Artist Spotlight: Kori Jenkins

Kori, first of her name, Mother of Cats and Keeper of Plants, is a business owner, amateur writer, book nerd, and lover of all things occult and mystical.

Kori grew up in small-town Alabama, not far from Jordan! After a few odd jobs, she began running a small, portable business with her boyfriend before they moved to Los Angeles. When she’s not setting up her booth at markets or working from home, you can find her reading in her back garden, brainstorming and writing a zillion lists, beating her boyfriend’s high scores on games, exploring the hills and local parks, and daydreaming about having magickal powers.

Check out her website Coffee, Book, & Candle.

What projects are you currently working on and what would you like people to know about them?

This year I am participating in my first ever NaNoWriMo! My project is the first of a series of dark fairytale mashups.

What brought you to writing and blogging?

Writing has always been a constant for me, whether in the form of journaling, poetry, or creating stories. I loved writing assignments at school, and teachers pleaded with me to pursue a career in writing. But fear and perfectionism kept me from ever finishing anything. So when Jordan asked if I wanted to join forces for a blog, I said to myself, “this is it!”

What writers are your biggest influences?

Sarah J. Maas, Leigh Bardugo, P.C. + Kristen Cast, and J.K. Rowling. They have each created captivating worlds I love to lose myself in, characters I could talk about nonstop, and stories that I will never stop going back to.

Like so many who work in independent publishing, you wear multiple hats. How do you see your various endeavors coming together as a single, unified life’s work? Or do you? 

As far as my writing career, I have ideas for stories that I would like to expand and connect into a massive universe. For the community, I hope that our blog provides a place for indie authors to receive honest reviews that readers can trust, as well as encouragement and advice to help writers bring their work into the world.

When you get out of bed on a work day, what drives you to do something creative? What gives you the motivation to contribute in your unique way?

I go back to a one-card tarot reading I saw on Instagram once. The question asked pertained to finding the inspiration to write. The reader pulled The Chariot and said, ”you are the only person in the world who can offer us the thing you have in your body to write. Is that enough for you?” It’s such a powerful message that I screenshot it and keep it on my phone for encouragement. It reminds me of how Marissa Meyer said to someone that she wished Gregory Maguire would write an origin story for the Queen of Hearts, and the person said, “so why don’t you write it?” AND SHE DID!

What are some of the trends you notice in fiction? How do you feel about those trends?

For a while it seemed as though every female YA protagonist was a mopey “normal” girl with zero confidence or effort put into herself…who somehow ends up grabbing the attention of multiple sexy immortals who fight over her. So. Much. Cringe! Thankfully we’re seeing an uptick in strong female protagonists who are self-aware, confident, powerful, and make healthy relationship choices!

When you look at the world around you and the publishing industry in particular, how do you envision the future of creative writing, publishing, and/or fiction?

With the massive shift to online shopping and e-books crippling chain bookstores, I think we’ll see a surge of indie bookstores cropping up. This means longer delivery times and higher costs, which I’m not sure people will go fear, making me fear bookstores may truly become an endangered species. Will we eventually be purchasing our books solely online, via thrift sites, online booksellers, and maybe even straight from the publishers?

What would you like to see happen in the world of writing? What’s the change you want to see realized?

Indie book publishing cleaned up a bit, particularly their reviews. It really bothers me that people will publish a book with glaring flaws in grammar, format, and story. What bothers me more is that these books get obviously fake, all 5-star reviews. Oftentimes these reviews make it obvious the person hasn’t ever read the book. This unfortunately drowns out the real gems by authors who worked hard to produce a quality piece of work worthy of praise.

I would also like to see publishers work with fanartists more often. It is very sad that they receive so much free marketing through their work and actively seek to keep them from being successful for their talent. Beyond their skill, these people are fans who are invested in the stories and characters. They put so much more heart into their work, and it definitely shows because they make the BEST covers. It would also give the artists the resources to expand into incredible projects I’ve seen publishers squash when they could instead be making BIG bucks- like a group of fanartists coming together to create a coloring book that features work from all of them.

Is there a creative project farther out on your horizon about which you feel most excited?

YES! The first concept I started developing is based on some of my absolute favorite childhood classics, and what started as a standalone is now expanding into a massive series. I’ve also got plans for an urban fantasy that will require lots of research, as it will be heavy with lore and Jungian themes.

A big thank you to Kori Jenkins for taking part in the Artist Spotlight. Coffee Book & Candle, the website she developed with Jordan Alyssa Duncan, who has been featured on the Artist Spotlight in recent weeks, can be found here.

As always, check back soon to discover a new exciting independent artist.

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