Jenny is the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of twenty-one novels, one book of literary criticism, miscellaneous articles, essays, novellas, and short stories, and the editor of three essay anthologies. She lives on the Ohio River where she often stares at the ceiling and counts her blessings.
Her latest book is Maybe This Time, her version of Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw. Publisher’s Weekly said, “You don’t have to believe in the afterlife to relish this fun, bright romp,” and Booklist called it, “Crusie at her very best.” You can find out more about the book and anything else you want to know about Jenny at on her website or at her blog, Argh Ink. (And keep reading to find out how you can win one of TWO signed copies of Jennifer Crusie’s books!)
We’re delighted to have Jenny take The Deb Quiz this week. Here’s what she had to share:
Who is one of your favorite fictional characters?
Susan Sto-Helit from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. I love the no-nonsense way she handles everything including the supernatural, especially the way she deals with children and their fears (she’s a teacher/governess). She’s a fixer, not somebody who rushes in unwanted to straighten things out, but somebody who answers calls for help with exasperation and skill. Plus her grandfather is Death and the love of her life is Time, so she hangs out with very interesting people.
I think she’s a masterpiece of characterization because of the matter-of-fact way she does everything until something unthinkable happens and then she thinks fast and makes it thinkable, and you always believe in her, whether she’s defeating otherworldly things or over-reaching headmistresses. I’d like to be Susan Sto-Helit which I think is the true test of a great heroine: I want to be like that.
Talk about one thing that’s making you happy right now.
One thing? There are dozens. My daughter gave birth to my second granddaughter in August so now I have two gorgeous babies to make things for and visit. I work every day with my daughter, albeit by computer, so I get to keep her close without intruding.
I have five dogs–all rescues–and I take my laptop out into our big back yard and watch them play while I work. Dogs are all about the intense moment: they’re either investigating something with great concentration or they’re running wildly through the yard after something (Squirrel?) and then they flop down and sleep. I’m working on achieving Dog Zen in my own life: Work like crazy at something I love and then flop into a deep, satisfying sleep. They’re good role models.
The book I’m working on now is very satisfying, something brand new that’s challenging but rewarding. The books I’m planning on after that are percolating in the back of my head, and that’s a nice sound, the babble of the next book. And then there’s the blue paint I’m painting my bedroom furniture in; it’s a beautiful understated light blue and I want to paint everything I own in it. Also, chocolate turtles from the check-out line in stores.
Pretty much everything makes me happy right now. I’m very fortunate that I can arrange my world so that much of what doesn’t make me happy–airports, pantyhose, traffic, loud noises, getting up at 6 a.m.– is no longer part of it.
What time of day do you love best? What is the best perk of your job?
Working at night is the best part because that’s the time of day I love best. If I can work until the sun comes up and then fall into bed and sleep until noon, I can then wake up and get all the business stuff out of the way before five, socialize until 9 or 10, and then work straight through until 6 in the cool of darkness with nobody to interrupt me or need anything from me. I love that feeling of being the only one in the world who’s conscious–yes, I know that’s ridiculous, but it’s very quiet where I live–that kind of secret solitude that gives me complete freedom. Plus there’s just something about the night that’s exciting. No, I am not a vampire.
Tell us a secret about the main character in your novel–something that’s not even in your book.
Andie knew the mix tape was under the front seat of her car, she just couldn’t bring herself to throw it away.
What’s your next big thing? (new book, new project, etc.)
The next thing is the Liz Danger mysteries, four first person mystery novels that make one romance novel when read together. It’s turning out be trickier than I thought. My plan was to construct each book as a four act mystery–trouble starts and plot set-up, build the conflict, escalate the conflict to the dark moment, resolve–but to also make each book one act in a romance novel–the first book as set-up, the second to build the relationship, etc.
The problem is, I like to get to know my murder victims, so I’m three-quarters of the way through and nobody’s died yet. That’s like a romance where the lovers meet at the three-quarter mark. So maybe it’s not a mystery. The Liz books are Lavender’s Blue, Rest in Pink, Peaches and Screams, and Yellow Brick Roadkill.
After that, I want to do a pair of books in third person called Haunting Alice, about Alice all grown up, and Stealing Nadine, about Nadine from Faking It, also grown up, and write the stories so they play simultaneously and interlock. And I want to do another collaboration with Anne Stuart and Lani Diane Rich, this one called Fairy Tale Lies, about what happens after the happily ever after to Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Red Riding Hood. I think it’s important to keep changing the game as a writer so that I don’t go stale and start writing the same book over and over, and while it makes writing harder, it also makes it more interesting. It’s a good job, this writing gig. I’m grateful.
We’re giving away TWO fabulous Jennifer Crusie titles! The first is a signed copy of her new release, Maybe This Time, and the second is a signed trade paperback copy of Tell Me Lies (which was her first hardcover book). Want to win one? Just leave a comment, and be sure to include your email address. We’ll pick both winners next Friday and will announce them in our October 31 NEWS FLASH!