Aurora: What was your inspiration behind your most recent novel?
Jenn: Years ago, when my husband and I first got together, we lived in a small apartment in downtown Seattle, near Pike Place Market. During a sentimental moment, I recently searched online to see how it looked now and found that the entire apartment building had been converted into a swank hotel. I had a lot of fond memories, living in that city apartment, and they all tumbled around in my brain until they sparked the idea for SERIOUS MOONLIGHT.
What character do you most relate to and why?
Probably Aunt Mona. She’s my heroine’s main parental figure, a quirky artist who designs and wears oddball elaborate outfits—sort of drag queen meets cosplay. She was loosely inspired by the Annie Potts character in Pretty in Pink. I’m not half that cool, but I do feel a certain kinship with someone who’s proudly weird and needs to express herself creatively.
Why do you feel young adult books are so popular and have such a voice right now?
Everything’s Bigger and Brighter and More Urgent when you’re a teen, which makes for emotional, high-stakes storytelling.
Who’s your favorite young adult author?
It’s always changing, and I’m not sure I could identify one author in particular, but Stephanie Perkins was one of my early favorites and a huge influence on my YA books. Other authors I enjoy reading are Kiersten White, Lily Anderson, Sandhya Menon, E. Lockhart, and Jenny Han.
Please describe the content of your latest book and what can readers expect from the read.
My latest book is SERIOUS MOONLIGHT, about two teens that have an awkward first encounter and later find they are working together at a historic Seattle hotel for the summer. My heroine, Birdie, is a solitary mystery-book lover who just finished high school, and the boy, Daniel, is a nineteen-year-old street magician. Together they stumble upon a real-life mystery going on inside the hotel where they work, so they partner up to solve it—while also finding themselves falling for each other.
What’s next for you in the book world?
Next up is THE LADY ROGUE, a young adult historical adventure that’s a little bit of a departure from my usual contemporary YAs. This takes place in 1930s Romania, where two teens search for a magically cursed ring that once belonged to the real-life Dracula, Vlad the Impaler. It has romance, a thrilling mystery, lots of witty banter—and it comes out in September!
What’s your favorite writing method that you follow for inspiration?
I’m afraid I don’t have one. I’ve written thirteen books for teens and adults, some series, some standalones, and every single one of them was a different process. Sometimes I plot, sometimes I don’t, sometimes it’s a mix of plotting and letting the story unfold as I tell it. There’s no One True Source from where I draw inspiration. It just…happens. And everyone who wants to write for a living will have to find their own methods and inspiration. There’s no rulebook, nothing that works 100% of the time for 100% of all authors. You just try, fall down, get back up, and try again.