Do you love to take naps? Are you a dreamer?…
Yesterday I posted a Guess Who about a science-loving Ravenclaw who has written over 25 books for young readers. Do you know who she is? Are you ready to see if you were right?
Jennifer was kind enough to chat with me about her books, writing, and other aspects of her life. Here is the rest of our interview.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I am lucky enough to have a lot of author friends, too many to name. They help me by critiquing my first drafts, working together on conferences and workshops, and being my cheerleader in good times and bad, as I am there for them. I am so thankful to have a wonderful group of writer friends.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flammel series by Michael Scott.
**My interjection: I totally agree! I love this series and not enough of my middle schoolers read this book and I never see it talked about.**
How do you balance making demands on the reader with taking care of the reader?
I try to ask the questions of myself that a 9 or 10 year old reader would. I encourage my reader to be inquisitive and then help them to understand difficult concepts by using something they can totally identify with.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot or avatar?
A STEM avatar, like the image of an atom, or the whole world filled with interesting things.
About Your Books
How do you choose topics for books?
I am a very curious person, so I write about topics that I find compelling and fascinating, mostly ones on science, technology, and history. I try to imagine questions I might have had when I was my readers’ age. (Hint: I had A LOT of questions when I was young. Actually I still do). Many of my books answer big questions– How does your brain work? (Brain Games) Are the ocean and space related (Astronaut-Aquanaut)? And how is a car made to be safe? (Crash-test Dummies)
Why is science so important for young readers to read about?
Science is EVERYWHERE! It’s all around you. Right this minute. Science and technology is involved in everything we do. By learning about it, readers will better understand the world around them and the impact they have on it. Plus, maybe they will find it so interesting that they will become a scientist or engineer when they get older.
Tell us about your new book coming out in October! How excited are you and how has the journey been so far? What are your hopes for this book?
My new book is Save the Crash-test Dummies with Peachtree Publishers. This is a fun look at the history of car safety engineering, told humorously with the help of “Crash” the crash-test dummy. I am very excited to see this book out in the world. It has been a long time coming — over 6 years since I first envisioned it. This book went through many different variations, until I found just the right hook. I am so thrilled that it found its home at Peachtree. My hope is that this book will engage and excite readers about engineering, specifically about how cars are made. After all, most of us ride in a car every day. Did you ever think about cars are designed or why we have to “buckle up” when we first get in? All of these questions are answered in my book. I write books about STEM because I hope to get kids to see the wonder in the science and technology that is all around them. Perhaps it will inspire them to pursue a STEM career in the future.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Keep working on your craft. No matter how many books you have written, there is always more to learn. I still take writing classes, workshops, and engage editors to help me with my craft. It’s a lifelong learning journey to keep improving.
Leave us with some wise words. What advice would you give the readers of this interview?
Never give up! Publishing is a roller-coaster ride of a career. Sometimes it’s up and sometimes it’s down…Take time to celebrate the successes and learn to let the bumps in the road go. It’s an amazing journey and one I am very lucky to be on.
I cannot wait for Crash-Test Dummies to be released tomorrow. Order a copy here and follow Jennifer on Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. You can also read more about her and her other endeavors at her website.