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Clean Teen Publishing is proud to present Broken Fate,the much anticipated debut release from Jennifer Derrick.
But first, a guest post from the author herself, Jennifer Derrick!!!
Questions With Jennifer Derrick
I couldn’t sit down with each and every wonderful host on my blog
tour and answer questions, I’ve put together a little interview
with myself. (As a writer, I spend pretty much all day talking to
myself and imaginary people, so this isn’t that odd.) These are a
few of the questions I’m asked most often, plus a few things that
are just fun. I hope you enjoy my answers. If you’ve got other
questions you’d like to see answered, you can always contact me
through my website, JenniferDerrick.com.
am I currently working on?
like a squirrel chasing nuts when it comes to projects. Every shiny
new idea is a huge distraction. As a result, I tend to have a ton of
projects in the hopper, some of which will never go any further than
the earliest stages. That said, here are four current projects that I
think will survive until the end.
The sequel toBroken
A novella that loosely tiesBroken
together, told from Alex’s perspective. You don’t have to read the
novella for either book to make sense. It’s just an extra perspective
on what’s going on between the two books.
Another YA book that has no title yet, but centers around the myths
and legends of Stonehenge.
An adult fantasy novel with a senior citizen as the hero.
Why do I write what I do?
I was growing up, there was no such thing as YA, at least not as we
know it now. We had Judy Blume, Sweet Valley High, Nancy Drew, and
movie tie-ins and books that all read like after-school specials (and
had syrupy-sweet happy endings).
was no Harry Potter, Hunger Games, or anything really gripping,
fantastic, and/or realistic. The good side of this was that it forced
me to read more advanced novels much sooner than I might have
otherwise. The bad side was that I saw a lot of kids give up on
reading entirely after grade school because there just wasn’t
anything that gripped them and they couldn’t or wouldn’t make the
jump to adult fiction.
readers today are lucky to be living through the current boom in YA
because there’s something out there for every interest and reading
level. I write YA because I want to hopefully produce something that
a kid will remember years from now and that will encourage them to
keep reading through high school and beyond. And if adults like it,
so much the better.
for why I choose fantasy, real life is hard enough. I live it every
day and I don’t want to read about it in my free time. I believe in
the power of books to help us escape into other worlds for a while,
to take our minds off of our troubles, and to let us live out our
Why did I choose first-person-present tense (FPP) as the point of
fact: I actually wrote the first draft in third person. When I
re-read it, it was painfully slow and boring. It took me a few
experiments to figure out what was wrong, but I finally realized that
the whole book is like a clock ticking down. Atropos is living and
working every day, knowing that Alex’s death is getting closer and
that she can’t escape what she has to do. Tick, tick, tick. The
book needed to move faster and readers needed to feel the pressure
that Atropos is under.
been in a situation similar to Atropos’ before where you’re just
watching and waiting for someone to die. Everything feels magnified,
like it’s moving at hyper-speed. And the experience is
all-encompassing. You don’t think of anything else until it’s
over. FPP is much better suited to conveying the immediacy, urgency,
and tension that accompanies this sort of experience.
How would I describe my writing process?
chaos. It usually starts with a notebook (see number 7, below) that I
fill with ideas, snippets of dialogue, descriptions, pictures, plot
points, and conversations between the characters and myself.
don’t outline. In fact, I have intense hatred for the outlining
process. We had to do the whole Roman-numeral-outline-thing in school
and it always seemed to me as though I was writing the paper twice. I
was of the opinion that if I was going to go through that much
trouble, I might as well just write the paper. So what I did was
write the paper first, then go back and create the outline from the
paper, turn in the outline, and hang on to the completed paper until
the due date, giving me weeks of freedom while everybody else was
writing the paper. I should probably apologize to my teachers for
this, but I won’t because it really was far more efficient.
I’ve got everything in the notebook that I can think of, I write the
first draft, which is usually awful but, as they say, you have to get
something down because you can’t edit a blank page. When it comes to
editing, I make notes on the manuscript, but I don’t try to move text
around on the computer. Something always gets irrevocably messed up
when I do and “track changes” just makes me crazy. Instead, I
retype the manuscript from scratch, making the changes as I go. It
takes longer, but I also make fewer editing passes overall because
not only am I making the changes I marked, I’m finding and
incorporating new changes as I go. I’ve usually got a final draft
after about three passes. Then it’s off to submissions!
