I'm honoured and delighted to be joined today by the fabulous Denise Jaden, author of the beautiful and intensely emotional YA contemporary novel, Never Enough.
If you missed my review of Never Enough click here.
1. Welcome to Bookish Denise! Thank you so much for being one of the guests during the Contemporary Fiction Month feature! Could you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?
I’ve been writing for about nine years, and I love traveling around and meeting teen and adult readers and writers. Besides that, I’m also a professional Polynesian dancer and a homeschooling mom. I used to compete in fitness competitions and my husband and I continue to be very involved in the fitness industry. It all keeps me very busy, but still I find time for Twitter.
2. Your soon-to-be-released YA novel, Never Enough, made a huge impression on me! From the very first page of it, I found myself emotionally engaged in the story and totally fascinated by the premise. What a wonderful, poignant tale that was! Could you tell us who or what inspired you to write a story featuring so many difficult subjects?
Thank you so much! That’s wonderful to hear. I have a fairly lengthy author’s note that goes into more detail about my reasons for writing Never Enough, but in short, I’d just say because a good friend of mine was struggling with a severe eating disorder and I started to write the book in hopes to understand her and her struggle better.
3. Could you share with us your favourite quote from Never Enough?
Wow, this feels so narcissistic! But, okay. Here is one of my favorite lines…
She lay flat on her back and her hip bones jutted out like a salt and pepper shaker on an otherwise empty table.
4. How did it feel to get your first publishing deal? What was your road to publishing like?
Oh, it felt amazing! After all the struggle and rejection, it was definitely a huge accomplishment that I was immediately very proud of. I had queried three different manuscripts over about three years before securing an agent. Once through the agent search, things moved pretty fast, and I had sold my first book within about six months. I sold my second book to Simon & Schuster right around the time that my first one came out.
5. Have you always wanted to be a writer? At what point in your life did you decide that writing is something you want to do?
No, I think I’m in the minority here, but I didn’t enjoy reading or writing until I was well into adulthood. I only started writing about nine years ago, and it probably took me three or four years to feel strongly that I’d like to pursue it professionally. Now I’m an addict though. Even if I never published another book, I can’t imagine stopping the actual writing.
6. What's next in line for you? Are you working on a new book now?
I am! I’m actually working on a couple of new projects. One is another YA contemporary novel with strong mystery and romance elements. It’s called FOREIGN EXCHANGE and it’s about a girl whose best friend goes missing and she has to leave her class trip in Europe, along with her crush, to go and find her. The other project I’m excited about is my first non-fiction book. It’s a book for writers and is called WRITING WITH A HEAVY HEART: Using Grief and Loss to Stretch Your Fiction. It will be out later this year.
7. What do you hope readers will take away from reading Never Enough?
I never write with a message in mind, but I would hope that readers would take away a renewed motivation to reach out to others around them and to speak out, even when it’s hard.
8. Which three of your favourite contemporary books would you recommend everybody to read?
I think tastes are so different, so I’m hesitant to say everyone should read them, but a few of my favorites are ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins, HARMONIC FEEDBACK by Tara Kelly, and WANDERLOVE by Kirstin Hubbard.
9. Summer is (almost) here and we're all prepared to tackle our enormous summer TBR lists (To-Be-Read), can you share with us what's on your reading pile this summer?
Oh, gosh, way too many to list! (I’m always WAY too ambitious when it comes to reading). But I’ll share a few that are sitting right within reach here: THE STORY OF US by Deb Caletti, STILL ALICE by Lisa Genova, RUBY RED by Kerstin Gier, and BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys.
10. If your book had a soundtrack to accompany it, what songs would be on it?
I’m not a big music person when it comes to writing. The two just don’t really mix in my mind, but there are a few songs that always make me think of the characters in this book:
Things I’ll Never Say by Avril Lavigne is the song that makes me think of Loann and Marcus’s friendship. Much of their time together is sweet and innocent, with lots of missed or too-shy moments of saying how they really feel. My Stupid Mouth by John Mayer totally reminds me of Loann, because she has the habit of saying the wrong thing and then trying to backtrack or fix her mistakes. Sick Cycle Carousel by Lifehouse is what I refer to in my head as “Claire’s Song.” Claire is on a constant carousel of ups and downs, of trying, and then not having it in her to try.
Denise, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to join us here today! I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of your books!
About the author:Denise Jaden's writing has appeared in Mississippi Crow Magazine (Spring, 2008), TheGreensilk Journal (Fall 2007 - where her story, LOCKED AWAY, won an Editor's ChoiceAward),and The Tidepool Fiction Ezine. Her novels have received various awards throughRomance Writers of America. Her first novel for teens, LOSING FAITH, was released fromSimon Pulse/Simon & Schuster in 2010, and her next one, NEVER ENOUGH, will be out inJuly, 2012. She lives just outside Vancouver, Canada with her husband and son.For more information about Denise Jaden and her books, please visit her website: click here.
!!! ~Giveaway~!!!Simon & Schuster Canada has generously offered to give away one copy of Never Enough.OPEN TO: Canada onlyEnds: June 30thTo enter:Be a follower of this blog, 13 or olderEnter via rafflecopter below:
This Interview + Giveaway was posted as part of the Contemporary Fiction Month feature. Click on the picture for full schedule.