Cheez-Its and Spaceships ~ Outside the Margins with Kelly Jensen

Join Prism Book Alliance® as Kelly Jensen goes Outside the Margins today.


My reading tastes are really varied. It’s probably easier to tell you what I don’t read than list everything I do and will and have on the bookcase behind me, waiting for me to finish the other three million books on my multiple TBR lists. I don’t read…umm… Okay, I think I’ve only read one biography. Everything else? There is a season. J

What I read a lot of falls into two very distinct genres: contemporary romance and science fiction. At first glance, these genres have little in common. But when you examine the sort of characters I like in romance and the sagas I prefer when wending my way through science fiction series, parallels start to appear. I like quirky characters. The dreamers and reluctant heroes. The folks who want to be out there in space or at least write about it. And for the characters out there among the stars, I like the regular folk—and I want to know about their families and who they love. I believe they deserve just as happy an ever after or maybe a bigger one than my romance heroes. Basically, no matter what I read, I want to be swept away.

When it comes to my own writing, I also like to mix it up. I’ve written science fiction, science fiction romance, fantasy, contemporary romance, paranormal romance and just plain weird stuff. I’ve got brief outlines for historical adventures and would love to write a mystery one day. Despite knowing I’m supposed to be building a brand and an audience, it doesn’t make sense to me to write in the same genre over and over. It works for a lot of authors! They find their sweet spot and stick to it. I’m still figuring out what my best story is, though.

One day I’d like to write a big science fiction saga—a story of space opera proportions that follows a small crew through several adventures and perhaps even a generation or two. I’ve built a world and I’ve plotted several novels. I’ve even got a substantial chunk of one written. It’s a slower process than writing single title romance because of the amount of interconnected threads. I’ve penciled in one of these novels as a goal for next year.

Even if I do become super involved with this world, I can’t imagine ever giving up contemporary romance. Giving two people a happy ever after is an addictive pursuit. I love writing my characters through the ups and downs of figuring out who they are and who they could be together. First kisses are so special.

My current WIP combines both these loves. It’s a contemporary romance, but one of the characters, Charlie, is a science fiction author. He’s that quirky dreamer I love to read about so much. He’s writing a series of science fiction books about a guy called Kaze Windrider (groan quietly, please) who is a space pirate with a heart of gold. So less rape and pillage, more Robin Hood. His series is actually based on the outline for my big space epic. Some days, I’ve have the outline to both books open so Charlie knows what he’s talking about.

The guy he falls for is not particularly quirky. Simon is pretty straight-laced and has never read science fiction before. But he gives it a go and finds he quite likes it, especially when he gets to book three and learns that Kaze’s love interest is male and looks something like him.

At this point, you’re probably wondering where Cheez-Its are going to enter the conversation. It’s the working title of my WIP. I’ve been calling it the Cheez-It book and it’s going to be weird when I finally give it a proper name. Why is it called the Cheez-It book? The first paragraph of the first chapter should give you a clue:

For all he didn’t consider himself a religious man, Charlie King had a particular reverence for Cheez-Its. Now and again, he’d worship a single cracker by placing it on his tongue like a communion wafer. As sucking the life out of one little square invariably proved to be an unsatisfactory experience, he more usually scooped up handfuls and shoved them in the general direction of his mouth. It could be a messy business and he often ended up playing catch with a stray cracker and the crumbs. Which was exactly what he was doing when Simon Lynley walked into his life.

Also, I was eating Cheez-Its when Charlie started talking to me, telling me he wanted me to tell his story.

I hope someone wants to publish this one, because I’d love to share it with the world. It’s a constant joy to write and I’m really enjoying combining a lot of my interests into one package—or even one character. You’re not supposed to write yourself and, arguably, Charlie isn’t really me. But I put a lot of my personality into all my characters. So this one is all about Cheez-Its and starships.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, Charlie needs to figure out where he’s taking the plot in book six of our series. I need to check on all the outlines!

~Kelly Jensen

About Kelly Jensen

If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories of the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.

Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, co-written with Jenn Burke. At lot of what she writes is speculative in nature, but sometimes it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.

You can chat with Kelly on Twitter @kmkjensen or visit her blog at where she rambles on about anything and everything.

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