Monday, July 22, 2013

Author Spotlight with Jennifer Brown and Giveaway!


Hate List | Bitter End
Perfect Escape | Thousand Words

Jennifer writes and lives in the Kansas City, Missouri area, with her husband and three children.

Two-time winner of the Erma Bombeck Global Humor Award (2005 & 2006), Jennifer's weekly humor column appeared in The Kansas City Star for over four years, until she gave it up to be a full-time young adult novelist.

Connect: Website | Twitter 
Purchase Jennifer Brown's Books: Amazon | The Book Depository

Chatting with Jennifer Brown

Tell us 5 things about yourself(your secrets are safe with us!)

1) I love anything and everything Disney. I even have the Cinderella castle tattooed on the inside of my wrist and Mickey Mouse ears tattooed on my shoulder.

2) Even though I am terrified of heights, I once mountain biked with my husband down Pike's Peak.

3) I'm a great cook, but I can't bake to save my life.

4) Before becoming a writer, I worked in food service, child care, and Human Resources.

5) In college, I took Self-Hypnosis and Biofeedback, Medical Ethics, and Drawing and Painting, but I never took a single college writing class.

Your newest novel Thousand Words tackles "Sexting" Your novels are always so raw and powerful; School shootings, abusive relationships. What inspires you to write about these stronger subjects?

I went through a lot of raw stuff as a kid and teen, so I think some of it is just that I have an interest in raw stories, and my voice lends itself naturally to them. But I also enjoy writing these books, because I think tough subjects are important to write about. Books that explore difficult subjects can open a discussion, and I fully believe discussion is the first step toward solution. The more we talk, the more we learn, the more we can prevent!

What message are you hoping Young Adults receive from your novels?

Well, each novel comes with its own message, but I suppose they all boil down to one central message, which is to try to understand one another, try to accept one another, and try to love one another for who we are. 

What comes first: The characters or the idea for the story?

The idea for the story comes first, but with very sketchy details, and I'm totally okay with that. I spend much more time in the beginning phase developing my characters than I do developing my plots. Before I even begin to worry about refining plot points, I write long character sketches on each of my characters. I want to know everything about them. I like to get to know them as real people before I begin dismantling their lives.

What is 'A Day in the Life of Jennifer Brown' like?

Every day is different. Sometimes I'm writing YA. Sometimes I'm writing middle grade or women's fiction. Sometimes I'm revising or working on copyedits. Sometimes I'm traveling and speaking at schools or libraries or am attending conferences. Sometimes I'm answering emails or letters from readers. Sometimes I'm working on my websites or catching up on social media or whatever. The unpredictable schedule is one of the things I love most about being a writer. Keeps me from getting bored.

But generally I'm on mom duty until late morning, and then I work until late afternoon, when I'm on mom duty again. And then there are snow days and spring break and summer break and sick days and other times when I'm on mom duty all day long and have to wait until late at night or very early in the morning to get any work done. Flexibility is key with writing, as it is for anyone who works from home.

Where is your favourite place to write? And do you have any writing must haves?(Food, music, candles, a strong glass of wine, etc)

My favorite place to write is my kitchen table, because it's convenient and I'm surrounded by windows. But my most productive writing takes place in my office. I like to write to music, but it has to be music with no words, or music sung in a foreign language that I don't understand. 

Dinner Party! You can invite any 5 people to dinner(Dead or alive, real or fiction) who would be on your guest list?

Believe it or not, I actually have a Pinterest board dedicated to my Fantasy Celebrity Dinner ( My top 5 would be:

Maya Angelou
John Lennon
Marian Keyes
Walt Disney
Ernest Hemingway

(And Chef Art Smith would be cooking for us)

Would you like to see any of your books hit the big or small screen? And is there a certain actor/actress you have in mind for a character?

If there was a well-done screen adaptation of one of my novels, I would love it! But I don't write with, "How will this look in a movie?" in my mind. 

I'm terrible at the actor/actress game, but will admit that I would love to see what Lucy Hale could do with Valerie from HATE LIST. She has such amazingly expressive eyes.

Finish this sentence: "I can't live without..." kids and my husband. They mean everything to me.

Are you working on anything now? And if so can you share a little(fingers and toes crossed!!)

I am working on a lot of things now! I have a women's fiction novel, THE SISTER SEASON, coming out in November, and am currently working on a middle grade that will come out in 2014. I just finished revisions on TORN AWAY, my next YA novel about a girl who loses everything in a tornado, which will come out May 2014. And I have a very exciting secret project I'm working on, too. 

2013 has entered the book scene with a bang! What books are on your Summer Reading Pile?

Right now I'm reading THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE by Neil Gaiman. 

Crazy Quiz

Favourite Ice Cream Flavour?
Ummm EVERY ice cream flavor! Okay, okay, pistachio wins.

Favourite Book?
The Grapes of Wrath

Who do you root for: Hero or Villain?

Favourite Movie of all time?
Forrest Gump

Name one guilty pleasure you have?(No judgement here!)
I am a total foodie. So....fooooood!

 Thousand Words
Jennifer was so kind and awesome enough to offer up not one but TWO copies of her newest novel Thousand Words. You can read my review HERE.
* Open to U.S. only
* Must be 13 years of age or older to enter
* Fill out the Rafflecopter Form to Enter
* 2 Winners will be chosen
* Giveaway ends Monday, August 5th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  1. Fantastic interview Cathy! I loved The Hate List and am looking forward to reading Thousand Words. I agree with the author that books about difficult topics create opportunities for discussion, and discussion creates opportunities for solutions.
    BTW That is a GREAT idea for a Pinterest board!

    Donna @ The Happy Booker

  2. Jennifer is my hero--she writes about difficult topics without flinching. If you get a chance to hear her speak, GO! She's is 100% genuine.

    Fun questions, Cathy!

  3. Great interview! I have to agree, Lucy Hale would make a great Valerie :)

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  4. I loved "Hate List" and am excited to read "Thousand Words".


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