Fresh Blood Podcast Episode Guest - Jenna Greene

Intro Banner of Jenna Greene
Intro Banner of Jenna Greene

Jenna talks about her growth into an author, how to deal with rejection and how she turns her difficulty into a super power.

Jenna Greene is an elementary school teacher by day and an author by night. Her novel, Reborn, won the 2019 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award. She is also the co-host of Quill and Ink: A Podcast for Booklovers which is part of the Authors on Air Network.

Jenna, thank you for joining us on Fresh Blood, I’m looking forward to learning more about your journey, could you tell us a little about your path from teacher to author.

Jenna talks about her growth into an author, how to deal with rejection and how she turns her difficulty into a super power.

Jenna Greene is an elementary school teacher by day and an author by night. Her novel, Reborn, won the 2019 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award. She is also the co-host of Quill and Ink: A Podcast for Booklovers which is part of the Authors on Air Network.

Jenna, thank you for joining us on Fresh Blood, I’m looking forward to learning more about your journey, could you tell us a little about your path from teacher to author.


Jenna Greene – Elementary School Teacher, YA Author & Podcast Host

Jolie Downs: [00:00:00] Today we are speaking with Jenna Greene. Jenna is an elementary school teacher by day and an author by night. Her novel reborn won the 2019 Moonbeam children's book award. She is also the co-host Quill & Ink, which is a podcast for book lovers and as part of the authors on air network. Jenna, thank you for joining us on fresh blood.

[00:00:26] I'm looking forward to learning more about your journey. Could you tell us a little bit about your path from, especially from teacher to author? I'm curious about that.

[00:00:34]Jenna Greene: [00:00:34] They went hand in hand. I think I got my first story published when I was 17.

[00:00:39] Jolie Downs: [00:00:39] Oh,

[00:00:39]Jenna Greene: [00:00:39] My, my book imagined the first draft I wrote when I was in university. That draft was not pretty, that's okay. That's what writing is. You just, it's something you have to practice that and there's no way The visit is just no way to get better at writing unless you've right.

[00:00:54]Yeah, so my teaching career went hand in hand with my writing career and I taught middle school for 11 years. So writing YA while. I'm teaching. YA, that's they go hand in hand. Obviously now I'm teaching the younger kids, but I still have that YA experienced starting to dabble a little bit in picture books and things like that.

[00:01:15] But YAwill always be my first love.

[00:01:18]Jolie Downs: [00:01:18] I love that you have tied this all in first. I think that's really brilliant and I love that you're expanding to, and two different things. So I'm not sure I'm not too sure where to start now. I think with the fact that you wrote your first book at 17, I think I find that incredible. Can you tell me a little bit about that?

[00:01:37] Where you published that at that age too?

[00:01:40] Jenna Greene: [00:01:40] when I was 17, I had a short story. And one of those Chicken Soup for the Soul books, I think it was like T yeah. And then I was trying to be a poet for years and years. That's what I really wanted to be. And I wrote poetry for years and they kept saying you are too wordy or too prosey you should not be a poet.

[00:02:00]And so then I was like, oh, maybe I should write something longer. You know what stories are tricky? I don't know how. There, I struggle with that. I don't even really write books. I write series. Like I can't even no wonder it couldn't be a poet. I was meant for more. And then I guess I was, like 1920, I was in university.

[00:02:17]Obviously I'm working really hard, but I was also dirt poor and had no TV and so what else do you do on the weekends? If university semesters are really hectic, but you also have the big summer. So it was work. And then I wrote for something to do.

[00:02:32] Jolie Downs: [00:02:32] I love it. So did you always have that drive in you from an early age?

[00:02:36]Jenna Greene: [00:02:36] Yes, the my grade two teacher made the mistake of telling my parents, I had a talent for writing and I went with it. I was like, oh, then I better write. I remember in fourth grade I typed up some story. I wrote on my mom's typewriter.

[00:02:51] Jolie Downs: [00:02:51] Love it

[00:02:52] Jenna Greene: [00:02:52] We had a computer, but she, I don't know if she was gonna let

[00:02:54] Jolie Downs: [00:02:54] with that type ring, right?

[00:02:56] Jenna Greene: [00:02:56] Yeah. So I typed it on her typewriter

[00:02:59] Jolie Downs: [00:02:59] Yeah.

[00:03:00] Jenna Greene: [00:03:00] and I took it to class and my teacher read it was a big star go fourth grade. Yeah.

[00:03:08] Jolie Downs: [00:03:08] I love it. I think that's great. And I, you know what, I think that's really important because how you mentioned that your teacher in second grade. said that you had a talent for writing. Cause I find that when we're told something like that, it really opened something up inside of us. It just, it like, it's oh Yeah.