Do I identify with Atropos? If so, how?
a lot of ways, her sense of being trapped in a crappy job and her
feeling that life is passing her by comes from my own experience in
the corporate world. The day I left cubicle life for the life of a
freelancer was easily one of the best days of my life. Corporate life
left me depressed, miserable, and wondering if this was all my life
would ever amount to.
also identify with a lot of the snarkiness and rudeness that she
throws up to protect herself. I was bullied in school and learned
that in many ways it was better to remain aloof and to act like I
didn’t care than to expose myself by caring about things, only to
have those things blow up in my face. It’s taken me a lot of years to
get past that, by the way.
don’t identify with her family relationships. Her family is totally
dysfunctional whereas mine is awesome.
Which comes first? Characters or plot?
likely different for everyone, but for me the characters come first.
I was at a funeral and I imagined what it would be like if you were
the one who had the job of ending people’s lives. How bad would that
job suck? Atropos, jaded, snarky, and sick of her job, emerged from
there. For other stories, it’s been the same way. I usually see the
person at a specific point in time (that for some reason is almost
always at the end of the book, which leaves me struggling to find the
beginning) and build from there.
What’s one of my writing quirks?
Despite all of the software and apps available today, I still love to
write my notes and initial thoughts out longhand in notebooks with a
pencil (not pen… I need an eraser). There’s something about using a
pencil and paper that slows my brain down and lets me think deeply
about a project. When I work on a computer it all goes way too fast.
Every September I hit the back to school clearance sales and fill my
closet with blank notebooks. I’m such a nerd that this is one of my
favorite times of the year.
Do I believe in Fate?
in the sense that it’s portrayed in the book, that’s for sure! I
don’t like the idea of other beings controlling what we do and who we
love. I do believe that life follows a path, though. And, as your
science teacher probably taught you, everything follows the path of
least resistance. That’s not always the path you want to be on,
though. It’s often easy because you just kind of coast along going
from job to job or relationship to relationship, but it’s boring and
tends to leave you with a lot of regrets.
I believe that you can change that path with the actions you take.
You have to keep your head up and look for the forks in the road
because those are the places where you can change your path (or
fate). Go back to school for another degree. Major in the more
difficult subject that you love at school instead of the easier one
that all your friends are taking. Dump the guy who treats you poorly
and find the one who treats you well, even if he’s not “cool.”
Don’t stay in the job with the crappy boss who abuses you. Find
another job. I’ve made the mistake of staying with what’s easy or
familiar and regretted it almost every time. I believe that you wake
up every day with the option to change your fate, even if it’s only
in tiny ways.
Do I write every day?
much, but it’s not all fiction. I make my living as a freelance
writer. I write everything from technical manuals to articles for
blogs and websites. On the rare days when I’m not pressed with a
deadline for my freelance or fiction projects, I use that time to
catch up on my personal blog posts.
I were giving advice to fiction writers, I’d say do whatever it is
that keeps you moving forward. Some people need to work on their
novel every day or else they lose momentum. Others can work only a
couple of days per week, churn out amazing amounts of work on those
days, and never forget where they are in a piece. And there are all
kinds of writers in between. Figure out what works for you and do
What talent do I wish I had?
always wished I could draw/paint. My father is a great artist, but
that gene totally skipped me. I’d just like to be able to sink into a
peaceful place with colors and brushes and translate some of the
beautiful things I see to canvas. I also wish I could play an
instrument well and compose music. I can play piano, but I don’t have
“the gift” that elevates notes on a page to music that
makes people cry.
all, folks. Thank you for taking the time to have me on your blog!
Zeus gave her one simple job: Kill every human. Atropos-daughter of Zeus and the third goddess of Fate from Greek mythology -spends her eternal life snipping human lifelines when their mortal lives are over. As if being a killer doesn’t make life miserable enough, she and her Fate-wielding sisters must live amongst the humans on Earth thanks to a long-running feud between their mother and Zeus. Living on Earth means they must mingle with the mortals, attend the local high school, and attempt to fit in-or at least not stand out too much. Killing and mingling don’t mix, which is why Atropos’ number-one rule is to avoid all relationships with the humans. Caring for the people she has to kill is a fast track to insanity. However, when Alex Morgan walks into her first-period English class, she knows she’s in for trouble. He’s the worst kind of human for her to like-one with a rapidly approaching expiration date. And he makes Atropos want to break all the rules.
International winners will be offered their choice of 3 CTP eBooks in
lieu of the mystery box.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the Author
When I got older, I realized that I needed to make (much) more money from my writing so I first turned to the corporate world (where I learned that I am spectacularly unsuited to cubicle life) and ultimately to freelancing where I now write everything from technical manuals to articles on personal finance and European-style board games.
My writing career came full circle when Clean Teen Publishing accepted Broken Fate, my first novel. By my calculations, my parents owe me about $3.00 for that book.
I live in North Carolina and, when not writing, can often be found reading anything I can get my hands on, playing board games, watching sports, camping, running marathons, and playing with my dog.
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