The Five Questions: Jen Brooks

Ringler Associates

“Jane Austen: Would you please give me some feedback on my manuscript?”

Jen Brooks is the author of In A World Just Right and will be reading with me (and many other wonderful authors) at the Boston Teen Author Festival on Saturday, September 26th at the Cambridge Public Library. Here’s her take on The Five Questions:

1. What’s the surprising inspiration behind one (your choice) of the characters or stories you’ve created?

I don’t think it’s surprising to find that most things about Jonathan and Kylie, my main characters, are similar to me. Anyone who knows me personally has found reason to smile at the details I’ve chosen to include . . . like my love of chicken burritos. That said, much of the inspiration for the characters and setting comes from my time spent teaching.

2. If you could rescue one obscure book and make it more widely known to the world, which book would you choose and why?

I’m going to cheat and pick a book that is far from obscure, but I think deserves as much attention as it can get: Cristin Terrill’s All Our Yesterdays. It’s a fabulous time-travel, save-the-world story, with characters to make your heart beat faster and who have to make choices I would never want to have to make.

3. You can ask one question to any author, living or dead. What would you ask and why?

Jane Austen: Would you please give me some feedback on my manuscript? ☺

4. What’s the best (or your favorite) feedback you’ve received from a reader?

My “favorite” feedback has come from many readers. There is nothing as affirming as having a reader really get what my book is trying to say, really see Jonathan as a person not to be judged for the mistakes he makes, but empathized with for the things he has to face. Readers moved so much by Jonathan’s story that they admit crying are my special favorites.

5. What’s the worst writing advice you’ve received from a teacher?

Ha! I don’t remember ever specifically receiving bad writing advice. I’ve always considered my writing teachers as excellent. However, I do know that there are things I learned in school (like using “creative” dialogue tags instead of the invisible “said”) that I had to unlearn in graduate school.

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