Thursday, August 6, 2009

Quick Q and A's with Jennifer Jabaley

Jennifer Jabaley is the author of the amazing Lipstick Apology which was released officially today. You can find out more info about her by visiting her blog to get a glimpse into her daily life here.


1) Lipstick Apology is being released on August 6th. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Sure! I'm going to start with a quote from another reviewer "Lipstick Apology is non-genre. . . sort of like a combination of Gossip Girl and I'll Be There For You (the sequel to Beaches), as written by Meg Cabot. It's smart, it's sassy, it's sentimental without becoming sappy." (Seanan McGuire, YA? Why Not?) Wow! Does that make me smile! What I think I love most is the 'non-genre' part because I think Lipstick Apology is not just YA but will also appeal to an older audience.

2) Lipstick Apology is your first novel ever. So, can you tell us about what your road to publication was like?

Absolutely! I floundered around with the idea that I wanted to write a novel for quite awhile before actually doing it. For some time I would jot down ideas and stash them away. One day, while packing up my house for a move, I stumbled across one of those notes. It read "Lipstick note on a tray table." And the inspiration was born. That was the first time I was truly committed enough to an idea to sit down and complete a manuscript. It took me about a year to write - finding writing time on my days off while my young son napped.

In November of 2007 I sent out about 15 letters to literary agents. I researched meticulously to try and find agents who represented books that I felt were similar in style to my writing tone. I was very fortunate that several of them quickly requested manuscripts. I was equally fortunate that when the inevitable rejections came, most of them were very detailed in their responses. I remember clearly that five or six agents all said the same thing: I needed to develop my secondary characters more and I needed to focus more on my humor and not so much on the grief because that was where my strongest writing was. Since so many agents had the same feedback I buckled down and spent the next few months revising. I resubmitted to several of the agents as well as a few new ones in February of 2008. I signed on with Tricia Davey from Sanford J Greenburger in March of 2008. She submitted my manuscript to nine publishing houses and we received an offer from Lexa Hillyer at Razorbill in May of 2008. My pub date is August 2009. So start to finish the whole process was just shy of two years, which from what I hear, is fairly short. I know I am super lucky for my debut to have such a quick path to publication.

3) The main character, Emily, in Lipstick Apology had two different types of popularity in each of her schools. Since, in her original one she was kind of on the fringes of popularity, but in her new private school she is on the top of the ladder. Which leaves me to wander what Emily were you most like as a teenager? The before or after?

Wow, in all my interviews no one has asked that question. That might be the hardest one :) I think it's tough because it's difficult to know how others viewed me while in high school. I think I was one of those people who crossed the lines of cliques and was friends with a variety of people (at least I tried to be). For three years of high school I dated a boy who was the captain of the wrestling team and soccer team, so we often hung out with the popular athletic crowd. But I also had a very close knit group of girlfriends (my best friend was one of them, and we are still bffs now - just travelled to see her last wk :) And many of those girlfriends were not part of the jock crowd but more into honors classes and the drama club. So really I picked who I associated with based on who I liked, not their popularity ranking.

4) If you could pick a theme song for Lipstick Apology what would it be? Why?

Hmmm, that's tough, too! I remember around the time I was writing Lipstick Apology "Over my Head" by The Frey was really popular. And I loved how the lyrics said "Everyone knows I'm in over my head," because that's truly how I wanted to portray Emily - in over her head.

( I defintly agree with your choice, it fits the novel perfectly)

5) You’re part of an amazing group called the 2009 Debutantes which leaves me to wonder what your experience with that group of writers has been like over the past year.

In a word - amazing! Sincerely. We are a group of MG and YA writers who have our debut books this year and I am so fortunate to be a part of this fabulous group of writers. Everyone shares their different experiences to help guide others. And most important to me is the support we give to each other. This whole publishing world is so new and unfamiliar and sometimes scary. It's great to have someone out there say, I know exactly how you feel.

6) What is your favorite part of being an author? Least?

Favorite: Absolutely by far the most exciting part (other than the original call that we sold the novel) is hearing from readers. It's hard to articulate the amazing feeling when someone says "I loved your book!" It makes me feel like I gave someone an emotional experience, an entertaining ride - which was my exact goal of writing this book. Least favorite - is along the same lines - when someone did not like the book. So far, because the book has not released yet, the negative reviews have been few (thankfully!) but I know more will come. I have to really work at remembering that not everyone has the same tastes. If someone doesn't like my book, it doesn't mean they don't like me. But I'm so not thick skinned! It does feel personal - I have to really toughen up!!

7) I saw on your website that you are going through revisions for your next novel. Can you share with us what that novel is going to about?

I can give you a little teaser: it's about a college age girl who is having a quarter life crisis. She leaves college to take part in a self discovery based reality show. And her parents are not at all happy. The writing is light and fun, but I'm trying to balance both humor and heart.
( That sounds great! I can't wait to read more about it.)

8) Is there anything else you would like to add?

I want to thank you for interviewing me and getting the word out about Lipstick Apology! I really appreciate it!


Thanks so much Jennifer! I look forward to reading your future novels. If you would like more info on this novel, you can always check out my review of it here. Also, you can check out The Compulsive Reader's book trailer for it:

1 comment:

  1. I've been hearing mixed reviews for this book, but I still want to read it. Great Interview.


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