“P” must be in a generous mood because she drew me a picture! She also loans this post a delightful sense of …chaos. 😉
I don’t read much middle-grade fiction, but I heartily recommend Jen’s book. It’s a classic in the vein of Sounder or The Yearling, with a gutsy and well-developed narrator. The book made me laugh. It made me cry. Because I want one of you to have a chance to be similarly moved, I’m raffling off a copy to a qualified commenter. (Criteria below the interview.)
Take it away, Jen!
Welcome to the POSSUMS ARE AWESOME blog tour for the middle-grade book, POSSUM SUMMER, coming out IN EIGHT DAYS HOLY COW! (Have you preordered yet?)
I’m visiting Jan today and she’s been a real peach. Too bad I can’t say that about the monster that followed me over.
First off, a little about the book:
a lonely kid
an orphaned baby possum
a dad that says no way
how do you keep that kind of secret?
and what happens when you’re found out?
Here we go!
Jan: What’s the one piece of advice or best reference that helped you improve your writing?
JKB: The one thing that took awhile for me to get (thus the many trunked novels before PS!) was this: your character needs to grow in some way. Otherwise, it’s just a boring, boring book. And once my editor pointed it out in her ‘official’ capacity, I found myself checking for development of some kind in every book I read and not necessarily finding it. So I always check now to make sure I have development before I let it out of my hands.
Jan: You have a young daughter. I know many authors who feel torn between parenthood and writing. What do you think Loki gains by having a mother who writes?
JKB: I hope she sees that if she truly wants to do something, that nobody should stop her — but she shouldn’t stop herself, either. Giving up is not an option and always practicing to get better is the best way to get where you want to be.
Jan: You write with such authority about possums. Did you have one as a pet?
JKB: I did. First chapter is how I actually got my possum, and he’s in my acknowledgements at the end of the book. I think Ike’s ending was better than his. Unfortunately.
Princess: Why? What happened?
JKB: Sorry, Jan. I thought I’d given her the slip. Nothing, monster.
P: You can’t ever get rid of me! Never ever!
JKB: I thought so. *shudder*
P: Hush up, you. What do you like to eat, Miss Jan?
Jan: You mean besides humble pie? (Had a particularly big serving of that last week, when I forgot my son had an early dismissal day. Whoops.) In reality, it would have to be a meal I ate in Maui at a vegan restaurant: green papaya salad, perfect jasmine rice, and mock Kung Pao chicken.
P: Is dismissal like a free day? What’s ‘mock’ Kung Pao? Is it fake? Papaya? Is that a vegetable? I’m asking the wrong questions. What’s your favorite activity?
Jan: You want me to keep this clean, right? *thinking* *still thinking* Walking. Definitely walking.
P: Clean? Do you like to bath a lot then? I like bubble baths, myself. *pauses* Well, tell me something really interesting about you, outside’a the fact that you were an orange!
Jan: I have very thick hair. It’s been cause for comment in every salon I’ve visited.
P: A salon? Is that like a hair cutter? Those places weird me out! But look, I drew you as a:
P: A red-tailed hawk! They have real thick feathers, just like you have thick hair! I don’t think that they like citrusy stuff, though. I mean, you know, — **scuffle**
Jan again, bidding thanks and farewell to Jen and Princess. And now, peeps, to qualify for the draw, you will:
- comment in the space below
- live in continental North America
- have your name drawn by RNG.
To have your name entered twice, retweet this post, post a link on your Facebook page, or a link on your blog, then make note of the extra post in the comments below. Contest is open until midnight MST, Sunday, March 13, 2011.