Monday, March 11, 2013

Guest Post by Jennings Wright and Start of IXEOS Blog Tour

Editor's Note: Today we bring you the start of the IXEOS tour with author Jennings Wright, and we have a great guest post about the foundation of IXEOS and Jennings' experiences in writing the novel. Special thanks to Jitterbug PR for letting us share another gifted author with all of you!

The Genesis of IXEOS and Surprises in Writing 

by Jennings Wright

I don’t know if all writers feel this way, or if it’s just because I write in so many genres, but I am constantly surprised by the stories that I write. Sometimes I think, “Where the heck did all that come from?!” when I’m reading through a draft, especially on the first go-round, since I never edit while I’m writing.

IXEOS is no exception, and may, in fact, be the most surprising book so far, for several reasons. First off, I don’t really read science fiction, and my fantasy reading has been, until I discovered some indie authors I wanted to read, limited to low fantasy stories like The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. I do watch those kinds of movies sometimes, but still, I’m not at all what you’d call a buff in those genres.

So why, you’re probably wondering, would I choose to write this story? That’s a good question, and I’ll contribute to your confusion when I say that, at first, I didn’t even realize it had sci-fi elements to it! My daughter had to inform me. So. Here’s the story behind the story…

First off, I don’t usually decide to write a book in a genre before I have the idea for a book. I dream up the idea first, and then write it, and then have to choose a genre for publishing. I know genres are important for people who are looking up new books to read, but honestly, I just like well written, entertaining stories and rarely think about genre. I’m the same with movies, although I guess I lean towards action in all genres.

Secondly, I would say that IXEOS is somewhat “low” sci-fi, definitely low fantasy, and has as many dystopian elements as either of these. When I think of science fiction I picture space ships and laser guns and robots. IXEOS doesn’t have these, although it does have aliens. That look like humans.

I know, you’re still confused. Here’s the genesis of the story:

Late last winter, I picked up a National Geographic magazine in a doctor’s waiting room and read a fascinating story about the almost-200 miles of tunnels that are under Paris. There is a whole community that uses these tunnels (illegally) called cataphiles, and there are others who work for the City who check the tunnels for safety, cave-ins, and that kind of thing. Miles of the walls are covered with artwork and amazing graffiti, and there are walls of bones, which have been made into decorative patterns from the bones of an over-full cemetery. In short, it’s really fascinating, and I knew right away that those tunnels would be in a novel one day.

The second event was the following summer, when my daughter and I were kayaking around Beaufort, NC. We beached on Carrot Island, which is a narrow barrier island in front of the town, and walked over the dune to see what was on the other side. We expected more water, but not what we found: a perfectly round pond that was teeming with water birds, including a flock of mallards. We were looking around the area, noting the feed station for the wild horses that live on the island, when we realized the ducks were gone. Just gone. They hadn’t flown away, but they were nowhere to be seen. We walked around the whole pond, thinking they’d snuck into the reeds, but we never saw them again.

For a couple of weeks after that, my daughter and I sent each other funny, random texts about “where the ducks went.” They went all over the place in our imaginations! And then one day, I realized that the ducks could go to those tunnels in Paris, and IXEOS was born.

Having the McClellands follow the ducks into a tunnel and end up in Paris meant that there could be fantasy elements in the story. I researched other cities in the world that had tunnels and was surprised to find how many do. That led to the idea of portals in the Paris tunnels that led the outsiders all over the world. And from there the plot really took off.

I didn’t expect the book to become a trilogy, but I realized that I wouldn’t be able to fully resolve the problem of the humans and the Firsts in just one book. It was a relief to be able to spread it out and really explore the world and the characters rather than trying to cram such a large plot , involving the whole world, into one book.

So obviously, there were a lot of surprises with this book. That’s one of the best parts about being a writer, and especially an independent one. I can write the stories that fascinate and surprise me, make them the length I think the story deserves, and smash three different genres into one novel. Life doesn’t get much better than that!

Synopsis of IXEOS

The McClellands are enjoying a lazy summer vacation at the beach when they are lured from our world into Ixeos, an alternate Earth. Finding themselves lost in a maze of tunnels under Paris and surrounded by strangers, they discover that they have been brought to Ixeos for one purpose: to take the planet back from humanoid aliens who have claimed it. With the aid of the tunnels and a mysterious man named Landon, the teens travel the world seeking the key that will allow them to free Darian, the long-imprisoned rebel leader.

The aliens aren't the only problem on Ixeos -- the McClellands have to deal with brutal gangs, desperate junkies, and a world without power, where all the technology is owned by the aliens, and where most of the population has been killed or enslaved.

The worst part? There's no way home.

About the Author

Born and raised in Rockledge, Florida, Jennings spent her early years reading anything she could get her hands on, when she wasn't spending time in and on the water. She won a prize in the 6th grade for her science fiction stories.

Jennings attended the University of the South and the University of Tampa, graduating with a B.A. in Political Science, and almost enough credits for B.A.s in both English and History. She spent time over the years doing various kinds of script doctoring, business writing, editing, and teaching writing, but mostly having and raising her family, homeschooling her children, owning and running a business with her husband, and starting a non-profit to Uganda.

Thanks to a crazy idea called NaNoWriMo Jennings got back into creative writing in 2011 and hasn't stopped since. She's written four novels and a screenplay in less than a year, with more ideas on the drawing board. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, also a writer, and two children, and travels extensively.

Author Links

Facebook –
Twitter – @JenningsWright


  1. Very cool beginnings. Love how your mind works. I think there is a great advocate in that daughter too. Best to you Jennings.

    1. Thanks! Yes, my daughter is a great beta reader and editor for me, and I throw around a lot of ideas with her. We're both big readers, so that helps!