Thursday, July 10, 2014

7 Questions For: Author Jessica Lawson



Jessica Lawson holds a BA in Spanish and an MS in Outdoor Recreation and Natural Resource Management. She’s worked in the nonprofit sector (with charitable-giving foundations), as a preschool teacher, at a dude ranch, and on National Forest trail crews. She lives in Colorado with her husband and children. The Actual &Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher is her first novel. - See more at: http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Jessica-Lawson/414413200#sthash.aKeh1vOK.dpu
Jessica Lawson holds a BA in Spanish and an MS in Outdoor Recreation and Natural Resource Management. She’s worked in the nonprofit sector (with charitable-giving foundations), as a preschool teacher, at a dude ranch, and on National Forest trail crews. She lives in Colorado with her husband and children. 

The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher is her first novel. Click here to read my review.

And now Jessica Lawson faces the 7 Questions: 
Jessica Lawson holds a BA in Spanish and an MS in Outdoor Recreation and Natural Resource Management. She’s worked in the nonprofit sector (with charitable-giving foundations), as a preschool teacher, at a dude ranch, and on National Forest trail crews. She lives in Colorado with her husband and children. The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher is her first novel. - See more at: http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Jessica-Lawson/414413200#sthash.aKeh1vOK.dpuf
Jessica Lawson holds a BA in Spanish and an MS in Outdoor Recreation and Natural Resource Management. She’s worked in the nonprofit sector (with charitable-giving foundations), as a preschool teacher, at a dude ranch, and on National Forest trail crews. She lives in Colorado with her husband and children. The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher is her first novel. - See more at: http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Jessica-Lawson/414413200#sthash.aKeh1vOK.dpuf


Question One: What are your top three favorite books?

That’ll change every time you ask, but right this instant I’ll stick with kid lit and say Rumer Godden/Barbara Cooney’s picture book The Story of Holly and Ivy, Roald Dahl’s Danny, The Champion of the World, and Beth Hilgartner’s historical middle grade novel A Murder for Her Majesty.


Question Two: How much time do you spend each week writing? Reading?

Not as much as I’d like! I try to find an hour or so during the day to write and I read about thirty minutes to an hour at night. My preference would be to write in the early morning, but babies tend to put a damper on preferences. As do 5-year-olds. With kids, it’s really just about writing and reading “in the cracks” and finding time wherever/whenever it presents itself.


Question Three: What was the path that led you to publication?

I was a stay-at-home mom who was watching too many reruns of Gilmore Girls, so I started writing in the summer of 2009 as a hobby—at least that’s what I told myself (it helped to keep my expectations low, which comes in handy when amassing rejections). 

In the fall of 2009 I started querying. My first effort was a women’s fiction novel set in a small town eerily similar to the one featured in…Gilmore Girls. Needless to say, that manuscript was trunked and padlocked. I soon realized that, as a woman who was still re-reading Where the Red Fern Grows in my 30s, maybe I should try writing for a different audience. 

I wrote/queried several other manuscripts (both middle grade and young adult) before writing The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher, the manuscript that landed me both an agent and a book deal. Middle grade literature is my comfort zone and the resting place of my heart, both in reading and writing. 


Question Four: Do you believe writers are born, taught or both? Which was true for you?

I’d say both. There are writers out there who were born to write—the people who seem to innately live the written word and it pours out of them compulsively, whether they want it to or not. As for me, it feels like a return to something that always fit me well, but that never really registered as a possibility for a career.

I’ve put a lot of effort into learning more about writing in recent years, but I still feel like a raw scrapper—more of a Rudy-type, who got really lucky with publication because of persistence, practice, love of books/writing, and the ability to take a lot of rejection without giving up, rather than because of a pure, natural skill.


Question Five: What is your favorite thing about writing? What is your least favorite thing?

My favorite thing is finding a character who seems special—who makes me want to discover and write their story. 

Least favorite thing is feeling guilty when writing takes me away from personal family time.


Question Six: What one bit of wisdom would you impart to an aspiring writer? (feel free to include as many other bits of wisdom as you like) 
 
Set deadlines for the writing goals you want to accomplish as motivation, but don’t worry too much if those deadlines get extended…and extended again. 

Concentrate as much on the learning process and on writing the best story you can write as you do on rejection/request ratios. 

Find a solid critique partner or four who will give you honest and helpful feedback, keep you accountable, and join in your struggles/successes.


Question Seven: If you could have lunch with any writer, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

Barbara Park. When I heard about Barbara Park passing, my heart hurt so much. The genius of her Junie B. Jones books is that they appear so effortless, but that voice, my goodness. They say that laughter is the best medicine, and Ms. Park was an understated master of blending laughter and truth. I would like to be able to tell Ms. Park that the joy she’s brought to several of my family members, both in easy times and times when we all could really use a smile, is immeasurable. I’d like to personally thank her for that.


1 comment:

  1. Great interview -- off to read your review of the book :)

    ReplyDelete

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