Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Apocalypse Now: An Interview with Jenny Lundquist, Author of SEEING CINDERELLA

Seventh grade is not going well for Calliope Meadow Anderson. Callie’s hair is frizzy, her best friend, Ellen, is acting weird, and to top things off, she has to get glasses. And her new specs aren’t even cute, trendy glasses—more like hideously large and geeky.But Callie soon discovers that her glasses have a special, magical perk: When she wears them, she can read people’s thoughts. For the first time ever she’s answering all the questions right in math class, and gets a glimpse of what goes through people’s minds all day, including what Ellen—and her longtime crush—really think of her.

Crazy glasses aside, Callie has more drama to face when she’s cast as the lead in the school play—and instead opts to be an understudy, giving the role of Cinderella to Ellen. Can Callie’s magic glasses help her see her way to leading lady, or is she destined to stay in the background forever, even with her super freaky magic glasses?

I'm so excited to be be hosting Jenny Lundquist, whose debut MG, SEEING CINDERELLA, releases today. Congratulations, Jenny!
Thanks so much for having me on the blog today. It's shaping up to be an exciting year for the Apocalypsies, and I'm also really excited for 2013 when all the Lucky 13s debut!

First off, I absolutely love Callie from Seeing Cinderella. The twelve year old in me just found her so relatable. Do you see a lot of yourself in her? Or were you more like her best friend, Ellen?

I was definitely more like Callie in middle school. I was shy and introverted, and I spent a lot of time holed up in my room, reading. I was like Ellen in fourth grade, confident, and obsessed with my grades. But around the time that my friends started becoming interested in boys my introversion kicked in, mainly because I wasn't ready for the changes that middle school life brings.

Callie’s girlfriends play a pretty big role in her story. Who was your favourite to write—Ana, Stacy, or Raven? If you could write a spinoff about one of them, who would it be?

That's a hard one. At one point, I started writing a story from Ana's point of view and eventually abandoned it. Each of Callie's friends became very real to me, and one of the things I loved most about writing this story was how Callie's magic glasses gave me an excuse to "see" into each girl's thoughts, regardless of her actions. I had a hard time saying goodbye to these characters. And the main character of my next novel, PLASTIC POLLY, reminds me a little of Stacy (cue mysterious music!).

Callie is obsessed with Red Hots. What were some of the other candies that didn’t make the cut?

None, actually. I can't really tell you where the idea came from, but somehow I just knew that she liked Red Hots. Maybe it was because I had a picture of this sweet, and shy girl with frizzy red hair grubbing on Red Hots in my head, but, yeah, it was one of those things that just came to me and stuck.

What were some of your favourite authors and books when you Callie’s age? Did you always know you wanted to write?

My favorite book when I was Callie's age was THIRTEEN by Candice F. Ransom, in fact, I still own a copy of it.

I always knew I liked to write. The only thing I remember liking about first grade was when I got to write my own picture book for an art project. If I remember correctly, I think the title was Jane and the Giant Snowball and featured a girl running away from—yep, you guessed it—a giant snowball. But I never seriously entertained the idea of "becoming a writer." I believed that I wasn't creative enough to be a writer or that I wouldn't be able to finish a book, even if I started one. For me, part of my writing journey has been rejecting a lot of the negative lies I hear in my head.

Ok , we both know authors are a pretty weird bunch. We all gear up to write in different ways, and no two are the same. What’s a typical writing day for you? Morning or night person? White noise or silence? Are you typically a pantser or outliner? Linear or scene-jumper?

I write in the daytime while my children are in school. When I first started writing, I did it during their naptime, so for me, I've always preferred daytime. After my children go to bed something in me just shuts down and I can't write. Can any other stay-at-home moms relate? So at night I prefer to read, or take notes on upcoming projects or do journal entries for my characters. Anything except sit in front of the computer.

Any advice for new writers, both published and yet-to-be published? How about for any twelve year old aspiring authors out there?

The best advice I could give is: you can do it. You may think that you can't, but you can. The ability to write is like any other discipline, the more you practice, the easier it gets (although it may never be easy, just…easiER). For those twelve-year-old aspiring authors out there, how I envy you! You've got so much time on your side. Go out and live and become who you're supposed to be and write it all down. Keep journals during your middle school and high school years and record all of the pain and wonder you experience. If you don't, one day you'll wish you had. Trust me on this one.

And this being The Lucky 13s, can you tell us your favourite superstition?

I love this question! I'm not a very superstitious person, but I do have a good one. Did anybody play Bloody Mary during sleepovers with their friends? If you didn't, it's this game where you walk into a dark bathroom with your friends, stare into the mirror, and try to see if you can find Bloody Mary staring back at you. I played it with my friends, and it scared me to death. To this day, if I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, I refuse to look in the mirror.

Thank you so much, Jenny. And we're also looking forward to PLASTIC POLLY, coming Spring 2013!

Buy SEEING CINDERELLA at your favourite bookstore or online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Reach Jenny through her Website, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Jenny Lundquist grew up in Huntington Beach, California, wearing glasses and wishing they had magic powers. They didn't, but they did help her earn a degree in Intercultural Studies at Biola University. Her favorite part of college was spending one semester living in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, where she drank lots of tea, met some really interesting people, and honed her Yahtzee skills. Jenny has painted an orphanage in Mexico, taught English at a university in Russia, and hopes one day to write a book at a café in Paris. Jenny and her husband, Ryan, live in Rancho Cordova, California with their two sons, and Rambo, the world's whiniest cat. Jenny is represented by Kerry Sparks of Levine Greenberg Agency.

Elsie Chapman grew up in Prince George, BC, before graduating from the University of British Columbia with a BA in English Literature. She currently lives in Vancouver with her husband and two children, where she writes to either movies on a loop or music turned up way too loud (and sometimes both at the same time). She is represented by The Chudney Agency and DUALED is her debut novel. It will be released by Random House in Spring, 2013.


  1. HUGE congrats on SEEING CINDERELLA, Jenny!! I hope you have an awesome release day!

  2. Awesome interview, you two! (Except for the part where I'll now be unable to look in the mirror when I go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Thanks for that. ;))

  3. Congrats Jenny on your release. I LOVED SEEING CINDERELLA. I could so relate to Callie because as a kid I was totally shy and didn't have many friends. And I wore tons of weird glasses.

    So glad I could share in your debut by interviewing you yesterday.

  4. Thanks everyone! And sorry about the mirror thing, Peggy :0) The last couple days have been amazing, thanks for hosting me here :0)