Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Interview with Jennifer Echols!!

It is an incredible honor (and I am excited as heck) to have been able to interview one of my absolute favorite YA authors, Jennifer Echols!!  With the release of her latest YA release, Such a Rush, just around the corner, let's get to know Jennifer a little better....

Her Goodreads profile: Jennifer Echols was born in Atlanta and grew up in a small town on a beautiful lake in Alabama—a setting that has inspired many of her books. She has written eight romantic novels for young adults, including the comedy MAJOR CRUSH, which won the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the drama GOING TOO FAR, which was a finalist in the RITA, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Book Buyer’s Best, and was nominated by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults. Her next two teen dramas, including SUCH A RUSH, will appear in 2012 and 2013, with her adult romance novels debuting in 2013, all published by Simon & Schuster. She lives in Birmingham with her husband and her son. Please visit her online at http://www.jennifer-echols.com

Here's what Jennifer had to say...

Readergirl: How did you come up with the idea for Such a Rush?
Jennifer:  I was vacationing with my extended family at Myrtle Beach. My dad can’t stand crowds for too long. He is a private pilot and loves aviation, and one of his standard moves during family reunions is to escape to the airport to watch planes take off and land. A lot of times I go with him just to spend some time with him, and of course we brought my son because he loves airplanes even more than my dad.

There are two airports in Myrtle Beach. My dad called ahead to see which one was being used by the pilots who tow advertising banners. These planes are all over the place at this beach. Watching them take off, catch their banners on a tow cable, and try not to crash will really raise your blood pressure...and when he told me the pilots are usually college-age because they’re trying to amass hours so they can become airline pilots, I knew this was my next YA.

Readergirl: Which of the characters in the book was dearest to your heart, and why?
Jennifer:  That’s a hard question. All the characters do something very wrong, but all of them have good reasons for doing it, and I want to hug them all and tell them it will be okay after the book is over.
Readergirl: Which of your books brought out the most emotion in you while writing?
Jennifer:  Also hard to say, but this one would be up there. The hopelessness Leah sometimes feels is something I’ve felt myself, but for different reasons, and I would not wish it on anybody.
Readergirl: When you were first beginning as a writer, what was the best resource you used/found for learning your craft?
Jennifer:  I had nothing! I really just read and wrote by myself for years. I love how-to-write-a-book books now, but I wish I’d had them back then. One of my favorites is 78 Reasons Why Your Book May Never Be Published and 14 Reasons Why It Just Might by Pat Walsh, an editor.
Readergirl: What advice do you wish someone had given to you when you were an aspiring writer?
Jennifer: Write the book you want to read. Like a lot of English majors, I spent way too much time trying to get my literary fiction published while romance novels were my guilty pleasure. You need to be writing your guilty pleasure. And stop feeling guilty!
Readergirl: Are you a pre-planner or are your a "seat of your pants" writer?
Jennifer: I’m a pantser and I wish so badly that I weren’t. At this stage my editors buy my books before I’ve written them, so I have to tell them what they are about before I’ve written them, and I honestly don’t know the answer to this question.
Readergirl: One of the things that people (including me!) always praise about your writing is your ability to craft great characters and build great relationships between them. What is your approach to characterization that helps you to accomplish this?
Jennifer: Wow, thanks! I don’t know. I think I’m pretty old-school in this department. I give my characters goals that they need to achieve more than anything in this world. I put those characters and their goals at odds with each other, then make them fall in love with each other (whoops!), then watch what happens.
Readergirl: Since this is your hardcover debut (congratlations, btw!), did you approach this project differently than with your previous works?
Jennifer:  Thank you so much! I’m really excited! However, I didn’t know this book was going to be hardcover when I started it. See #6. I had to write the first few chapters and a synopsis in order to sell it, and it was during the process of selling it that my agent negotiated a hardcover deal.
Readergirl: Do you have a listing of author signings or appearances for the book launch that your readers might like to know about?
Jennifer:  Yes! I’ll be at the Literacy Autographing in Anaheim, CA, on July 25. If you are a romance fan, you won’t want to miss it. There are 500 authors signing, including lots of YA authors, and all the profits go to literacy charities. Here’s the link: http://www.rwa.org/cs/literacy_autographing
Readergirl: What's next on your YA book agenda? Any small details about the next project that you might be able to share?
Jennifer:  Right now I'm working on the next YA hardcover, which will be out in July 2013.  I'm loving it so far but I don't like to talk about books while they're cooking, sorry!  I'm also thrilled to be writing three more YA romantic comedies that will be coming out with Simon Pulse starting in May 2014.

An enormous thank-you to Jennifer for taking the time to answer these questions for me!  Be watching for my review of Such a Rush on July 12, right after the book's official release on July 10!


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