This week we've been featuring Denise Jaden to celebrate the release of Never Enough. We've done reviews of Losing Faith and Never Enough and today we have Denise on for an interview. There's also a giveaway at the end as well as an entry into Denise's own giveaway for each person who comments.
First of all, thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions! We are honored to have you here are Novels, News & Notes! Can you tell us just a little bit about each of your books?
Sure! Losing Faith was my first YA contemporary novel. It’s about a girl named Brie, who, after her sister Faith’s death, learns some dark and twisted secrets about the sister she always thought she knew. These secrets put Brie’s own life in danger.
Never Enough will be out July 10th. It’s another YA contemporary about two sisters who don’t feel like enough, and they both go to some pretty extreme lengths to try and change that.
Both books are contemporary and I know Losing Faith was a pretty hard hitting novel. Why did you choose to write contemporary books?
I’m just not one of those people who sees things in fantastical or otherworldly ways. I find it difficult to suspend my disbelief and feel truly involved with stories (or movies) that are not based in the real world. That is probably why I naturally gravitate to writing contemporary.I think contemporary is very important, especially for teens. So thank goodness we have people like you who are happy to write it!
Would you ever consider writing another genre?
Yes, I would consider writing anything, if it came to me in a way that I felt compelled to write it. I have a fascination with what our future will hold, and think about writing dystopian once in a while. That’s probably the most likely genre I would chose if I dipped my toe out of the contemporary pond.I think writing a dystopian would be cool. It's definitely something on my mind a lot!
Where did you get the ideas for Losing Faith and Never Enough?
Losing Faith is loosely inspired by a few events from my teen years. My best friend when I was sixteen was killed during that time, and then a little later I started to attend a church with a very vibrant and passionate (and sometimes spiritually questionable) youth group. When the characters of Brie and Faith first came to my mind, it was really early on that I had an inkling to incorporate some of these ideas from my own background into their story.
I first wrote Never Enough as an exploration into self-esteem and eating disorders. A friend of mine was really struggling, and I wanted to understand her more and learn to say things that would be helpful rather than hurtful. At first, I never expected it to be a publishable book, but it has grown and changed significantly in the last eight years (and taught me so much about both people and writing!)I think real life experiences make the books better. When you really have that passion behind it where you've experienced it yourself in some way or another.
Do your characters ever reflect yourself or anyone you know?
At first they often do. But every character who has ever had a basis in reality has changed so much through revisions that they really don’t resemble their inspiration much in the end. Tessa in Losing Faith was loosely based on a tough girl I’d known in high school, and Marcus from Never Enough was originally loosely based on one of my best friends from high school.In my own writing my characters also start as inspiration from people I know but they do often warp into someone completely different.
Who was your favorite character to write about? Why?
Oh, this is such a hard question! I loved writing about Tessa in Losing Faith (and I’m very slowly working on a companion novel in Tessa’s point of view, because I love her so much). Loann may be one of the closest characters to me and my growing up years, so she was also a lot of fun to write about. I loved writing any scene where Marcus and Loann were together. I have many extra scenes of them that didn’t make it to the final book.I think a companion novel would be great!
Can you tell us a bit about your writing process? What works for you? (Do your outline, etc)
Oh, if only I knew what worked for me! To be honest, I seem to have a different process with each book. Some things I’ve learned that have worked though: I like to know where my book is going, and the approximate ending, before I start writing. I also love to fast-draft my first draft of a book (in a month or less). I find this process helps bring ideas out of my subconscious that I don’t think I would otherwise find. Other than that, I don’t have any hard and fast rules for my process of writing and revising a book.I love that you fast-draft! I've tried to do that but I grow frustrated and need to walk away.
Off the top of your head what is one book that highly recommend that you've read somewhat recently?
I LOVED The Fault in our Stars by John Green. It impacted me in so many ways (and I’ve already read it three times.)
I have to agree on that one! I ADORE that book, SO MUCH!
If you could travel anywhere and in any time period, where would you go?
Hmmm. Probably about thirty years into the future. Like I said, the future does fascinate me. But part of me loves the mystery of it, too, so it’s hard to say…The future is fascinating to think about, but I think I'd be terrified to see what we have done to our planet!
Other than writing, can you tell us about another passion of yours?
Sure. I’m a professional Polynesian dancer. I used to own my own dance studio and teach lessons, but now I mostly keep with it for fun and fitness, and because it feels like part of who I am.That is SO freaking cool! And how fun!
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
I’m working on a couple of projects right now that I’m really excited about. One is another YA contemporary with lots of of romance and mystery. It’s called Foreign Exchange, and is about a girl who has to sneak away from a class trip in Europe, along with her crush, to find her missing best friend.
I also have my first non-fiction mini-book on writing coming out this fall. It’s called Writing With A Heavy Heart: Using Grief And Loss To Stretch Your Fiction. I’m really excited about both of these!Okay, Foreign Exchange sounds absolutely up my alley! I want it NOW! ;)
Find Denise Jaden:
In case you've missed it, Denise had this video made where authors talk about how THEY didn't feel like 'enough' as a teen. It's very inspiring!
The Giveaway:The folks at Simon & Schuster are giving away a copy of Never Enough to one of YOU! (Thanks to Denise for setting it up!)
This is open to US/Canada
You must be 13 or older to enter.
Enter in the rafflecopter below.
But Wait! Denise Jaden is having an EPIC (like, beyond epic) giveaway on her blog. She has prize packs GALORE! You could win up to 16 books (if I counted right) and she has multiple prize packs. You enter that giveaway HERE, but she counts every comment on this post as an entry as well. AWESOME, right? Just make sure you stop by and let her know! (Her Giveaway ends July 15th)