Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Fresh New Voice of YA- Interview with Melissa Jensen

1) How did you get the idea for Falling in Love with English Boys?

It started with London, probably my fave place in the world. I wanted to write a book about a teenage girl in London. But I couldn't decide whether to write about a modern character, or one from the Regency (1811-1820, think Jane Austen and Lord Byron). I love love love stories that connect contemporary and historical settings, so I started working on that connection and FiL was born.

2) You've written several other books, but this is your first Young Adult novel. What brought you to the YA genre? Have you always been a fan of YA?

For me, it's more about the audience than the genre itself. The Teens are the years in our lives when everything is most amplified. Everything affects us more dramatically. We have intense loves and friendships. Parents often become the Enemy; we have Frenemies. We might have sex. Music and movies and books take on an importance in our lives that they will never have again. That's the time I wanted to write about, and the people I wanted to write for.

3) Tell us all about The Call/The Email for publication! Where did it happen? Did you do anything to celebrate the sale?

I was making dinner. I can't remember what. Probably something involving greens and sriracha sauce. Whatever it was, we abandoned it and went out for sushi. Any excuse (book sale, birthday, nothing in the fridge...), we go out for sushi.

4) What's your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor (or flavors, if you're so inclined)?

I'm not a huge candy person, but I nab all the Toasted Marshmallows from the bean pile. And I was actually able to answer that without thinking, because my husband's mother mailed us a big box of candy for Halloween. She does it every year, sending all the stuff they have in Ireland that we can't get here: Maltesers, real Cadbury, Jelly Babies, Winegums... And this year she sent us a huge bag o' Jelly Bellies. Which come from California. This bag had gone from CA to Dublin to PA. We had the best-traveled Jelly Bellies in the Western Hemisphere.

5) What book(s) are you working on now? Can you tell us anything about them?

Next out is Truth or Dare, which is about love and social divisions and a hundred-year-old art mystery. At the moment I'm working on a teen love story/ghost story and a middle-reader book about missing children. Both are more cheerful than they sound. I'm really a Happily Ever After, Hearts & Flowers kinda girl.

6) As a writing professor and published author, do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Absolutely. So much that I'm putting a Weekly Writing Tip on my website (melissajensen.com). The big one, the one thing I believe keeps more people from getting published than chronic run-ons is not finishing. It seems like common sense: Finish a book. But it's amazing how many people have pieces (usually the first three chapters) of multiple books, and not a single complete one. You have to get to "The End" at least once before you should even *think* about agents, editors, and who will play your heroine in the movie.

7) What book(s) are you reading now, or are about to start?

Right now I'm rereading "When You Reach Me" by Rebecca Stead for my class. It's one of my favorite YA books from the last several years and I'm teaching it for the first time. After that, I'll probably read Rachel Cohn and David Levithan's new book, and then either Armistead Maupin's most recent or Alain de Botton's.

1 comment:

  1. Oooh I love her inspiring tips. I've written two or three novels where I get to about the end but don't finish. I currently just wrote a outline to a new one and am making it my goal to finish it :) Great interview XD