Interview: Jenny Martin, YA Author

Jenny Headshot Standard newJenny Martin’s YA debut, TRACKED, will be released summer 2014 by Dial/Penguin. Jenny is a librarian, a book monster, and an electric-guitar-rawking Beatle-maniac. She lives in Dallas with her husband and son, where she hoards books and regularly blisses out over all kinds of live and recorded rock.

Phee Van Zant, a wisp of a girl who’s far more Han Solo than Princess Leia, tends to drive her way into trouble. More than reckless, she’s one of the most daring street racers on Castra. But Phee transforms from rebel to revolutionary after a taking a no-win deal to race the corporate rally circuit, where she’s catapulted between the boy who’s been running alongside her all her life and the intense, castoff rogue who prepares her all too well for the road. This debut is set in the future, yet in a galaxy not so far away.

Visit Jenny on her website, Goodreads, tumblr, Facebook or follow her on Twitter!

Let’s see how Jenny answers the Proust Questionnaire!

What is your idea of happiness?
For me, happiness is balance. Balance between solitude and good company, between satisfying work and layabout hours, between family meals at the table and hotfoot adventure. Happiness is contentment in the moment, the warm, light as air feeling that makes you want to take your partner’s/child’s/friend’s hand and say, “This is nice, isn’t it?”

What is your favorite song? When do you first remember hearing it?
This is an impossible question to answer. All my life, I’ve loved music, and I treasure everything from my dad’s old vinyl to the latest concert download. Classical, blues, rock, whatever––you name it, I listen to it. So again, this question is incredibly hard to answer. I suppose if you wheedle a favorite out of me, I’d say Let It Be. Please play it at my funeral, on an old turntable. Play it like my dad used to play it on Sunday mornings when he sat in the living room and shined his shoes. Follow up with Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. The Jeff Buckley cover would be grand, wouldn’t it?

Which talent would you most like to have?
I wish I had head-to-toe grace. The kind of grace that keeps you from knocking into things and spilling the milk. I have no physical grace whatsoever, and I really wish I could dance and properly operate a pair of scissors or a paintbrush.

On what occasion do you lie?
Generally, I lie by omission when the truth would do senseless harm. I won’t tell you that the fuschia dress looks terrible on you. But I will emphasize how the green one is my favorite because it brings out your eyes.

What is your present state of mind?
I am sleepy, ready for a nap. I just finished a cup of Zen tea, so it’s a happy kind of sleepy.

What is your motto?
Sapere aude, which means “Dare to Know” or “Dare to Be Wise.”

What character trait do you most value in your friends?
Kindness is very important to me, but even more so, I value forgiveness. Any friend of mine has to put up with an awful lot, so I’m grateful for generous doses of it.

The Violinist by Zhao Kalin

The Violinist by Zhao Kailin

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I tend to say Darling, Bebe, and OH MYLANTA more than I should. And yes, I’m guilty of abusing all caps.

Your favorite painting?
The Violinist by Zhao Kailin. The alternate title of the painting is Ode to John Singer Sargent, whose paintings I also love, even though Sargent is much maligned and dismissed by many modern critics. The heart’s eye loves what it loves, and I love both Kailin and Sargent.

What is your favorite journey?
My favorite journey is the one I haven’t taken yet.

What is your favorite time of day?
7 p.m. I’m alert, well fed, ready for anything.

With which literary hero or heroine would you most like to share a coffee?
Why, Edmond Dantès, of course.

What do you need to achieve before you can die happy?
I want to see my children’s children, and I want to travel to at least six of the seven continents before I die.

Who or what is your first love?
My first love is my husband, who I married when I was too young to know better, but who turned out to be the best good luck charm in the world. I mean, if he’s not a good luck charm, why have I enjoyed so many years of happiness?

What’s the last dream you remember?
Oh dear. I don’t remember.

What’s your madeleine?
My ‘madeleine’ is caramel pie, which is like chocolate pie with meringue on top, but made with burnt sugar instead of baker’s chocolate. My grandmother is an excellent cook, and growing up, I probably spent more time at her table than at any other. She makes everything completely from scratch–yeast rolls, fat noodles, cobblers and cakes–but caramel pie is still my favorite. One bite, and I’m eight years old, sinking my fork into homespun heaven. I know you probably think your grandmother is a better cook, but I can assure, she is not. The fare at Grandmother Joy’s table is beyond compare.

Without thinking, in one word: what is life?