Thursday, May 7, 2009

Author Interview: Jennifer Echols

Jennifer Echols is the YA author of Major Crush and The Boys Next Door. Her current novel Going Too Far was published 03/17/2009 and it is one of my favorite novels out this year. I appreciate Jennifer Echols taking time out to answer questions pertaining to her books.

What got you interested/started in writing?
Reading. Some readers experience a particular book, and a light goes on. They think, “This book is SO GOOD that I want to write more books like this.” In my case, I was 12 or so, and the book was Can You Sue Your Parents for Malpractice? by Paula Danziger.

What inspired you to write Going Too Far and how did you come up with the title?
I had an idea to write a romantic comedy about two teenagers doing a ride-along with a cop. As I began to write it, I realized that the more interesting relationship would be between one of the teenagers and the cop himself. (I also toyed with the idea of the girl being the cop, but I liked the boy-cop idea better.) Then the whole thing turned dark on me, and it was no longer a romantic comedy. My first title for the book was Boy in Blue. My editor thought that sounded too young. She came up with Running to Stand Still, which is an old U2 song. I thought it fit the book, but there’s nothing in that title to grab onto. I came up with The Ghost of You, a song by My Chemical Romance, but I was afraid people would mistake the book for a paranormal (nothing wrong with paranormals, but as a reader I like to know what I’m getting when I pick up a book, and I didn’t want to mislead anyone). There’s an old movie called A Bridge Too Far, and a bridge figures prominently in this novel, so I came up with the title Too Far. My critique partner, Victoria Dahl, suggested Going Too Far instead, and my editor liked it (thank goodness!).

Who are your favorite authors and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I am constantly trying to analyze what it is that strikes me when I love a book. As long as the plot is romantic, I read across all genres, so it’s not a certain type of book that gets me over and over. I think it’s just an overwhelming feeling of admiration for this author for a job well done, and a bit of jealousy that I didn’t write that book myself. Some of my recent favorites: Prom Dates from Hell by Rosemary Clement-Moore, Breathe My Name by R. A. Nelson, Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt, Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess, and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.

What do you think makes a good story?
I could go on and on about this because before I had a novel published, I was working on a PhD in genre studies! But in general, I think we all have fantasies rooted deep in our childhoods, and the runaway best-selling books (Twilight, Harry Potter) and movies (Star Wars) always tap into those fantasies. No wonder they’re reminiscent of fairy tales, which tap into the same fantasies.

What are your current projects and can you share a little of your current work with us?
I just turned in the page proofs for my next romantic comedy to be published on October 6, The Ex Games, about a snowboarder who challenges her ex-boyfriend to a battle of the sexes on the slopes. Beyond that, I don’t know! I’m reading a lot and playing around with some ideas. I’ll start writing again soon, though, because when I don’t, I go a little crazy.

Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?
I have always written a YA and then an adult book, back and forth. So far my adult books have not been published, and it has always been my goal to break into that market. But if I never sell anything but YA, that is okay with me, as long as I’m writing.

What do you do to unwind and relax?
Here in Birmingham, we have lovely botanical gardens. I like to go there with a book, lie in the grass, and read and people-watch by turns.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
More writing! All I ever wanted was to write more.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
This is a hard question for me, because I think if you set out to write a novel that has a certain message, it might not be as poignant. So much of that comes from the writer’s subconscious. But to me, this novel reflects a lot of my views about not judging people before you know them, and working hard at the relationships you care about.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Yes--thank you! Going Too Far is already in its third printing because you bought a copy, you told a friend about it, and you blogged about it on terrific book review sites like this one. By telling other people about the books you enjoy, you really can make a difference in an author’s career. I thank you for making a difference in mine.


Thanks, Jennifer!

For more information about Jennifer and her books, you check out her website.

34 comments :

  1. Lovely interview. I really enjoyed it :)

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  2. You have an award:

    http://anotherbookblogwhore.blogspot.com/2009/05/my-second-book-blog-award.html

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  3. I love Jennifer! I live in Birmingham as well and when I met her she was just as cool and down to Earth as her novels are! Great interview!! :)

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  4. Great interview! A new to me author, which is doubly exciting! Something new to read.

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  5. I want to read Going Too Far soooo bad!

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  6. She's one of my fave authors, even before I started reading from book blogs. :D

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  7. Great interview! Jennifer always seems so laid back in all of them, and Going Too Far was an excellent read! I can't wait to read her other books!

    -Amber

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  8. What she likes to do to relax sounds freakin' awesome. I wish I lived near some botanical gardens, it indeed sounds relaxing. :D

    I'm a new follower :D

    I've never read any of her books, but they sure do sound interesting and CUTE :)

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  9. When I think about teenagers doing ride alongs with cops, I think of Superbad. :P

    Valorie
    morbidromantic@gmail.com

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  10. I've never read her books before, but after reading the interview, I do want to check them out. I like the way she writes both young adult and an adult book, seemingly alternating. Would be interested to see how different the adult books are as well.

    Please count me in for the contest

    gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

    + I'm a follower

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  11. I want to read her books so bad!
    I can't seem to ever find them anywhere though!
    Hopefully I will win!

    HarlequinTwilight@gmail.com

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  12. I wish we had some wonder place to go read or write. Everywhere we have is crowded and noisy. Nothing relaxing!

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  13. All these look awesome! I love the Simon RoComs.

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  14. Loved the interview! Can't wait for The Ex-Games; it's going to be awesome!
    Already a follower
    lilibethramos(at)live.com

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  15. What a great interview and great questions.
    Carlene

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  16. Great interview! I had heard about Going Too Far, but now I have some of her other books to add to me WL!

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  17. I can't believe I've never read her books before - they sound wonderful

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  18. great interview
    KawaiiNeko2008 at aol dot com

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  19. Loved Going Too Far and am recing it to everyone I know. Thanks for a great interview!

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  20. Love all of her books! All of her female narrators rock but Meg is my fav. Thanks for getting the word out!

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  21. WOW!! great interview. and all these books sound great! Thanks

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  22. I am so glad to find this interview. It's a funny coincidence that I just stumbled across this book this morning and added it to my pile of books I need to read. Then I saw your interview as I was exploring your blog tonight.

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  23. I want to read Going Too Far really bad! My library doesn't have it either, nor do they have it on order :(

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  24. I wish I could interview authors. I love Simon romantic comedies and Going Too Far sounds real good.

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  25. It was interesting to read how the process goes to pick a title. I never thought about how difficult that must be. THanks.

    (http://booksandneedlepoint.blogspot.com

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  26. Great interview! Thanks for sharing!

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  27. Great job - my HS kids love your books!

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  28. Wonderful interview! Her books sound really good and like something I could share with my daughter!

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  30. Great interview! These look like a really good books that I'd probably enjoy.

    lovinfitch@aol.com

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  31. Great interview! I'd love to read her books.

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  32. good interview, her books sound like they would be good also

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  33. Thankyou for the interview!

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  34. Wow loved the interview. I'm really glad that the title of the book was finally Going Too Far, I LOVE that title!

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