Five by Five – JENN BENNETT and the Five Books that Inspire Her

May 10, 2012 Five by Five, General, Giveaways, Interviews 25

Five Authors and the Five Books that Inspire Them –

Five by Five, May 7th – 11th:


Jenn Bennett is the Atlanta-based author of the wonderful Arcadia Bell series.  She is also a visual artist, a Tiki bar expert,  and a dark fairytale enthusiast.  Now, this totally explains the inspiration for Cady Bell and her world.  If you have not read this series, please do.  Jenn has a knack for creating characters you really care about, living in a world you want to explore.  

 Here are five things I love about the Arcadia Bell series:

1.  Diversity?  Why, yes.

A forty-something, divorced love interest with a biracial teenage son, who has a married same-sex couple as caretakers when dad isn’t around?  This is fantastic.  This is real.  This is my world.  These are people I know.  Drop some magic into this, some fantastic paranormal elements, and you have an urban fantasy I can relate to.  I’ve been known to go off on a rant about the lack of diversity in the genre as a whole, but Jenn Bennett rectifies this by embracing diversity in her world and I can’t tell you how much I love it.

2.  Jupe

He’s so damn cute.  What a cool kid.  Jenn channeled her inner teenage boy and created an endearing character that you want to spend more time with.  A movie buff myself, I want to hangout with this kid, give him a camera, and help him produce a remake of some horror classic.

3.  Lon and Cady Sitting in a Tree

Arcadia is just…cool.  Smart and funny; clever with her magic, independent, tough, and loyal.  Lon is just…cool.  Sexy, older, pirate mustache and all, strong, silent type.  These two together is just right.  They have a chemistry that jumps off the page. I count them as one of my favorite UF couples.  Please, Jenn, don’t break them up!  Ever.  That is not meant to sound threatening.  Nope.  Not at all. 

4.  What a Wonderful World

Arcadia lives in a world of magic and demons.  Demons that look like you and me, called Earthbounds, and those living in the Aethyric plane.  Earthbound demons have special abilities like reading minds, sensing or manipulating emotion.  Arcadia is a magician with strong powers and the ability to call and banish demons back to the Aethyric plane.  She also has come into new powers which she is just starting to understand.  This is a wholly unique world and an totally original magic system.  

5.  She Makes Me Laugh

There is great, clever writing in the Arcadia Bell series.  And a lot of the humor is spot on.  From the back and forth between Lon and Jupe, Jupe and Cady, to worrying about losing a vintage Zippo lighter when investigating a booby-trapped grave site, Jenn has a knack for finding the funny in tough situations while also creating humorous dialogue that feels authentic and unforced. 

(I’m reading book two now so stay tuned for a review of Summoning the Night!)


So, without further ado…Jenn Bennett!


Five Books I Love Oh-so-dearly

I write urban fantasy slash paranormal romance. Horror-tinged, demonic, sexy, funny, weird occult stuff. You might imagine that a list of my five most influential books would be dark and dangerous. Well, some of it is. Kind of. Because if you’ve read my books, you also know that my work is very character-driven. Less about action and the apocalypse and more about the experience of getting to know the people who inhabit my worlds through an unravelling mystery. Maybe knowing more about where I come from as a reader will help you to understand the strange—but charming, yes?—world of Arcadia Bell.


5. Henry and June by Anaïs Nin
For those of you who don’t know, Anaïs was a French-Cuban writer who is famous for her affair with Henry Miller. She’s been accused of being egotistical and a whore. She published erotica in a time when it wasn’t hitting the bestseller lists. She lived her life as she wanted, independently, boldly, and without shame. This book is taken from her unexpurgated diaries (the sex isn’t censored). It made me want to have a torrid affair with a literary giant and then out-write him.

4. Struwwelpeter by Heinrich Hoffmann
This is mentioned in my first book, KINDLING THE MOON, because it was a memorable part of my childhood. I was born in Germany and lived there several years on and off, as my father was in the US Army. As a kid, I gobbled up fat tomes of fairy tales with gilded edges—Hans Christian Andersen, Grimm, you name it—but this is the one that made a lasting impression. Struwwelpeter (which translates to “Shaggy Peter”) contains morbid tales of what happens to bad little boys and girls if they misbehave. I was (and still am) the Queen of Misbehaving. Stubborn, rebellious, and exasperating. I think my ten-year-old self looked at this book as some sort of challenge. The illustrations are AWESOME.

