Saturday, January 21, 2012

Jennifer B. White Interview-1/21/12

Blog Interview Questions for Jennifer B. White

1.Tell me about your books Dead Asleep and Otherwise. How did you come up with that story angle or idea?

The character of Kevin Macy (Dead Asleep) came to me fully developed, and with loads of attitude. Naturally, I told him where to go. When he didn’t go there, I had to write him—and his story—onto paper. That man is very persistent.

The back story to Dead Asleep began when I was a child. I had a terrifying nightmare, fleeing a demon through tunnels. In my dream, my father appeared and deftly scared off the demon. I woke and ran to my parent’s bedroom. My father was awake and sitting on the edge of his bed. Before I could tell him about my dream, he said, “You just had a nightmare, didn’t you?” I nodded. Then he told me, in perfect detail, what had happened in my dream. So, the seeds of “dreamsharing” were planted.

Otherwise was a story that rolled around in my head for years. In ways, it was very romantic to watch Shane and Delilah, wondering what had happened to them, and what was going to happen next. Like Dead Asleep, Otherwise begged to be written.
2. How did you get interested in writing this particular genre?

Growing up, a certain amount of supernatural phenomena was to be expected. My father foretold his mother’s death and witnessed her ghost. Many years later, I received a “sign” that my dad was dying—my house was filled with the scent of incense. I got to him in time to hold his hand as he passed away.

These experiences, and others like them, left me with an interest in topics like ghosts, dream, demons, reincarnation, time travel and the lines between life and death.
3. What kind of research did you do for these books?

Dead Asleep involves time-travel. I researched a multitude of aspects (clothes, songs, food, world events) on the different time periods that Kevin Macy visits (1996, 1932, etc.). Much of the book takes place on Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the coast of Massachusetts, and my personal Shangri-la. I spent a lot of time there pinning down details for Dead Asleep. For the cover, two photo shoots were held on the island, so the beach on the cover is, in fact, Menemsha—a great final touch!

Like Dead Asleep, Otherwise also deals with different time periods. (You’ll notice vernacular changes with different characters.) While I did extensive research, it was more work “mapping” and plotting the book. There are so many twists and turns that occur in both the plot and the subplot. Every loose end had to be tied, every hole had to be filled, every question answered so that the conclusion is satisfying for the reader.
4. What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?

I write at least five hours a day, every day, in a home office with a cherry desk, a fireplace, two cellos and an upright piano.

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

Factor in my phone ringing constantly, Skype going off every two minutes, and three children interrupting me every ten minutes. In between writing, I prepare to hop a plane every few weeks to go to L.A. where I write Hollywood taglines, pitch my screenplays to various major film companies, and meet with industry professionals.

I’ve learned to work when I’m sick, persist when I’m disrupted, write when I’m exhausted, and to never ever succumb to writer’s block. I don’t set goals because I’m constantly in motion. (And I already know what I want to accomplish.) I’m usually working on several projects at the same time (film treatments, scripts, novels and blogging).
Actually, it really is lovely, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

5. What is the hardest part of writing for you?

While I’m passionate about storytelling, I don’t romanticize the hard work and perseverance that goes into writing, selling and marketing my work. The American writer, Jessamyn West said, “Writing is a solitary occupation. Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of the writer. He must be alone, uninterrupted, and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking.”

The hardest part of writing is balancing my life. I write as much as I can, spend time with my family, and accept the fact that there will always be laundry and bathrooms to clean.
6. What’s the best thing about being an author?

I get to wear pajamas all day and don’t have to worry about someone noticing that I have food stuck in my teeth. Except when I’m on an author’s tour. I did that once. It wasn’t very pretty.
7. What are you working on now?

I’m writing a movie script about a conspiracy theory. It’s a thriller, who-done-it with supernatural elements. It’s intended to be an independent film, but if we option the film before it goes into pre-production, that will be great, too! I’m also working on the first in a trilogy of supernatural young adult novels that will have accompanying movie scripts. I’m giving a final edit to my book, Hummus for the Holidays that was also adapted for film, and is currently being reviewed by a major film company. (The release date on that book will depend on what happens with the movie.)

I also help out other writers whenever I can. At the moment, I’m reviewing a movie script for a friend who’s received prestigious awards and accolades for her work. She’s written a terrific movie adapted from a famous children’s picture book. I’m helping her with tagline ideas and a logline, and looking forward to seeing her movie on the big screen.
8. What advice would you give aspiring writers?

If you’re an aspiring writer, you’re not writing. Stop what you’re doing and write. Then, kick down some doors!
9. Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?

Pat the Bunny. But, I wore that out. Then, I moved on to Stephen King novels. Honestly, I don’t care who the author is, as long as I like their voice and they’ve crafted a great novel. I love books and movies that can combine a variety of elements—comedy with action and a sprinkle of romance—and aren’t afraid to push out boundaries.
10. What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?

I wish someone would ask me how a movie was written—like Christopher Nolan’s Memento. I have the answer! (But, you’d have to ask me first.)
11. If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?

If you Lived Here, You’d Be Home Now.

Flash Questions:

1) If you could trade places with a person for a single day, who would it be and why?

Will Ferrell. No one would question why I was in a thong, ringing a cow bell.

2) What was the last movie you saw?

The real question is, what movie haven’t I seen? I just took my kids to Sherlock Holmes 2 and enjoyed the ride immensely.

3) What is your biggest TV addiction?

Raising Hope. Great writing! (Love Maw-Maw)

4) Guilty pleasure?

Chateauneuf du pape with dark chocolate and a movie. On the couch. Alone.

5) Fruits or veggies?

Veggies. I’m a huge foodie, so I eat anything that doesn’t get off my plate and walk away.

6) Favorite childhood toy?

Fisher Price’s Music Box/Record Player. It’s a million years old. My seven year-old has it now and plays with it all the time, even though he has an iPad.

7) What did you have for breakfast this morning?

Coffee and thyroid medication.

*Thank you for taking the time to answer these interview questions for me.

You’re most welcome! That’s all? I was having fun! Ask me something else!


Please stay tuned for my Otherwise by Jennifer B. White blog tour stop!

No comments:

Post a Comment