Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Author Interview: Jennifer Archer

Accounting Doesn’t Compute: Though accounting might seem a more sensible job than writing, for me it is no more so than my becoming a lion tamer or a World Federation Wrestler. I’m afraid of lions and intimidated by wrestlers. The same is true of numbers. Still, I plod on through a confusing maze of debits and credits.

Fast forward through a few unsatisfying jobs, running a business with my husband, and two beautiful babies. I decide to stay home and raise my kids. While doing so, the old dream awakes and nudges me. I sign up for a night class in creative writing at the local community college. Soon I’m hooked. Six years, two completed novel manuscripts, a couple of children’s book manuscripts, four or five short stories, and a big fat folder of rejection letters later, I get “the call.” I’ve sold a novel! My contemporary paranormal romantic comedy “Body and Soul.”

Living The Dream: Being a published writer continually brings more fascinating people and fun experiences into my life. Some are real, some only in my imagination…. I remind myself daily how lucky I am to be able to do work I love. And, perhaps best of all, no pantyhose are required.
*Shortened bio taken from Jennifer's website
Is it different having a YA book coming out as opposed to an adult book?
In some ways, it is a bit different. I am interacting a lot more with young people, obviously. For example, this week I’m traveling to Austin for The Texas Library Association convention where I’ll be meeting a lot of teens and talking to them about writing, reading, and books. I’m really excited about that! And I have a few school visits planned in the coming weeks. In other ways, however, the weeks following a YA book release and an adult book release are much the same – for instance, book signings and fretting! I really hope readers will enjoy the story, no matter what age group I write for.
I read the book and I have no doubt that plenty of readers will love it, regardless of age.
What were your first thoughts when you saw the cover for Through Her Eyes?
I was stunned! Because of the title, I had expected that eyes might be featured on the cover, but I never imagined that they would be so haunting and gorgeous. I really feel that the cover captures the story’s tone so well.
I agree 100%. The eyes make the cover too. It's slightly creepy, but completely gorgeous at the same time.
I love the poetry in the book. It has a creepy edge to it, but still very relevant. Is this your first time having some sort of poetry in a book?  Was it at all difficult to write?
Thank you! I’m so glad you like it. This is the first time I’ve had poetry in one of my books. Some of the poems seemed to write themselves, as crazy as that sounds! However a couple of them required quite a bit more thought and planning – the last one in the book in particular. Henry, the ghost, finally has the chance to relay his message in that poem, and I needed to make certain that it came across clearly.
I'm amazed that they practically wrote themselves because they work so well, but flow perfectly too.
Bethyl Ann ‘Stinky’ Pugh has one of the most unfortunate names out there, but she is such an endearing character. How did you come up with her name and her strange eccentricities?
I wish I could point to a specific inspiration for her name, personality and odd habits, but I can’t! Bethyl Ann’s arrival in the story came as a total surprise to me; I had not planned her when I began plotting the book. She simply showed up on her own in the first school restroom scene, almost fully formed and misquoting Shakespeare in funny ways! I’m also not really sure why the name ‘Bethyl Ann Pugh’ popped into my mind when her character came on scene. I knew that an eccentric girl like her needed an eccentric name – one that wouldn’t make her life any easier and that could contribute to her either becoming insecure or make her grow stronger in defense! Of course, with a last name like ‘Pugh’ (pronounced ‘Pew’) I knew that some of Bethyl Ann’s less-than- compassionate classmates would not be able to resist giving her a nickname like ‘Stinky.'
I loved Bethyl Ann so much! She's such a sweet and funny person. And she is one tough, grown up cookie, for a 13-year old. I wish I was as comfortable and confident as her at that age.

In a way, Through Her Eyes is a bit of a ghost story. Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever had any paranormal experiences?
I am an open-minded skeptic about the existence of ghosts. I’ve had a couple of things happen that make me wonder. One took place when a self-professed psychic supposedly started relaying messages to me from a deceased loved one – and the messages contained information that related to me that the psychic could not have known. The second incident occurred when my son told me he had dreamed that a dead relative had walked out of his closet. No one other than myself and my husband – not even my son – knew that this relative’s ashes were stored in a box in the top of that closet.
Wow, something like that would make me believe...though I already do, at least to an extent. Sometimes I think that only those who are open to experiencing paranormal phenomena actually do. Everyone in my family believes in ghosts and things, but my dad. In fact, years ago everyone in my family saw a man walking around our house. Everyone, but my dad. Ghosts don't seem all that far-fetched considering all the other things we have in the world.

What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you?
When I was in college, I went camping with a group of friends in Palo Duro Canyon State Park, which is nearby the university I attended – West Texas A&M in Canyon, Texas. During the night, I went behind a bush to go to the bathroom, and I stumbled and sat on a cactus. Two of my girlfriends pulled the thorns from my bare backside using a flashlight! If I hadn’t known it before, I knew then that they were true friends. We’re still good friends to this day, and I still owe them big time!
I hope you don't mind me giggling about this because I did. I could also picture the exact same thing happening to me. I hope my friends would be so kind to assist. After I got over my own humiliation, that is.
And the most important question last: What is your favorite kind of cookie?
Snickerdoodles with lots of cinnamon and sugar on top!
I hadn't realized so many people loved snickerdoodles as much as me. I could eat them all day, everyday :)

Find Jennifer Archer online:

Buy it online:


Khadija said...

This was a fun interview to read! I agree about the cover as well :) I just got this one in the mail on Moday and can't wait to read it :)

Jules (The Great, The Good and The Bad) said...

Great interview. I am another one that agrees, the cover turned out beautiful.

This is definitely on my wish list.


The Slowest Bookworm said...

Really enjoyed this interview. I love the cover of Through Her Eyes - it's just gorgeous!

I have to ask though - what on earth are Snickerdoodles cookies? I've never heard of them.

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Khadija - I hope you enjoy it!

Jules - The cover is so, so pretty. I can't wait for my finished copy to finally arrive, so I can see how gorgeous it is in person.

Slowest Bookworm - Snickerdoodles are basically sugar cookies (or biscuits as you Brits call them) with cinnamon and sugar baked on top of them. They are beyond yummy and my favorite cookie :)

Candace said...

I'm so hungry for snickerdoodles now...
I agree that cover is beautiful, the eyes are amazing.
Fantastic interview! I look forward to reading the book :)

Rockie said...

This was such an awesome interview! I've never tasted snickerdoodle before. I think I need to. Lol

*~` `~*

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

All these comments about the cookies makes me want to go and back some!

Rockie - You MUST try snickerdoodles. They are life-changing (by that, I just mean they are addicting).

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