Fiction Friday: Interview with Jennifer Bosworth & #Giveaway

I’m so excited!

Today, I am thrilled to have  Jennifer Bosworth, author of the awesome young adult novel, Struckon my blog today. I first heard about Struck when I saw it’s amazing trailer. It’s seriously one of the best book trailer’s I’ve ever seen. The book is even better!

About Jennifer Bosworth

Jennifer Bosworth lives in Los Angeles, California, where lightning hardly ever strikes, but when it does she takes cover. She is the writer half of a writer/director team with her husband, Ryan Bosworth. Learn more about her at http://www.jenniferbosworth.com.

Interview

Welcome Jennifer! I absolutely loved Struck and I’m thrilled you’re here for a visit.

JB: Thank YOU for inviting me to be on your blog! It’s my pleasure.

In Struck, the main character, Mia Price, is a lightning addict, where did you get the idea for such a thing?

I actually started out wanting to write about a girl who was simply a human lightning rod, but everything changed when I began to research real life human lightning rods. One man’s story, in particular, altered the course of the novel. This man, a park ranger named Roy Sullivan, holds the world record for most lightning strikes survived. He was struck by lightning seven times, and used to drive around with a bucket of water in the back of his truck in case he was struck, caught fire, and had to put himself out. People actually began to avoid him because of his tendency to be struck. But he never quit his job as a park ranger, which seemed to me like the most obvious solution to avoiding lightning. That got me to wondering, “Maybe he likes being struck. Maybe he more than likes it. What if he craves it like a drug?” That was when my idea for a lightning addict was born.

That’s great! You have many compelling characters in this novel. Which one is most like you and why?

Mia is definitely my soul sister. She and I are both big time pessimists who tend to brace for trouble by constantly expecting the worst. That’s how we keep ourselves safe.

I actually had an epiphany about this subject a few days ago. I realized that I always break off a piece of one of my most negative attributes and give it to my heroine. It’s what allows me to understand them, more so than if I contributed something positive about myself to my character.

Aside from great characters, there are many other great elements in this book. Not only is it dystopian, set in a post-earthquake-ridden LA, but there is also a strong paranormal element. You also bring in the idea of Armageddon and the growing power of a religious cult. Where did your inspiration for these things come from?

I’ve always loved cross-genre stories, and even though I wanted to write something post-apocalyptic, I didn’t want it to be just post-apocalyptic. I was a huge fan of Stephen King’s “The Stand,” which combines both apocalyptic and supernatural elements, so that book was definitely an influence. The cults . . . well, cults and impending doom seem to go hand in hand, so incorporating them into “Struck” made sense to me. But I’ve been obsessed with cults for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I used to have recurring nightmares that my parents were in a cult, and they would sneak out of the house at night to go to a black mass. (sidenote: my parents are the most normal people in the world, I was just watching a lot of horror movies at the time, so don’t worry. They really aren’t in a cult). Those nightmares haunted me, and got me obsessed with real life cults, like Jim Jones and the People’s Temple, and Charles Manson’s “Family.” Honestly, I just can’t think of anything creepier than cults, and I figure if they give me the creeps, then I can write about them effectively and give other people the creeps. I love scaring people. I love it more than anything else in the world. But before you can scare other people, you have to scare yourself.

Was there another direction you originally envisioned this story going? Or was there something that changed in the editing process that you thought was a sure thing?

Absolutely. “Struck” wasn’t even “Struck” when I first wrote it. The title used to be “Damned,” and it was about a teenage girl who falls in love with the Antichrist, kind of a cross between “Twilight” and “The Omen.” But I couldn’t get that novel to work. It was just too broken. So I took the setting (post-earthquake L.A.) and my protagonist, Mia, turned her into a lightning addict, changed the whole concept of the novel, and rewrote it from scratch. Kind of a roundabout way to go about writing a novel. I don’t recommend it.

Jeremy battles his own internal demons in this story. What’s his strongest characteristic?

Guilt, which fuels his drive to set things right. He’s tormented by the things he feels he should have had the power to prevent. I guess I broke off a piece of myself to give to Jeremy, too, because I’ve always been a guiltaholic. My poor characters, I force them to suffer so.

I’ve heard that Struck is first in a series. How many books do you have in your head? Do you have them mapped out?

Um. Er. Well . . . at this point, it’s a standalone, but I’d love to write a couple more books. I have a sequel in mind if my publisher decides it should be a series. Fingers crossed! In the meantime, if you need another Struckiverse fix, there’s an origin story of STRUCK’s villain, Prophet, on Tor.com.

http://www.tor.com/stories/2012/04/prophet/

I’ll also have a short origin story of two of the minor villains in STRUCK, the twins, Iris and Ivan, published in an anthology called UNFETTERED. You can learn more about the anthology’s publication here:

http://grimoakpress.com/unfettered/

These are great! Thanks! I look forward to reading them. What made you want to become a writer? Was it something you always wanted to do?