[00:03:23] wait a minute.

[00:03:24] I can do it. It's almost like getting permission to go after it.

[00:03:27] Jenna Greene: [00:03:27] Yeah. And my parents, my dad is a scientist. He was like and my mom was a secretary for a while and she was a stay at home mom. And then she was a librarian. But she's if the teacher said, oh, she, she has real talent here. As a writer, you should get her a journal. They were like, all right, you're 10.

[00:03:41]They might not know. A lot about writing or the writing process. But if you say your kid could benefit from this, they're going to do it. They are going to jump on. That's the kind of parents they are. That's going to parent. I hope to be, if they tell me my kid has a talent for high jump, I'll be like, okay, I don't have to coach her.

[00:03:58] Do I, I just buy the pole in the mat and get her a coach and encourage her. Okay. I don't know any HighJump techniques. I'm just going to support her go high jump

[00:04:08] Jolie Downs: [00:04:08] Perfect.

[00:04:10] Jenna Greene: [00:04:10] or whatever her talents may be.

[00:04:13] Jolie Downs: [00:04:13] Exactly. I'm right there with you. My boys love baseball. I admit I am. Yeah. A fan of baseball, but I am driving them there and making sure they have all their opportunities. So now, before we move on, I met, I'm curious, because you mentioned the chicken soup for the soul book. And I loved those books, especially growing up.

[00:04:32] They were so near and dear to my heart during some dark times. What was your story about.

[00:04:38]Jenna Greene: [00:04:38] It was just really short. It was just like a page and a half. And it was just like a little. Kind of memoir you thing about loving. I can't really remember the content of it. I have it somewhere, but just about loving yourself before you go seek out boys or what, why does this boy not like me or what about this boy?

[00:04:56] And what about who cares it? You do you like who you are? That's what matters

[00:05:01] Jolie Downs: [00:05:01] Ooh. Yeah. I feel you on that. I've been thinking a lot about this lately, all the movies, and watching all the movies about, oh, just the love and it's about the wedding and getting that engagement. And I'm like, where's the movie about the self-love. I want to see that.

[00:05:15] I think that might be really empowering anyway. So tell me, what do you feel has been the path to your success with your writing? Because you have consistently been writing and being successful with this over many years, which is something that a lot of people would love to do.

[00:05:31] Jenna Greene: [00:05:31] I guess I'm keeping at it. There was, good tenure dry spell between that short story being published. A book being published.

[00:05:41] Jolie Downs: [00:05:41] you were 17.

[00:05:41]Jenna Greene: [00:05:41] As you, my teaching career, and when I had to get better, I had to write a bunch of bad books and then I had to have them submitted and people tell me these are not good. And I ha you have to go through that. And then. Once you finally start to write something kind of good, then you have to go through with the publishers and the editors.

[00:06:02] And they're like, it's still at this point. And that's a hard pill to take when your editor sends you, here's your edits and it is all red,. And you're like, okay, you like the word the on page seven and the word and on page 12. So that's good, but you have to look past that and say, they like this.

[00:06:20] They want to publish it. They think there's merit in it. Okay. Now we got to work through this process and, but it's a hard pill to swallow. That first book that gets edited or even the first few. Now, once you get better the, my latest novel, there was a lot less red. It was like every couple of pages.

[00:06:38] I was like, yes, I'm getting the hang of it, but you have to be willing to learn and constantly being learning for years, not days, not weeks. Years you're going to be learning. And, you mentioned earlier with Quill & Ink, the podcast we have authors on and I'm like, Ooh, I didn't know that. And I didn't know that.

[00:06:55] And I didn't know that, or, I wish that some, I wish that there'd been more technology when I first started. I was submitting with the self-addressed stamped envelope in the paper and using the. Writers got market guide at the library, right? So the information on word counts, standards and agents, and none of that exists.

[00:07:19]You had to learn by maybe after 30 form rejection letters. Maybe someone's and here's why you're being rejected. And now, all, I think that authors now have a little bit advantage. They have, they can go online and they can write type in how to self-publish and you can get information, or right.

[00:07:38] And I didn't really have that. Of course, that doesn't mean I would've known what questions to ask, who knows or right. So now they have information, but they got to dig through it. So yes, there's pros and cons, but I just never, ever gave up.

[00:07:53] Jolie Downs: [00:07:53] That's the key.

[00:07:54] Jenna Greene: [00:07:54] Like I just, something in me said it was going to happen and I didn't have anything to base that on, except just something inside that said, this will happen

[00:08:06] Jolie Downs: [00:08:06] You believed in yourself?

