It is day three of this wonderful book fair and I am honored to feature Jennifer M. Barry, young adult author of The Kingdom and Side Effects. I am also SO excited to be the first to reveal a little sneak peek of the sequel of The Kingdom, The Morning Star! Keep reading to see! :)
First things first, why do you write?
Oh, I really want to say something artsy, like, “I write because I simply must.” All angsty and tortured, like. The truth is it’s fun. I get to play with new worlds, create characters, invent the perfect/imperfect outcome. Who wouldn’t want to do that? It’s just fun, and no matter what else I do in life, I know I’ll keep writing.
What do you do to prepare before you actually begin writing? Music, tea, coffee, etc.?
I used to have this grand plan every time I sat down, where I’d brew some flavored coffee, create a playlist of songs to fit my mood, close my eyes and imagine the scene, and then write everything down in a huge flurry of words. As you can imagine, the process for a few paragraphs took hours. Now, I’m lucky to get ten minutes here or there, so I keep my documents open at all times on my laptop and clatter out a few words as they come to me. I kind of like this process better, even if it takes more up-front planning so I don’t veer completely off the rails.
Do you have a writing routine/schedule?
Oh, that would be nice.
What’s your favorite part of the creative process?
Characters. I love to learn what makes them tick and use those little personality flaws to make them do my bidding. In all honesty, when you really create a character, breathe life into him or her, and then set them free, they write the story for you.
What is the book that you are promoting about?
The Kingdom came about because of a fateful bus ride to Blarney Castle in Ireland. This little twerp kicked the back of my seat, and somehow my brain turned him into a fairy. When I got home, I started writing the story of Rioghan, the fairy prince (who is not the kid that kicked my seat), and his struggle between finding true love and claiming his throne. Lily, the lonely daughter of a world-famous opera star, finds herself the unwilling recipient of his affections. Her apparent disinterest fuels his attraction until he realizes he’s in love. The problem is that his father, who has a history with unfaithful humans, would rather Rioghan rule the kingdom. His choice could disrupt the balance between good and evil on Earth, but he has no idea.
Who is your favorite character from your novel?
As much as I love Lily and Rioghan, my favorite character is Ciarán, inspired by the kid on the bus. I had so much fun writing him, and he only grows as a character throughout the series.
Why do you write for the Young Adult audience?
My best memories of childhood were the moments I spent with a book in hand. Well, that’s not entirely fair to my best friends from seventh grade, Heather and Ann, but it’s pretty near the truth. I loved the excitement of the library or the bookstore. When other girls were buying makeup and high heels, I was devouring books. I discovered my favorite heroines of all time—Scout Finch and Anne Shirley—when I was a teen, and I’ve carried their lessons with me since. I want to create that same excitement and attachment for other teens and young adults.
Any advice for aspiring authors who would like to be published?
So much advice. I’ve written blogs about it. First, be realistic. There’s no reason you can’t find success as an author, but you must make sure your goals are attainable. Second, get help. You need editors, no matter how high your English scores were in high school. Third, just do it. You could spend years talking yourself into and out of it. You could take ages to perfect every last detail. None of this will matter if you never let go to see if it can fly. For the love of Godiva (as Lily says), just TRY.
Is there anything that you are working on currently that we can be expecting?
Very, very soon, I’ll release the first in a new series for teens called The Oracles of St. Ambrose: Going Under. Our hero, Chase, is the self-assured heir to millions who moves to Nashville under great duress. On his first day of school, he sees a vision during swim practice of the Queen Bee dead in the pool. Understandably freaked out, he’s more concerned with maintaining his new spot with the elite than solving the mystery until he realizes two things: The visions won’t stop, and two other students have similar psychic abilities. They’re from different social circles, so he learns a lot about himself while also chasing down a killer.
Next in the pipeline, and very close on the heels of the Oracles, is The Morning Star.
In this, we pick up right where Lily and Rioghan left off in The Kingdom, as she returns to New York to start school at Juilliard without her love. It’s darker, deeper, and had a ton more action. I’m so excited to finally share it with everyone.
If you stranded on an island and you can only bring 3 books and one CD, what would you bring and why?
Two answers are probably obvious. I can’t get tired of To Kill a Mockingbird or Anne of Green Gables. I’d probably round that list out with The Catcher in the Rye, but there’s a strong urge to take along a romance that makes my heart twist and breath catch—just so I don’t forget these feelings exist while in exile.
