Jenny B. Jones is one of my favorite people in the whole world—even though we’ve yet to meet in person. But because of her personal blog, warm personality, and ever-humorous Tweets, Jen has convinced me that she’s wonderful. Then there are her books Just Between You and Me (read my review) and her Bella Kirkwood series (I’m So Sure, So Over My Head, So Not Happening), which are all sassy and excellent reads. I’m so sure her other books are good, too; I just haven’t read them…yet. Because I read her blog, Jenny B. Jones agreed to “Take 5” with Backseat Writer. (I had to send her a box of Swedish fish, too.)
Like many writers, you have a day job. What do you do when you’re not living the glamorous writer’s life?
Oh, please. When am I not living the glamorous life? Today’s fab achivements included scooping the litter box, taking out the trash, and screwing up some driving directions and getting lost for an hour in the middle of nowhere. Pretty much the same life Paris Hilton has.
Beyond that, I love to read obviously. And I adore seeing plays and musicals. Love to travel. This summer I’m going to Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia. I watch a little Glee and Castle.
Both your books and your blog are full of humor and wit. What made you laugh recently?
Well, thank you. I’m a high school teacher, and my kids make me laugh on a regular basis. Life just makes me laugh—the unscripted stuff, you know? Funny is everywhere. Oh, wait, I know. I mentioned this on Twitter/Facebook, but I was visiting Springfield, MO this weekend, and I went to one of their health food stores. Before I hit the road again, I stopped by their bathroom. It was a small room, but one whole wall was dedicated to fiber information. Very informative. That made me laugh. It was even all pretty and framed in this gigantic frame. Like fiber info art. In a bathroom.
What I find interesting about your books is this—although you have Christian characters in your books, they aren’t super Christians. They seem like the real men and women I interact with on a daily basis. How did you develop your rich characters?
What a confidence booster you are. (We should talk more often…) It’s really important to me that my characters, whether teen or women, sound like people I know. I don’t hang out with perfect people. I don’t sit next to church with squeaky clean, unrealistic people. I think we’d all LIKE to be super Christians in terms of being as much like Christ as possible, but that doesn’t mean we want to be disconnected from those around us or act like Stepford Wives.
I think I’m very character driven. I tend to analyze people and size them up quickly, so everyone is basically a character in my head. I’m very people aware, so that’s why when I write, it’s important to develop some strong or well rounded characters. I don’t really mind if someone can’t recall the name of one of my books, but I don’t want my characters to be forgettable.
The Christian market is flooding with talented new writers. I love your work because it’s fresh and sassy. What encouragement do you have for new writers who want to break into publishing?
There are more books and more writers out there, so it can get discouraging for someone wanting to break in. But that just means it’s a great time to write a book that is special and going to stand out. No matter how many books are being published or authors being signed, publishers and agents are always open to writing that blows them away. And get proactive. Go to writer’s conferences. Read great books. Stay up on blogs relevant to your genre and publishing. Find a critique group. I went to a book event today and sat by a debut author. That could be you….
Why should people read your amazing and wonderful blog?
Because I’ll pay them?
Because we talk about hard-hitting topics like spandex and doughnuts?
Because you do it, and they should be a follower?
Because I’ll be their very best friend?
Because every time you click on my blog, an angel gets its wings?
Because you got lost on the way to Meg Cabot’s blog?
So many reasons. But we have a lot of fun over on the blog, and I love, love, love my blogger friends who stop by. It means a lot to me, and I feel like we have a little community. We should probably get membership cards and t-shirts. Take a group photo. Maybe get matching tattoos?