Monday, April 27, 2009

So Not Happening Contest!

Please help me welcome author Jenny B. Jones to YA Fresh!

Hello, Jenny! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

I’ve been writing forever. I was the nerd in first grade who would write a one-woman show and force my classmates to be my audience. And somehow I still kept friends and didn’t get beaten up on the playground. So I wanted to be a writer forever, right?

And then in 2005, I thought, wishing to be a writer has gotten me nowhere. I have yet to have the writer fairy land on my doorstep and hand me a finished novel with my name on it. So I decided to get proactive and do something about it. I found a fiction writer’s group, joined, and went to their yearly conference. Within six months, I had my first contract for The Katie Parker Production books. Of course then reality hits. Omigosh. I can’t write! They expect me to actually finish the book? Then I have to then come up with another book? And honestly, I still have that feeling for every book, but somehow if you keep your butt in the office chair (okay, or on my couch) long enough, it works out!

Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule.

Wake up at five a.m. Hit snooze until 6:15. Go to school. Teach ninth graders for a few hours. Some days I even brush my teeth before I get there. Impart wisdom, give detention, break up a girl-fight, drink heavily from whatever’s left in the Coke machine. Come home, fire up computer. Stare at the screen for three hours, with intermittent breaks of email checking, Facebooking, and YouTube watching. Eat snacks every 20 minutes to keep up my strength. Nine p.m. rolls around. Get in a really good panic. Start writing. Write one chapter or type until my eyes swell shut. Fall into bed. Some days I even brush my teeth before I get there. Wake up and do it all again. My goal this year is to pace myself a little better, but I keep forgetting to try it.

Please tell us about your latest novel and what we can expect from your characters.

I’m so excited about So Not Happening, the first book in A Charmed Life series. Bella Kirkwood is a sixteen year old Manhattan princess who had it all: popularity at a prestigious private school, the latest fashions, and a life of privilege and luxury. Then her father, a plastic surgeon to the stars, decided to trade her mother in for a newer model.

When her mother starts over with her new husband, Bella is forced to pack up and leave all she knows to live with her new family in Oklahoma. But before her mother can even say, “I do,” Bella’s life becomes a major “don’t.”

When Bella’s feelings for the town go public, she goes from the top of the social food chain to being the girl everyone loves to ignore. Forced to work on the school newspaper, she meets one hot, but bossy editor, who wants nothing more than to chase her off with outrageous assignments. When Bella stumbles upon a campus mystery, no one believes her. . .so the new reporter must sniff out the details for herself. Bella must rely on her new-found talents, her chronic nosiness, and her faith to see her through.

Sounds great! What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

Next up is book number two in the series, I’m So Sure, which will hit shelves in early November. Bella Kirkwood’s life becomes fodder for America as her family becomes the focus of a reality show. Now a serious reporter, Bella falls into a new mystery involving prom queen wannabes. Some girls will do anything for a tiara! Enlisting the help of Luke, her editor, Bella will have to solve the crime before she becomes the next target. Can prom be saved? Will Luke ever kiss her? Will she ever learn to love Target more than Bloomie’s? Stay tuned!

We will! Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Don’t type with caramel on your fingers? (Learned this the hard way)

I think the most important thing I wish I had known, is you don’t have to have a complete story in your head before you start writing. I put off writing a book for years because I didn’t have this complete tale in my head. Wouldn’t a writer know how their own book was going to go? So I waited until a whole story popped in my head…and waited…and waited. Some of us just don’t work like that. It’s okay to just start writing and see what happens, where it leads. When I sit down to write for the day, I have no idea what’s going to happen. But I try. And the ideas will start to flow and lead me in a fun direction. And then it just spirals from there.

Another thing I believe in strongly is to just write like you. You know how you sound in your Facebook status or notes to your friends? Or maybe even your journal? That’s your unique voice. So don’t worry about sounding like Stephenie Meyer or Meg Cabot or Sarah Dressen. Your writing will be the best when it sounds like you. My writing is sarcastic and fluffy because that’s my tone in real life. I’m not a heavy, deep person, so I could never write this gut-wrenching novel. I like to have fun, laugh, and poke fun at life. And now my characters do too. Because that’s just me. So write like you. You’re the only one who can do your voice justice. And just have fun. Be willing to fearlessly sit at that computer or notebook and write some really awful stuff. We all do! And somehow, the good stuff comes out too. You can do it!

Thanks so much, YA Fresh, for letting me stop by. LOVE the site!

We're so glad, Jenny. Thank you!

To be entered to win a signed copy of So Not Happening, simply leave a comment below and tell us WHY you want to read it! The contest starts NOW and closes tomorrow night, Tuesday, April 28 at 6:00 PM PST. Hurry!

30 fresh comments:

Liyana said...

Welcome Jenny! Those are some great tips, thanks.

