Irene Latham (irenelatham) wrote in 10_ers,
Irene Latham


Today it is my pleasure to introduce to you the wonderful and amazing Jenny Moss, author of WINNIE'S WAR -- a historical fiction YA novel in which twelve-year-old Winnie worries and frets and tries to keep her family safe from the Spanish Influenza.

Irene:  Welcome, Jenny!  Before we get to the questions, please tell us a little about yourself:

Jenny:  I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but have lived in Texas since I was twelve.  I've been a NASA engineer, adjunct writing instructor, day care worker, restaurant employee, grocery store cashier, math and physics tutor, and literature graduate student.  I am currently a mom and a writer.

Irene:  Your book is set during the Spanish influenza epidemic in 1918.  How did you choose that time period?

Jenny:  I'm fascinated by disease, I'm afraid.  Current newspaper coverage of the bird flu led me to thinking more about the influenza pandemic.

Irene:  Let's talk about research.  How much time did you spend researching for this book?  What were (and how did you find) your primary resources?

Jenny:  I did a lot of research.  A lot.  But I enjoy searching through books, old newspapers on microfiche, and files in the backrooms of libraries.  I visited museums and churches, and talked to many knowledgeable librarians and local historians.  I sent e-mails to people I found on the Internet:  doctors, morticians, farmers, and other authors.

Irene:  Many writers claim to have been writers their whole lives.  When did you first know you were a writer?

Jenny:  I wrote stories as a kid, read books all the time, and acted out plays by myself.  I can't remember when that yearning for imaginary worlds began for me, but I was young.

Irene:  Did you pursue a writing degree?

Jenny:  I have a graduate degree in Literature and have taken oodles of writing courses.

Irene:  How are you like Winnie?  What (if any) character traits do you share?

Jenny:  I fret and worry, just like Winnie does.

Irene:  If Winnie's War was made into a movie, who would you cast as the lead character?

Jenny:  Wow.  Wouldn't that be cool?  Dakota Fanning can do anything.

Irene:  As writers we are often told to READ.  What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

Jenny:  I love to read, so this is a pleasure.  I have changed the way I read, paying closer attention to language, themes, dialogue, details.  If someone raves about a book, it doesn't matter what type of book it is, I want to read it.

Irene:  What YA historical fiction title(s) would you hold up as good examples of the genre?

Jenny:  My favorites:  Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson, A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Irene:  It seems each writer experiences a unique journey toward publication.  How many books did you write before selling Winnie's War?

Jenny:  I have one completed book in a drawer, Mona Molly.  My agent sold another one of my books before she sold Winnie's War.  It's a YA fantasy that will be released by Scholasic in 2010.

Irene:  Tell us about The Call.  Also, tell us about the editing experience.

Jenny:  I have an agent, Nancy Gallt.  So the first "call" was from her, offering representation.  I was thrilled and so nervous.  A few months later, Nancy called me with the news that Scholastic had made an offer for my YA fantasy. I was nervous and so thrilled. :)

I've gone through editing with two different publishers, and I'm still in the middle of the editing process with Scholastic.  It's truly collaboration.  I feel like the books aren't just mine anymore;  I'm very interested in what my editors think. 

Launching one book and editing another is interesting.  And exaclty what I want to be doing.

Irene:  What advice do you have for other debut authors as we prepare for our release dates? 

Jenny:  Lean on one another.  Having a group like the Debs has been amazing.  I also have other writer friends who know a lot more about the business than I do.  They've been so helpful and generous.  I found that PB/MG/YA writers are awesome.

Irene:  What's your next project?

Jenny:  A sequel to Shadow; my "Bob Dylan" book, a YA set in the Seventies, and a super secret project.

Irene:  Thanks Jenny!  And best wishes to you from all the Tenners on this, your Debut Day!

Order Winnie's War from Amazon.
Shop Independent!
Visit Jenny at her blog and Facebook!

Edited to include new name of interview series and awesome icon created by Saundra Mitchell.  Thanks, Saundra!
Tags: debreviews

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