[00:08:07] Jenna Greene: [00:08:07] 10 years, 15 years, 20 years who knows.

[00:08:10] But just keep plugging away. And then once it finally did happen, then, things kinda, went from there. Like it was a bunch of things like this. Publix is going to be published by these people in this books, by these people. And now this publisher is going to contact me and say, Hey, Put a novela in his collection.

[00:08:30] Like I'm not even seeking people out and Hey, want to do a podcast. So if you can just be really patient and stick with it and just keep digging away at eventually things will come your way, but it's a lot of hard work and it's so much patience and you just have to have faith and that's all.

[00:08:48]All you're going to get back is rejections. Cause they're not, publishers and agents, they don't have a whole lot of time. They might be like, and here's why we don't like it. But for the most part, they're just going to say, no, thank you.

[00:08:59] Jolie Downs: [00:08:59] and not everyone's going to be at for everybody, but there is somebody out there that's for you, right? There's that niche, if you.

[00:09:04] will, it's about

[00:09:05] Jenna Greene: [00:09:05] Yeah. We talk about like reviews and stuff. Like how do you take a bad review? And it's I'm not everyone's cup of tea and that's okay. I don't think Stephen King is. Lying awake at night because I don't really like his style. I don't think he's crying going, but Jenna green, she doesn't read any of my books.

[00:09:22] Jolie Downs: [00:09:22] Yeah.

[00:09:22] Jenna Greene: [00:09:22] Like I hate Wuthering Heights. I think it is a horrible book, but that doesn't mean that it's going to be like taken off the shelf and no longer be a classic. I like this book and I don't like this. So if someone doesn't like my book. Okay. Maybe they don't like, maybe they need something else. They need to read a Western or something.

[00:09:43] I don't know, but it's okay.

[00:09:45] Jolie Downs: [00:09:45] It's okay. I love this perspective. it's so important. It is. okay. I actually want to go back really quick because talking about the rejection and being okay with that, I'm curious because that is, this is important. This is something that we all deal with. The ego it's, our egos are flaming up all over the place.

[00:10:01] How do you have any advice? For people when they have to deal with that, not a blow, that hit to the ego, if you will, and you have to deal with it and get through it do you have any advice for that?

[00:10:12] Jenna Greene: [00:10:12] It's okay to cry. It's okay. To be like, really like for my imagine series, the first book got a lot of good reviews, but also got a lot of bad reviews and people are like books juvenile. And then someone, eventually someone in the review column was like, it's a YA book. There's no one else knows it.

[00:10:31] Like one of the characters is 10.

[00:10:33] Jolie Downs: [00:10:33] Yeah.

[00:10:33] Jenna Greene: [00:10:33] Did you expect Shakespearian dialect here? And so you can have a sense of humor about it, where it's did you not know you were reading a children's book when you said it was. A children's book. No. Okay. And and then there's two phrases and I wanted a Stephen King by, I never know which one's his, but when I was younger, they said I found the quote.

[00:10:53] You are not a true author until you can cover three walls of a room with rejection letters.

[00:11:00] Jolie Downs: [00:11:00] Ooh.

[00:11:00] Jenna Greene: [00:11:00] Pretty close. Because now they email them to you and you don't have to print them out. And then I think this one's the Stephen King one where you said, okay, you want to be an author and you start to send stuff out, you get a stake and you put it in the ground.

[00:11:11] And then every time you get a rejection letter, you put it on the steak. And when you get all the rejection letters and it gets all the way to the top of the stake, you go get a new stake.

[00:11:22] Jolie Downs: [00:11:22] yes,

[00:11:23] Jenna Greene: [00:11:23] you just keep going.

[00:11:24]Jolie Downs: [00:11:24] Yes. That is, you know what, honestly, That's a key to success right there. You just keep going.

[00:11:29] You just got to keep going

[00:11:30] Jenna Greene: [00:11:30] I think a actors probably have to go through the same thing. It doesn't mean you're not a talented actor or actress. It might mean that you have brown hair and they wanted someone with blonde. It might mean you have 28 freckles. And they only wanted someone that had 26 records. It's just a lot of it's luck and chance and

[00:11:50] Jolie Downs: [00:11:50] And finding that, right?

[00:11:51] Jenna Greene: [00:11:51] and yeah.

[00:11:52]Jolie Downs: [00:11:52] I'm a recruiter. So I talk to people all the time. We were interviewing it's. You just have to keep going until you find that right place. And same with that interviewing too. Like you were saying with the feedback with the rejection letters, you just need someone to give you that little bit of tip of why you're getting passed on same with interviews.

