The first time I heard Jennifer Nielsen speak, I learned so much about making a novel powerful, that I had to go read her book, The False Prince. The plot and other elements of the book kept me engaged to the last page and wanting more. Fortunately there is more.
WIFYR is offering the opportunity to spend a morning with Jennifer Nielsen learning about plot. The blog tour also visits Jennifer today with a focus on plotting. http://www.jennielsen.com/archives/1157
Enjoy the interview below.
Q: What were some of your favorite books as a child?
A: I really loved “The Wolves of Willoughby Chase” by Joan Aiken, and for years, I read that nearly on a loop. I also loved “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle, “The Westing Game” by Ellen Raskin, and all the Hardy Boys books. But perhaps the most important book to me as a child was “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton. Because she had written the book when she was so young, she was the first author I thought of as a real person, someone not too different from me. She was the first person to get me to think that becoming an author might be a real possibility for me. I will always be grateful for the influence of these authors in my life. And when something about one of my books gets a child to start writing their own story, I consider that the highest of honors.
Q: Of all the characters you’ve created, which is your favorite and why?
A: I don’t know if “favorite” is the right word, but I definitely love to write Sage’s character from THE FALSE PRINCE. He is so mischievous and stubborn and willing to do incredibly stupid things, that I am often just as surprised as the readers by what he does next. In writing that series, I feel like I went on this huge journey with Sage, and that the reward for it is understanding him better. He still holds secrets and surprises, and I hope there will come a time when I can explore those too.
Q: What is the hardest part of writing for you?
A: Waiting. Publishing is a slow moving boat, and patience is not really my strongest virtue. You write a manuscript, then set it aside and wait while it settles. You submit a query, then wait for a response. You get an editor, then wait until you can announce it. You wait for editing notes, wait for publication, wait to see how readers receive it. There is really just so. much. waiting. But it’s part of the business, so eventually I hope to get used to it. It’s also why I strongly encourage writers to have one project always at some phase of development. Because you should always be moving forward, even while waiting.
Q: What do you wish published writers had told you before you started writing?
A: That I can make it. We spend so much time warning aspiring authors of the difficulties, the rejection, and the frustration – and those are definitely part of this business. But I also think it’s important to let authors know that publishers are always looking for the next great book, readers remain passionate about stories they love, and that for those who are willing to keep going, there is a place for them in this industry. More than anything else, I am convinced that success in writing is a test of perseverance, and for those who keep going, success is a “when” and not an “if.”
Q: Can you tell us about what you are working on?
A: My next book will be released in Spring 2015 and is called THE PRAETOR WAR. It takes place in Ancient Rome with an escaped Roman slave, some stolen magic, and a battle to control the fall of the Roman Empire. I am in love with this story, and I think readers who’ve enjoyed THE ASCENDANCE TRILOGY will find a lot of what they already loved, combined with the new elements of magic, and the grandeur of this ancient empire.