Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Author Interview -- Jen Klein

Photo and bio: SohoPress.com

Emmy-nominated Jen Klein grew up in North Carolina and studied theatre at Appalachian State University. She wrote the screenplay for the movie Choke and is also the author of the forthcoming contemporary YA romance Shuffle, Repeat.
Jen is currently a writer on the hit TV series Grey’s Anatomy. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two sons, and several animals, all of whom are unruly and ill-behaved.

I was invited to interview Jen Klein, the author of Jillian Cade: (Fake) Paranormal Investigator  as part of YA Reads 2015 Debut Authors Bash.


S&N: Did you write when you were a kid? What made you decide to write a novel?
JK:  I wrote all the time when I was a kid. I wrote in spiral notebooks, propped up on my elbows on the floor behind the living room sofa. Why there? I have no idea, except maybe it was my very first writer’s cave, before I knew how much I loved a writer’s cave.

** Note: my “cave” these days is most often the guest room, drinking a cup of coffee while Tangerine Dream plays. Or in my bed, sitting up against the pillows, reminding children to PLEASE close the door when they come in or out. 
As far as what made me decide to write a novel…? I was already a screenwriter and -- like many screenwriters -- always THOUGHT I would write a book, but never had. Books seemed daunting: so many pages, and with words going all the way to the edges of the page. SO MANY WORDS. But then one day, I decided to try. And a few pages in, I fell in love. It was like flying. So I kept going.

S&N:  What was your high school experience like, compared to Jillian’s?

JK: I was less dark than Jillian. Less insightful. Probably just as self-involved, but less aware of my self-involvement. Like Jillian, I wasn’t sure I deserved to be seen, to be loved. Unlike Jillian, I was kinda quiet and made good grades.

S&N:  Who were your favorite authors when you were a teen?

JK:  Betty Smith.
       Judy Blume.
       Stephen King.
       Margaret Atwood.
       Orson Scott Card.
       John Irving.
       Jean Auel.
       Anne Rice.

S&N:  The premise for the book is kind of unusual. Jillian made me think of a combination of Buffy Summers (the vampire slayer) and Veronica Mars. Was Jillian based on them? If not, what inspired her?

JK:  Jillian wasn’t based on Buffy and Veronica -- those were comparisons made after she was born. And, yes. I do think of her as being “born.” I guess I think of all characters that way. 

Something I say a lot -- on panels or to other writers in my screenwriting world -- is that I think writing is more like archaeology than architecture. 

By that, what I mean is that it’s not about BUILDING a thing. It’s about FINDING a thing. In this very strange, mystical way, it’s like the story already exists somewhere and you’re just trying to find it. 

I notice it so much in a TV writers’ room, also. It feels like we’re all working together, trying to find the right version of a story. When you get tired or discouraged, someone else can pick up a shovel. In television, the shovel is in the hands of a room full of other writers. In publishing, it’s your editor.

Collaboration is a beautiful, magical thing.

Thanks to YA Reads, I have a signed copy of Jillian Cade: (Fake) Paranormal Investigator , as well as some Jillian Cade swag for one of my readers.  Please comment below by 12:01 a.m. on December 16th, and don't forget to include an e-mail address where I can contact you if you win. Entries from the US only, please.


  1. The comparisons to Buffy, whether intended or not, makes me very eager to read this book! Thanks for the chance to win! LisaLovesLiterature at yahoo dot com.

  2. Looks like a great book. Thanks for the giveaway! email is penny dot olson at gmail dot com.