The wonderful Jen Malone, author of At Your Service (Which I love!), Map to the Stars (Releasing July 14th), and co-author of You're Invited with Gail Nall (Releases tomorrow, May 19th!) is here on the blog today to answer a few questions I had for her! :)
The bold font is the questions I asked, the regular font is Jen's answers, and the bold italic font is any comments I made afterward! :)
1. I loved At Your Service! What was some of the inspiration for the book?
Thank you!! I drew A LOT on two of my past jobs to write this book. One was managing a youth hostel (which I wish had been even 1/10 as nice as the swanky hotel where Chloe lives with her concierge dad! Alas, no rooftop pool for me!) which taught me a lot about being a tour guide/ambassador for my hometown (something Chloe also does in the book). And then working as a Hollywood publicist definitely influenced some of the more outrageous demands guests made of Chloe. No one issues outrageous demands like an A-list movie star… and my job was to fulfill them. I lived through Chloe’s frustration of wanting to be taken seriously, while doing some pretty silly things (I can’t tell you which actor will only eat Quadruple Stuff Oreos, but I can tell you I am a master at building them from the Double Stuff ones!)
2. All of the places Chloe and the kids visit in New York sound like they would be so much fun to go to! What's the #1 place in New York you think everyone should go to when they visit?
Oof!!! This is so tough, Jessica! I’ll cheat and say ‘”up”. It’s really awe-inspiring to see all those skyscrapers spreading across miles and miles when you’re also in the sky (or, more accurately, standing on the observation decks of the Empire State Building or The Top of the Rock or, very soon, at the new World Trade Center).
When I go to New York one day I will definitely have to make sure to do that! :)
3. Your next book, You're Invited (May 19th) looks like a lot of fun! You wrote with another author, Gail Nall! What was it like writing with another person vs. writing with yourself?
I am beyond excited about You’re Invited. One of the characters is my favorite I’ve ever written and I can’t wait to share her with readers. I also loved the experience of writing a strong friendship story with my own friend! Writing is so solitary and I’m usually working plot points out alone in my own head, but brainstorming them with Gail made the whole process different and collaborative and, really just FUN. I felt warm and fuzzy every time it was my turn to write a chapter. I hope we get to write dozens more together!
4. Are you able to tell us anything about what you're working on now?
Sure! I’m working on four books at once now, which is… interesting. Gail and I are waiting on edits for You’re Invited Too, which comes out in February; I’m doing copyedits on a YA called Map to the Stars, which is about a girl who accompanies a (yummy!) teen idol on the European promotional tour for his new movie and which comes out this summer; I’m about to start edits on Wanderlost, a Summer 2016 YA about a girl who has to impersonate her sister as the guide on a senior citizens’ bus tour of Europe (gee, you’d never guess I love travel in my books!); and, lastly, I just finished the first draft of The Sleepover, my Summer 2016 middle grade, which is basically The Hangover for tweens: three girls wake up after a sleepover to find the basement trashed and their best friend missing and they can’t remember anything past the hypnotist party act the night before. It’s a lot of juggling, but I love that this is how I get to spend my days (I wont lie- doing it all in pj’s helps A LOT).
Four?! Wow, that's a lot! And they all sound awesome! :)
5. Who are a few of your favorite Middle Grade authors/What are a few of you favorite Middle Grade books?
Obviously, I adore Gail’s Breaking the Ice, which came out this winter, and I can’t wait for people to read Ronni Arno’s Reinventing Ruby this fall. Alison Cherry (whose sense of humor is spot-on) has several YA books out already, but her first MG, The Classy Crooks Club, comes out this time next year along with Dee Romito’s Summer Bucket List. In terms of other stuff on the shelf now, I really loved When Aubrey Met Alice by Rebecca Behrans and The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy.
But hey, what are some of your faves? I’ve discovered a bunch of books on your site that I’ve then run off to buy…
Thank you so much for having me!
Breaking the Ice was a lot of fun! And a few of those books are on my TBR list! And thank you so much for saying that! Hmm, a few of my favorite MG authors? Natalie Lloyd, Jess Keating, Jeanne Birdsall, Michelle Schusterman, Lauren Magaziner, Jessica Day George, Shannon Messenger, and many, many more! (And you!) :)
Thank you so much for letting me interview you! I loved your answers! :)
Didn't you all love her answers, too?! :)
And here is her formal bio: (I highly suggest going to her website and reading her About Me page, though!) :)