Jun 29

Tenner Tuesday with Jennifer Hubbard!

Hi Everyone!! Welcome to another week of Tenner Tuesday! Today I have author Jennifer Hubbard whose Young Adult book, The Secret Year was released just a few months ago with Viking. Here’s a little bit about Jenn and her book!

Jenn’s short-n-sweet bio: I’ve been writing since the age of six, when I used to write and illustrate my own picture books. (Fortunately, none of those early efforts have survived, unless my parents are hiding them for future blackmail plans.) In high school, I considered it fun to come home from school and write novels. My grandfather worked at a printing plant that produced spiral-bound notebooks. Any flaws in the printing or binding process would land the notebooks in the company store at a steep discount, so I always had plenty of notebooks on hand. Now I write on a computer most of the time.

The Secret Year blurb of Sweetness that will make you want to buy her book: Seventeen-year-old Colt has beensneaking out at night to meet Julia, a girl from an upper-class neighborhood unlike his own. They’ve never told anyone else about their relationship: not their family or friends, and especially not Julia’s boyfriend. When Julia dies suddenly, Colt tries to cope with her death while pretending that he never even knew her. He discovers a journal Julia left behind. But Colt is not prepared for the truths he discovers about their intense relationship, nor to pay the price for the secrets he’s kept.

Now onto my interview with Jennifer!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I was little, I made my own picture books and stapled them together. I’ve been writing almost as far back as I can remember.

How long does it generally take you to write a book from those first words to the very last?

I switch back and forth between projects, so it’s difficult to say. On average, probably a year or two.

What was the inspiration—that first spark of a story—behind your amazing book?

(Thank you for “amazing!”) I started with the opening situation: a secret relationship, a death, a notebook left behind. I wrote to find out why it had to be secret and what would happen next.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I write every day; there are probably only about 10-15 days in a given year when I don’t write. On days when I go to my day job, I write after dinner. Other days, I usually write at night, which is my best time, but I’ll sometimes start in the afternoon. Once in a while, especially if things have been piling up and I’ve felt squeezed for writing time, I will write first thing in the day, before I do anything else.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk…come on…I know you have one!

I have a terrible time picking character names. I use placeholder names and change names frequently. “Colt” is my main character’s second name; “Julia” is that character’s third name. I have one work in progress where I’m just using a letter of the alphabet as the placeholder for the character’s name. The main character in my current work in progress is on his third name—so far—and I’ve considered dozens of choices for his last name, even though it only appears once!

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Read, hike, spend time with my husband and friends, go to an occasional concert.

What do you think makes a good story?

Well-chosen language, an intriguing plot, a fascinating voice, and something important to say.

Without giving us any spoilers, how did you choose the title for your book?

My book went through a few different titles–the first suggested by a critique partner, the second by my agent. THE SECRET YEAR came from a list my editor and I had brainstormed together. I was happy with it because secrecy is an important element in the book.

Are there any tools that are absolute must-haves for writers?

Something to write with. Nowadays, that’s usually a computer with a word-processing program; some people need to write longhand first. I also like to have a dictionary, thesaurus, and grammar book on hand, along with a baby-name book (for naming characters), a glass of water, and some music. But those are personal preferences, not absolute requirements.

What kind of research went into writing your book if any?

Several things in THE SECRET YEAR come from “incidental research”—that is, things I have done myself, although I didn’t do them with the plan to write about them. Like my main character, I have worked in a restaurant, shot a target rifle, spent time near rivers, and lived in an area where farms were giving way to subdivisions and forests were losing ground to mansions.

In terms of deliberate research, I did look up several things about car accidents like the one that killed Julia, and found some interesting statistics on seat belts and air bags.

Have you ever had someone try to matchmake for you and if so, how did it go?

Not that I can recall. I think it can be hard enough to buy a gift for someone, to choose something you know they’d like, let alone trying to figure out your friends’ romantic compatibilities.

Because I think you should always save room for dessert, as a child, what was your favorite dessert? And what is your favorite dessert now?

Over the years, I my favorites have included mint-chocolate-chip ice cream, Black Forest cake, cherry cheesecake, Key lime pie, and chocolate mousse. Currently, I’m most likely to order Key lime pie or anything chocolate.

What do you hope to leave your readers with once they’ve finished your book?

Mostly what I hope is that readers recognize something true in the book, and that that recognition makes them feel less alone. I hope it helps them think about people’s motives and motivations.

What question would you like to ask me?

You seem like such a positive person. How do you maintain that attitude?

Well, thank you very much, Jennifer! Ever since I can remember my parents have talked about being thankful–always, always, always being thankful for the wonders, beauties and the gifts of life. It’s hard to be depressed or sad or angry for long when you’re looking at everything you are thankful for.

Thanks so much for joining me Jennifer!

Visit Jennifer on her website at www.jenniferhubbard.com! And to order The Secret Year click right HERE!

One Response to “Tenner Tuesday with Jennifer Hubbard!”

  • Jenn Hubbard says:

    Thanks for hosting me, Lindsay!

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