Jan 22, 2010

So cool!

If you remember, last semester (around October), I sent an e-mail to one of my favorite authors asking if I could interview her, and she said I could. Unfortunately, I didn't hear back from her after I sent her my questions. I passed it off as the cosmic void of the internet stealing things and not spitting them back out as a good wormhole should. (Okay, that video doesn't really have anything to do with wormholes, but it's funny!)

Anyway, so I got home from class today, and what should be in my e-mail inbox but my interview! ::squeel!:: I've included her explanation. I just want to say thank you to Jessica Day George for being so nice and answering my questions three months after they were written when she could have just let it go. If you want to learn more about Jessica Day George and her books, click here for her website.

Here's the interview!

I am so, so sorry! I got a new computer on October 11th (my birthday), and in transferring my unanswered emails, they got stuck in some dead letter folder. I didn't really notice until recently, and then we had to retrieve them and sort them and I'm only now getting around to answering them!
Please, please forgive me!
And I hope it's not too late to answer your questions!
You have published five books in two years, which is pretty impressive. Did you have some of your books underway when you published Dragon Slippers or were they all written since then?
All of them have been written since I finished Dragon Slippers. Because it was my first novel, though, Dragon Slippers got delayed a few times by the publisher, so it didn't come out for about two years. That gave me some extra time.

With two young children and a husband, when do you find the time to write?
I give the children to the husband and say, These are yours! And then I go hide!

What's the best thing about writing?
The feeling of godlike power! I can kill this person if I want to! I can make you marry whomever I like! Mwahhahaha!

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Read, all the time and all sorts of different things, and write every day.

How do you write your books? (Outline, beginning to end, end to beginning, start in the middle, etc.)
Beginning to end, with occasional notes if I think I might forget something about the ending.

How many versions of the fairytales (East O' the Sun, West O' the Moon and The Twelve Dancing Princesses) did you read for research?
With East o' the Sun, only the one I recommend in the back of Sun and Moon, because it's the best, truest version. With Twelve Dancing, I read a couple, but really wanted to make it my own, so I didn't really bother with the details of other people's versions too much.
What is it about Norway that made you so interested in it? And has Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow been translated into Norwegian?
I wish they would translate it! Wouldn't that be too wonderful?! I don't know what it is, but something about the landscape and the language just called to me! I love Grieg, and the fjords, and knitting, and the ocean! (Also, A-ha! Best 80's band ever!) Winking smile emoticon

I was able to attend your presentation at the BYU Symposium for Books for Young Readers this last summer and you talked about a "Chocolate Theory." Can you give me a brief overview of this theory?
Um, let's see: There is a book out there for everyone, just like there is a chocolate out there for everyone! You've had chocolate cake (or read a book), it's fine, you like it okay. Then you discover Cheesecake Factory's Triple Chocolate Cheesecake (or in my case, YA fantasy), and suddenly you are in love, and reading/eating chocolate becomes a magical experience that brings you joy and makes you smile when you think about it! Everyone has their Triple Chocolate Cheesecake, you just need to figure out what it is: mysteries, literary fiction, sci fi.

You also mentioned at the symposium the book that made you love reading. I remember that it was a Robin McKinley, but I can't remember the which one. And what was it about this book that engaged you?
The Hero and the Crown! It was about Aerin, who had red hair and felt very clumsy and untalented, something that just struck a cord with me. She was tall for her age, like I was, and seemed to be surrounded by beautiful, stylish people. She decided to make a name for herself by slaying dragons! It had everything I could imagine: magic, romance, adventure, dragons, horses, war, and the hero was someone I could understand. Just the perfect book, at least for me!

About the heroines in your books, especially Creel and the Lass, they are such strong female characters, which is different than a lot of fairy-tales. How do you think these characters are different from other female heros (for example, in Tamora Pierce's books, McKinley's or Levine's)?
Oh, we could talk for days about this! I think all well-written characters are different, yet there are some things the same. I try to make mine strong, but not unbelievably so, and I know other authors do too. You want to show your readers what they, too, are capable of: honesty, loyalty, courage, intelligence. I think a lot of other authors have captured this same thing. I adore Ella Enchanted, and how Ella works around her curse so beautifully. Aerin in Hero and the Crown is both insecure and yet strong and confident in the things she knows she can do well. The Lass was more insecure, but brave in her way and fiercely loyal, whereas Creel just knew she could do anything she set her mind to.

What is something that you would like readers to gain from reading your books? A point of view or idea?
Girls can do amazing things too!

What's the best part of publishing a book?
Seeing it on the shelf in the stores. Thrills me every time!

Do you consider your books to be Young Adult?
Yep. Teenage protagonist, PG-13 amounts of violence, some light romance.

I'm an editing minor, so I would be really interested to know how useful you find your editor to be? Has she or he helped changed your books or stories into something better? What difference has having an editor made?
10 (Sorry, Whitney here, I'm not exactly sure by what she meant by the 10, but I'm guessing that she thinks her editor is a 10. Go back to reading the interview.)

As someone who is LDS, how has having that background influenced your writing?
I'm sorry, but I never know how to answer this question. I was raised LDS, and just can't imagine what my life or my writing would be like without it.

And finally, if I may ask, are you working on a new book? What new things can we (especially me!) expect to see in the near future?
I'm always working on a new book! Next up: Princess of Glass will be out in May, it's the sequel to Princess of the Midnight Ball.

Ta DA!


  1. I love Jessica Day George! I was able to meet with her two years ago at LTUE and she's adorable and funny and it was AMAZING to be with her and Gail Carson Levine and Orson Scott Card and Brandon Sanderson. I felt like I'd died and gone to heaven. I'm glad she was able to take the time to get back to you. :D

  2. Yaaay! Glad you got a response!!! :) Cool that she took the time to do that. :)