August 1, 2006

3 Questions: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Today I am guest blogging over at my friend Lani and company's place, LITERARY CHICKS, so you can find PART ONE of the tale of the 90 minute flight that took 13 hours pretty much right here. Part one of SEVERAL, because IT WAS A THIRTEEN HOUR TRIP. Into hell. So.

Here, meanwhile, I am giving up my chair to a rawther extraordinary young woman. Jennifer Lynn Barnes is a recent graduate of Yale University, where she studied cognitive science (the study of the brain and thought). Her research on animal and child cognition has been featured on ABC’s World News Tonight, Animal Planet, and The New York Times, and Jennifer will be spending the 2006/2007 school year abroad, doing autism research at the University of Cambridge.

Jennifer wrote her first YA title, Golden at the age of nineteen, and her second book, Tattoo, will be available in January of 2007.


Borders Books and More is recommending Golden, saying "Set at Emory High, Golden glows with the spot-on insights and pitch-perfect prose of someone whose knowledge of adolescence is absolutely fresh. The story's young heroine, Lissy, must learn the rules of a rigidly regulated hierarchy of popularity when she moves from California to Oklahoma. The social challenges she faces will be chillingly familiar to anyone navigating high school, but cliques aren't all Lissy has to deal with. She can see things that the average girl misses, and it looks like there's something truly evil stalking the halls of Emory High. Golden is a captivating mix of everyday teen terrors and supernatural suspense."

I stuck Jennifer in the three questions chair and grilled her:

JJ: What's the best STUPID LITTLE perk about having your book sell? You must here confess what RIDICULOUS dorky thing has pleased you WELL beyond the scope of

JLB: Honestly? The free books. I'm such an avid reader, and no one EVER told me that there would be free books involved in being a professional writer. For the first time in my life, I have more books than I could possibly read, and I'm running out of places to put them, but I can't quite bring myself to get rid of ANY of them, because I form this ridiculous emotional attachment to anything that my publisher gives me.

JJ: As a Southern writer, I think everything is about locationlocationlocation. How did growing up in Oklahoma influence your work?

JLB: I grew up in Oklahoma, but went to college on the East coast. Imagine my surprise when I arrived at my dorm freshman year to discover that all of my roommates mistakenly believed that I lived on a farm, rode horses to school, and personally knew people with hyphenated first names who had married their cousins. In GOLDEN, my narrator is a California girl who is transplanted to Oklahoma and discovers that it isn't all that different from any place else (a lesson I spent a good year and a half teaching all of my East and West coast roommates), and that, contrary to popular belief, being from California
isn't a guarantee of social success in an Oklahoma high school.

JJ: Golden is a book about a girl with an average girl with an extraordinary supernatural power. Tell us about your own supernatural powers.

JLB: I'm trying to figure this one out myself and sadly fear that I might not HAVE any super powers. The best I've been able to come up with is that I'm (a) really good at guessing whether a baby is going to be a boy or a girl, (b) equally good at guessing how many siblings a person has when I first meet them, and (c) supernaturally lucky at getting good parking places at the mall. I also dream in detail (and remember them) every night, and once in a blue moon,
they come true... but that happens to everyone, right?

I'm sure it does...THANKS JENNIFER!

Posted by joshilyn at August 1, 2006 6:42 AM

Oooh... that book sounds very intriguing... I think your blog may have the power to make me go buy books!

Posted by: Heather Cook at August 1, 2006 12:59 PM

SO...I read part one of the trip from hell and as far as I can tell you didn't even finish talking about hour one and then you left us on a giant cliffhanger which makes you...a giant tease! *Deep breath* Also I tried to sign up for the online book discussion and the site WOULD NOT LET ME despite my begging and pleading with it so now I am sad and rejected and going off to only comfort being that I am apparantly the Master of the Run-on Sentence. *SIGH*

Posted by: Amy-Go at August 1, 2006 2:54 PM

Thanks for the heads up, Joss. I'm always looking for YA books for my oldest, and this one sounds right up her alley.

Posted by: dee at August 1, 2006 4:06 PM

Sounds like a great book, but I am soooo jealous. It's not like I can say, "Why, if I had written a book at that age, it too would have been wonderful and made me famous." No. It's more like shaking my head and thinking that I was so busy just surviving growing up that it never even occurred to me to TRY to write a book and sell it. And this is from someone who has been writing since before she learned to spell.

So, Jennifer, you go girl. Much success in all your endeavours. If anything could get me back to college, cognitive science would probably be it. Could happen.

Posted by: ZaZa at August 3, 2006 3:40 PM

that C. superpower is invaluable! do not underestimate it! DO NOT!

Posted by: Janet at August 6, 2006 2:50 PM