3. The Sandman, Vol. 4: Seasons of Mist by Neil Gaiman
The obvious choice for a Gaiman namecheck would be AMERICAN GODS, which is brilliant, of course. But I first discovered Gaiman when he was still writing Sandman, and you could walk into a comic book shop once a month and snag the latest installment for a couple of bucks. Now they are all collected in graphic novels, and the entire series as a whole is one big ball of life-changing, staggering genius. But this is my favorite arc. Lucifer decides he’s tired of being the devil, quits, and gives the key to hell to our story’s hero, Morpheus. If you don’t fall in love with this world, there is something screwy with your brain. And we can’t be friends.
2. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (aka Northern Lights)
Yes, this is a children’s book. Sort of. You’ll find it shelved in the adult fantasy section of your bookstore, too. The movie was a disaster, so if that’s all you know of it, erase it from your mind. This book, and series, is a beautifully imagined and breathtaking adventure. A model of fantasy worldbuilding. And it is dangerous. Very, very dangerous. Why? Because it praises rebellion as a virtue and portrays organized religion in a shockingly radical light. It also has a love story that made me weep uncontrollably at the end of the last in the trilogy.
1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
This is the first book I read that had a strong romantic plot. Gabaldon made a fuss that this series didn’t belong in the romance section, which pissed a lot of people off, I suppose. And her writing is sometimes indulgent and has its flaws. But I don’t care. I have loved Jamie Fraser since the moment he showed up on the page, and I still love him today. Filled with action, ballsy plot choices, witty dialogue—AND it’s a time travel book. What’s not to like? I’ve read the entire series three times. This is a desert island book for me.
My characters’ favorite books:
Cady: The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (she really just likes it for all the sex, not the literary pretension or Big Ideas, and often reads dimestore erotica under the counter at Tambuku Tiki Lounge when business is slow)
Lon: Freaky Deaky by Elmore Leonard (ballsy, cool crime fiction—Lon reads this and anything by Raymond Chandler during down time on photo shoots)
Jupe: The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film by Michael Weldon (Jupe makes lists of cool old movies while reading this, pouring over it for hours at a time)
What’s up next for Jenn?
There are three upcoming Arcadia releases over the next year or so, the first in December (LEASHING THE TEMPEST, Arcadia 2.5, a special digital short). And I have recently finished a historical paranormal romance, which is still in the hush-hush phase, but I hope to be able to provide more information about it in the near future.
Please do yourself a favor and read the Arcadia Bell series.  You can get your copies here.
Jenn is beyond wonderful with her fans so don’t forget to visit her at her favorite spots:
Now, enter for a chance to win a signed copy of one book in the Arcadia Bell series and ONE book of your choice from Jenn’s top five list!

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25 Responses to “Five by Five – JENN BENNETT and the Five Books that Inspire Her”

  1. melliane

    I love the The Golden Compass series and I’ve read all the three books. I also have all the Diana Gabaldon series on my TBR pile and I really need to get into them I think.

    • shewolfreads

      Outlander is an amazing book, Melliane! You should definitely read it!

  2. CdnMrs

    I loved Kindling the Moon & can’t wait to read book 2. I would love to win a copy of Struwwelpeter it reminds me of my oma and opa. 🙂

    • shewolfreads

      Summoning the Night was great! Just reviewed it. And Struwwelpeter sounds like a great one, too!

  3. Delilah S. Dawson

    Jenn is awesome, and I’m not just saying that because we share the same state, publisher, and #1 most influential book. =) I need to read all about Arcadia Bell! And I would choose Sandman, as I’ve only read a small portion of it and adore Neil Gaiman.

    • shewolfreads

      Arcadia Bell is a great series. You should definitely check it out. And I love that you left a comment here! Thanks, Delilah!

  4. Samantha R.

    Summoning the Night and Outlander, because I’ve heard great things about each but have yet to get myself a copy.

    • shewolfreads

      Two fantastic books! You’ve chosen well! 🙂

  5. Annie

    It would be a hard choice between Outlander and the Sandman, but honestly I am intrigued about every book you listed Jean!! Once again great post She-Wolf!!

    • shewolfreads

      Thanks, Annie! I need to read the Gaiman one myself. I’ve heard great things about that series.

  6. Pam Brewer


    I love Jenn’s series and have read Kindling The Moon. I look forward to reading Summoning The Night. I would love to read (from her list) Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series – I have always heard about it but never read.

    Thanks for the chance

    • shewolfreads

      Pam, Outlander is incredible. And Summoning the Night is just as good as the first book!

  7. rissatoo

    Honestly? I really, really need to re-read Outlander — it’s been too many years!

    • shewolfreads

      Ah, Rissatoo, Outlander is beautiful isn’t it? I could not put that book down when I read it.

  8. Stella (Ex Libris)

    Though there are several which pique my interest, my vote goes to Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, I LOOOVE that book! 😀

    Thank you for the lovely post, I loved reading about Jenn’s choices 🙂 Thank you!

    • shewolfreads

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I have to agree with you…Outlander is an amazing book!

    • shewolfreads

      Lea, I agree. I went out and got myself a copy of this after reading Jenn’s list!

  9. Molly Frenzel

    I would definitely choose Outlander for Jenn’s top 5. I had seen that book around for awhile and kinda wanted to read it, but just never got down to it. When I finally did, I was shell-shocked. Outlander is one of the best romances I’ve ever read. I fell in love with Jaime instantly, even though I have a “thing” for scottish accents.

    • shewolfreads

      Molly, Outlander is fantastic. And Jaime? Swoon.

  10. JessS

    Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Though I kind of wouldn’t mind if I could get the second one because I’ve only read the first (which I really liked). I keep meaning to read the second but it’s just so long that whenever I get it from the library I’m not bothered to start it.

    • shewolfreads

      It seems like Outlander is the popular choice! A fantastic read!

  11. Amy K

    Great post! I would choose Struwwelpeter by Heinrich Hoffmann because I love fairytales (especially the morbid ones) 🙂