Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Jennifer Banash Interview!

What inspired you to write The Elite series?

My own high school experience largely inspired me to begin writing the series. I felt that the way the Manhattan high school experience had been portrayed in recent YA was largely B.S. based. The kids I went to school with had glamorous lives, to be sure, but also had real problems that didn't magically disappear with the acquisition of a pair of Manolo's.

How many books are going to be in the series?

There are three scheduled right now, but if you guys like the series and want more, I'll be happy to continue! The best way to ensure that the series continues is to spread the word if you're a fan--or email Berkeley Jam directly and ask them for more books!

What's your writing process like? Are you an outliner? A go-with-the-flow kind of person?

I outline just to get started, and then usually end up wildly deviating from my notes. I'm more a "go with the flow" type of girl at the end of the day. I find it hard to stick with a rigid outline.

How did In Too Deep change from the first draft to the final, published copy?

IN TOO DEEP changed a lot from the first draft to the final. Once I came up with the whole reality TV angle, I knew that I would need to radically restructure the plot. Consequently, I ended up adding a LOT more drama!

What kind of music do you listen to? Do you listen to any certain artist, band, or playlist when you're writing?

I listen to all types of music, from Elliot Smith to seventies disco :) While I was writing IN TOO DEEP, I listened obsessively to M83's newest CD Saturdays=Youth. It' sounds like the soundtrack to Pretty in Pink, circa 2008! I was also extremely into this band The Teenagers--their track Starlet Johannsson knocks me out.

Are you working on any other books besides The Elite series right now? If you are, are you allowed to tell us anything about it?

I was working on a novel about two identical twins who's parents buy Dracula's castle in Romania, but because of the success of the Twilight series and the oversaturation of the book selling market with vampire novels as a result, I've decided to shelve it for the time being. Right now I'm developing a crossover YA/Adult series that takes place in a college dorm in Southern California.

When did you know you wanted to be an author?

I knew I wanted to be an author very early on--I was writing poems when I was around 11 or so. I was always either reading or writing throughout my childhood.

What was your favorite subject in school? Least favorite?

English was my favorite (Big surprise!). Math was definitely my least favorite. I loathed math--mostly because I am an epic failure at it.

What are your favorite books and/or authors?

Recently I am into Megan Kelley Hall, Alexa Young, Melissa Walker, Suzanne Collins, Sara Zarr, Anna Godbersen, Laurie Halse Anderson, Barry Lyga, and John Green. My favorite author of all time is Virginia Woolf, and I'm heavily influenced by Bret Easton Ellis as well.

What is your daily routine usually like?

My routine is different every day! I work as a teacher at a small private school in California, so Monday through Friday it's all about my students. I write whenever I have a spare moment, or late at night. When I'm on break, or during the summer or weekends, I try to squeeze in as much writing as I can.

If you were deserted on a desert island, what five items would you like with you?

1. My dog, Sigmund.
2. My boyfriend
3. My Mac Book
4. A copy of Virginia Woolf's The Waves--I could read it over and over without getting bored even once.
5. A stash of 70% dark chocolate bars from Green and Black, and enough IN-N-Out Burger to last me for the rest of my life. I am seriously addicted.

Who has been the most influential person in your writing career?

I used to ghostwrite a bestselling YA series, and I'd have to say that the editor I worked with on that series was incredibly influential to me. She really edited my work hard, and helped me have the discipline to bang out an entire book in six weeks. After I did that, I felt like I could do anything.

What is your advice to teens who want to be authors?

Who am I to give anyone advice about anything? Advice doesn't really help anyway--if you really want to write, you'll write--no matter what anyone tells you. In the end, you must listen to your own strong voice--that's what counts, and that's what will ultimately take you where you want to go as an author. And get an agent :) I sold THE ELITE series without one, and it is not recommended :)

Thanks, Jennifer! Come back tomorrow for a special surprise from Jennifer. :]

Remember - posting a comment on this post means one extra entry into the contest for a signed copy of In Too Deep!



carmen alexis said...

Great interview! Learned new stuff I didn't know. Private school teacher and all... that's awesome! I want to go into teaching myself. =)

donnas said...

Great interview. Thats a variety of authors to be influenced by, it's nice to see. You know not everything will always be the same because of it.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

It's very true that if you want to write, you pretty much are going to try for it no matter what anyone says. It's cool though. Shows you really want something.

Nice interview. I really liked the different questions. And wow, a book in six weeks? that's intense!


Shooting Stars Mag said...

Award for you Hope:


Shalonda said...

It seems like she lives a totally cool life. I would've loved to have gone to a Manhattan high school.

Looking forward to this YA/Adult college dorm series!!!

MJ said...

Hmmm...your dog before your boyfriend??? LOL I totally understand!

Bookworm said...

Hey Hope!
Great interview--Jennifer seems very cool!

PS. I nominated you for the butterfly award!

Katie said...

Awesome interview! Looks like Jennifer has good taste in music as well as books.

Diana Dang said...

Great interview!

Paradox said...

Great interview! I hope you to one day read that vampire book you mentioned. It sounds good!

Wrighty - said...

Great questions and such interesting answers! The series sounds really good and so do the other book ideas. I always enjoy hearing what inspires a writer.