Blogs by L.T. Suzuki
Jennifer Hudock Interview
5/23/2011 9:00:11 PM
Featured Young Adult Author, Jennifer Hudock discusses her novel and the writing life!
LTS: For today’s guest blog, I’d like to introduce you to popular YA author Jennifer Hudock, author of ‘The Goblin Market’. I first became acquainted with Jennifer through Twitter and what piqued my interest were all the fabulous tweets from those reading her novel so I knew she’d make for a great author feature.
I’d like to begin by having you share a little information about yourself with our readers, Jenny. Where do you call home and what do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
JH: Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Lorna. I currently live in a very small town in northern central Pennsylvania with my daughter and husband. When I'm not writing, I love to get outside and dig my fingers into the earth. I also love hiking.
LTS: Has writing stories always been a part of your life and becoming a published author a life long dream?
JH: I have been writing and telling stories since I was old enough to string sentences together in a semi-coherent fashion. Even as a little girl, I knew I wanted to be an author and a storyteller. When I was about nine-years-old, I started gathering my friends on the playground to share stories under the jungle gym, and I loved sharing in their excitement and anticipation over what happened next.
LTS: Your novel, ‘The Goblin Market’ has not only one of the most beautiful book covers I’ve ever seen, but it’s also been receiving wonderful reviews. What was the inspiration behind this story and can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist, Meredith Drexler?
JH: The Goblin Market was inspired by Christina Rossetti's poem, Goblin Market. I'd read the poem as a teen, but it wasn't until studying it in college that I really started tossing around the idea of spinning my own story. In the original poem there are two sisters, one who's lured into and intrigued by the fruits in the market. After she's poisoned by the goblins, the older sister heads into the market to find a way to save her dying sister.
My protagonist, Meredith Drexler, is the elder of two sisters who've been left alone in the world to fend for themselves. Their mother died in childbirth and their father wandered off, leaving Merry to look after and raise her younger sister, Christina. A part of Merry wants to wander into the daydreams that keep her sane, but her devotion to her sister keeps her from living her own life.
LTS: Without giving away too much, can you reveal what’s in store for the readers when they crack open ‘The Goblin Market’?
JH: When Christina is kidnapped by the goblin king Kothar, Meredith has no choice but the venture into and beyond the Goblin Market in an effort to save her sister. Each step of her journey brings Meredith closer to the truth about her mysterious past, a truth that died with their mother.
I think there's a little bit of everything in the Goblin Market. Mystical setting, romance, intrigue, sacrifice and even a few Lovecraftian horror elements.
LTS: Is it fair to assume ‘Jack in the Green’ is the sequel to ‘The Goblin Market’? Can you give us info about this novel without releasing spoilers?
JH: Jack in the Green is the upcoming second book in the Into the Green series and begins shortly after the events at the end of The Goblin Market. The story follows Meredith's son, Jack Drexler, on his own journey Underground, where he must embrace prophecy and responsibility to save a world he's never known.
LTS: The road to publication is difficult at the best of times. Do you have any advice you’d like to share with the author struggling to find representation through a literary agent?
JH: Take a look at your presentation, for starters. If even after reevaluation and tweaks, you're still having trouble finding representation, consider going it on your own. As the publishing industry continues to change, so too do the roles of agents and in many cases you can still achieve a certain amount of success without an agent. In some cases, an agent may seek you out after you've started to see a bit of success.
LTS: What made you decide to go indie and what advice would you like to share with authors considering this route to publication?
JH: I'd been published traditionally in small journals, anthologies and ezines, but when I was ready to publish The Goblin Market I thought long and hard about what I wanted. I submitted to a small press publisher first, but during the long months of waiting for a response I started to think more about publishing independently. The Goblin Market had a pretty strong following because I'd originally offered it in its entirety as a free episodic podcast on iTunes and my website, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. Even if I'd been picked up by a small press publisher the same amount of promotion would have fallen into my hands, while the publisher took a cut of the profits. Indie publishing allowed me to take control of my novel on all fronts. I chose my own cover artwork, editor and price, and the freedom was incredibly liberating. The responsibility of my novel's success fell entirely to me, and there was something about that notion that appealed to me.
