Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Book Club & Interview with Mary E. Pearson: The Adoration of Jenna Fox

Woohoo, time for the Friday book club. It's all about sharing recommendations for books we've enjoyed recently, so leave a comment!

I picked up The Adoration of Jenna Fox because a friend was reading it. And well, the next thing you know, it's one in the morning and I'm glued to the page. It's a fantastic read! It has a little bit of a science fiction feel, but it's also very emotionally charged. I literally couldn't put it down.

Here's the blurb from the Who is Jenna Fox website:
Who is Jenna Fox?

Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a year-long coma, and she’s still recovering from the terrible accident that caused it. Her parents show her home movies of her life, her memories, but she has no recollection. Is she really the same girl she sees on the screen?

Little by little, Jenna begins to remember. But along with the memories come questions—questions no one wants to answer for her. What really happened after the accident?

In this fascinating novel, acclaimed author Mary E. Pearson presents an unforgettable look at one human life and a glimpse into a possible future that may be closer than we think.

I was also lucky enough to interview the author, the lovely and talented Mary E. Pearson. Interview below!

1. Who is Mary Pearson? Give us the lowdown.

On a personal level, I have been married to the man of my dreams since I was a tot. I have two beautiful grown daughters who both tower over me–they have since they were twelve. My husband's tall genes are obviously much stronger than my short ones. I also have a wonderful son I got the easy way–my daughter married him. When I’m not reading and writing, nothing gives me greater pleasure than to hang out with my family which also includes two spoiled golden retrievers.

My first book was published back in 2000 and my fifth comes out next month–all YA novels. I don’t write for teens. I write about them. There’s a subtle difference!

2. AJF has an extremely intriguing premise - what inspired you to write this story? (Yes, I know, it's the dreaded inspiration question, but I can't help myself!)

The first seeds of the story came from two questions: First, how far will medicine advance in another fifty years? The second, how far would a parent go to save their child? These questions were planted in my mind back in 2000 when my daughter was diagnosed with cancer and I was plunged into the world of hospitals, doctors and endless amounts of waiting for appointments, tests, treatments, and results. Lots of time to think and wonder. I remember thinking how lucky we were that we lived where we did and when we did because there was a very good (and successful) treatment for her. I didn't know that years later these two questions or wonderings of mine would be the seed of JENNA's story. Even though the story is not about my family or experience, these experiences certainly got the wheels turning.

3. AJF has distinct science fiction elements. Is that something that's usually a part of your work?

No, not really. AJF is my first science fiction novel, and actually, when I was writing it, I didn’t even think of it as science fiction. For me, it was a story about relationships and how the people we care about complicate the choices we make including what we may have previously thought was right or wrong.

I am not sure that I ever follow a “usual” route with my stories. Each one has been very different from the previous one, from breezy humor, to romance, to dark and gritty, to sci-fi, and now something dipping into slipstream.

4. What are you working on at present?

It is still in the early stages–I am only about seventy pages in–and that is a fragile time in the life of a story, so I don’t really talk about it at this stage. But rest assured I am working on something!

5. In your view, what are some of the rewards/challenges of writing YA fiction?

I think the rewards and challenges are probably the same as writing for any genre. When you get that right word, the right chapter, the right piece of dialogue that you have been searching for, it feels deliciously wonderful. It is like the true story is there all along, waiting for you to uncover it, but it takes a lot of persistence and faith in the process to find it. I don’t outline or plan out a story–I just concentrate on listening to the character and being true to their voice and perspective.

6. Could you give us a little info on your next release?

My newest book, The Miles Between, is out on September 1–only a month away! It’s about four teens who take off on an “unauthorized” road trip in search of one fair day. Destiny, the main character is obsessed with coincidences–and for good reason. She also has a secret she is keeping from the three classmates that she’s taken off with, and as the story unfolds, she discovers they have secrets of their own. It's a larger-than-life type of story where fantasy bleeds into reality, and you’re never quite sure where one begins and the other ends. Lots of “coincidences” ensue! I had fun writing it, even though it has its dark moments too.

Nalini, thank you so much for having me!

A huge thank you to Mary for the interview!

Now it's your turn - share your book recommendations, whatever they be! :)


Jory Strong said...

