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!