[00:12:08] Just need a little tip of why you're getting passed on. So tell me, what do you feel has been one or two of your greatest successes in life and what did you learn from it?

[00:12:15]Jenna Greene: [00:12:15] I don't know. I don't know if I have big ones. I just have a lot of like little ones, like getting a student to open up to you or, helping someone that's struggling or, raising a kid that is silly and smart and goofy and creative, or, writing a book. Like I know that we all want to be published and we all want to win awards and we want money.

[00:12:38]But. If you talk to other people, they're like you wrote, oh my goodness. Like they admire you for that. And they're like, you wrote so I think we have to be a bit more aware and grateful that wow we accomplished something. We wrote a book and it didn't sell. There's so much that we can, Judge yourselves on, but there's so many things that we can celebrate and we really should

[00:13:00] Jolie Downs: [00:13:00] And those successes that you brought up initially, I don't see those as small successes, and those are successes that we should be saying, you helped a kid out today and help them find themselves. You helped a child when they were struggling and got them through it. And so they feel better now. Like we need to be celebrating that in that way, same way as you wrote a book, because those are really

[00:13:21] Jenna Greene: [00:13:21] you read a book? Woo.

[00:13:25] Jolie Downs: [00:13:25] You goand teach all of these kids every single day, and then you come home and teach your own kids and take care of them. Yay for you.

[00:13:34] Jenna Greene: [00:13:34] You got pants on.

[00:13:35]Jolie Downs: [00:13:35] But what about the flip side? What about a time of perceived failure or an obstacle or big challenge, mistake that you had to deal with and what'd you learn from it?

[00:13:42] Jenna Greene: [00:13:42] those they have a lot of yeah, like rejection. Ooh. The publisher wants it. Publisher is going to print it. They went out of business.

[00:13:50] Jolie Downs: [00:13:50] Oh,

[00:13:50]Jenna Greene: [00:13:50] Or you've got a great teaching job and you feel good and, oh, they're going to transfer you. And you're going to teach a completely different grade and a different subject.

[00:13:58] And your mom is sick and now she's gone. And then now you have a kid and you don't even have a mom. And you're like, I'm the mom I that the rejection and disappointment. And the, those are there's a lot.

[00:14:13] Jolie Downs: [00:14:13] Yeah. Yeah. Is there anything that you've learned from any of these that has helped you in life?

[00:14:19] Jenna Greene: [00:14:19] Probably I can always articulate, right? It's not like I'm going to be like, this moment, help me with this. Or this moment did this. It's more like I can just evaluate my character over overall. Like I'm a pretty strong, I'm pretty resilient. I'm empathetic, and I think it's all the experiences that add to that.

[00:14:39] Not just this one event, maybe. Empathetic. It's all these experiences led up to the person I am now who's resilient and strong and creative and adaptable or whatever,

[00:14:54] Jolie Downs: [00:14:54] yep. And unrepeatable miracle. Yes.

[00:14:58] Jenna Greene: [00:14:58] Yeah.

[00:14:59] Jolie Downs: [00:14:59] I love that answer. So now with your writing habits, have you adopted any specific habits that have helped you handle this? Having a full-time day job writing, being a mother, is there anything that helps you be successful?

[00:15:12]Jenna Greene: [00:15:12] I found my own style. That doesn't mean copy anyone else's and most writers I talk to, they need a good chunk of it. They need a couple hours and that's just what they need. I'm never going to get that ever. And I don't think I would do well anyway, like after an hour, my back would hurt and I'd get hungry.

[00:15:34]And so I don't look at, I don't go online and look at who's this real Stephen King out there again, I'll look at his style. I've learned that my style is myself. I daydream for a couple of days, and then I sit down and I write a scene and that scene might be two paragraphs, or it might be two pages.

[00:15:50]On average, I write for half an hour..

[00:15:53] Jolie Downs: [00:15:53] Okay.

[00:15:53]Jenna Greene: [00:15:53] Sometimes it's 20 minutes, sometimes it's one sentence and it's this sentence is horrible and I having trouble getting it out. Okay. We just don't, we're not gonna fight it. And other days I can, it's an hour and 20 minutes and I'm like, Ooh, look at that.

[00:16:07] That happened. That was fun. But my style, my time, my, yeah, I know a lot of writers. They set like word count goals. Like I'm in a write this many words today. I, that's not gonna work for me. It works for other people. It works for my cohost on Quill & Ink. needs that big chunk of time, but I don't know if I say I'm going to write 5,000 words today.