As for the CD, is it cheating to make a mix of my all-time favorites? I’d have a song each by the Beatles, Phish, Pink Floyd, Daniel Ellsworth and the Great Lakes, Bobby Long, Swear and Shake, Heyrocco, Jeff Buckley, the Weepies, the Smiths, French Camp, Oasis, the Black Keys, and Procol Harum. If I could only take one, I guess it would be Abbey Road.
Quick Fire Questions:
1. McDonalds or Burger King? I cannot.
2. Coffee or Tea? Depends on whether I’m in America or Ireland.
3. Book or Kindle? Kindle (I never thought I’d say that.)
4. Romance or Thriller? Romance
5. Favorite book? Gah! No way to decide. I have Forever Favorites and Right-Now Favorites. Way too many to mention. Fine, fine. To Kill a Mockingbird. Surprised?
6. Favorite movie? Siiiigh. If pressed, probably Boondock Saints. Or Snatch. Or…
7. Favorite author? Crap. Who can decide? Lately, I’ll read anything by Kate SeRine, Delphine Dryden, Melissa Fox, Elizabeth Hunter, or Ruthie Knox.
8. iPhone or Android? iPhone
9. Favorite color? Red
10. Salty or Sweet? Both. At the same time, please.
Where can we find you?
Where can we buy your beautiful books?
About The Kingdom:
Trapped on Earth since the fall of Lucifer, Prince Rioghan has left thousands of broken hearts in his wake, and he wants Lily’s to be the next. His father, the High King of Fairies, expects Rioghan to behave like the royal he is, but the challenge Lily presents is too inviting. Accustomed to living in her famous mother’s shadow, Lily guards her heart behind a prickly exterior. The harder she resists, the faster he falls, until she becomes the very center of his existence.
When Rioghan chooses love over the power of the throne, he infuriates his father and upsets the age-old balance between good and evil. A battle is coming–a fight to the death for true love, honor, and The Kingdom.
Jennifer M. Barry knows she’s in trouble when people use her whole name, so just Jen is fine. In addition to writing and editing, she loves to drink coffee, consume entirely too much Cherry Garcia, laugh at herself on her blog, and watch live music. Jen lives in Nashville with her husband, Liam. They just bought their first house and are freaking out about taxes, redecorating, return on investment, and a million other grown-up things. Life is officially weird.
The Morning Star Excerpt
“Ahem.” Whitley cleared her throat dramatically and stepped aside.
Behind her stood a wildly beautiful arrangement of morning star lilies. A smile split my face. After the day I’d had, flowers from Rioghan were the perfect remedy.
I flung myself across the room and snatched the card from the little plastic holder hidden among the fragrant blooms. My fingers trembled as I opened the envelope, expecting a florist card. Instead, a piece of notebook paper fell out, its ragged edges still intact from where the author had ripped it from the pad.
On some level, I knew Rioghan couldn’t have delivered flowers with a handwritten note, but my heart still surged as I opened the folded slip.
I see you even when you don’t know I am there. Your beauty captivates me, and I will not rest until I can call you mine.
“What is this?”
Rachael and Whitley had no idea. As far as they knew, I had received an amazing bouquet from my very attentive boyfriend. My heart had caught up with my head, and both understood the flowers weren’t from Rioghan.
“Can we read it?” Rachael asked meekly.
My reaction, or lack of reaction, had completely baffled her.
“Yeah.” I shoved the note into her waiting hands. “Here. I need to call Rioghan.”
I left the girls musing over the slip of paper and crossed the suite to my bedroom. Rioghan’s call from that morning was the last received, so I quickly hit redial as the door slammed shut.
“Lily?” The delight in his voice curled through me, warming chilled recesses in my heart.
“I know the answer is no, but I need to ask.” I rushed forward without a hello. “Did you bring flowers? Did you come over here and I missed you?”
Rioghan had nice penmanship, but the note was written in block letters. Anyone could have written it. Perhaps he had sent Ciaran or Fechin over with them?
“If they are from you, they’re gorgeous, and thank you, but your note was terribly confusing.”
After a moment of complete silence, he mumbled a curse.
“I suppose good boyfriends would bring their girlfriends flowers, wouldn’t they?” Rioghan sighed. “Forgive me, love. You deserve that and more.”
My eyes crossed as I huffed a frustrated breath. “Geek. Listen. Someone sent me flowers. The note is creepy, especially now that I know it wasn’t from you.”
I recited the message from memory, talking over the catch in his breath. He pressed me to keep Dave close by at all times and then promised he would send me flowers the next day.
“You’ll do no such thing,” I exclaimed. “Flowers will always make me feel squicky now. He sent me lilies, for the love of Godiva.”