Welcome to The Cover Contessa's stop on the Scarlett Undercover blog tour!
Author: Jennifer Latham
Pub. Date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Meet Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic fifteen-year-old, ready to take on crime in her hometown. When Scarlett agrees to investigate a local boy's suicide, she figures she's in for an easy case and a quick buck. But it doesn't take long for suicide to start looking a lot like murder.
As Scarlett finds herself deep in a world of cults, curses, and the seemingly supernatural, she discovers that her own family secrets may have more to do with the situation than she thinks...and that cracking the case could lead to solving her father's murder.
Jennifer Latham delivers a compelling story and a character to remember in this one-of-a-kind debut novel.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else?
I definitely always wanted to write, but I took a little detour on the way and trained to be a psychologist first.
How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish
Hmm…the first draft of Scarlett was finished in about four months, but it took three years worth of revisions before a publisher actually decided to buy the manuscript. On the other hand, the first draft of my newest book is looking like it will take about ten months but is set to be published in 2017. So I’m getting slower, but hopefully that will mean fewer changes!
How do you come up with themes for your stories?
Usually the characters come to me first. After that, their stories kind of fall into place based the trouble they decide to get into.
Do you have a schedule of when you write?
When I’m writing new stuff, I get up really early -- well before dawn. That way I can get something done before my kids start getting ready for school. Writing first thing also primes my brain to stay focused on the story for the rest of the day.
How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?.
I’m still trying to figure that one out! But basically I’m a writer in the morning and a mom/chauffeur/chef/dog walker in the afternoon and evening.
What elements do you think make a great story line?
When I’m reading a book, I really want to care about the characters. That’s what lets me feel fully immersed in their world and makes the story come alive. I also like being surprised. Even if it’s a familiar plot (like, say, girl meets boy), I love it when their route to romance takes unexpected twists and turns. And if the final destination is different from the norm, so much the better.
What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
Plots are something I spend a lot of time working on, especially since I don’t really outline ahead of time. But overall, I haven’t struggled too much. Every day I get to write is a good day.
How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite?
Three. The second one was kind of a dud, but I loved the first (which never sold) and I love Scarlett.
Do you have a favorite character?
Definitely Scarlett. Writing in her voice is a blast!
Where do you write?
In our old house I either worked in an old blue armchair in the family room or in bed. But we moved not too long ago, and there’s an old converted garage behind our house that I’ve turned into my own little writer’s cottage.
When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took?
The thought of self-publishing was terrifying, mostly because I didn’t have the slightest clue how to promote my writing and find readers on my own. So I went the old-fashioned route and worked with an agent until I found just the right traditional publisher. It was the best choice for me.
Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?
My husband and kids read Scarlett Undercover and said nice things. Then again, I could have made their lives pretty miserable if they didn’t…
What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?
I love skydiving and alligator wrestling.
Oh wait – no I don’t. I’m actually really boring. I walk a lot, which our dogs appreciate. I also swim and cook and read and watch soccer and run a reading club for kids. Most of the weird and exciting stuff in my life happens in my head. Which, now that I think about it, is probably a good thing!
What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing?
Do it. Write, then write some more. And when you’re done, start writing all over again!
What is your favorite book? favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write?
I have too many favorites to list. But the one book that made me want to be a novelist was Jacob Have I Loved, by Katherine Paterson. I love how the main character, Sara Louise, is complex and imperfect and makes bad decisions dealing with an unfair situation that she had no part in creating. Despite all that, she comes out strong and wise in the end. Her story really resonated with me as a kid.
Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such?
I’m kind of a lone wolf – usually my agent or my editor is the first person to read what I’ve written.
Are you working on anything now?
Definitely! Dreamland Burning is scheduled to come out in early 2017. It’s part historical fiction, part contemporary mystery, and has both a boy narrator in the 1920s and a present-day girl narrator. The mystery centers around a fictional murder that took place in the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. Unfortunately, the riot was very real.
Thanks so much for the great questions!
I’ve lived lots of different places. Here’s the list: New York City; San Francisco; Augusta, GA; Buffalo, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Madrid; Providence, RI; and now…Tulsa, OK.
I’ve had some really weird and really normal jobs. The weirdest was helping out with autopsies. The one I’d go back to if I couldn’t write is being a school psychologist. The one I still do sometimes is teach yoga.
I live with my two daughters, two dogs, a cat, three turtles, three hermit crabs, a bunch of fish, and a husband (mine, of course).
I love watching people.
And I love writing about the people who live inside my head, even when they don’t play nice.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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