Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Writers Like Us - Jennifer Niven

I got a chance to read Jennifer Niven's All The Bright Places a few months ago and it was sooo good! I absolutely loved this one and am so excited that today is the lunch day for AtBP! Make sure you check it out and fall in love with Fitch and Violet.

Say hi to Jennifer Niven, she's the newest addition to Writers Like Us!

Jennifer on Writing
  • I've written eight books, and eight have seen the light of day. (Not counting the books I wrote before the age of ten, which included a partially finished novel about Vietnam, a memoir about my life in Indiana, and a series of prison mysteries.)
  • My favorite type of scene/character/setting to write is something dark and real with lots of dialogue. I love dialogue. I think this comes from my days as a screenwriting student at the American Film Institute.
  • No matter how long I've been writing, I still have issues with the middles of things. I love writing beginnings, I especially love writing endings, but there is always that dreaded, vast middle part in between.
  • A typical comment from my critique partner is “We need to tighten up the middle!” When I was first starting out, I overwrote everything. My favorite high school English teacher once scribbled “pure economy of word” at the top of one of my essays, and I’ve never forgotten it. I’ve since learned to write succinctly, but my middles are always too long.
  • The book I wished I wrote is In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. I love this book so much it makes me simultaneously want to throw it at the wall and hide it from the world and memorize it and force it on everyone to read.

Jennifer on Getting Published
  • When I was querying, I felt nervous and excited, like it was Christmas Eve. I’ve queried twice in my life, once when I was just starting out with my first book, The Ice Master, and then in the summer of 2013 after my agent died very unexpectedly. The second time querying was much more anxiety-inducing than the first because I was taken completely by surprise, was in the midst of finishing a book for Penguin, and had to very quickly decide what I wanted to write next. That book became All the Bright Places. 
  • The biggest mistake I ever made querying was pitching a book that had yet to be written! I actually did this twice. You would have thought I would have learned my lesson the first time, when I sent out query letters for a book idea that, it turned out, many agents wanted to read—only that book didn’t yet exist! But when I was querying in the summer of 2013, I did the exact same thing again—and then had to write something very fast to send to the interested agents!
  • The craziest thought I've ever had while being published is What if my mind stops working and I’m unable to write another book? It doesn’t matter how many books I’ve written and published, this is the thought that plagues me at the start of each new project.
  • When I got "The Call," my first thought was AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!! (Followed by celebratory dancing.)
  • When I saw my book sale in Publishers Marketplace, I started crying and then called my mom so that she could look and cry too.

Jennifer on Life Outside Writing
  • If I weren't a writer, I'd probably be an international rock star detective, my dream job from childhood. I don’t know that this profession actually exists, but it should. It really should.
  • Secretly, I'm terrified of skunks. In fact, I have recurring nightmares that I’m being chased by skunks or that I’m locked in a house and they are trying to get in. 
  • My secret boyfriend is Jared Padalecki/Sam Winchester. I’ve had many secret boyfriends over the years, but he is, by far, the longest lasting.
  • Sometimes, when no one is around, I sing along to One Direction at the top of my lungs. And maybe dance a little too.

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