Tuesday, February 5, 2013

@JustinaYChen stops by to answer some questions!

Today on the blog we have Justina Chen visiting us for an interview.

Can you tell us a bit about your new book(s)?

RETURN TO ME is my love letter to my children, written for them a few months after their father left. I wanted my kids and every single reader to know that they can turn the dust of disappointment into the stardust of a new life. In fact, I wrote an essay about the inspiration behind this novel for Kirkus Reviews: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/features/back-story-tragedy-becomes-inspiration-successful-/

What kinds of jobs have you had besides writing? Mom is probably the most demanding, far-ranging job I have ever had. Aside from that, I have been a dressing room attendant (where I developed the most amazing biceps from hauling clothes back to their rounders), a cosmetics inventory drudge, poster mounter, speechwriter, and corporate storyteller.

Do you have a favorite scene in Return to Me?For personal reasons, I rather love every scene featuring Reb with her grandfather. My dad is the world's best grandfather, and I can very easily imagine him swooping in to rescue and reassure my kids.

What is your #1 most recommended book?That is too tough to say! But last year, my top choice for adults and young readers alike was Gary Schmidt's OKAY FOR NOW. I thought it was hilarious, heartbreaking, and profound.

What is your biggest guilty pleasure?Sweet potato fries. I am a connoisseur of French fries. Sad, but true.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?After writing RETURN TO ME, I realized that I had much much more to say to adult women. So I wrote WHAT NOW: Survival Guide for the Blindsided and Brokenhearted, which will be published on March 1, 2013. As well, I'm deep in the rewrites of my next YA novel, A Blind Spot for Boys (2014).

What is your favorite thing about living in the Pacific Northwest? Aside from having dewy soft skin all through winter, I love the proximity of the mountains. As an avid hiker, being outdoors refreshes my soul. One of the prettiest trails is just twenty minutes from my home. So I can get on a mountain, hike to a peak, and be home in about 90 minutes if I really scramble.

What kind of research did you have to do for your book(s)?Reb is an aspiring architect, one with a passion for treehouses. That necessitated a crash course in architecture--and I had the wonderful privilege of interviewing a number of architects and builders. And here's the amazing thing: just a few weeks ago, an aspiring architect in college emailed me, asking if she could design a studio for me as one of her school projects. It was as if my character stepped straight out of my novel!

Where do you like to write?When I'm writing a first draft, I love to sequester myself in a coffeehouse, cozy and intimate and surrounded by other working people. But when I'm rewriting, I need perfect quiet so that I can think about every single word, weave plot and sub-plots together, and listen to the voice that is emerging, sentence after sentence.

Justine's new books RETURN TO ME and WHAT NOW are both available now!  

Thanks for answering some questions for us today Justine!  
Tomorrow look for Mel's review of RETURN TO ME.

Find Justine on her Blog, Goodreads and Twitter

1 comment:

  1. I love Justina's books! I'm so happy to hear she's still writing and more books are scheduled to come out! A Blind Spot for Boys sounds interesting just by the title!


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