Jennifer graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in English and a teaching credential. Afterwards, she finally married her best friend and high school sweetheart. Jennifer is currently a full-time writer and mother of three young children. Her days are spent living in imaginary worlds and fueling her own kids’ creativity. For more info, visit her website.
If you could only wear one color for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Black. I don’t think I’d ever tire of it! Simple, plain, and goes with everything.
Describe your ideal romantic date.
An evening where my husband plans the date, and I don’t have to do a single thing! He takes care of all the details and I simply relax and enjoy!
As a teenager, what was your favorite musical group?
Oh my! I need to remember—that was a long time ago. Oh, New Kids on the Block! Ha ha, that brings back memories!!
If you had to lose one of your five senses, which one of them would you prefer to lose?
The sense of taste. It seems to be the least necessary. And then I wouldn’t crave chocolate, ice cream, nachos, Heath Bars . . .
What was the worst smell you have ever smelled?
I have three children. I don’t think we need to go there. I’ve seen things and smelled things that should never be talked about or remembered.
If you could have one super human power, what would it be?
This isn’t really a super human power, but I wish I was a ninja. I wish I could fight and kick butt like a real ninja. I thought about signing up for a martial arts class, but I’m pretty sure I’d break something. I’m just not that flexible.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Wow, in ten years from now? I really hope that by then I’ve had a book reach the New York Times Bestsellers list. That would be amazing! On the personal side, my kids will be in high school so I hope to be sane and surviving three teenagers!!!
If you could snap your fingers and appear somewhere else right now, where would you be?
I wouldn’t mind being on a warm beach right now! I live in San Diego so maybe someplace like Hawaii? Or an island somewhere with crystal, clear water. You know those pictures you see where there’s a hut sitting over the water at the end of a pier? Yes, that’s where I want to be!
What initially inspired you to pursue a career in writing?
I’ve always loved reading and writing. However, I never had the time to sit down and write a book. I tried many times, but I never got very far. Then I had my first baby and became a stay-at-home mom. I realized I needed an outlet, otherwise I’d go insane. I started writing every single night. Once I had my second child, I entered a writing contest and won! This inspired me to keep at it. By the time my third baby came along, I was on book number two!
What books are you reading right now?
I just finished Rae Carson’s Bitter Kingdom. She is an amazing writer and story-teller. I simply adore her books. I’m also rereading Grave Mercy and Throne of Glass in anticipation of reading Dark Triumph and Crown of Midnight, which I expect to be delivered any day now!! Too many books, so little time.
Name someone who supported your writing journey outside of family members.
I was lucky enough to stumble upon the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). Through the SCBWI, I met two amazing fellow writers—N.W. Harris and Karri Thompson. We’ve all managed to get picked up by publishers and have been on this journey together from the start. We work together, critiquing each other’s work. I know I’m where I am today because of these two amazing people!
Was there ever a time in your writing career where you wanted to seriously give up? If so, how did you find the motivation to continue?
Yes! Sometimes I wonder why I’m killing myself, staying up late at night to write. The amount of time and energy I put into my writing can be overwhelming. It would be so easy to quit and just focus on my family. But then I read a review where I’ve touched someone’s life with my story, and I realize it’s all worth it!!
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Read. If you want to be a good writer, you have to read A LOT! You need to know what other books are in your genre, you need to study what other authors do well, and you need to learn the craft. I learn so much from reading the same book multiple times. It really teaches me a lot about structure, plotting, and character development.
What do you think you do best in your writing? Bragging is encouraged.
It’s hard to brag. When I look at my own work, I’m always searching for problems! I tend to see what needs improvement, not what I do well. However, I’ve been told from my writing partners that they love my dialogue.
What books have most influenced your life?
There are so many that have touched me, it’s hard to say. Definitely The Hunger Games Trilogy, Twilight, Fire, Graceling, The Mortal Instruments, Magic Study, and The Girl of Fire and Thorns.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Kristen Cashore, Rae Carson, and Maria V. Snyder. Sorry, I can’t pick just one! Each of these gals is simply amazing!!
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in writing? What comes easily?
The hardest thing for me is to write descriptions. I tend to be a rather blunt person. So when I write, I’m the same way: short and to the point. I have to force myself to slow down. I like to write all my dialogue and what’s going on first, then I go back in and fill in all the details.