. I spent hours building forts, climbing redwoods, and exploring deer trails. I loved taking my friends on the trails around my home, but I also spent a good deal of time on my own. I don't remember ever being bored outside.
I was also inspired by animals. The first short story I remember writing was about a little owl who got lost in a forest. Later, when I had my driver's license, I spent a lot of time at the beach on cloudy days, wrapped in a parka, writing brooding poetry and short stories in brightly colored journals. I love being in nature. It's why so many of my stories feature nature prominently. To me, nature isn't a setting, as much as it is an active character.
I also grew up down the street from an abandoned theme park, (every child's dream), which heavily influenced my work. Basically, even though I never got the chance to believe in Santa, I lived next door to his house, which I brought to life with my imagination through the chain-link-fence. For more on that park and my lifelong connection to it, click here.