Sunday, January 6, 2013

Jeff Hirsch Author Interview

Photo Content from Jeff Hirsch

  • I'm originally from the suburbs just south of Richmond, VA. I currently live in the great, tiny state of Rhode Island. 
  • I started writing because of a 7th grade homework assignment. My teacher Denise Stewart (A towering woman with incredible diction and a mass of curls who, in my memory, looks exactly like Lynn Redgrave) told me my story was good and that I should consider continuing to write. I've been taking her advice for roughly the last 27 years.
  • Towards the end of Junior High I attended the University of VA's Young Writers Workshop, which is basically writers' camp. It was exactly as nerdy and as utterly fantastic as you might imagine. If you're a teen into writing, definitely check it out.
  • During High School, when not writing, I was pretty wrapped up in the process of becoming a big ol' theater nerd. I wrote stuff and directed plays and performed in shows like Indians, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Taming of the Shrew, The Man of La Mancha and various others.
  • After HS I went to study acting at East Carolina University then moved to New York right after that to ply my new trade. A few years later writing reared it's head again and I left NY and headed out to UC San Diego where I got an MFA in playwriting.
  • A year or so after grad school I started reading books from writers like M.T. Anderson, KL Going, and David Almond and was blown away by the quality of writing that was going on for teen audiences. I was hooked.
I know how to escape from a straitjacket while suspended from the ceiling by my ankles. I can also eat fire, walk on broken glass and hammer a nail all the way up into my nose.

My favorite movie is either The Outsiders or Harold and Maude or The Fisher King. I can never decide which. Oh! Maybe it's My Dinner with Andre. Have you seen My Dinner with Andre? You totally should. Team Wally!

I can't honestly point to one favorite book (I've just read way too many) but the most formative book for me, the book that made me a reader and eventually a writer, was The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper.

I'm torn as to whether the coolest human being to ever live is A) Tom Waits or B) Prince.

I bake to relax. My triple chocolate espresso cookies will renew your faith that there is something good and holy in this barbaric world.

I've known three of my current best friends since I was 15.

Apparently I like writing about my animals. Hopkins the cat in Magisterium is based on my cat Henry. Bear the dog in The Darkest Path is based on my dog Rosie.


Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
Like a lot of writers I can trace my writing back to an assignment in school. In the 7th or 8th grade my English teacher assigned a one-page short story. I had a lot of fun doing it and she encouraged me to keep at it and now here I am!

In your new book; Magisterium, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it and why they should read your novel?
Magisterium is about a world where reality has been split in two. On one side of “The Rift” is a technological paradise while on the other is, well, no spoilers here. Magisterium follows a young girl named Glenn who lives with her father. He used to be a Steve Jobs like inventor but ever since Glenn’s mom left them ten years ago he’s become a recluse obsessively working on a mysterious invention. Late one night he wakes Glenn to tell her he finally made it work and they’re going to use it to get her mother back. Before he can explain, the authorities come and arrest him, but not before he can pass a piece of his invention on to Glenn, sending her and her best friend Kevin Kapoor on the run to the other side of The Rift.

For those who are unfamiliar with Glenn, how would you introduce her?
Glenn is a very brilliant but very troubled 16 year old girl. She has a tendency to be a little selfish and closed off but over the course of the story she learns how to be much more than that.

Why do you feel you had to tell this story?
Honestly? Because I thought it would be a heck of a lot of fun. There’s stuff in there about duality and responsibility and the pain of growing up, but more than anything I wrote it because I thought it just might end up being awesome.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
Yes, two coming up. I have another YA coming out in the Fall of 2013. Still working on the title but it’s a story about a kid named Cal growing up during the Second American Civil War. In early 2014 I’ll also be putting out the second book in the final series of The 39 Clues.

Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
No contest. My wife, Gretchen.

What’s your most missed memory?
I’m happy to say I don’t spend too much time thinking back to what was. Now is pretty cool and soon seems like it might be nice too.

What is the one, single food that you would never give up?
Anything crunchy and salty.

On one side of the Rift is a technological paradise without famine or want. On the other side is a mystery.

Sixteen-year-old Glenn Morgan has lived next to the Rift her entire life and has no idea of what might be on the other side of it. Glenn's only friend, Kevin, insists the fence holds back a world of monsters and witchcraft, but magic isn't for Glenn. She has enough problems with reality: Glenn's mother disappeared when she was six, and soon after, she lost her scientist father to his all-consuming work on the mysterious Project. Glenn buries herself in her studies and dreams about the day she can escape. But when her father's work leads to his arrest, he gives Glenn a simple metal bracelet that will send Glenn and Kevin on the run---with only one place to go.
With MAGISTERIUM, Jeff Hirsch brings us the story of a complex, captivating world that will leave readers breathless until the very last page.

Jeff Hirsch’s Magisterium follows the compelling story of sixteen-year-old Glenn Morgan whose world is divided by a great Rift created a hundred years before she was born. On one side of the Rift is a land of endless technological bliss and the other is a mysterious waste land. When her scientist father creates a device that allows the people of Colloquium to step into the unknown side of the Rift, Glenn and her best friend Kevin are on the run from the government who will stop at nothing from retrieving the device. What they find on the side is the complete opposite of what they have been told. She discovers a reality that has her questioning her own self and the world she lives in.

The world that author Hirsch has built is amazingly remarkable. It is effectively vivid that readers will see it through the eyes of Glenn. Although Glenn’s world is full of out-of-this-world technology and science, the provided descriptions make it easy to imagine her unique world. It gets more intense once she crosses into the unknown side of the Rift, the Magisterium, where magic and religion takes a new turn for Glenn. She finds herself questioning a world where people pray to different Gods and putting their lives in the hands of faith

Magisterium is the ultimate thought-provoking book that will have readers thinking about their own life and the universe they live in. Although it is packed with action and supernatural elements, the principal message is powerful. The difference in both worlds, one of science and logic and the other of myth and legend, is something that each reader will have to come to on their own. Hirsch’s writing style is brilliant and makes this compelling story easy to follow and fully appreciate the message behind it. It ended perfectly yet left enough questions to open the possibility for a second book. My thoughts were certainly provoked and this is the kind of book that is recommended to any reader.

You can purchase Magisterium at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you JEFF HIRSCH for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch.


  1. This book is on my wish list. Thanks for stopping by Jeff and thank you for the awesome giveaway!

  2. Thanks for the donation and the giveaway!

  3. Hi everyone! Thanks so much to Jean for doing the interview and the very kind review. Hope y'all enjoy the book!

  4. Thanks for the interview. I am from Virginia too! Southwest area

  5. Thanks Jeff for doing an interview with Jean and for this great giveaway!

  6. Thanks for the interview and giveaway :)