Saturday's Seven with Jen Nadol

Today I welcome author Jen Nadol whose thoughtful and moving YA debut, The Mark, was just released this week.  Congrats, Jen!  Jen and I are both members of the online support and promotional group, the Tenners.  

[Be sure to keep reading for a fun GIVEAWAY at the end!]

Hi, Jen.  What's your favorite flower and why?I really like the simplicity of white tulips. [FYI, flower lovers.  White tulips are for forgiveness in the language of flowers.]Which book do you wish you could live in? Oh gosh. Honestly? None.  Most books - at least the ones I read - have some kind of compelling, and often unpleasant, conflict.  I don't really need any extra drama.Who's your favorite dead author? (We don't want to hurt the feelings of the living here!) I'll go with Theodore Dreiser because I've re-read An American Tragedy over and over, though I've never read anything else he's written.What about the story compels you to read An American Tragedy over and over? [Gulp.  Note to self:  add to reading list.]I love stories that explore the human psyche in the way this does. You see disastrous looming, watch in slow motion as the events unfold and understand, on a certain level, exactly why the protagonist makes the terrible choices he does. It's fascinating, plus just really solid storytelling.What's the most impressive dish you can cook? Bananas Foster - delicious and on fire!What's your favorite time of the day to write and why? Anytime that I can be by myself without distractions.Your novel deals with the weighty issue of knowing someone else is about to die and how to deal with that knowledge. Did writing this novel change how you think about your own life?That's a great question. Writing the scenes where Cassie's trying to make decisions or thinking about what she'd do if it were her last day definitely made me answer those questions for myself (the best you can answer questions like that). But I think, really, it was having kids that made the value of time tangible to me: how quickly it passes, how careful we have to be about not squandering the days we have. So I think I was already *in* a mindset of contemplating mortality and such when I began the novel.Who do you think is the wisest philosopher mentioned in The Mark, or one whose thoughts you try to follow and why?What I enjoy about philosophy isn't any particular teacher or school of thought, but how it teaches you, the reader, to think critically and examine independently. Question everything. It's easy to glide along, accepting things at face value, but it's important to stop sometimes and really think about what we're doing, what people are telling us and be sure we're on the path we want to be on.You can find out more about Jen here.  Thanks so much, Jen!


One lucky reader will win a copy of The Mark, along with a $15 iTunes gift card and a bunch of Forget-Her-Nots swag.To enter:  Post (on blog OR Facebook) and/or tweet (I’m @amybrecountwhit  and you can RT what I said) about this interview/ contest with Jen.  UP TO 2 ENTRIES if you both post and tweet.  Also, please follow me and Jen on Twitter if you're not already!  Please comment with links on this post to let me know what you've done and that you're in.The Fine Print:  Giveaway is open internationally to anyone age 13 or older.  Prize winner will be announced on Twitter and here, so please provide info for me to contact you easily.   The contest is over on 1/30 at 12 p.m.   Prize must be claimed by 2/10.  Thanks so much for entering!  Happy reading!