Sunday, July 31, 2011

Interview with debut YA author Emily Hendricks Jensen

Emily, thank you so much for being a guest on the blog today! What would you like readers to know about you as an introduction?

I have a pretty uninteresting bio. I was born in Missouri and was an only child until I was 12 and now I have 8 siblings (halves and steps.) I majored in Journalism and I loved it, though I don’t use the degree in the conventional sense of working for a newspaper. I do, however, use all the courses I took on researching and investigating to find information for my writing. I moved to Wyoming in mid-July and will be getting married in mid-August. I’m already writing under my future married name. I love that.

Tell us about Fault. What was your inspiration/motivation behind this book?

The plot came from a writing prompt I saw on a website when I was in high school. It was started it as a short story, but before I knew it I had written one young adult novel that I eventually split up into five different novellas. The story is about Cecelia, a 15 year old drug addict who will do anything for acceptance, love and drugs. Her parents send her to a facility to help her with her drug problems, but they won’t acknowledge the abuse she had in her past that started all of her drug problems in the first place. It is written in verse.

What have you learned through writing this book?

How cathartic writing can really be and the what all the things you write can tell you about yourself as a person. I didn’t realize how much of myself I poured into the story until my fiance told me he saw certain people in the characters. I’m not a drug addict and I’ve never been to a rehabilitation facility, but I’m the only child of a bitter divorce and I understand what it feels like to be shuttled from house to house. I know what trying too hard to be perfect feels like.

How did you get started writing?

I’ve always been some sort of writer. Short stories when I was younger, then poems (that were awful) in high school. I never had the confidence to write a book, but one day I sat down and started one. Finished that one, tried to get an agent. Didn’t happen. Tried again with my second book. Nothing. At first I felt like a terrible writer, then I realized that those two books were absolutely not my best pieces of work. After that I wrote Fault. I sent it around to agents and small presses, and everyone who read it “loved the concept” but said it would be a hard book to market. That is why I went through the self-publishing process.

What is your writing process like? Do you write on a computer? In a spiral notebook? Do you draw illustrations?

I write everything on either my computer or my iPhone. I do a lot of traveling (both in the US and internationally) and I think I do my best work on planes and trains. My books don’t have illustrations, probably because I can barely draw a stick figure.

How do you get ideas for what you write?

Mostly the news. I’m a huge news junkie, especially entertainment news.

What is your biggest advice for young people reaching for their dreams?

Never ever give up. I know that’s what everyone says, but it’s so true. If you give up, all you will have is regrets and regrets get you nowhere.

What are some of your favorite books?

My two favorite books ever are The Saving Graces by Patricia Gaffney and Wish You Well by David Baldacci. I also love anything by Ellen Hopkins, Melissa Senate, and Maureen Johnson.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I am so excited about my novella series! A new novella will come out every two months. Next summer I intend to publish a full length young adult novel. I have other things in the works as well, so stay tuned!

Contact Emily:

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