[00:16:32] There's a good chance. 4,000 of them will be crap that I then have to delete the next day. Why wouldn't I just write a paragraph? That's brilliant. And then go do some dishes. Watch an episode of the office, come back and write a two more pages,

[00:16:50] Jolie Downs: [00:16:50] Yeah. And we all have to, Yeah,

[00:16:52] We all have to find what works for us. You got to embrace what works best for your life and your style.

[00:16:57] Jenna Greene: [00:16:57] but new authors, they always are like shit, what are other people doing? Oh, they're doing writers, writing sprints. I should, or they're setting word count goals I should, or this famous person does that. Okay, but that's not you. And it, I think it comes a lot from teaching learn ed that it's an art and music style of teaching is not the same as the teacher across the hall.

[00:17:21] And it might be similar to the teacher downstairs, but it'll never be the same. And if you try to copy them, it'll never be authentic and it'll never really work cause you're faking it. And you just have to do you, and if it works for you and if it doesn't change it,

[00:17:38] Jolie Downs: [00:17:38] exactly. And that needs to be applied to everything. Everything. Thank you.

[00:17:44]Jenna Greene: [00:17:44] Except driving, you should all do the

[00:17:48] Jolie Downs: [00:17:48] It's work. You're right. Absolutes. Don't work

[00:17:51] Jenna Greene: [00:17:51] There's a few things you should probably do the same, but yeah. For anything in that creative vein. You got to do it your own way. And my goal is to open my laptop every day. That's my goal.

[00:18:04] Jolie Downs: [00:18:04] Yeah. And I'm talking about living your life, you got to live your life your own way. So yes, you're going to make your decisions your own way. These are the things that you need to push forward in life. So now what about, through all the things that you've experienced in life, is there anything that you've learned that has brought the most benefit to you?

[00:18:22]Jenna Greene: [00:18:22] I've got a thicker skin along the way. That's helped. No sometimes, when I was about 25, 26, I developed an anxiety disorder and it is horrendous and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I hate it and I want to get rid of it, but I also sometimes call it my superpower because it's made me more in tune to other people's emotions or other people's sensitivities.

[00:18:45] And it's made me a better teacher and a better mom. And it's tough. But since I have it and I can't really get rid of it, I might as well try and see a flip side to it. And there are some, there are some benefits and some advantages and it probably makes me a better writer of certain emotions and certain scenes.

[00:19:03]You can find the flip side on, even something like that.

[00:19:06] Jolie Downs: [00:19:06] I agree. And that's a key part of life is being able to find that. That flip side of things. Now, what helps you push through those types of feelings and whatnot?

[00:19:16]Jenna Greene: [00:19:16] See, I'm notnormal in anything I do. So even my anxiety disorder, like I only have three triggers. So as long as you're not giving me a blood test or telling me I can't eat for 12 hours, I'm pretty good. Even with that, I'm so different. But yeah, I like talking to therapists and stuff.

[00:19:36] I'm like, oh, you're going to let me talk about me. Ooh, fun.

[00:19:38] Jolie Downs: [00:19:38] Therapy is amazing. I'm a big proponent of therapy personally. Now you mentioned your mom losing your mom and then having a child when your mom's not there. And I, I. And I'm sorry I had the same experience. It was very hard. I'm wondering if there's anything that you've taken away from that experience that might help other people.

[00:19:59]Jenna Greene: [00:19:59] I, And try to remind, not like I'm not preachy about it, but when other people are complaining about their parents, I'm like a little bit more grateful there. And again, I just try to see the humor. She passed and four months later I'm holding the baby and I'm like, Ooh, this is interesting.

[00:20:13] And I'm trying to ask my dad. I was like, oh, what did you do when I cried all night and I couldn't sleep, he's I don't know. I gave it to your mother. Thanks dad, and he was my big support. And so he was learning stuff and I was learning stuff. And I think he learned to appreciate what she did because she was stay at home mom until I was about 15 or 16.

[00:20:30] And he was like, wow, she did a lot and knew a lot. And both of us are now trying to discover what to do. Cause he's babysitting when I'm asleep. Cause I haven't slept in four days. He's huh. All right. It was a really good bonding experience for me and my dad as we both. Figure this out.

[00:20:45] Jolie Downs: [00:20:45] Oh, I bet. I do the same. It is. I don't know. Sometimes our experiences that we have that are painful. And when we have to get through them, we lived through them. We learned through them, but sometimes they're also good reminders to other people. And I tried to do the same as well. When, just as it's another perspective, when someone is really struggling with their parents, what have you, it's another perspective to have someone to be like there's another option.

[00:21:06] That's worse,

[00:21:06] Jenna Greene: [00:21:06] yeah, it made me and my dad we've always been close, but even closer. And then, with her gone I have to look out for him now he's getting older and I have to think about all the stuff he did for me, and now I have to do that for him. And so made me more aware and a little bit more protective of him.

