CAFE: A gathering place. A place of refreshment.

Thirsty for the latest releases in Christian fiction? Ready for a peek into the world of publishing and writing conferences? Hungry for spiritual and real-life nourishment? Pull up a seat; you're in the right place, and I'm so glad you've stopped by.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Welcome to Jenny B. Jones - Fun Interview and Book Giveaway of JUST BETWEEN YOU AND ME

Welcome, Jenny! First off, let me say, I loved Just Between You and Me. Before we get started, I need to tell my readers that you need to read all the way to the end. There you will find my review of Jenny’s book AND a chance for you to win the book!!!

Café: Jenny, you have a gift for writing quirky, fun stories with strong messages of faith. Thanks for stopping by the Café for a pop quiz.

JBJ: Thanks for having me! And I’m so glad you enjoyed Just Between You and Me. Otherwise. . .this visit might be a bit awkward.

Café: You’ve written several books for young adults. Why the change to Women’s Fiction?

JBJ: Not a change, but an addition. It’s funny, but one thing I learned in writing about a single 30 year old with a crazy life, is that she wasn’t THAT much different than a single 16 year old with a crazy life. Still has boy issues, still has confidence issues, both struggle with surrendering things to God. Thirty year olds just have a later curfew.

Café: Will you continue to write in both genres? (I know your teen fans are hoping the answer to this is YES.)

JBJ: Yes, I intend to. I hope so. Totally up to God. Both genres have something a little different to offer me as a writer, so it’s fun to switch hats. Keeps me on my toes. And when I’m writing YA, I’m usually stumped for a plot, yet a women’s fiction is growing in my head. And definitely when I’m writing women’s fiction, a million YA novels are demanding my attention. (Granted, 98 percent of these ideas become useless, but still—it makes for a crowded head during a deadline.)

Café: Have any of the things in your books happened to you or do you just have an overactive imagination? How much of Jenny B. Jones do you write into your stories?

JBJ: Oh, wow. I dunno. I think my voice is pretty evident in the books. Friends and students who read my books always say, “It was like you were in MY HEAD reading the book to me.” I don’t know that they think that’s necessarily a good thing.

My first series, A Katie Parker Production, about a foster kid who finds her calling on stage, was loosely based on two students I had—one who blossomed and found her place when she discovered drama and one who totally evolved into a different person when she finally found a loving home after a lifetime of being unloved and unwanted.

I think the people around me find their way into my books more than I do. But there are definitely pieces of things I’ve experienced or dealt with in every book—some good, some not so hot. We all have dysfunction. Might as well use it. ; )

Café: I know you’re a teacher by day and yet have written several books in a short time. How do you find the balance between the two?

JBJ: Food, caffeine, stretchy pants. I have really struggled with balance the last few years. Mostly I only do school at school and only do writing at home—and the two never shall meet. This year I am blessed with a modified schedule and only teach ‘til noonish and then I get to go home and write, hopefully leaving my evenings free for a life. Or at least some good TV.

Café: The new schedule sounds like it’s working out for you. When you do write, how do you develop your characters? Charts? Interviews? Or do you just start writing and let them have their say?

JBJ: I am very character driven. I see the characters before I ever see the plot, and so I create that plot around the quirks of the characters or where I see them going or being funniest. I wish I did do charts or interviews or something organized. But I don’t. I never know really where my plot is headed. (This is a very, very comfortable feeling. NEVER keeps me up late night. Never makes me eat empty calories to numb my acute anxiety. . . I would love to be more of a planner/plotter. But I’m not. I am quite poopy at plotting.

Café: Now, for a few fun questions:

JBJ: YES! These are my favorite!!!!

Café: What is your favorite food?

JBJ: Mexican (fajitas and quesadillas are my favorite. And I have the local Mexican place on speed dial), cereal (it’s like crack—CANNOT get enough. It’s like a meal AND dessert), and ice cream. I used to not really care that much for ice cream. I could take it or leave it. In the last 5 years I can’t get enough. Why couldn’t that have happened with green beans or something healthy? I hated green beans five years ago. I hate them today. But ice cream? Double scoop!

Café: Favorite movie?

JBJ: In order. . .
1. Princess Bride
2. Charade
3. Sweet Home Alabama (leading guy is originally an Arkansas boy!)
4. Nacho Libre
5. Chocolat (Actually I don’t even know what this movie is about. But the title—it speaks to me.) (kidding.) (mostly)

Café: All time favorite book?

