Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Jennifer Donnelly part deux

Did you originally intend a sequel for The Tea Rose and write The Winter Rose about Charlie Finnegan/Sid Malone? Or you only had this idea later on?

No, I didn’t. But I finished The Tea Rose, and then I wrote another book, A Northern Light, and then I found myself missing the Finnegans badly. And I wanted to find out what was going on with them. I wanted to know their stories fully. And so I hit on the genius idea that since there were three siblings, a trilogy might be the way to accomplish this.

I, for one, am very grateful you made it into a trilogy. I can’t imagine not being able to read Charlie/Sid’s (and Seamie’s!) story now.

Your “Rose” trilogy is written for adults, A Northern Light for teens, while your picture book Humble Pie is for naughty children. Despite the different types of readers, what similarities do they have that make them Jennifer Donnelly novels? What do you think makes your books different from others in the genre?

I think the similarities all my stories have is of a character facing a challenge, and then changing and growing because of that challenge. Ultimately the character—whether it’s Fiona, or India, or little Theo from Humble Pie, conquers the challenge, but that doesn’t happen easily, or quickly, because, just as in real life, most of us have to work quite hard, over long periods of time, to meet our challenges.

Speaking of Humble Pie, are you a pie lover? What are your favorite pies? Oh, and which do you prefer: coffee or tea? What is your favorite tea flavor?

Sure am! I love them all. But if I had to pick one fave—it would be coconut custard with mountains of custard, and mountains of whipped cream. And a big fat pot of steaming hot tea. When it comes to dessert, I’m definitely a more-is-more kind of gal.

Unlike Trollop, who drinks yucky coffee, I’m a tea gal. It’s sorta an obligation, really, seeing as I’m quarter Chinese. And yep, I love pies too! :D If the diet fairy only agrees with me, I’d eat chocolate walnut torte that feels like pecan pie—with strawberries and whipped cream!—EVERYDAY! Ahh, foodgasm... *sigh*

Is there a favorite scene amongst your stories? A story that you had the most fun with, or the most difficult time, or derived the most satisfaction writing? Did you model any characters from someone you know in real life? How about the situations they’ve been in? Something you have experienced personally and just have to write about it?

I think one of the most powerful, and moving scenes in my novels is the one where Joe and Fiona find each other again. It’s a scene that’s based on personal experience. My husband and I were high school sweethearts, but we went our own ways for a time, quite a long time in fact. We were thousands of miles apart, in different countries, living different lives, but we were lucky enough to find our way back to each other again. That doesn’t happen too often, and I think the emotion I felt at seeing him again, after so many years apart, is very much present in that scene.

Wow, I didn’t know that scene was based on your personal experience. *g* Okay, tell us something about you that most people don’t know about. Do you sing in the shower? Maybe you have any funny/weird habits when you’re writing? Like, you binge on pickled frog hearts while on a deadline?

Oh, man. I dread these types of questions, because they force me to admit to my readers and to myself that I am the most boring person on the entire planet. My characters lead very exciting lives. They roll around in giant pies. They escape from killers and start tea empires and climb Kilimanjaro and run for Parliament, while I stay home and drink tea and wear woolly cardigans and wish I did those things.

What are you working on now? And for the love of Xenu, when is The Wild Rose going to be out?!? I simply can’t wait to read about Seamie and Willa! Also, any chance you’ll be writing more YA books? Are we going to see any sequel with Mattie?

Right now I’m working on a new YA novel. Still in the planning stages, so I can’t say too much about that one. I’m also plotting out the third and final Rose book—The Wild Rose. It will—as you may have guessed!—follow the adventures of Seamie Finnegan and Willa Alden. I can’t wait to find out what happens to them. Alas, I’ve no plans for a sequel to A Northern Light. Mattie left me standing on that train platform waving goodbye, and I haven’t heard from her since. But if she ever does start talking to me again, I’ll surely be there to listen!

You know, I’ve been waiting for The Wild Rose since May of last year. It’s torture, I tell ya! You should make that one of your new year’s resolutions: finish The Wild Rose as soon as possible and send Harlot an advance reading copy! *ahem*ahem*

I’ve made a lot of new year’s resolutions—all involving exercise and diet and generally tedious good behavior—simply because it’s so much fun to break them!

Jennifer, thank you so much for your time. I had so much fun talking to you. Any question you’d like to ask your fans? Anything you’d like to add?

I’d love to hear from readers what they’re favorite scenes are in the “Rose” books.**

Thanks so much to you and your readers for embracing the “Rose” books and A Northern Light, and I wish you all a very Happy New Year—one filled with books, um... bustiers, and bodaciousness!

**Dear readers: This is the question you have to answer to enter our The Winter Rose raffle. Post your answers here on the comment section. For those of you who have yet to read any of the “Rose” books, just tell us why you want to read Jennifer Donnelly and which book of hers you’re going to start with.



17 comment(s):

Blogger Isabella said...

My favorite part in The Tea Rose, of course when Joe and Fiona finally find each other!

What I hated the most: Joe getting drunk and then impregnating his boss's daughter. Gaaahhhhh!!!

1/08/2008 02:52:00 PM  

Blogger Amy said...

