Shhh! My Favorite Things Are a Secret…

Friday, April 29, 2016

One of my favorite things in fiction has to do with stealth, sneakiness, and subversion. I love spy stories and heists. My books are full of secrets, both stealthy secret missions and family secrets long buried. The other thing that I love is stealth in the process of delivering subversive messages. One of my favorite things about women’s fiction, romance, and genre fiction in general, is how much the mainstream…


One Very Unlikely Role Model…

Friday, April 22, 2016

In college, I went through a Black Nationalist period, and read a number of novels written by African American men in the late 1960s that were very race-conscious. At the same time, I had a black boyfriend who read James Bond, and so I read Ian Fleming as well. Those two worlds–spy fiction and Black Nationalism–collided in a 1969 novel by Sam Greenlee, The Spook Who Sat By the Door,…


My Second Book and the Commercial/Genre Quick Turnaround

Friday, April 15, 2016

Last week, I turned in a very rough and raggedy second draft of book #2 to my editor at Kensington. Ordinarily, writers only turn in finished material to their publishers, but the commercial or genre publishing clock is different. When I sold my book in a two-book deal, it was based on a series that I had proposed. Commercial and genre publishers’ business and marketing concept includes building a fan…


MODERN GIRLS and the Family Expectation to Keep Culture Alive

MODERN GIRLS by Jennifer S. Brown
Friday, April 8, 2016

I devoured MODERN GIRLS. From the moment that I met the mother/daughter co-narrators, Rose and Dottie Krasinsky, I was sucked into their world and caught up in their lives. One of the most compelling aspects of the story is the not just the flashback to 1935, but the richly drawn glimpse into a Jewish immigrant enclave. One of the central tensions of the book is the classic immigrant family pull…


Conferences & WriterMom Dilemmas

Friday, April 1, 2016

For years, I’ve been hearing about AWP (the Association of Writers Programs conference). I wanted desperately to be on one of the panels this year, but I missed the proposal deadline. A couple months ago, I got invited to fill in when someone dropped out of a debut novelist panel. As it turned out, I’ll be presenting with my fellow Deb, our own fabulous Louise Miller. Before I became a…


Our Lady of Perpetual Protagonism

Friday, March 25, 2016

I have always loved the name Marisol. A Spanish name, it is short for Maria del Sol (Maria of the Sun) but also Maria de la Soledad, (Maria of Solitude). I didn’t know the name’s origin when I gave it to my protagonist, but both versions are perfect for her. She’s a brown-skinned Puerto Rican immigrant woman, and she’s also struggling with issues of solitude/isolation. The heavily Catholic-influenced Latina/o community…


Hysteria at the Halfway Point

Friday, March 18, 2016

I do best with plans at the horizon. I am utterly energized and enthusiastic about them. You should have seen me in the six months after I got my book deal. I wanted to research all of the possible conferences, book festivals, literary prizes, and reviewers. I did maybe mock up 30 designs for covers using stock photos. And I looked through probably 10,000 stock photos on the internet to make…


From Writer to Aspiring Writer and Back Again

Friday, March 11, 2016

This week’s question is about going from being an aspiring writer to being a successful writer. In this arena, I have the odd distinction of being in transition from being one type of writer to another type of writer, with an unpaid parental leave in between. From 1999-2009 I had a successful career as a spoken word artist. I was able to quit my day job in 2000 and freelance…


My Leap into the Street

Friday, March 4, 2016

Enter the backstabbers… When my novel was on submission and I first got notified by my agent that an acquiring editor wanted to talk to me about my book, I was thrilled. I knew that a conversation with an editor was the next step on the way to getting a book deal. A phone call meant that the editor was really serious about wanting to acquire my novel. So I…


My Celebrity Dream Readers for UPTOWN THIEF

Friday, February 26, 2016

Recently, I was riding BART, the Bay Area’s subway, and saw a woman reading a novel. Something about the book cover caught my eye, and I thought, one of these days, I might see someone reading MY book! More than any celebrity reader, the idea that I could be sitting near someone on public transportation, and that person would be reading my book and not having any idea that those…