JBJ: Ew, tough one. I have a rotating list of favorites, but I love A Year Down Yonder, a YA novel by Richard Peck. Though it’s YA, adults will love it. I read it to my grandmother years ago who adored it. I cannot recommend that book enough. I also love Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts. There’s a secular romance novel that I just think is the best romance ever, but I’m not going to tell you because it’s not rated G, and I don’t want to be responsible for leading anyone to the temptation of a book with lots of kissing. I also ADORE A Girl Named Zippy. It’s nonfiction, but reads like fiction. It had me laughing out loud, something a book rarely does. It’s one of those books that you give to every friend you have.

Café: Billie Letts is one of my favorite authors. Who knew? I’ve met her a few times, and she is a wonderful person, too. She just tells it like it is. Any particular author who has influenced your writing?

JBJ: Meg Cabot, Kristin Billerbeck, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, God. Anyone with humor, romance, and quirky characters. Authors whose writing doesn’t take itself too seriously. (Except for God on that one. God can take Himself seriously all He wants I guess.)

Café: Coffee? Tea? Sparkling mineral water? Or . . .

JBJ: This question breaks my heart. I don’t know if I love anything in this world more than ice tea (strong, no sugar as the Lord intended). But caffeine makes me comatose for days, so I really try to stay away from it. But I fail. Often. And I always say, “I’ll never drink tea again!” But I do. Because I love it so. It’s quite a toxic relationship really.

And I love a good Diet Dr. Pepper or Diet Coke, but I’m two months free of the stuff! Cold turkey. No mas. If even 1/10th of the information on the internet is true about that stuff, it’s bound to have eaten a good chunk of my brain cells. And I’ve decided Diet Coke cannot have any more. I have a hard enough time finding my car in the Wal-Mart parking lot as it is.

Café: Jenny, you are a delight. I promise not to base a character in my next novel on your answers (maybe). Thanks for sharing your wisdom and wit here at the Café. Any exciting news or closing thoughts you’d like to share?

JBJ: We have a great time over at my blog on my website. Stop by and see me. Lots of giveaways and random attempts at the occasional joke. And stay tuned for November when the second book in the YA series A Charmed Life hits the shelves.

Café: That’s it folks. Remember you can find Jenny’s books here .

I don’t think you need to read my review to know you’re in for a treat with Jenny B. Jones’ debut women’s fiction, but allow me:

Jenny B. Jones debut into women’s fiction, Just Between You and Me, has been chosen as a 2009 WOMEN OF FAITH novel. In a departure from her quirky, action-filled Young Adult books, Jenny brings the same fun style to an adult audience.

Ivy, Texas is the last place Maggie Montgomery wants to go, but at the urgent request of her dad, she returns to her hometown. She’d rather be skydiving or rappelling or any number of other things in her adventurous life as a cinemaphotographer. Once back in Ivy, getting away is not as easy as Maggie hoped. Neither is facing the fears from her past and the people she’s hurt growing up in Small Town, America.

The story is one fraught with mishaps and filled with tenderness. Maggie’s niece, Riley, has experienced more than any ten year old should, and it is only to save her that Maggie agrees to stay. A budding romance with the local vet, a sister (Riley’s mom) with a drug addiction, and a haunting memory give Maggie’s story layers that kept me guessing and reading until the last page. The author packs a lot of humor into the pathos for a light, faith-filled book with a message for young and old alike. Only by reliance on God can we embrace and conquer our deepest fears.

Highly recommended for a summertime read . . . or anytime you need a pick-me-up!

BOOK DRAWING: Jenny has graciously offered a book giveaway, and I know you want to read this one, so please leave a comment AND your contact information. I’ll put your name in a “cereal bowl” in honor of Jenny’s craving and draw for a winner at noon Friday, September 11.


Kathy Carlton Willis said...

I would love to win this book! Please enter me your in your giveaway drawing. And this was one of the funnest interviews I've read in a while--thanks for that! WillisWay (at) aol (dot) com

Carmen7351 said...

I wish I had a vivid imagination. I'm so black and white. Your reactions to caffeine shock me. I've never heard that before. I've not read any of your books yet. Hopefully I can win this one and start. Please enter me. Thanks.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Martha A. said...

It sounds great!! Anyone who has Princess Bride as their favorite movie should write a great book! martha(at)lclink(dot)com

Cheryl Barker said...

I'd love to be included in the drawing! Always love a chance to win a good book! ckbarker(at)gmail(dot)com

Val said...