I consider wanting to be a writer my first memory, other than crawling behind our couch and sticking my hand in a mousetrap. I prefer to forget that experience, though.

I’m pretty sure my love of story came from my dad. He used to tell epic bedtime stories that would go on for weeks. I wanted to do that . . . to be able to invent stories out of midair that could captivate an audience the way I was captivated by my dad’s stories.

Do you have a favorite book or a favorite author? Who/what is it, and why?

Stephen King will always hold the position of favorite author for me. His books and his characters, especially the Dark Tower series, shaped me as a writer and as a person. I can’t imagine any other book being able to hold a candle to “The Gunslinger.” I read it at such a young age, and it just became a part of me. It’s in my DNA now. If I ever have kids, they’ll probably turn out to be gunslingers.

What is the one thing you wish you knew before you started writing?

I wish I’d known what “high concept” meant, and how important it is to at least try to come up with a high concept idea before writing a book and querying. The first two books I wrote were compilations of everything I loved. They were both over 800 pages, because they contained too many ideas to fit in one book. Years after I wrote those gargantuan first novels, I learned that I didn’t need to pack every idea I had into a novel, that all I really needed was one . . . good . . . idea.  Why do I make things so hard for myself?

Finally some fun, this or that questions:

  • Coffee or Tea?: Coffee!
  • Hard Ice cream or Gelato?: Gelato! Coconut gelato! Or salted caramel!
  • Star Trek or Star Wars?: Star Wars! But no prequels.
  • Telepathy or Telekinesis?: Telekinesis! Then people will be afraid to cross me, or I’ll go all Carrie White on their asses.

Thank you so much for visiting my blog today. Struck is an amazing debut novel and I look forward to future novels from you.

About Struck

Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.

Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.

Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.

Jennifer Bosworth can be found online here:

http://www.jenniferbosworth.com

@jennbosworth

Giveaway: Win a Paper Copy of Struck and a signed bookmark! 

This giveaway is now over.

Congratulations to the winner, Jen MacGowan of Oshawa, Ontario!!!

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18 thoughts on “Fiction Friday: Interview with Jennifer Bosworth & #Giveaway

  1. Beverly S. says:

    Hard question…..I would want to spend as much time as possible with my two daughters enjoying our “last three days” together. I would also eat all the ice cream I wanted and not worry about gaining weight. 🙂

  2. Lynn Kho says:

    Hmm. I’d do the things that I never had the guts to do like sky diving (I’m afraid of heights >.>) and I’d like to spend as much time as possible with my family.

  3. Blair says:

    I’d spend the time with my family. Then on the last day, I’d grab a snack and water, and hike up the nearest, most desolate mountain, and spend the final moments in peace.

  4. Tweet Twit says:

    I would sit outside Jen’s house and scratch on her windows and steal all her wine and then I’d stay up all night reading her and Gretchen McNeil’s books (cuz they scare the crap out of me and if the world is ending tomorrow then I don’t have to worry about night terrors from the books cuz I’d be all sorts of dead)

  5. Jayme says:

    The world is ending in three days? No consequences for my actions… I’m not the warm and fuzzy type so I’d blow my bank account & Military Base hop and have the time of my life for 3 days… IFYAKNOWWHATIMEAN
    Not saying I’m sort of savant and that I’m ‘gifting’ myself unto the fine fine FINE men in uniform … I’m just saying that … they’ve fought hard for us and they deserve a bit of a thank you.
    And if we’re gonna be going out with a bang … wouldn’t YOU want to go out … with a bang??

  6. Antonia says:

    What would you do if you thought the world would end in three days?
    Well, I will try to spend more time with the people I love and tell them how much I need them. I would like to go in Paris , the city I always wanted to see. I always have been fascinated about this town and it will be amazing if I see it before the world ends.
    I will read my favourite book again , I will listen my favourite music and then , I don’t know , I will try not to think at the end , because I will be very sad.

  7. Sophia Chang says:

    It’s inappropriate to say what I would do on a family friendly blog, buy let’s just say I’d spend time with my loved one 😛

  8. lvoisin says:

    Wow! Great answers everyone! I thought Jennifer’s question was amazing too! It really makes you think about what’s important in life.

  9. Stephanie Keyes says:

    Great post! I can’t wait to read this one. It will definitely go on the list. If I thought the world would end in three days I would throw a huge party and eat lots and lots of chocolate. My husband would be charged with building a space craft to save us. 😉

  10. lvoisin says:

    Thanks to everyone who participated. Thank you Jennifer Bosworth! and Congratulations Jenn McGowan. You’ve won the copy of Struck and a signed bookmark!

  11. rlesliesnyder says:

    “I’ve always loved cross-genre stories…” and “Stephen King will always hold the position of favorite author for me. His books and his characters…” got my attention.

    I love his book on writing, found it long after I thought he’d moved past his prime. Might be the best thing he ever wrote. A great storyteller. I think now I’ll have to read Struck. Good interview.

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