Friday, July 20, 2012

GCC Presents: Jennifer Echols!

I'm really excited to bring you a Girlfriends Cyber Circuit interview with author Jennifer Echols. Jenn is a fellow MTV Books author, I really love all of her stuff, and consider her a personal inspiration. I can't wait to read her new one, SUCH A RUSH, and after you hear about it (or hear more about it!), I'm sure you'll feel the same way. So let's learn more, shall we?


High school senior Leah Jones loves nothing more than flying. While she’s in the air, it’s easy to forget life with her absentee mother at the low-rent end of a South Carolina beach town. When her flight instructor, Mr. Hall, hires her to fly for his banner advertising business, she sees it as her ticket out of the trailer park. And when he dies suddenly, she’s afraid her flying career is gone forever.

But Mr. Hall’s teenage sons, golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson, are determined to keep the banner planes flying. Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business--until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers--and the consequences could be deadly.

Engrossing and intense, SUCH A RUSH is a captivating adventure that is sure to keep readers soaring.


Jennifer Echols is the award-winning author of multiple romantic dramas and romantic comedies for teens. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama.


Q: What inspired you to write this book?

JENNIFER: I took a trip to the beach with my family, then drove to the little airport with my dad to watch the advertising banner planes take off and land. My dad is a pilot, so a lot of my childhood was spent going to airports with him to watch airplanes take off and land. But this time, when he told me the banner plane pilots tend to be very young because they need a lot of flight time to become airline pilots someday, I knew that would be my next book.

Q: The main character of my first book, I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE, is the kind of girl I wanted to be (a rock star!), the MC of my second book has a lot more in common with teenage me. Is your main character someone you wish you could be, someone a lot like you, or your total opposite? How so?

JENNIFER: Leah is determined to become a pilot and stay a pilot, and I would be deathly afraid to take control of an airplane. But I was determined to become a published author, and I am determined to stay one. So I think Leah and I may have more in common than I originally thought.

Q: If there was a soundtrack for your book what are five songs that would be on it and how do they relate the story?

JENNIFER: “Sunday Best”--Augustana
“Lonely Day”--Phantom Planet
“The Royal We”--Silversun Pickups
“7/4 (Shoreline)”--Broken Social Scene
“The Only Exception”--Paramore

They may not relate to the story at all. They were part of the soundtrack for my last romantic drama, Love Story, which I was finishing when I came up with Such a Rush. This was what I was jogging to, up and down the beach road, thinking hard. I actually don’t know whether these songs have anything to do with Love Story, either. When I construct a soundtrack, I’m listening to the music, not the words. I guess that’s kind of weird for a novelist, but I was a music major before I was an English major.

Q: In addition to writing books, I also write for a website for teens called Rookie, which has a regular feature called "Literally The Best Thing Ever," wherein we write about a thing that we think is super mega awesome (even if it is the type of thing that others might call a guilty pleasure, we believe there is nothing guilty about pleasure!) and explain why we think it is literally the best thing ever. It's generally a kind of unexpected thing, for example I wrote one about the soap opera, One Life To Live. I don't expect you to write a whole essay obviously, but can you briefly tell us what either you or your character (or both!) would say is "Literally The Best Thing Ever" and why?

JENNIFER: The current boom in YA fiction is the best thing ever. When I was a teen in the 1980s, there were YA books, but they were written for the younger end of the teenage years. By the time we were actually teens, most of us were reading adult books because there weren’t many stories written specifically for us. By the 1990s, when I was trying to get my own YA published, even that smaller YA market had dried up. My second agent stopped representing YA altogether because it wasn’t selling. After that frustration, I sent a YA directly to one of the Big Six publishers, who sat on it for a year, then wrote me a “good rejection,” saying they would have bought my book if the YA market had been better. Imagine how ecstatic I was when the YA market came back in 2004! Everything is cyclical in publishing--a testament to this is the fact that even the stalwart of the romance world, the historical, took a huge hit in 2005 when the paranormal got big--but I think the YA may be here to stay because so many of these books are incredibly good.

Q: What are you working on for us next?

JENNIFER: I’m writing Dirty Little Secret, my next YA romantic drama for MTV Books, which will be in stores this time next year.

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