Interview #1 - Jennifer Niven


This week I have an interview with Jennifer Niven the author of 'all the bright places'. This is her first novel for young adult readers and tells the story of a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die. Jennifer have written other books, memoirs, history and adult fiction. It is such an honor to have Jennifer answer all my questions for my blog! 


All the bright places
"Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him. 

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death. 

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

1.What was the most important thing for you to include in ATBP?
I feel like sometimes books about mental illness or suicide are wrapped up too neatly, with a bow on top, or they romanticize these issues. I wanted to not only wrote what I knew and lived in real life, but I wanted to write honestly and straightforwardly about what can happen if we hide ourselves and our struggles from others, if we don't reach out for help, if we try to fix ourselves without letting anyone in. No one should have to struggle alone, and I am hearing from thousands of readers who say ATBP has inspired them to speak out, speak up, and let people in. Seeing what both Finch and Violet went through has made them realize how important that is. I also wanted to remind people that even in the darkest times, bright places exist. They're around us everywhere-- and in us as well-- we just have to look for them. 

2.What was the hardest thing about writing ATBP? 
Finch was inspired by a boy I loved who struggled with bipolar disorder and depression. He experienced highs and lows much like Finch’s Awake and Asleep, and he fought to be here in this world every single day. At the same time, he could be so amazingly, excitingly alive. Knowing him was one of the most profound experiences of my life, and one I’d always wanted to write about—I just wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to because it was such a personal story. Since it was so personal, it was hard to write some of the sadder moments, but I always tell myself that you have to be willing to cry in order for your readers to feel the emotion you want them to feel when reading. 
3.What is the easiest thing about writing? 
I don't think there's much that's easy about it, but it is exciting, exhausting, exhilarating, stressful, demanding, and fulfilling. I work all the time-- it never stops-- and my career takes a lot of discipline. But I'm so grateful to get to write for a living because it's what I love to do more than anything else. The part I love most may be when I'm first playing with an idea. I love discovering the characters and plot and place, and I love doing research. So much of writing is play, although it's easy to forget that. 
4.Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your ATBP? 
I actually wrote the book picturing Elle Fanning as Violet, and she's now attached to play Violet in the movie version! The person I pictured as Finch was Nicholas Hoult, but unfortunately he's too grown up and manly now to play a teenager. I don't have anyone specific in mind for Finch now, but as long as we choose an actor who truly captures Finch, who is fearless and sensitive and magical, I'll be thrilled.
5. What writers inspire you? 
My mother, Penelope Niven, first and foremost. She was my hero in every way. I also love Flannery O'Connor, Shirley Jackson, and Harper Lee. I adore and admire every word they've ever written.
6.If you could of written any book in the world which one would It be? 
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. Also In Cold Blood, which is one of my favorite books ever.

I really appreciate this Jennifer, you are such an amazing person. I wish you all the best. 
Thank you so much! You're amazing as well!

Thanks so much to Jennifer, I can't thank her enough for giving me some of her time in her busy schedule to answer my questions. Jennifer has been nothing but extremely lovely and humble and I wish her all the best. I'm excited for her new book! 


Love, Beth.x

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