[00:21:22]And just a little bit closer than we already were.

[00:21:25] Jolie Downs: [00:21:25] Yeah, that's great. Yeah. I love that. Now, have you, I'm just curious, because in your bio you have something that says you're a dragon boat coach. What is a dragon boat coach?

[00:21:35]Jenna Greene: [00:21:35] So a dragon boat is it's a boat that fits 20 paddlers, one drummer and one steers person. So this steers person obviously steers the boat. You have 20 paddlers that have to paddle in unison. And then you have a drummer at the front and they are called the drummer. Cause there's a big drum in there.

[00:21:50] Beat the drum to keep the time there's a little bit more complication to it than that with the pacesetters and things like that. But I started drinking boating. Night, almost 20 years ago. And then, I've I'm not much of a steers person cause they have to have balance and stuff.

[00:22:03] I know the technicality of it, but I don't really do it. But I paddled and I've drummed and then I started coaching because there's not a lot of people that, that do it

[00:22:11] Jolie Downs: [00:22:11] Fascinating and someone go, does try and do a dragon boat or do you have to be a part of it?

[00:22:15]Jenna Greene: [00:22:15] It's tricky. It's not like a canoe where you can just jump in. If you just jump in a dragon boat you're missing, like

[00:22:20] Jolie Downs: [00:22:20] No. I'm like groups where you can be like, Hey, I'd love to check this out. could I come on your dragon boat with you?

[00:22:26] Jenna Greene: [00:22:26] Yeah. Yeah. I It really depends where you live. Here, where I live, we have the dragon boat association, Southern Alberta, and maybe not now with COVID, they're always like here's an event. You can come try it out or right. Cause you need some people with you. You can't just show up and be like, let's paddle this thing by myself.

[00:22:42]But they, it depends where you live

[00:22:44] Jolie Downs: [00:22:44] Oh, I'm fully out of my bucket

[00:22:45] Jenna Greene: [00:22:45] can join it.

[00:22:46] Jolie Downs: [00:22:46] happening. And I will email you when I do. I did it. It sounds fascinating. Have you as being a reader. I'm curious, have you read any books or even like seeing a talk or a video movie that had a big impact on your life that you think others would benefit from?


[00:23:03] Jenna Greene: [00:23:03] All of them. I have a different one every month. Like I know when I went through that ed program to the education program to become a teacher the books speak, I'd never read a book like that before. And that really inspired my book heroine like that, that a book could be about an issue like that.

[00:23:20] And the reveal at the end, the hunger games and divergent with that re rebirth of the dystopian movement. We hadn't had books like 1984 and brave new world came out in like the fifties and sixties, and then you have the giver, but then, there was a big gap and then the hunger games came out and then you had all the kind of that dystopian literature that birthright.

[00:23:43] Loved it. And the reborn series is definitely in that dystopian, genre, right? So everywhere. Yes. All books all the time are always inspiring me at all moments. There's your answer?

[00:23:58]Jolie Downs: [00:23:58] I hadn't heard the book speak, so I'm going to have to look up that one and check that out.

[00:24:03]Jenna Greene: [00:24:03] Laurie house Anderson.

[00:24:04] Jolie Downs: [00:24:04] Okay. All right. Very cool. Now with your books, do you have any new ones coming out?

[00:24:10] Jenna Greene: [00:24:10] So I have so reborn came out in 2019 and the sequel renew comes out June 21st.

[00:24:20] Jolie Downs: [00:24:20] Awesome. And we'll give it a little, just a little recap on what they are in case listeners. Want to go check them out?

[00:24:25] Jenna Greene: [00:24:25] Yeah. Okay. So reborn we're introduced to a character named Lexel and she's 16, and it kinda starts in a rough spot. She's being sold into slavery. So know that's sucks and and the reason why she has marks on her skin, she has seven marks and they're known as memory marks and in the society that she lives in, they say that if you have these marks, you're a reborn, you've lived previous lives.

[00:24:44] You have connections to the past and. Since you're privileged enough to have lived multiple times then you must be a servant to once borns people that don't have that privilege of multiple lives. Now we don't know if that's true or not. That's the mythology of the society, but is that true? Does she actually have a connection to the past?

[00:25:04] Has she actually lived previous lives or is this just an excuse to enslave people? So that's really what the first book deals with. Her adjusting to, from freedom to slavery. At first she's calling, okay, this is just how life is, but there's a young girl who's about four or five years old and she's put in danger.

