It has been a joy getting to know the auction donors through email. Jennifer Smith donated her debut novel, The Comeback Season. I had an opportunity to find out more about her recently.
What have you recently published and what are you currently working on?
My first novel, The Comeback Season, was published last spring, and my new one, You Are Here, will be out next month. I’m currently working on a couple other YA books, though none of them are anywhere close to finished yet…
What books are on your nightstand?
What I Saw and How I Liedby Judy Blundell, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banksby E. Lockhart, If I Stayby Gayle Forman, and The Giant’s Houseby Elizabeth McCracken – all books I’m hoping to find time for soon. And then I always have a daunting pile of manuscripts to get through as well, since I’m also an editor.
Where do you find inspiration?
It completely depends. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with a brilliant idea (most of which turn out to be remarkably less brilliant the next morning), and sometimes it can be sparked by something mundane, hearing a story or remembering something that happened to me in high school. But if I waited around for inspiration, I’d probably never write at all, so usually it’s more a matter of brainstorming and coming up with ideas that way.
What advice do you have for would be writers/illustrators?
My advice to writers is always the same: read, read, read! (As for illustrators, if you can draw beyond stick figures, you’re already way ahead of me.)
What was your favorite book as a child? As a teen? As an adult? Any particular genre stand out?
As a kid, I was really into animal books. I know a lot of girls go through this phase, but for awhile there, you literally couldn’t pry The Black Stallion out of my hands. And I can’t say enough about Where the Red Fern Grows, which is one of my all-time favorites. I guess not all that much has changed, since the most recent book I’ve fallen in love with is The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, a gorgeous and totally unique take on the old boy-and-his-dog storyline.
Writing the first draft or revising? Which is your favorite?
Definitely writing the first draft. It’s like splatter painting versus doing detail work. I like throwing stuff in there and seeing what works as I write, whereas revising is always sort of a teeth-gritting exercise in patience for me.
Favorite time of the day to work?
Whenever I manage to find an hour or two. (Which is never often enough!)
Chocolate: white, dark, or milk?
White! I’m one of those weird people who doesn’t really like chocolate all that much, until Easter rolls around and all the white chocolate bunnies come out…
Coffee or tea or —?
Dance: Funky chicken or the tango?
Trust me, you don’t want to see me do either.