First...The Adoration of Jenna Fox--This is an absolutely brilliant story. Everything about it is perfect. It left me thinking about it for days afterward and wishing it was the kind of story I could write.

Second...Thanks to whoever first recommended Ginn Hale's Wicked Gentlemen here, I polished it off in two sittings and really enjoyed it. Wonderful worldbuilding and great prose.

Christina said...

Thank you, Nalini, for the suggestion! Thanks Mary for the great interview! (I am happy your daughter's treatment went well!

AJF is going in my TBR pile. I am always looking for new reads (which is why Friday book club is fun).

Another YA series I recommend is House of Night by PC & Kristen Cast. Great series (can't *wait* for the next book in October!) and PC Cast's romance books are also superb!

I just finished Hidden Currents this week. I was a little disapointed, to be honest. I love the whole series, I just didn't enjoy Hidden Currents the most.

Una said...

I'm completely intrigued by the story of Jenna and cannot wait to read it! I also look forward to your upcoming release!

I finally was able to read "The Secret Life of a Vampire" and "Forbidden Nights with a Vampire" by Kerrelyn Sparks. Both were delightful and witty with just enough action and adventure to keep our romance plot twisting and turning.

I also read "The Accidental Werewolf" by Dakota Cassidy that was surprisingly good. Took me a bit of time to get into it, but it did surprise me when I realized I do like the main character, she's not quite as ditsy as she first appears. I wish I could remember where I heard of it, but I did really enjoy the somewhat lightheartedness of it (and the banter was entertaining).

orannia said...

Thank you Nalini & Mary for a great interview and an introduction to a fascinating sounding book!

*makes note of The Adoration of Jenna Fox*

Jory - am so glad you enjoyed Wicked Gentlemen :)

I'm curently reading a book that was mentioned in last week's book club - Why Mermaids Sing (CS Harris)! And oh it's good! (Nalini - The Mirador [Sarah Monette] is next, but I'm reading Why Mermaids Sing at the same time as a friend so we can rave about it together :)

Oh, I finished Twilight... I liked it (loved the movie BTW :) and I am planning on reading the second.

marypearson said...

Nalini, thank you so much for letting me hang out at your blog : ) And I love that you have such an enthusiatic book club. Lots of great book suggestions!

Soullumination said...

Hmmm...AJF has caught my attention. I'll have to check it out!

I just finished Faith Hunter's Skinwalker night before last.

So good!! I found myself exchanging questions/observations at Faith's Yahoo group today.

Now reading Alyson James 'Dragon' series, since she won the FF&P 'Best of the Best' PRISM Award for The Dragon Master.

So far a really enjoyable romantic fantasy. I recommned.

So many good books, so few reading hours in the day. *sighs*

Jory Strong said...

@ Soullumination. Skinwalker is definitely a great read. I liked Faith Hunter's Rogue Mage series as well, but she's outdone herself with this new one.

Ang from Oz said...

I just finished "In Over Her Head" by Judi Fennell, its the first in her new Mermaid/Men series.

I thought it was great, a beautiful insight to what life under the sea might be like. The book had all the things a reader could want, Humor, steamy love scences, nail biting adventure.
Looking forward to the next book "Wild Blue Under" out in November.

KiraSayuri said...

This week I read a book my godmother suggested which was a surprise because I absolutely loved the book and it's not one of the normal genres I read. The book "All My Sweet Tomorrows" by Bertrice Small is actually book two in the Sky O'Malley saga, but, well I was urged to read it and fell in love with the characters! I am currently in the middle of the first, but the series is most definitely a must read!

Another series I have fallen in love with is the Tigress series by Jade Lee. There is only two of the series I have yet to read and they are definitely going to be.

Bother authors are absolutely amazing!

Rianne said...

The Adoration of Jenna Fox sounds fascinating, I'm gonna make a note so that I can read it one day (in the not so very far future I hope).

In the last couple of weeks I've been rereading lots of books. I didn't feel like starting in a new book, so I've been reading Psy/Changeling books again, some Jayne Ann Krentz, Amanda Quick, Iris Johansen and a couple of more authors. I think I'm going to start with a new book this weekend.

Julia said...

