Interview and Giveaway with Jen K Blom, Author of POSSUM SUMMER

If you thought you had a handle on my interviewing style, peeps, you’re in for a surprise. Joining me today are Jen K Blom and her book’s protagonist, Princess.

“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**

JKB: Jan, thanks so much by having me by! I really appreciate it!

Jen K. Blom writes about animals, the land, and kids, not necessarily in that order. Her debut, POSSUM SUMMER, is available March 2011.

Just the thing to give to a kid to start their summer of reading off right! (Available from your local indie, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, or Book Depository!)

Seen the book trailer yet?

Want more POSSUMS ARE AWESOME blog tour tidbits? Go here and knock yourself out!

Jan again, bidding thanks and farewell to Jen and Princess. And now, peeps, to qualify for the draw, you will:

  1. comment in the space below
  2. live in continental North America
  3. 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.

21 thoughts on “Interview and Giveaway with Jen K Blom, Author of POSSUM SUMMER

  1. Hahahaha! You got “P”unked too, huh, Jan! Great interview, ladies! (Don’t put me in the drawing, Jen, I’m buying my copy to help support the author and little Loki.) ;-D

    Great stuff, guys.

  2. Mock kung pao chicken! I’d be in. I like mock orange beef better though.

    I’m tweeting the interview because it’s awesome and not for the entry, but you can give me the entry too, if you please. 🙂

  3. Teresa, I ADORE that. Jan – and YOU – got “P”unked! HAHAHAHHA! That is AWESOME and you officially win THE COOLEST WORDPLAY award! <3

    Sue, agreed. WTFrak is Mock Kung pao? I suspect there is tofu involved. *vomit*

    Kelly, thanks for the RT! You are amazing!! :-DDD (And P says thank you right nicely.)

  4. Trust you guys to hone in on the vegetarian part of the entire post. 😉 No, the “mock” part is that they use seitan in lieu of meat. I haven’t had meat in almost 4 years, but from what I recall, the texture is almost identical. In this sauce, so is the taste.

    You can make seitan by making whole wheat bread and then washing the starch away. It’s just wheat protein. Nothing weird or exotic. And it doesn’t resemble tofu in the least.

    1. how PROUD I am, as Jen’s 5th grade teacher of her accomplishment!… I am SOOO looking forward to sharing this book with my current class!!!

      1. You know, I approved this comment earlier and have been wearing a goofy grin every since. It’s amazing to me that you’d remember Jen*, take the time to celebrate her success like this, and then carry that further, into your classroom. You must be some kind of a teacher, Mr. R, and I mean that in the best of ways. Thanks for coming by.

        *not that Jen isn’t memorable, because she is.

  5. Jen and Jan & *Squirt* (..or am I thinking of another critter w/black fur & a stripe?…just kidding Princess!)
    Middle grade book reading started over for me when I tutored granddaughter in reading. What sheer pleasure it is reading books geared to the younger generation!!
    I read the summary of POSSUM SUMMER a few months ago… it has to be a fantastic read! Must pass this title to my grands!
    What a unique and entertaining interview. Have never heard a possum comment!!
    Best of luck, Jen w/ sales of POSSUM SUMMER. Thanks for a sassy interview, Jan!
    And Princess, would appreciate it if you quit startling me when I take my pup out for her nightly walk!!

  6. This is the second time I’ve heard wonderful things about this book from people who don’t usually read a lot of MG. Since I not only read it, but write it, I’m greatly looking forward to it!

    Fun interview! Thank you for sharing it.

  7. Chloe, we don’t have possums here. They seem like an exotic pet. It’s so odd to me when people speak of them casually, like you did just here. 🙂 And yes, I think your granddaughter would love this book.

    Amanda, I’m sure Jen will be pleased to hear that. 🙂

  8. Chloe, give it a read! P’s Gran is a big part of the book, so you’ll be in good company!

    And Amanda, thanks for the day-brightening comment. I have to say that whoever told you Possum Summer rocks is an EXTREMELY intelligent person and you should trust them 100%.


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