Yeah, so....welcome to the blog of Judith Tewes, young adult contemporary fiction author. Here be edgy stories with a side of snark.

Take Tewes with Jennifer R. Hubbard

Every odd Tuesday (because Tuesdays aren't odd enough), I feature a different young adult fiction author YOU should know - from best-sellers to debuts. And what better way to do this than asking them TWO fun questions. Short, sweet, and sassy - just the way I like interviews.

Without further ado, I welcome young adult fiction author, Jennifer R. Hubbard, published 
Jennifer R. Hubbard
with Viking. Jennifer lives in the Philadelphia area, is an avid hiker, chocolate lover, and has been writing since the age of six. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to hang out with Jennifer during our Class of 2k10 tour to NYC during Book Expo America. Here's a bit about Jennifer, in her own words:
I will read almost anything; I prefer to write short fiction and young-adult novels. I had my first short story published when I was seventeen, but it took me many years to write well with consistency, and I continue to learn more every year. My short fiction has appeared in literary magazines such as Willow Reviewand North American Review, and a short story called “Confessions and Chocolate Brains” appears in the 2011 anthology Truth & Dare. 
Here's the blurb for her latest release, Until It Hurts to Stop:
When you can’t trust anyone, how can you ever feel safe? 
In seventh grade, Maggie Camden was the class outcast. Every day, the other girls tripped her, pinched her, trapped her in the bathroom, told her she would be better off dead. Four years have passed since then, and Maggie’s tormentors seem to have moved on. The ringleader of them all, Raleigh Barringer, even moved out of town. But Maggie has never stopped watching for attacks, and every laugh still sounds like it’s at her expense. The only time Maggie feels at peace is when she’s hiking up in the mountains with her best friend, Nick.  
Lately, though, there’s a new sort of tension between the two of them—a tension both dangerous and delicious. But how can Maggie expect anything more out of Nick when all she’s ever been told is that she’s ugly, she’s pathetic, she’s unworthy of love? And how can she ever feel safe, now that Raleigh Barringer is suddenly—terrifyingly—back in town?
The questions:

1. Two of your novels, The Secret Year and Try Not To Breathe, deal with the issue of teen death (one accidental, one attempted suicide). What's your take on the current suicide / death theme trend in young adult fiction?

I don't think of it as a trend, so much as a topic that is evergreen. Every generation has its books that address the topics of death and suicide. Sadly, although we wish this were not true, the reality is that teens do have to cope with death in many ways. They lose friends suddenly to accidents; they face terminal illnesses; they sometimes turn to suicide. We need a portion of our literature to reflect this reality.

I like to focus more on the healing aspect: coping with grief and facing life (as in The Secret Year); stepping back from the brink of suicide and putting a life back together (as in Try Not to Breathe). That's just the part of the journey that draws me most strongly as a subject.

2. Your upcoming title, Until it Hurts to Stop, seems to be a departure for your work on several levels. The subject, while still one of the heavies, is bullying this time around and you've also switched to a female point of view main character - whereas your other books were from a male perspective. Did your writing process change as well?

My writing process changes with every book. This was a tough book to write because I've known for a long time that I would tackle this subject eventually--but it's such a big, and emotional, topic! I decided the aspect I wanted to focus on was the aftermath of bullying--how it affects people's minds and relationships afterward.

Also, I have two other plotlines going on in the book: my protagonist is trying to hike up mountains, which proves both physically and emotionally challenging, and she is wondering if something more than friendship can develop with her hiking partner. Blending and balancing these plotlines took a lot of revising.

Thanks so much for your insights, Jennifer! Want to learn more about this awesome contemporary YA author? Check out her blog and follow her on Twitter.


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