[00:25:22] So this makes our main character kind of step it up. Like can't allow that to happen to her. And so they're trying to get to safety. So in the second book, we've learned a few things that are true about this reborn myth, but there's still a lot of. Questions they've reached safety but if we know anything about life in the world, nothing's perfect.

[00:25:47] So the idea that you're going to just reach perfect safe city, and it will be idyllic and everything will be fine. No, right there still, you might be safe, but there's still this system that enslaves people. And so Lexus is really got the choice. Okay. I am safe for now. It's not perfect. There's problems here, but I'm safe for now.

[00:26:06] Can I live that way though? Knowing there's all these people that are slaves, including a friend who risked their life to help them.

[00:26:16] Jolie Downs: [00:26:16] It's an important topic.

[00:26:18] Jenna Greene: [00:26:18] Can. Yeah. And of course there's all sorts of new problems and that, but that the second book then the new one that's coming out is really that core of what are you willing to do for yourself?

[00:26:27] And what are you willing to do for others? Can you just sit idly by and see something bad or evil and just go it's not affecting me right now.

[00:26:36] Jolie Downs: [00:26:36] this is a conversation needed right now. That's stuff.. I'm going to be

[00:26:41] Jenna Greene: [00:26:41] then of course we have some old characters returning, but also some new ones and,

[00:26:46] Jolie Downs: [00:26:46] Yeah. And then your podcast is about it's basically, you're a recap on books. It's like a book review podcast.

[00:26:51] Jenna Greene: [00:26:51] well, we interview authors. And so we talk about them and their books and what they're working on. And then we just talk a lot about the writing process and all sorts and the behind the scenes of authors and what, what they like, what they do and what works for them and their thoughts on editing and publishing and all sorts of genres and things like that.

[00:27:13] Jolie Downs: [00:27:13] Oh, great resource. So one of those things that you would have loved when you were starting out and you're giving it back to Yeah,

[00:27:21] I love it. It's great. So before we wrap up, I'm going to ask my favorite question. What are you sure of that?

[00:27:28] Jenna Greene: [00:27:28] I am clumsy.

[00:27:29]Jolie Downs: [00:27:29] You have in your bio that you're a clumsy.

[00:27:31] dancer, right? Isn't that what it says?

[00:27:33] Jenna Greene: [00:27:33] I do good when the music's on, when I'm following the choreography, but backstage I'm just bouncing off walls and tripping over stuff.

[00:27:40] Jolie Downs: [00:27:40] Having some fun.

[00:27:43] Jenna Greene: [00:27:43] Is that the answer most people give? No. Okay.

[00:27:49] Jolie Downs: [00:27:49] I usually get something different from everyone. I think I've gotten to the same answer. Yeah.

[00:27:53] but other than that, I always get something different, which is why I like to ask it, because I think it's fun to see what people come up with.

[00:27:58] Jenna Greene: [00:27:58] There you go.

[00:27:59]Jolie Downs: [00:27:59] But thank you so much for joining us

[00:28:00]I appreciate your time, Jenna. I'll make sure and have your website and any other links that you would like in the show notes for people. And we appreciate it.

[00:28:09] Jenna Greene: [00:28:09] Thanks for having me.

Jolie Downs:

I had so much fun talking with Jenna. I love how right away jenna talked about writing her first book and that the first draft was not pretty – and that is ok – you have to practice at something to get better – there’s no way to be good at something without doing that something over and over and over again.

So many people will get frustrated when they aren’t good at something early on in the process, and they’ll decide to give up – either because they think they aren’t meant for it if they aren’t immediately good or they worry people will make fun of them as they make effort in those beginning stages or they think who am I, I’ll never master this and simply let it go.

Have you ever done that?

I know I have in the past but I’ve learned.

It’s great to try all kinds of things. If you try something and really don’t like it, it’s ok to let it go, but if you try something and it sparks anything inside of you in any way, enjoy it, regardless of how bad you think it may be. It’s not about how good you are, it’s about chasing that spark. If you let go of your own self judgements and limitations, focusing only on chasing that spark and enjoying the learning, you will become that master in due time.

As Jenna shared, she wrote many books, many ‘self-proclaimed’ bad books over many years, before hitting her stride and becoming the award winning YA author she is today.

I want to give a shout out to Jenna’s second grade teacher for telling Jenna she had a talent for writing and to her parents for supporting her. This is so important in life to praise people in areas they are good at. Giving a simple verbal reinforcement, something that you likely won’t remember in a few months time, can be a life changing moment for someone.

You can be that positive impact on someone.


