Today marks the RELEASE DAY of Jeff Chen’s first book…
3 Little Known or Interesting Things About You
1 I moved to London when I was 20 and lived there for 4 years.
2 I’ve never, ever broken a bone!
3 One of my favorite colors is yellow. It makes me feel like the sun.
Hogwarts House and/or Camp Halfblood Cabin (If you have not been sorted or if you have not taken a quiz, I have linked them for you.)
Gryffindor of course!
If you or one of your books was the answer on jeopardy, what do you imagine/wish the question would be?
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I think this might apply to a lot of creatives, but I find that the best time for me to work on my writing is past midnight, and before early morning. 2am-3am are my sweet spots, but that’s hard to keep up with when also working a 9-5. I love the silence. I love how this time of morning feels like I am the only one who is up and my thoughts can flow.
What is the first book that made you cry?
I don’t know if this was the first book that made me cry, but Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Story was the first book in the past few years that made me shed tears. This book stays on my mind. It was the story that made me cry, but also the true events and unfortunate circumstances surrounding a young child’s life that killed an innocent person and himself. Because this story does deal with a true event, I often think of the people that failed the victim and the murderers lives.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
I feel that it does a mix of both! I tend to write reality, which can be draining at times, but having a completed project that I can send to my agent excites me! It’s intriguing to see a project go from an idea in my head, to an idea written on my computer, to something that another person reads and loves.
About Your Books
Tell us about your book(s)-length of time it took to write, journey, publishing, release dates, etc.
My book has no release date at the moment. The journey has been slow but worth it. I started with a picture book idea three years ago. This idea initially turned into a poem. After being told that my story needed a narrative, I rewrote and rewrote and rewrote again! Eventually I found my agent, who loved it. When we went on submission, out of the dozen or so people we sent the manuscript to, one offered. This offer was the last one to come in! People often say within publishing there is a lot of “hurry up and wait”. I’ve realized that while I may have work out on submission, or even in an editor’s hands, I need to always focus on the next ‘thing’. The slowness of publishing can consume you, and what’s helped to keep my sanity is to not focus on one manuscript but to always think of what I could be doing next.
Favorite line or quote from one of your books.
A favorite line from ALL of my books is “The End!
Describe the character that is most like you.
The protagonist in my forthcoming picture book is most like me. When she has an idea she goes for it, and lets nothing get in her way. I am very head strong, or “hard headed” as my grandmother likes to say. When I wanted to study abroad, I found a way. When it came to grad school, I let nothing get in my way of moving and attending Carnegie Mellon. When it comes to publishing, the no’s I’ve heard are fuel to keep pushing for my dreams.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
One suggestion that my friend Jonathan Auxier gave was to read. Read everything. Read anything. Read it all. Read books outside of the genre you’re writing. Read best sellers and read lesser known titles. This is one fact that helps writers become better writers. When you take in others words, you’re able to see how they use language, what works and what doesn’t work. Ultimately, it will make you become a better writer, consciously, and subconsciously.
Leave us with some wise words. What advice would you give the readers of this interview?
No matter your passion, go for it. Take baby steps to achieve your goals. Accomplishment isn’t achieving everything all at once. Celebrate the small steps, too. They all lead to where you want to be.
Leave some links for us to follow you and buy your books:
My book isn’t yet published, but it will be! In the meantime, check out my website for updates, www.brittanythurman.com