@Jen_Sanya Says, "I am inspired by what makes us human" #TimeTravel #YA #BookClub

Friday, August 15, 2014

What is hardest—getting published, writing or marketing?
It’s all hard for different reasons. I don’t find writing difficult. I find finishing what I am writing difficult. I actually love the editing and revising process so much, I can take weeks and weeks working on one chapter because I can’t keep my hands off it. So, finishing a piece is difficult for me. Getting published is hard because most writers, me included, have to get rejected a lot before something happens. And that sucks, but I found I did get braver and braver about showing my work, so it’s a valuable experience to go through. Marketing is difficult for me because I am just one of those writers who would rather be hunched over my keyboard, intermingling with my characters than talking about myself.

Do you find it hard to share your work?
I like to share my work. I like constructive feedback. I want my story to be the best it can be, so getting ideas from thoughtful fellow writers or expert readers is an enjoyable and helpful process. Sometimes I’ll get a scathing comment or rejection, and that can burn for a day or two, but I usually learn something from it.

Do you want to publish more books?
Six Strings is the first book in a six part series. I am currently working away on Volume 2, and I really look forward to seeing it in print as well!

What else do you do to make money besides write? Is it rare today for writers to be full time.
I think there are definitely some lucky individuals who can say “author” is their only job title. I am not one of those individuals. However, I am a teacher, and I do feel lucky I get to hang out with junior high students and help them develop their own writing and reading skills. I love my job, both my jobs.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Is it lame to say Tucson, Arizona, where I currently call home? I am a desert girl and can’t imagine being truly happy anywhere else. Not that I wouldn’t enjoy a beach house in Hawaii for the summers…

What’s your next project?
I am currently writing the second book in the Six Strings series. I’ve been having fun researching a new place for Riley to leap back to, and revisiting the characters I’ve grown to love so much.

What social issues interest you most?
Literacy. I have taught junior high school English for seven years, and I’ve come to believe that strong reading skills are essential for a child. Being a strong reader helps a student do better in all of her classes and develop a love of literature, something I think is so important for young people. For some, books are the only way to travel outside their neighborhood let alone their city or state. It’s the only way for them to see that other kids are just like them and feeling the same things and going through the same things no matter what country they live in or what year they were born. I think being able to read whatever you want is the most important skill a kid can have. That’s why I’m a teacher. That’s why I teach English.

Do you find the time to read?
I read all the time. What I read, however, changes depending on the time of year. During the school year, I read a lot of young adult fiction to keep up with my students. I like to know what they are reading and take their suggestions. I also read a lot so I have a big bank of books of all reading levels I can go to when I need to help match a book with a student. During my summers, I try to read books actually written for adults. I have to force myself a bit at first, but once I get started it’s like, oh yeah, this is how grown-ups talk.

Who do you admire?
I have a lot of admiration for my mother. My mother was born in Thailand. She met my father during the Vietnam War and has now lived in the United States since 1970. She has never gone back home. She raised all five of us with no family of her own, with my dad often away because he was active in the military, and in a country that was foreign to her. She is still the hardest working person I know, and she and my dad always pushed us to be hardworking as well. Whenever I feel stressed juggling work and my two little ones, I think of how much harder it was for my mom and how she still managed to take good care of us.

What is your favorite place in the entire world?
My bed. My perfect lazy day would be in my bed with a big bowl of popcorn and all four seasons of Felicity to watch.

Last book you purchased? Tell us about it.
The last book I purchased was Animal Farm by George Orwell. My eighth grade students will be tackling it this year, and it’s the first year I am attempting to teach it. I have read it a couple of times before, but I think this last time, for me, was the most enjoyable. I was reading it as a teacher, and important issues the book raises like literacy and corruption of power and propaganda will make for great discussions with my students. And I just love anything by Orwell. When I saw my colleague after we both reread it we just kept saying, “I love it. Don’t you just love it?”

What inspires you to write and why?
I am inspired by what makes us human. I think there is something very beautiful about human nature. What makes us laugh or cry, why we care about little things, why we strive to be good, why we make mistakes even though we know the consequences. I love to read stories in which the characters feel like real people, even if the situations are fantastic. Harry Potter is a great example; I still think of that scene in the first book when he sits in front of the Mirror of Erised and just stares longingly at the family he lost. I feel like that’s real; that’s what I would do. That’s what makes Harry Potter different than the hundreds of other fantasy books out there. There’s that very real, very human quality to all the characters.

Riley Witt is running out of time.Battling Alzheimer’s disease, Riley’s grandmother Mary suffers from memory loss, mood swings, and a tendency to wander off.

As senior year approaches, Riley has to face the reality that the one person she depends on most is slowly fading. Making matters worse, when Mary does remember the past, she tells tales of time travel and visions. As Mary’s version of the past gets more confused, Riley knows they are running out of time together.

But when Riley discovers a guitar belonging to a famous rock star at Mary’s house, the truth behind the crazy tales finally comes out.
SIX STRINGS tells the story of Riley’s journey back to 1973 where she enters a world of music, long-lost family, and first love. Her adventure is all about discovering her past, understanding her present, and figuring out how to step into her future.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Young Adult
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Jen Sanya Williamson on Facebook & Twitter

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