Monday, February 05, 2007

What's Fresh with Jennifer Lynn Barnes's Tattoo

Bailey Morgan isn't the type of girl who shows a lot of skin, but somehow, she ends up in a dressing room at the mall with her friend Delia applying a temporary tattoo to her lower back. Never one to suffer fashion doubt, trendsetter Delia knows exactly where she wants her own tattoo: on her stomach, right where her shirt ends - can you say "midriff"? Annabelle, the quiet one, chooses the back of her neck, and tomboy Zo plasters hers on the top of her foot. The tattoos will last for three days, and Delia's sure that with them, the four friends will absolutely kill at the school dance.

Unfortunately, killing is just what someone has in mind, and Bailey, Delia, Annabelle, and Zo are in for the battle of their lives. Along with her tattoo, each girl receives a gift - a supernatural power to help them in their fight. As Bailey's increasingly frightening dreams reveal the nature of their enemy, it becomes clear to the girls that it's up to them to save the world. And if they can get Delia to stop using her newfound power to turn gum wrappers into Prada pumps, they might actually stand a chance.

Hello, Jennifer, thanks for agreeing to chat. Please tell us about your latest novel, TATTOO.

Jennifer: My newest release is a young adult fantasy/chick lit hybrid called TATTOO, which tells the story of four best friends who put on a set of temporary tattoos that- unbeknownst to them- have a mystical origin. The tattoos give each of the girls a supernatural power, and suddenly, it's up to them to save the world. Tattoo came out on January 9, from Delacorte.

Could you share a bit about the main character of your book and what makes her unique?

Jennifer: TATTOO is a friendship story, which means that even though one of the girls is the narrator, I consider them each essential to the story, but for the purposes of this question, I'll talk about the narrator. The thing that makes Bailey unique- both among the girls and among a lot of other characters- is that she's not particularly unique. Each of the other girls has a really defined role that they play in their friendship- Zo is the tomboy, Annabelle is the brain, and Delia's the fashionista. In their own ways, the other three are each remarkable, but Bailey just sort of is, and even though she's aware of this fact, it's not a major cause for angst, because the girls' friendship is so solid. What Bailey doesn't realize is that she's the one who holds the group together, and even though there are lots of ways in which she's the least remarkable, it's something that none of the others could do.

How did the idea for this novel come about?

Jennifer: I knew I wanted to write a book about four best friends who acquire supernatural powers. What I didn't know was how exactly to give them said powers. I wanted something different, and couldn't really think of what it would be, until one day, I found this awesome temporary tattoo in my drawer that was blue-green and sparkly and looked as if it could have some kind of mystical origin. The rest is history.

What do you hope readers will gain from reading this novel?

Jennifer: More than anything, I hope to entertain. I also hope that readers take home something from the girls' friendship. They squabble and
they tease, but at the end of the day, they have each other's backs. Sometimes, I read YA or MG literature and just shudder at the portrayal of friendships that have a real element of cruelty in them, not because these depictions aren't realistic, but because they are. I was lucky enough to be part of an incredible group of friends in college, and it made me want to write a book about friends who actually act like friends towards each other.

Thanks for sharing, Jennifer. I can't wait to read TATTOO. Best of luck with this release. Would you like to close with a novel you highly recommend and why?

Jennifer: This is by far the hardest question. I read constantly, and it's so hard to pick just one book to recommend, but I'll go with a non-YA book that actually stuck with me for a long time (a big accomplishment, since I vastly prefer YA to adult novels), MY SISTER'S KEEPER by Jodi Picoult, because it made me cry harder than pretty much any other book I've ever read, and that's saying something.

Jennifer Lynn Barnes (who mostly goes by Jen) was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has been, in turn, a competitive cheerleader, a volleyball player, a dancer, a debutante, a primate cognition researcher, a teen model, a comic book geek, and a lemur aficionado. She's been writing for as long as she can remember, finished her first full book (which she now refers to as a "practice book" and which none of you will ever see) when she was still in high school, and then wrote GOLDEN the summer after her freshman year in college, when she was nineteen. Jen graduated high school in 2002, and from Yale University with a degree in cognitive science (the study of the brain and thought) in May of 2006. She'll be spending the 2006-2007 school year abroad, doing autism research at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Visit her website, www.jenniferlynnbarnes.com.

4 fresh comments:

TinaFerraro said...

Kelly, you're on a roll of profiling some of my favorite authors and books! You and I know this is not planned, and everyone else just has to believe us. :)

Jennifer and I share the same editor (the wonderful Krista Marino) so I was lucky enough to get an ARC of TATTOO some time ago. I adored it, and was particularly taken with the friendships. Because like Jennifer, my groups of friends have always been the supportive kind, and so those portrayals felt very real.

My teen daughter loved it, too, especially the superpowers!

Not to mention the hot hero, so believe me when I say this book has it all.

Kelly Parra said...

That is so great, Tina! I really want to read TATTOO, also! And Jennifer has always been so nice to interview!

GeminiWisdom said...

I went to her website before but didn't realize this was the same person. She looks so young in her publicity shot! And her Degree totally blows me away. She sounds like she's going to be a very important person some day. It's cool that she writes books, too.

Kelly Parra said...

Yes, she's made wonderful accomplishments and looks to have an awesome career ahead of her!!