Thursday, April 2, 2015

Jennifer Donnelly


1. Why do you write?  If you somehow lost the ability to write what would you do instead? write because I’m obsessed by, compelled by, driven by and hopelessly in love with words, stories, language and books. If I lost the ability to write, I would jump off my roof.
That or open a donut shop.

2. Did you struggle with the economic risk of pursuing writing as a career? 

I still struggle with the economic risk of pursuing writing as a career! It’s difficult to make it as a novelist and to sustain success. Publishing is not an easy business….but what business is?

When I was starting out, I was young and somewhat stupid and didn’t give a lot of thought to phrases like “economic risk.” I worked day jobs and wrote before I went to them and after I came home from them. I wrote because I love to write and wanted to write and nothing was going to stop me. And that’s still why I write. So it was always more about love than about following a well thought out career strategy. But let me be clear that this love was not a sugary, happy, unicorns-and-rainbows kind of love. It was, at times, a very hard and dark love, and it demanded sacrifices. It still does.  

3. What advice do you have for young writers?

Listen to your own thoughts and feelings very carefully, be aware of your observations, and learn to value them. When you're young, lots of people will try to tell you what to think and feel. Try to stand still inside all of that and hear your own voice. It's yours and only yours, it's unique and worthy of your attention, and if you cultivate it properly, it might just make you a writer.

4. If you could sit down with Mattie (A Northern Light) what would you like to ask her, tell her, or discuss?
I’m dying to know how it goes for her in New York, 
so I’d ask her to tell me everything that
 happened since she got on that train.

5. Both of your teen novels, A Northern Light and Revolution, are historical fiction, as is your trilogy for adult readers.  Your work-in-progress, These Shallow Graves, is also historical fiction.  If you could go back to any time period which would you choose?

Right now, the late 18th century. Though, the answer to that question changes every week! 

1 comment:

  1. Great interview! Just love Donnelly's books--thoughtful, compelling, exciting page turners--every one! It's no wonder she is a New York Times best-selling author. YA novel, A Northern Light, is an especially wonderful read for young adults as well as not-so-young adults, AND it features the unforgettable Mattie Gokey... And the Rose trilogy is not to be missed! My daughter and I had the pleasure of meeting Donnelly in the Adirondacks last summer. We traveled over hill and dale for the opportunity to hear her read and to meet this incredibly talented woman. She was there with her mom and daughter. It was a truly special evening for my daughter and me.