Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Book Peek and Author Interview: Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

From the publisher:

The Summer After You and Me
Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Sourcebooks Fire
May 2015 ● ISBN: 9781492619031
Tradepaper/$9.99 ● Ages 14+

Will it be a summer of fresh starts or second chances? 
For Lucy, the Jersey Shore isn’t just the perfect summer escape, it’s home. As a local girl, she knows not to get attached to the tourists. They breeze in during Memorial Day weekend, crowding her costal town and stealing moonlit kisses, only to pack up their beach umbrellas and empty promises on Labor Day. Still, she can’t help but crush on charming Connor Malloy. His family spends every summer next door, and she longs for their friendship to turn into something deeper.

Then Superstorm Sandy sweeps up the coast, bringing Lucy and Connor together for a few intense hours. Except nothing is the same in the wake of the storm, and Lucy is left to pick up the pieces of her broken heart and her broken home. Time may heal all wounds, but with Memorial Day approaching and Connor returning, Lucy’s summer is sure to be filled with fireworks.

Jennifer Salvato Doktorski is the author of two YA  novels and is a freelance nonfiction writer. Her first paid writing gig was at The North Jersey Herald & News, where she wrote obituaries and began her lifelong love of news and coffee. She lives in New Jersey with her family.


I was able to ask Jennifer a few questions about her passions,  love, life and the pursuit of writing. Jennifer, an avid Hogwarts fan and ex-obituary writer,  answers my questions here:

(Me) I  read that you are a Hogwarts fan, so this is about your love:


 1.      If you arrived at Hogwarts, what house would the hat choose for you and why?

Okay, so for this question I took three online quizzes and three times, the answer was Hufflepuff. The reasons given were that I’m loyal, dependable, and hardworking. Coincidentally, I once had my handwriting analyzed and that same set of characteristics came up. So, Hufflepuff it is. Better that than Slytherin! My friends call me “safety pup” so I knew I wasn’t cut out for Gryffindor.


2. Since you have been an obituary writer, write a brief obituary for Dumbledore:


Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore died today at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He was between 115 and 150 years old. Longtime Hogwarts headmaster and founder of the Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore never married or had children. He is preceded in death by his sister Ariana, survived by a brother, Aberforth, and devoted phoenix, Fawkes, and will live forever in the hearts and minds of the Hogwarts students and wizards who knew and loved him. Funeral to be held on the Hogwarts grounds beside Black Lake, where he will also be interred.


( Me again) these are not about Hogwarts:


2.      What 3 books are your favorite books of all time and why?


To Kill a Mockingbird. I re-read this book every few years and never get tired of it. Scout may be one of the most endearing characters in all of literature. From the opening line until the end, Scout speaks to me; telling an important story that is every bit as relevant today as it was when it was first published in 1960. Yes, I’ve already preordered Go Set a Watchman.


Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, I recently read a list of important “must reads” in YA literature that’s been kicking around social media lately and was shocked to find that this title was not on it. What? I consider Judy Blume’s books to be the cornerstone of YA fiction. Judy Blume was one of my earliest and most important influences. Her books were groundbreaking and anyone writing YA today owes her a debt of gratitude.


The Catcher in the Rye. I picked up this book for the first time in seventh grade. I’d finished a test early and my teacher told me to select a book off the classroom shelf and read quietly. No problem there. Not when I found this book to be absolutely mind blowing!! It was also un-put-down-able. I remember forgoing all homework that night until I finished it.





4. Is it more exciting to finish writing the last sentence of your book (s) or is it more exciting to see the first copy in print?


Even as I’m writing that last sentence, I know I headed back to the beginning to start a series of revisions. In fact, if it weren’t for print deadlines, I would never stop rewriting. So for me, it’s more exciting to see the first copy in print because it means the hard part is done.



5. What advice would you give to your 15-year-old self if you could?


Hang in there, it all gets better. Oh, and the “popular” kids? You won’t even remember their names in 20 years.


6. Hurricane Sandy influences your latest book Summer After You and Me, how did it change you personally?


It underscored what I already knew—nature is powerful and life is precious and we shouldn’t take one second for granted. It also renewed my faith in the inherent goodness in people. It was nice to see people coming together and showing their willingness to help people they didn’t even know in the aftermath of a devastating storm.



7. Describe your writing style:


This may be more my process than my style, but I’m definitely more of a pantser than a plotter (Google pantser).

Maybe it’s because I began my writing career as a journalist and thrive on deadline pressure, or maybe it’s because I never could figure out how to do a proper outline with Roman numerals, capital letters, and numbers, or maybe I’m just stubborn. At any rate, when I begin a novel, I have a vague idea of where I’d like the plot to go, but for the most part, I just see where my characters take me. I wish I could be a plotter. I want to be a plotter. I’m told by authors who have converted from being pantsers to plotters that plotting IS easier. But I don’t know, there’s something about sheer panic that helps the words spill out faster and gets that first draft (ugly as it may be) down on paper.


8. Finish the sentence: If I could write just one more book, I'd write.....


…something that would leave readers laughing.
(ME, Pamela) Thank you, Jennifer, we can hardly wait to read your new book! Congratulations!







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