Thanks for visiting my page. I would classify the Kitty Norville and Mercy Thompson series as urban fantasy. There's some romance in them but as much as in others.
I haven't read either Kelley Armstrong or Sherrilyn Kenyon(yet) so I can't say which they are more like.

I enjoyed my visit to your page!


1/08/2008 03:13:00 PM  

Blogger Bonnie Jacobs said...

On April 21, 2007, I posted this on my blog Bonnie's Books (click on this link to read the whole post):

Note to all who have read The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly:

Do you remember in the book that Paddy (the father) had to grow up without a mother because the priest insisted the baby must be born and live long enough to be baptized? In this case it meant, yes, the baby was born live and, yes, it was baptized before it died maybe an hour later. But in the process they lost the mother. Aaarrrrrgggghhhhhh! This has always frustrated me no end. Do you know how long this edict lasted? Until now. More than 14 centuries!

Yesterday ... YESTERDAY ... newspaper articles appeared saying, "Pope Benedict XVI has reversed centuries of traditional Roman Catholic teaching on limbo, approving a Vatican report released Friday that says there were 'serious' grounds to hope that children who die without being baptized can go to heaven."

1/08/2008 03:14:00 PM  

Anonymous ~Cassie~ said...

I have heard nothing but good reviews of Jennifer's books so Harlot, I better win! Haha... ;-)

1/08/2008 03:19:00 PM  

Blogger Marg said...

My favourite scene in The Winter Rose is the very last one, whne India and Sid get their hopes fulfilled. It is a long and dangerous journey for them.

I also loved some of the scenes where India is trying to set up her hospital!

Hated Joe getting shot, butloved that he and Fiona managed to find a way to be happy with each other despite this trauma!

That will do.

1/08/2008 03:25:00 PM  

Blogger Jordis Juice said...

Rather than saying my favorite part in The Tea Rose, perhaps if I say what I like best about A Northern Light I'll get a better chance of winning The Winter Rose? Please... :-P

Best parts of A Northern Light: the real-life letters that Grace Brown had written, as Mattie reads about one each day. I sympathized with Grace more than I did with Mattie, maybe because from the start of the story I knew about Grace's fate.

1/08/2008 03:35:00 PM  

Blogger Jolie said...

My favorite part of course is the part where Joe and Fiona are reunited.

I have to mention Nicholas, who is such a darling and a charming man. Really loved The Tea Rose.

1/08/2008 06:11:00 PM  

Blogger Petra said...

Favorite part in The Winter Rose, any scenes with India and Sid together. I really like India, that she can see past Sid's crimes and into his heart. I like seeing Joe and Fiona again.

I think The Winter Rose has something for everyone: part historical, part romance, part adventure, part drama, part thriller. Brilliant book, Ms. Donnelly!

1/09/2008 09:29:00 AM  

Anonymous Jules said...

Lovely interview, ladies. I haven't read Miss Donnelly's books but she seems like someone I would love to hang out with, and I like that she's a chocoholic like me.

With all the glowing praises, I will get The Tea Rose.

1/09/2008 09:38:00 AM  

Anonymous Luci said...

Congrats on the brilliant interview. I loved the Rose books till now. And my favourite scene in The Tea Rose was Fiona and Joe's reuniting. I read it over and over countless times. Who would have thought its based on JD's experiences. Wow, that must have been some emotional reunion :)

1/09/2008 01:51:00 PM  

Anonymous karamia said...

Thank you bitches and Ms. Donnelly,
Fabulous interview. Why am I going to read The Tea Rose? you all make it sound so good, and it will be perfect to take along on vacation to Mexico!
Thank you again ladies, I have found fabulous books at this blog!

1/09/2008 02:10:00 PM  

Anonymous C said...

Another one who haven't read Jennifer Donnelly's books. The Tea Rose sounds something I would like.
Fun interview! Great job girls!

1/09/2008 03:36:00 PM  

Anonymous Kristy said...

Fabulous interview. Will you send the book internationally? If you will, please include me in the raffle. I would love to have a copy of The Winter Rose.

1/09/2008 04:35:00 PM  

Anonymous Carmen said...

I would have to start with The Tea Rose. I haven't read a historical in a while and I actually was told about this book a couple of days ago. My friend was gushing about it and how I had to read it. I take my friends suggestions on books seriously because we have the same taste. She told me that she could not put it down. The the second one couldn't come out quick enough! I've never read one of Jennifer;s books before but I love to find new authors.

1/09/2008 05:11:00 PM  

Blogger Vicious Trollop said...

I just got The Tea Rose :D I will be reading before the In Death Books but after the last Crazy book *g*

1/10/2008 11:48:00 AM  

Anonymous Patricia said...

Jennifer, I absolutely *loved* The Tea Rose and A Northern Light. Such an insightful interview! I loved the reunion of Joe and Fiona in the book and now that I know it's based on your personal experience I find it *more* sweeter.

Please continue writing. You have a lot of fans who are waiting for your every book.

1/11/2008 01:06:00 PM  

Anonymous Sara said...

Ms. Donnelly, I loved The Tea Rose. My favorite part is the part where Joe and Fiona find each other again. There were so many captivating things in The Tea Rose (I loved the secondary character, too) but it was Fiona's strength and her love for Joe that kept me turning the pages.

Great interview. I can't wait for The Winter Rose to arrive on my doorstep.

1/11/2008 02:07:00 PM