Hey Carla, I would love to read this book. Please pull my name out of your cereal bowl before the milk goes in!

Sandee61 said...

Hi...I enjoyed the interview so much and look forward to reading this new-to-me author. I totally agree with one of Jenny's favorite movies, "Sweet Home Alabama"! Please add my name to the giveaway list...I'd love to read her book.
Thank you!



Jo said...

Loved the interview and would love to be entered in the drawing to win the book. My granddaughters loved to read the YA books so would love to read the women's books. Please enter me in the drawing.


Laura in Texas said...

Enjoyed the interview and the book sounds great. Please enter me in the drawing: lauramctx @ yahoo

Anonymous said...

Great interview! I'd love to read this book!

rebornbutterfly (at) sbcglobal (dot) net

Shirley Lowry said...

I would love to be added to the book drawing. Jenny made a reference to Arkansas and that was my home 1940-1958 -- I will definitly read her books.

Anonymous said...

Please enter my name in your draw. Thanks.
wandanamgreb (at) gmail (dot) com

Julia said...

Jenny B. Jones is my all time favorite author. I've read and reread every book except this one, and I'd love to read it. Thanks for the opportunity.
juliaisakutie (at) yahoo (dot) com

Jody said...

What a great interview! I love learning about new authors. Please enter me in the drawing.

rodgerandjody at hotmail dot com

Shirley Lowry said...

I forgot to leave my email address in my earlier comment.

Shirley Lowry

carla stewart said...

Wow! So many Jennie B. fans and soon-to-be fans. What a great response. Of course I wish you ALL could win!

sherrinda said...

I have never read any of Jenny's books and I must say, I am embarrassed! I'd love a chance to win!

Deborah said...

I agree- Anyone who has "Princess Bride" at the top of their favorites is a winner with me. I am familiar with Jenny B. Jones as I worked in the library at school and the kids loved those books! Now it's my turn! Please enter me in the contest!
Deborah Leathers
dleathers36 (at) yahoo (dot)com

Myra Johnson said...

Loved the interview AND the review, Carla & Jenny! WF is my favorite genre, and this sounds like a great read!

Cherie J said...

Great interview! I can sympathize about the iced tea. I love it too but I have gotten to the point where I have to make my own with decaf and splenda in place of sugar. I don't do well with too much caffeine either. Sounds like a great book. Would love to be entered in the drawing. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.


Gayla Busch said...

Pick me! Pick me!! Sounds like a great read and after that interview I have a new list of must-reads! Thanks, Carla! And, again, pick me!!!
Gayla B in Perryton!

bigguysmama said...

Wow, I've never had a take it or leave it approach to ice cream! And I've always loved green beans. Can eat an entire can myself.

This was a fun interview to read! Please enter me to win Jenny's book.

Mimi B
mnjesusfreak at gmail dot com

windycindy said...

Hello! What an interesting interview! I loved the questions and learning more about the author behind the book! Please count me in.
Many thanks.....Cindi

Emma said...

Just Between You and Me sounds wonderful.Please enter me in the giveaway.augustlily06(at)aim(dot)com.Thank you.

Koala Bear Writer said...

Carla - sounds fascinating! Great interview (as usual). You already have my contact info, right? :)

Jenny B. Jones said...

Thanks so much for letting me stop by, Carla! What a fun group you have!!!

JenniferB said...

I would love to read this book, it sounds so good- love the cover.

GirlforChrist said...

This sounds like a great book! Thanks for doing the interview! Please sign me up! : ) ~GirlforChrist203

christa said...

Great interview, Carla. Love the blog design.

Okay, JBJ, you didn't tell me you work A HALF DAY!!! I'm so jealous.

Angie said...

I enjoyed the interview and look forward to checking out some of the authors Jenny mentioned.

Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!

angiebrennan [at] angiebrennan [dot] com

lovelle said...

Hi carla.

I have been a massive fan of Jenny's blog and been wanting to get her book but i couldn't finy any here in Sydney. =(

Please enter me in the draw and email me at

Thanks and God bless you!

Maha said...

Hi Carla,

I would love to win a copy of the book! Please enter me in the draw, my email is
God bless!


Katie said...

WOW great interveiw- I love all of Jen's books, I hope I win!!!

please enter me in the drawing my email is

Carole said...

After the interesting interview and great reviews I've seen, I definitely want to read Jenny's book. Thank you so much for the giveaway.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net