I recently read your "awaken to pleasure" and i liked it just as much as the zuleih books but not as much as the changeling books:-) You are a great writer. then i read 50/50 killer a very good thriller. oh, and the second ghostwalker book of christine feehan. it is now released here in germany. And I read the ghostwalker book of Michelle Raven which you told us about in this book. that one was also great. but not as good as your changelings^^ but nevertheless i liked it. the characters are lovable. Hmmm, I read a lot of books but, well, HOLIDAY!!!

Courtney said...

For those interested in MM romance, I read a fantastic novel this week called When Irish Eyes Are Sparkling about an artist and a paramedic-in-training. Both heroes are young, but I think this may be the first time in a long time that an HEA between two characters that young is completely believable to me. The writing style was engaging and vivid, giving Liam and Oliver a wonderful depth. The conflict was realistic and handled well and the denoument is such a treat.

What I loved most was that both guys acted like guys: horny, uncommunicative, and pretty clueless about how to share their feelings. LOL

It was written by Tom Collins and Thirteen, a writing team that is new to me, and published at Aspen Mountain Press.

Hilcia said...

Will be looking at The Adoration by Jenna Fox. Thanks for the interview and the recommendation.

@Jory Strong -- so glad you enjoyed Wicked Gentlemen and we agree! I couldn't put it down either. :)

I've finished two books this week... hmm... no recommendations there. On the M/M front -- still doing the Challenge -- I'll recommend Islands by Samantha Kane. A love story set in WWII in the Pacific Islands.

@Christina... Hidden Currents is one of the books I read. Didn't enjoy it either. :(

Tiffany M. said...

I just finished The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong. Besides being unable to put it down, I went online to see if any chapters in the next book were available. It's a very good YA Urban Fantasy novel. LOVE!

Christina said...

Hilcia-- glad I wasn't the only one! I've read Samantha Kane's Brother in Arms series, haven't read Island, though.

I'm hoping to get some of Marjorie Liu's books from the library, and Lover Avenged by JR Ward. That's another series that I liked at the beginning, but each book just didn't grasp me the same way (hence getting them from the library and not buying them). Nalini, Kresley Cole, and Gena's Lords of the Underworld, and PC Cast are really the only author's I will buy day of.

I want to branch out into more sci-fi and fantasy, so if anyone has any suggestions, please share them!

Jory Strong said...

@ Christina

For SciFi,Kristine Kathryn Rusch's Retrieval Artist series is fantastic. I also really enjoyed reading Hunter's Run by George Martin/Daniel Abraham/Gardner Dozois.

For Fantasy, to go with someone less known than Michelle Sagara and her "Cast In" series, which I'm completely hooked on, I really like Violette Malan's Dhulyn and Parno series.

Stacie said...

Thanks to whoever suggested "Going Too Far" by Jennifer Echols. I read that in one sitting! I could not put it down, it was so awesome. :)

I also read "Ransom" by Julie Garwood. I really love her stories!

Nalini Singh said...

Christina - I second the Retrieval Artist series. Very good.

Here are a couple of others that I really love:

Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar - start with The Last Herald Mage trilogy.

Anne McCaffrey - she's written a wide range of series, including the Dragonriders of Pern (awesome).

Nalini Singh said...

Stacie - Julie Garwood's historicals are some of my absolute keepers. :)

Fuarie Ai said...

Thought it might be a little late I recommend Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn.

Bridget Locke said...

Don't ask me how I waited so long, but I read both Duke of Shadows and...oh, dear, Anywho, both of Meredith Duran's books. They were amazing! I'm so looking forward to Written on Your Skin...Phin's book! Yay!

Bridget Locke said...

@Christina-I also recommend Mercedes Lackey & Anne McCaffrey.

I also recommend Elizabeth Haydon (start w/ Rhapsody)

Sara Douglass (her Wayfarer Redemption series is AMAZING!)

Andre Norton & Mercedes Lackey wrote a trilogy together that was really good too. Elvenborn, etc. Excellent!

Ann Aguirre's series is great (both of them)

I've got tons. You can always email me if you'd like. My name @ gmail :)

Christina said...

Thanks for all the recommendations!

Stacie--I thought The Secret (the book before Ransom) was a lot better. It is one of my keepers. I love Garwood, but the heroine in ransom grated my nerves to much. I loved the secondary couple so much more!