Tip of the Day: Read SHIFT. It's an incredible YA novel.
It is my pleasure to introduce Jennifer Bradbury, author of the new YA novel, SHIFT.
In this book, two friends, Chris and Win, head out on the adventure of a lifetime. Their mission? To ride coast-to-coast on their bikes. Only it doesn't go exactly as planned. Because just one of them returns home. And no one knows for sure what happened.
Jen's writing is so strong, I felt as if I was on the bike ride with Chris and Win. The places they go and the people they meet along the way make for such an interesting story. The chapters alternate between flashbacks and Chris' present day situation where everyone, including an FBI agent, is pressing him to find out what happened to Win. Except he doesn't know. Or does he?
A great book about cycling, friendship, and loyalty, SHIFT is one of my favorite reads so far of 2008!!
Lisa: Where do you do most of your writing?
Jen: I do most of my writing at home, in our bonus room. Usually I sit in this chair, which is positioned midway between our office space and the playroom area. Kind of fitting for a job that requires equal parts work and play.
Lisa: Are you a plotter or a plunger?
Jen: I'm a plotter, mainly because I have to have some confidence before I jump in that an idea for a story can sustain itself over the long haul. And I do a ton of plotting in my head before anything makes it to paper. Shift rolled around in my mind for close to two years before I started outlining. When I do get to that stage, I tend to outline in detail, adding to it as I go along. Once I actually start composing, I can pound out a draft in about six weeks. The real surprises for me come in the revisions.
Lisa: What do you do when you get discouraged?
Jen: The same things most of us do. Get a little down, maybe whine a bit to those closest to me. I also pray, and then usually end up realizing what a gift it is that I get to write stories, and that I even have stories to tell, and that tends to help me get going again. Often I know I need to take a break. And while there's a lot to be said for writing every day, I know that sometimes the best thing I can do for the writing and for myself is to take a few steps back and leave it all alone for a little while. I don't know why it works for me, but it does.
Lisa: What are you working on next?
Jen: Right now, I'm working on getting Shift out into the world, which means lots of these fun online interviews. I'll also be starting revisions on my next book for Atheneum, tentatively titled APART, as soon as I get my editorial letter. I've got two other projects that are very different (but I think very fun) that I'll be talking with my agent about soon.
Lisa: What's your favorite part of writing?
Jen: Can I have two? The first is that moment in writing a new draft when you begin to realize that despite all the flaws and unanswered questions, I'm working on something that has life and possibility in it. The second is figuring out a sticky way to solve a problem or revise in an unexpected way in response to a comment from my editor, a reader or my husband. I love it when somebody asks exactly the right question and creates an opening for the characters, theme or story to sort of break through.
Thanks for chatting with us, Jen!
~Lisa, Miss Pinch Me I'm Pubbed