Book Nerd Interview
Her debut YA, ALTERED, will release January 2, 2013 from Little, Brown.
Her debut middle-grade, BOT WARS, will release March 21, 2013 from Dial Books for Young Readers. It's written under the pen name J. V. Kade and can be found HERE.
Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
Definitely! I won second place in a young writer’s contest through school for a short story I wrote about a ghost house. While I only won a Mickey Mouse pencil, it was the simple fact that I won that hooked me. I had always loved telling stories, so to know someone had read something I’d written, and liked it enough to reward me was an incredible feeling.
Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
I think stories in general are important because they allow us to escape the real world for a bit and experience other worlds, and meet characters we’d never meet in real life. But, they’re also important to our lives, to our history. Who doesn’t have a good story to tell about an incredible journey, or a heroic event? Children and grandchildren will want to hear those stories some day.
Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
I love Companions of the Night by Vivian Vande Velde, which is also outside of my genre! It’s a vampire book, from a time before Twilight. I loved vampire fiction when I was a teen, and Ethan, the love interest in Companions, is quite badass.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Don’t read reviews.
In your new book; Altered, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?
Altered is about a seventeen-year-old girl, Anna, whose father is a scientist for a shadowy organization known as the Branch. He runs a program in the lab in the basement of their farmhouse, administering treatments and running tests on four genetically altered teenage boys. Anna has grown close to all of the boys in the years they’ve been in the lab, so when the boys stage an escape, Anna goes with them. She soon realizes she’s connected to them in ways she never could have imagined.
What part of Sam did you enjoy writing the most?
How kickass he is! Sam is loyal, and protective of his team, and there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for them. He’s also incredibly smart, so his character kept me on my toes!
For those who are unfamiliar with Anna, how would you introduce her?
She’s been sheltered for a lot of years. She’s been homeschooled her whole life. All she knows is the lab, and the boys, and her dad. She gets out, of course. She does the grocery shopping, and she takes self-defense classes, but her heart is in the lab as long as the boys are there. She does dream about leaving though, and exploring the world. For now, she does that through art. She loves sketching the places she’s never been based on tear-outs from magazines.
What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I’m currently working on the sequel to my middle-grade novel, Bot Wars (written under the pen name J. V. Kade). After that, I’ll be drafting my third YA, which has yet to be decided!
If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I’d love to introduce Cas to the Mad Hatter, because I feel like that meeting would be hilarious.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
How are you?
Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
My husband. He’s my best friend and I tell him everything.
What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?
I used to work at a Laundromat when I was a teenager. You meet a lot of people working at Laundromat! That’s where I meet my husband, actually.
Who was your first boyfriend?
I honestly don’t remember. There were a few boys who I liked, that I probably held hands with, and who were “boyfriends” but not real, actual boyfriends. If that makes sense!
Tell me about your first kiss
I don’t remember that either.
When was the last time you cried?
Twelve days ago.
What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
What is the one, single food that you would never give up?
Where can readers stalk you?
My website, www.jennrush.com, Twitter: @jenn_rush and Tumblr: http://jenniferrush.tumblr.com
Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them.
Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.
Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.
I truly enjoy a storyline that steps out of the norm and into a world where everything feels a like your first-time experience. Author Jennifer has a way of driving her readers into this notion and when she puts it in details, it creates a clear window of what the characters in the book are feeling and seeing. She has introduced readers to a cast of characters that are all very endearing. Although Anna at first was pretty much in the backseat of the boys’ journey, she didn’t get in the way and her presence actually delivered much more depth to the boys’ cloudy past. The twists and turns that Jennifer methodically places in this invigorating story are unexpected and thoroughly entertaining. Each revelation felt like a sucker punch to the face. But instead of blocking the next punches, readers are happily to accept because they know it will be just as good, if not better, than the last one.
The character interactions and world-building are amazing. It is a fast-paced and action packed story that putting the book down is an unacceptable option. Altered is a refreshing story with incredible writing that waiting for the second book becomes an unbearable feeling. I cannot wait to find out where these memorable characters will go to next.