Look at the people around, watch your family and friends, your co-workers, the people you come into contact with around where you live, if there is something you can give them a compliment on – do it. You never know when that positive comment could be so badly needed. You never know how a positive reinforcement might impact the life that just passed you. It costs you nothing but could mean everything to that person in that moment.

Through those years, and even to this day, Jenna has had to deal with rejections and ego taxing edits. She’s learned an important lesson in life, the lesson of letting go of the ego. This is so important. It’s important to learn when to tap into the ego when needed and when to let go. Ego will get in the way of your relationships and your learning. As Jenna shared, she used her ego in a positive way to keep her moving forward, by believing in herself, doing the hard work, putting one foot in front of the other and pushing past the rejections. She learned to let go of her ego when she needed to learn and develop strong relationships with her writing team.

If you find you are struggling within any of your relationships, whether personal or professional, I ask, is your ego leading the way?

What would happen if you dropped your ego and instead became curious?

I urge you to find out.

I absolutely loved what Jenna had to share about taking a bad review. She said, hey, I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s ok.

That’s ok.

You don’t have others approval to be valuable.

As Jenna perfectly put it – Stephen King isn’t lying awake at night worrying about Jenna not liking his books. A classic won’t be removed from the shelves because she finds it boring.

Jenna feels the same way about what she is doing. She took Stephen King’s advice, got herself a stake and when faced with rejection, she throws that letter on the stake, sheds a tear if particularly hurt and then moved on, continuing to do what she loves to do.

We can all learn from this. There are countless ways rejection comes in life, for everyone at some point or another, and that’s ok. Let us all create our own personal mental stake in the ground and every time you experience a moment of rejection, mentally take that moment and throw it on your stake. Remind yourself it’s ok, every single person in this world has their own rejections stake, and then keep moving forward. I want you to own that mental rejection stake with pride as the only way you that rejection pile will rise is if you are out there personally growing, learning and trying - and people, that is where magic can happen. Story after story has proven that our success grows by learning from the ashes of failure and rejection.

I have reflected a lot on the exchange Jenna and I had about what we congratulate people about. There are certain things that people get really excited about you doing – like she said, she got so much excitement around her writing her book – to be clear, as she should, it is a huge accomplishment – but there are so many things that are done on a daily basis that are taken for granted and should also be celebrated in life. Often these things are done when there are few or no one else present and they get no kudos, no slap on the back for these things that really are a very big deal for someone. Jenna is a teacher, teachers have countless moments of positive impacts that stay with their student forever. Those moments are incredibly important, they should be celebrated. What about when your internet goes out, people are sent out to fix that and get our badly needed connection going again, that should be celebrated! Or the driver that picks up the elderly and disabled, safely taking them where they need to go and giving them the ability to be mobile. Or what about the new VP of People who straightens out a negative culture and creates a thriving, positive oasis? All of these should be celebrated! Just as much as hitting a home run. Just as much as blocking a tackle or making a touch down. Just as much as writing a book. We are all making an impact in our own way.

Do you ever dismiss what you bring to the table? Do you make the mistake of thinking it’s not as important or doesn’t matter? I know I have. But I’m learning.

There are so many things we tend to judge ourselves on instead of looking for things we should celebrate ourselves for. I urge us all, moving forward, to every day look for those moments to celebrate, both in others and within ourselves. Let’s all proactively notice all those things to feel good about, that we do and that we see others do, and then give yourself and others that pat on the back, every time it’s deserved.

I loved that when I asked Jenna about her habits she said she has found her own style, the one that works for her. This is why I love asking people about the habits that are successful for them, the more we learn about what works for others the easier it will be to find what works for us – and that’s the goal. Finding those habits that work for us, the ones that help us move forward in all the ways we need to do. Jenna has learned not to compare herself to others, bringing on that unneeded feeling of guilt about the SHOULDS. Jenna drops the shoulds and finds what works best for her, her family and her lifestyle. For example, If you feel badly you haven’t joined the morning club because you need those extra hours but aren’t a morning person, then create your own night club and transfer those needed hours to the end of your day. Find the good habits that feel authentic to you.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a last thought from Jenna. She shared with us that she has an anxiety disorder but that she also sees this as one of her superpowers. I love this and we can all learn from this. What we see as our greatest weaknesses can often also be our greatest strengths. While this anxiety disorder has caused difficult feelings in her life, it has also made her more in tune to others emotions, more sensitive to others needs and it likely makes her a better writer, contributing to her overall passion.

I urge you to look at your own difficulties in life. Is there a way you can reframe how that has impacted your life? What have you learned from it? How has it shaped you as a person?

You can always find the flip side of things.

So that is my wish for us all, that you are able to look into what you see as your own darkness and be able to find the light.

Until next time.

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