Monday, October 10, 2016

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner? Jennifer March Soloway - Interview Part 3

By now, we've gotten to know a bit of Jennifer's personal side - she loves ice cream and Peet's coffee and running. And we know how she works - diligent about reading manuscripts and committed to the read. And overall, a person who wears her agent/editor hat passionately and with a humanistic realness that even the most introverted writer will be propelled to strike up a conversation with her. As our interview was winding down, I felt there was still something missing that I wanted ... no needed to know about Jennifer. I asked her to think back to her teen-self, then I asked, if she could invite any YA character to a party, who would she invite? Without skipping a beat, she said she would have loved to invite Deenie from Deenie by Judy Blume, the anonymous protagonist from, Go Ask Alice by Anonymous, John and Loraine from, The Pigman, by Paul Zindel, and Willa from Early Disorder by Rebecca Josephs. Oh, Jennifer's poor mother should she have had to entertain these teens for real!

Then, I asked Jennifer the same question but as an adult, who would she invite to a dinner party? Her faves are Olivia and Henry from The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters, Hope and Dess from Peas and Carrots by Anita S. Davis, Junior from The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, Alana from Night Speed, by Chris Howard, Jack from The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith, and Cadence from We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. Whew! This would be quite the dinner party. I would most definitely want to be the fly on the wall!

Jennifer has been a voracious reader even from a young age. Ever since her teen years, Jennifer has been obsessed with the problem novel. She says her inner rebel surfaced in her reading by getting her hands on any book her mother "deemed inappropriate and off-limits" such as Forever by Judy Blume and Flowers In the Attic by V.C. Andrews. Jennifer read these titles when she was 11 or 12!

My one last burning question was, "What is on your nightstand begging to be read?" Unlike her sister who loves the slasher thriller, Jennifer loves the "... is the premise real or all in your head?" psychological thriller. One of Jennifer's all time favorites is Carrie. It is the "... perfect scary coming of age teen girl ..." thriller. Another favorite is, The Cure for Dreaming, by Cat Winters. It's a fun read and keeps you guessing, " ... is it in your head? Or, wait, no, it's real! No, it's just all in my head." Sounds like the perfect read with a flashlight under the bed covers when the rest of the house has gone to sleep. Another favorite author is Andrew Smith, in particular, Marbury Lens. Lest you think Jennifer is all about the dark psychological thriller, Jennifer does love a good literary read. At the time of my interview Jennifer was reading, Girl In the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse.

This concludes my interview with Jennifer. I hope you now have a few "ice-breakers" for when you introduce yourself to Jennifer because you will introduce yourself at the SCBWI meeting on October 12th. Jennifer has specifically expressed her interest in meeting people - the authors and the illustrators alike. This is not the time to be shy. Tell Jennifer I said so.


Kathleen A. Hunter

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