Monday, January 9, 2012

Interview with Jenni James - Author of Pride and Popularity

Jenni was so kind to answer a few questions about herself, writing, and her books. Read on to find out more!

 1.  How did you decide which parts of Pride and Prejudice to follow, and which to change?  

It all came so organically to me, the characters sort of popped up and and presented themselves, which became really easy to bend them a bit to fit a new more modern adaptation.  I also had to leave room for them to grow, since you will be seeing many of these characters again, playing different parts, in some other of The Jane Austen Diaries. 

·         2. Did any of the funny situations in the book come from personal experience?

Oh, yeah.  A lot.  I have a lot of material to use and bend at my will.  My own life has been full of many, many zany and fun experiences.  It's definitely unique!  Which makes writing all the more real and fun. :)

·        3.  Did you start the Jane Austen Diaries with a rewrite of Pride and Prejudice because it’s her most well-known work, or for another reason?

Honestly, I had no idea I was rewriting Pride and Prejudice until about 4 chapters in and still no title for the book.  I called my mom from England (we were stationed with the Air Force there) begging for help with a title.  After a few minutes of chatting and explaining the book in detail, I said, "You know what this book is like?  It's like Pride and Prejudice."  We're both HUGE Jane Austen fans so she said without missing a beat, "Well then, call it Pride & Popularity."  After a few more chapters in, I realized I had the characters for the other books already beginning and the rest you can say, is history. 

·        4.  What was your favorite moment from the book?

Eeeh!  Okay.  So my most favorite scene is Morp. I love it so much!  I think it's fun and perfect and wonderful when her friend saves her. :) 

·         5. How do you find time to write?

Lol!  With as many kids as I've got, if I don't take time to write, I find myself going insane.  To me, writing is my release, my way of contributing to the world in some small way without feeling shutout and drowning in motherhood.  lol! 

·        6.  What is your writing process like? Any quirks, special rituals?

Well, I usually write at night, while the kids are in bed.  I edit during the day, since it's much easier to walk away and help children when you're editing.  But with 10 kids around me during the day, I find I shut everyone out as I write--it's much safer for us all if I write at night. Lol! I also clear my head and say a prayer before beginning.  If I'm writing a sad scene, or something intense, I find I do much better getting back in the mood, if i've got a mood building song on repeat really low in the background.  If I'm writing comedy, I have to have complete silence.  

·        7.  Can you tell us a little about Northanger Alibi?

Northanger Alibi is by far my funniest book.  I love love love it.  And in the same tradition of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, I've placed Claire in the middle of what she imagines to be her favorite novel, Twilight.  Since Northanger Abbey is all about a girl who reads way too many Gothic novels and finally gets to go out into the world believing all she's read is true... I had to base Northanger Alibi off of a modern Gothic novel that every girl knows, and wishes would come true.  But the best part is, in the end Claire learns that real life is better than anything she'd ever read in a book.  

·        8.  What authors, books, or movies have influenced you? 

I love good clean teen movies, they're always so much fun and now my daughter is a teenager I can sneak in some more guilty pleasure by watching them with her!  Lol!  My favorite modern author is Judith A. Lansdowne, she is not only an amazing friend, but a tremendous writer as well.  When I began writing I vowed to make sure my guys were as in depth and as sweet as her heroes.  You really just fall in love with any of her characters, and I hope that's what happens with my books as well.