Of course I'd love to join the contest. Thanks for the opportunity. :)

Why I want the book? I want to read about how Bella copes with everything that's going on in her life and I want to know what the mystery is. It's also the first of a trilogy, so I'm introduced to a new series. Best of all, it's signed!

Amanda said...

What a great post! Thank you for the opportunity to take part in the contest! :)

I have to say that the reason I want to read the book is how much I loved Jenny's writing voice. As soon as I read the paragraph on her daily grind, I thought, "I must read her book!"

I write YA too, and I think it's great advice about starting to write before knowing the ending of your book. It took me three years to figure out that I had to write the part I knew to discover the part I didn't.


tetewa said...

I'm always looking for new authors to read, sounds good!

Llehn said...

I would love to read the book because I'm intrigued by it!


TinaFerraro said...

Thanks for all the comments so far, and to Jenny for joining us!

Kelly Parra said...

Hi Jenny, thanks for joining us on YA Fresh!! Good luck with the giveaway, Everyone!

Beth Kephart said...

I love an author who sits down and doesn't know precisely where the day will take her; that is very much my process, too. Great interview.

yabooknerd said...

Awesome. This book looks wicked good. Love the story line - princess that rocks the unpopular life. Intriguing, plus a mystery. Two of my favorite ideas combined! Looking forward to it.

Janie Emaus said...

Hi Jenny,
Your book sounds great. And thank you Tina and Kelly for this wonderful interview.

Katie said...

I love reading about writers who remind me that we are regular people trying to make it through the writing process.

I would love to read this book simply because the plot interests me. Plus, I always like to get into a new series.

donnas said...

Great post. I would love to read it because the characters sound very interesting and I love a good mystery.

Summer said...

I want to read this book because it sounds different than the typical book about a rich princess type girl and the mystery sounds fun. Plus, school reporters, always a blast.

Jenny B. Jones said...

Thanks so much for letting me stop by, guys! (And for the kind compliments!) ; )

kalea_kane said...

Wonderful interview. Even though you wrote about it, I just cannot imagine how you fit writing into your busy day! I bet your students love you.

I would like to win the book because I am a YA lover and a good series is so hard to find. My neice and I pass books back and forth and She just loves Jenny's books. This would be a great surprise for her.



booksarelife said...

I would love to be entered in the contest!

I want to read it because it sounds so cute! I love stories involving a culture shock, because normally they are very funny and entertaining and I love what sounds like a mystery aspect.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great interview! I want to read the book because of this line: "Bella must rely on her new-found talents, her chronic nosiness, and her faith to see her through." It makes me curious to see how the character grows & changes (new-found talents) and yet is still herself (chronic nosiness, lol). Plus, I want to see how the faith aspect is woven into this story.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a book, where the characters have to do a lot of growing. These are always some of my favorite books because we get to see the before and after. It's always fun to see the work in progress. Add a little mystery to that and a possible love interest and that's even more fun
A completely fluff reason is I am currently enjoying characters named Bella!

Leah said...

I would LOVE to join the contest!!! :D
I would love to be lucky enough to get the book because there just aren't enough Young Adult Christian books out there, but this one is one! Plus I absolutely LOVED the Katie Parker books.I absolutely love books and cannot wait to read it, even if I don't win a copy!

nicole viola said...

I love YA and just stumbled across Jenny. I can't wait to read her books. Thanks for the giveaway!


Nora said...

I want to read it because it sounds fabulous, and Jenny makes it sound even better. plus, what a cute cover!


Anonymous said...

Ooo... looks like an interesting book! Looking forward to reading it =))

Anonymous said...

I have wated to read a Jenny B. Jones book for the longest time!
And i'm always looking for something funny to read!

rebornbutterfly (at) sbcglobal(dot) net

Erika Lynn said...

I would love to read the book because I love "fish out of water" stories and I really love the cover of this one

sports dot erikalynn at gmail dot com

babygirlG said...

I would love to read the book because it sounds really fun and interesting!


Anonymous said...

Because it's the first of a trilogy. If it was the second or third and I haven't read the first, then I wouldn't want it all that much. Plus, I need some new reading material, so this provides a perfect opportunity.

jaam121388 at yahoo dot com

Mrs. F-B's Books Blog said...

Sounds like a great story! Love the caramel tip.

Caroline said...

I am always looking for new books to read at the beach this summer! This sounds like the perfect book -fun and entertaining! I'll buy it even if I don't win!

Jenny B. Jones said...

I just want to say that the pig on the cover does not have swine flu. I repeat, he does NOT have swine flu.

GirlforChrist said...

This book appeals to me because it has:
1. romance
2. mystery
3. humor
4. a cute cover
5. and most importantly, is Christian! Thanks so much for writing a Christian book! I hope I win this book, but if I don't I will try to get it at the library! Thanks again!
God bless!

TinaFerraro said...

Thanks for clearing up that swine flu rumor for us, Jenny. LOL.