LTS: I’m curious about your writing style. Are you one of those disciplined writers who must dedicate a certain time each day to producing so many words, or are you more relaxed and tend to write when it strikes your fancy?
JH: I would love to say I'm a dedicated and disciplined writer who can't breathe unless I write eight hours a day and achieve a certain word count, but sometimes the muse doesn't work like that. I tend to write when the muse and I are in tune with each other, and sometimes that's at 8 a.m., but most of the time she shows up at 3 in the morning and starts whispering in my ear while I'm asleep.
LTS: Still on the subject of writing styles, are you a plotter or pantser? The readers would like to know if you tend to plot out your story line in great detail or if your writing is more organic with the characters and events unfolding as you write.
JH: I am a pantser. I've tried to plot, and whenever I get stuck my husband (who is also an author,) tells me to sit down and plot out the next scene, but whenever I do it stifles the natural flow of the story.
LTS: Some authors meditate, others need to fuel up on coffee or listen to music. Do you have any rituals, ones that can be shared with the readers, that you must do before you hunker down for a writing session?
JH: I have to clean and organize my desk before I can sit down and start writing. Sometimes it feels like an excuse to prolong the act of just writing, but if I don't clean off the desk, I get distracted too easily by little things like unopened mail.
LTS: At one time or another, most writers hit the wall and their work stalls because of the dreaded writer’s block. What do you do to get around or over this mental wall to resume writing?
JH: I write through it. For me, I've found writer's block is usually an excuse I made up in my head to not finish something. Sometimes it's because I'm afraid of letting go and getting to the end, other times it's tangled up fear of not pleasing my readers, so if I just keep writing, the wall tends to crumble and I can breathe easier.
LTS: Who is your favourite author and how has he/she inspired you to write or influenced your writing style or choice of genre?
JH: I have so many favorite authors, but I think when it comes time to narrow it down I always fall back on Neil Gaiman. There's something about the worlds and the characters he's created that never fails to astound and inspire me. When I was a teen I started reading Sandman and the love affair with Gaiman's work just continued to grow. By the time I read Neverwhere when I was eighteen, I knew there was a world out there for the ideas I had inside my own head, so thank you for that Mr. Gaiman.
LTS: What is the most profound discovery you’ve made in terms of your writing and how it has touched the lives of others?
JH: This might sound selfish, but one of the most profound discoveries I've made as a writer has been learning to write for me and me alone. I love to share my stories with people, and I always have, but sometimes it's far too easy to get caught up in other people telling you how should tell your story or how you could make your story better. When you get too caught up in what other people think, it isn't your story anymore.
LTS: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned on the road to publication?
JH: It's not about numbers. All too often, especially in indie publishing, writers get caught up in sales and numbers. I love that people are reading my book, but if I thought about it in numbers, people stop becoming readers and turn into dollar signs. I don't like thinking about other people that way.
LTS: What are you reading now, and how did this particular book make it onto your to-read list?
JH: Right now I am reading Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson with my GoodReads Chicks with Swords Book Club and George R.R. Martin's A Feast for Crows. I was late to the Song of Ice and Fire Party, but now that I've arrived, I have become consumed by the intelligence and intrigue of Martin's writing style. I literally devoured the first three books in the series, so it was a given when the fourth book fell into my lap and pleaded, "Read me!"
LTS: What do you foresee in your future over the next five years and do you hope to branch out from YA into other genres? With the release of ‘Jack in the Green’ this summer, can your fans expect a sequel to this novel in the not too distant future?
JH: As well as working on the third book in the Into the Green series, which is titled The Goblin Prince, I am also working on a YA urban fantasy novel called Little Boy Blue. I do have some plans to branch into other genres, and will be finishing an adult horror/thriller novel this summer about a serial killing werewolf.
LTS: Very cool, Jennifer! Thank you so much taking time from your busy schedule to discuss your novel and for sharing in your writing experiences. In the meantime, I believe I should recommend this book to my daughter. I think she’ll love it!
For more information about Jennifer and her novels, check out:
Follow Jennifer on Twitter: .jennybeanses
Where to buy the book:
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Goblin-Market/dp/B004L2LL1A/
Barnes & Noble: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Goblin-Market/Jennifer-Hudock/e/2940012674029/
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