Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tenner Feature: Author Jennifer R. Hubbard

Whoohoo! Today we have fabulous Tenner author Jennifer R. Hubbard with us. Her novel, The Secret Year, will be out in January. Take a look at the summary, then see what Jenn had to say in our interview!

Seventeen-year-old Colt has been sneaking out at night to meet Julia, a girl from an upper-class neighborhood unlike his own. They’ve never told anyone else about their relationship: not their family or friends, and especially not Julia’s boyfriend.When Julia dies suddenly, Colt tries to cope with her death while pretending that he never even knew her. He discovers a journal she left behind. But he is not prepared for the truths he discovers about their intense relationship, nor to pay the price for the secrets he’s kept.

Hi, Jenn! Thanks for joining us. So what inspired The Secret Year? Where did you come up with the story?

I started with the idea of a secret relationship, a sudden death, and a notebook left behind. I wrote the story to find out why the relationship was secret, and what would happen next.

Can you tell me about the writing process you went through when writing The Secret Year? How long did it take to write? How did you find your agent? Start to finish, tell me all!

I work on more than one project at a time, so I’m not sure how long it took me to write this altogether—a couple of years, I think. Basically, my road to publication was the long, hard road of perseverance. And of finding, each time I improved my writing, that there was yet another level to reach for.

I got an agent by cold-querying him through his e-slush pile. I had no secret connections, no celebrity status. But what I did have on my side was research—and hard work. I sent him a personalized query, and I’d polished the manuscript extensively. I think that 98% of the time, that’s how it works. My road-to-publication story is all about the rules, not the exceptions.

How did you react when you heard Viking was buying The Secret Year?

I didn’t have the explosive jumping-up-and-down moment that some people do. To be honest, it took a while to sink in. And when it did sink in, it was a rich happiness. That happiness has grown as I’ve gotten to work with the people at Viking, who are just outstanding.

Are you inspired by any other forms of art? Movies, music, television? If so, what?

Everything, yes. I can get story ideas from anywhere. I like to take an obscure subplot from an old sitcom episode, twist it and ask what would’ve happened if this were the main plot and it had gone in the opposite direction. I’ve written ekphrastic poems about paintings and songs. I saw a sculpture in Italy more than ten years ago that planted the seed of a story idea—it still hasn’t fully ripened. My mind is full of stories on the front burner, and the back burner, with others stuck away in the attic.

Do you have a playlist for The Secret Year like so many other authors do? If so, what kind of songs are on it?

The two CDs I played most often while writing that book were by Fleetwood Mac and Tom Waits. There was one song on each CD that especially put me into the story’s mood: the 1997 version of “Big Love” from Fleetwood Mac; “Temptation” from Tom Waits.

Who are your current favorite authors/books?

I have an author crush on Neal Shusterman. I always look forward to the next books by Sara Zarr and Laurie Halse Anderson. I can’t wait for Susan Beth Pfeffer’s next book. And I’ve been raving about Peter Cameron’s Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You ever since I read it.

So, you are represented by the legendary Nathan Bransford. What is that like? How is he to work with?

Excellent. I respect both his business judgment and his editorial input. And as an added bonus, he’s a very easy person to get along with.

And, finally, my standard question. If you could cast a film of The Secret Year, who would you cast as your main characters?

I’m not up on the current stars at all, so I don’t know. I will say that the models on the book’s cover are a pretty good fit!

Thanks, Jenn! So nice having you.

Ya'll, go get The Secret Year when it hits shelves in January! Because I said so.


Paranormalchick said...

WOW!! This book is right down my alley! Can't wait to pick this one up :)

Katie said...

I must say, this book sounds FABULOUS! I can't wait to go get!!!

ElanaJ said...

Oooh, yeah, I really want to read this! Great interview Kody!

Shelli said...

great interview :)

V said...

The premise of this book = awesome. So excited to read.

Anonymous said...


Kody Keplinger said...

Thanks everyone!

kanishk said...

I really want to read this! Great interview

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