Hi guys! This is Kester blogging! I enjoyed reading My Senior Year of Awesome a lot, and fortunately, I was able to contact the author Jennifer DiGiovanni and interview her!
In the book, Sadie is voted as “Most Likely to Marry” a boy she’s never even dated or liked in *that* way. Rather than let her classmates decide her fate, she and her best friend try to come up with a list of truly awesome high school achievements to be completed by graduation.
2. What inspired you to write this book? Are the ideas in the book from your own high school experience?
The idea for this book came to me when my sisters and cousins started discussing their “turning 30” bucket lists. The idea of a story focusing on a senior year bucket list came to mind. I started by drafting some possible achievements.
3. How long did it take you to draft, revise, and edit this book? How about the publication process?
This book went through a ton of changes and revisions! I wrote the first draft during Camp NaNoWriMo but it took at least another year of editing and revising before I started submitting for publication. Along the way, I received some rejections, but most rejections offered some insight into how to make the story better, so I continued to revise.
4. What is your writing process like? What do you do when you have writer’s block?
I like to have a general idea of where the story’s going, but I don’t plan out each chapter and scene ahead of time. I do need to know the ending before I start writing, though, or I tend to write in circles. If I run into writer’s block, I get up from my computer and do something else. Take a walk. Clean the house. Read someone else’s book. But I really haven’t run into true writer’s block very often.
5. How would you describe your style of writing?
That’s a tough question! I’ve never tried to define my style, but I would say that I like to write fast-paced stories with realistic dialogue and humor.
6. Why do you like writing? When did you first have a love for writing, and how was it formed?
Writing is fun for me – something I truly enjoy. I’ve always loved to write and the encouragement of my teachers helped. In first grade I wrote a book called “The Other Side of the Mountain” about a girl who stumbles on a fantasy world ruled by a queen who is actually her long-lost mother. My teacher bound the book for me and I still have it.
7. Have you written or attempted to write any other works?
I’m always writing! My Senior Year of Awesome is part of a series, but I have other books I’m working on as well.
8. Who are your favorite authors? Who has affected your writing style?
When I was young I read a lot of the classics, Louisa May Alcott, Charlotte Bronte, etc. I also liked lighter fiction and Nancy Drew. Author Patricia Calvert, who was one of my teachers, helped me develop my writing style in regards to writing for teens.
9. What is your favorite genres to read and write? What are you favorite books?
I read a lot of YA, of course, but I also make a point to branch out and read outside of my genre. Recent favorites include The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon, and We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. I’m a big fan of plot twists!
10. What was your favorite part about writing this book? Who was your favorite character?
Sadie is my favorite character, although I like Jana and Andy a lot as well. I don’t know if I can name one favorite part of writing this book, because it was really fun the whole way through. Any scene between Andy and Sadie was especially fun.
11. Just like Sadie and Jana, do you like creating lists?
Yes, I am a big list person. At any given time I have 6 – 7 pads of paper laying around my desk listing different categories of to-dos. Shopping, vacation planning, writing, other work, etc.
12. You are a Sixteen to Read author. What is it like to have other friends who are also debut authors?
It’s been so great to connect with other debut authors. A lot of us have experienced ups and downs this year and it’s great to have a group of friends who relate to what you’re going through.
13. What do you do when your not writing? Is writing a part-time or a full-time job for you?
I write a lot, but I don’t have a set number of hours each week set aside for writing. In addition to writing fiction, I’m also a freelance writer, working for clients and writing about home improvement, small business, and home design. I keep a calendar and schedule my day according to my upcoming deadlines.
14. How did you feel when you got the e-mail from Georgia McBride that your book would be published?
My initial feeling was disbelief. It took a while to sink in.
15. Do you have any tips to recommend to aspiring writers?
Be open to feedback. The critiques I received from other writers helped me turn a rough story idea into a published book. I couldn’t have done that myself.
16. How is your next book coming along?
I’m just finishing a novella in the series, so I think it’s in pretty good shape. I hope!
Thanks for hosting me on your blog!
Thank you Jennifer for being a guest on my blog and for writing a wonderful book!
Read My Senior Year of Awesome, by Jennifer DiGiovanni if you haven’t already! Her upcoming novels in her School Dayz series are My Disastrous Summer Vacation and My Junior Year of Loathing, which are coming out later this year!