Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Jen Barnes Makes Her Mark with TATTOO

Hello, everyone! Are you in recovery? Are people continually asking you what you think of San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom's decision to go into rehab for alcoholism? Do these questions bother you? Well, for me the answers are an emphatic YES and YES and Y-E-S!

If you know someone in recovery, PLEASE do not ask them about this. Why? Because the only program they can work is their own. Although I applaud ANYONE'S decision to get sober, gossiping about it can only hurt me.

I do not discuss anyone's recovery but my own. My experience has shown me it is best this way. Sitting around and judging people's motives in going to rehab turns the focus away from where my problems are (inside me) to the outside where my problems are not. It traps me into making a judgment about people I cannot change, and coaxes me away from looking hard at and working on the one and only person I can change--ME. Please do your friends in recovery a favor, and do not ask them about what they think of Gavin Newsom, Lindsay Lohan, Robin Williams, Miss USA or anyone else's decision to seek help for drug or alcohol problems. You may be well intentioned, but it will only hurt us in the end!

Moving on, today I have another fabulous author interview with one of my Girlfriends Cyber Circuit pals, the great Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Welcome, Jen!


Jennifer Lynn Barnes (who mostly goes by Jen) was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has been, in turn, a competitive cheerleader, a volleyball player, a dancer, a debutante, a primate cognition researcher, a teen model, a comic book geek, and a lemur aficionado. She's been writing for as long as she can remember, finished her first full book (which she now refers to as a "practice book" and which none of you will ever see) when she was still in high school, and then wrote Golden the summer after her freshman year in college, when she was nineteen.

Jen graduated high school in 2002, and from Yale University with a degree in cognitive science (the study of the brain and thought) in May of 2006. She'll be spending the 2006-2007 school year abroad, doing autism research at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.


Bailey Morgan isn't the type of girl who shows a lot of skin, but somehow, she ends up in a dressing room at the mall with her friend Delia applying a temporary tattoo to her lower back. Never one to suffer fashion doubt, trendsetter Delia knows exactly where she wants her own tattoo: on her stomach, right where her shirt ends - can you say "midriff"? Annabelle, the quiet one, chooses the back of her neck, and tomboy Zo plasters hers on the top of her foot. The tattoos will last for three days, and Delia's sure that with them, the four friends will absolutely kill at the school dance.

Unfortunately, killing is just what someone has in mind, and Bailey, Delia, Annabelle, and Zo are in for the battle of their lives. Along with her tattoo, each girl receives a gift - a supernatural power to help them in their fight. As Bailey's increasingly frightening dreams reveal the nature of their enemy, it becomes clear to the girls that it's up to them to save the world. And if they can get Delia to stop using her newfound power to turn gum wrappers into Prada pumps, they might actually stand a chance.

From Publishers Weekly
"Fun... far-out. The book's best moments may come from ditzy Delia, with the power of transmogrification, who turns a hotel door lock into butterscotch pudding, plus gives the girls Rollerblades when they're on the chase, including a fashionable pair for herself that look like high heels. Delia also delivers the book's best line when facing off against evil Alecca: "You think you're bad?... I'm on the cheerleading squad; I know what real evil looks like." In the end, readers will get a few good laughs from these sassy heroines."

From School Library Journal
"This chick-lit fantasy, similar to though not as dark as Neal Shusterman's fairy-tale retellings, is a fast-paced, fun read for Buffy and Charmed fans."—Sharon Rawlins, NJ Library for the Blind and Handicapped, Trenton


1. How did you get this idea for this book? Please describe how the book grew from a glimmer of an idea into a whole novel.

For this book, I knew I wanted to write about four best friends who acquire supernatural powers; I just wasn't sure how to give them the powers, until one day, when I found this awesome temporary tattoo. It was sparkly and this unearthly blue-green color, and just looking at it, I couldn't help but think that it looked distinctly like it could have magical powers. My brain connected the dots between this thought and my characters, and the premise for Tattoo- four best friends get psychic powers from temporary tattoos- was born. As I wrote the book, it became far more of an adventure story than I'd originally expected, but despite that, I really consider it to be pretty character-driven, since the girls pretty much dictated what would happen at each point along the way.

2. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Never stop writing. When you're submitting one project, start writing another. The book you sell might not be your first or second or third. For me, it was the seventh, so I think it's very important to always spend at least as much time writing new material as submitting the things you've already written.

3. What's your writing day like? Any tips or tricks for getting organized?
I'm not a great person to ask about being organized. Organization is definitely not my forte! As for my writing day, it's more of a writing night. I tend to write late at night, after everyone else is asleep. During undergrad, this was usually between two and four in the morning, but now I often start around midnight. I don't do much planning before I start writing, and the stories twists often surprise me along the way.

4. What's been the most exciting thing about publishing? The most frustrating?

I think the frustrating thing- at this point- is that somewhere in the back of my head, I expected the release of my second book to be just like my first, and even though I've had a lot of fun with both books, their releases have been really different. Now, the most frustrating thing is that when I engage in a bout of shameless self-googling, I really want to hear people talking about the new book, but I keep coming across people discussing the old one instead! It sounds like a silly thing to get frustrated about- because I love that people are discussing my books- but I'm really anxious for my readers to catch up!

As for the most exciting thing, hands down it's the fans. Nothing prepared me for hearing from readers. Especially because I write young adult and a lot of my readers are teens, getting emails or messages from them is incredibly rewarding. I even had one girl tell me that she didn't like reading before she read my first book, but that after reading Golden, she's decided that reading can be fun. There are just no words for how amazing that is.

5. Do you think you might write a follow-up to this book? If not, what else is in the works?

There is a sequel planned (due out Fall 2008), but it's actually a couple of books down the line. Between then and now, I have three books coming out- a sequel to my first novel and the first two books in a new series about cheerleading secret agents. Once I finish up with all of the sequels, I'm not sure what I'll do next. Anything is possible!

Thank you so much for appearing on my blog, Jen! Jen's book is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your local indy retailer (best choice)!