Jennifer Park’s young adult novel, THE SHADOWS WE KNOW BY HEART (Simon Pulse, March 14th) has it all! Today, I’m thrilled to interview our very own Winged Pen member and help her celebrate her upcoming debut with a swag giveaway.
Jennifer, congratulations! Tell us about your book.
Thanks so much!! THE SHADOWS WE KNOW BY HEART is a contemporary retelling of Tarzan, set in the piney woods of East Texas. With Bigfoot!
This is a great twist on the legend of Bigfoot; how did you come up with the idea?
I’ve always been fascinated with the idea that there are still species out there that science can’t yet prove exists, yet thousands of eye-witness accounts suggest otherwise. My interest in Bigfoot began with watching the show Finding Bigfoot, and went from there. It was actually my mom’s idea to write the book, and I tossed it around for a while before I began writing, simply trying to find a serious way to handle the subject.
It’s safe to say that your main character, Leah Roberts, comes from a troubled home. Did she come to you fully formed, or how did her character develop for you?
She does, and I needed her to have a reason to go to the woods, to have that be her place of escape, and a secret of her own that she’s willing to protect at all costs.
No, she didn’t. I had a vague idea when I started of who I wanted her to be, but it wasn’t truly nailed down until well into final editing stages that she really became who you see now.
Which character in the story is your favorite?
Definitely Bee, the central Bigfoot character. I loved writing her scenes. I think she brings such humor and deep moments for Leah. I wish she wasn’t just a fictional character! I’d be a forest pirate with her any day. 🙂
Tell us about the editing process; what surprised you the most?
I really loved seeing how the book was developed through each stage of the editing process. By the time I turned in that last round of edits, I think I knew my characters far better afterwards than before. And also discovered that some of my characters winked a lot and I never noticed until my editor pointed it out.
And now, the fun begins! Tell us about the pile of swag you are giving away.
Yay! Yes, I’ve got a signed copy of THE SHADOWS WE KNOW BY HEART, a bookmark with an adorable Bigfoot charm, and a signed art print for the winner!
How do our readers enter?
All they have to do is post a link to this interview to their Twitter account and leave a comment below between now and noon on March 13th. The winner (whose name will be pulled from our Triwizard cup) will be announced on our blog the morning of March 14th (the same day as my book birthday!).
Are there any other ways our readers can get their hands on swag?
Yes! I’m also running a swag giveaway for pre-orders on Twitter beginning March 1 . Follow me for details. And if you happen to be at Barnes & Noble in Beaumont, TX on March 18, I’ll be there signing books and handing out swag as well.
Jennifer, thanks for joining us today, and congratulations again on your debut.
Thanks so much for having me!
Jennifer Park grew up on the bayous of southeast Texas daydreaming of fantastical worlds. A former middle school art teacher, and current Ocean Artist Society member, she now lives tucked within the East Texas pines she loves. When she’s not writing, she spends her time overloading on soy mochas, hoarding chocolate, and managing her herd of one husband, two kids, numerous dogs, a shamefully large number of garden snails, and one tortoise named Turquoise. Sometimes she does look out the window and hope to see Bigfoot.
Posted by: Jessica Vitalis
A jack of all trades, JESSICA VITALIS worked for a private investigator, owned a modeling and talent agency, dabbled in television production, and obtained her MBA at Columbia Business School before embracing her passion for middle grade literature. She now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where she divides her time between chasing children and wrangling words. She also volunteers as a Pitch Wars mentor, with the We Need Diverse Books campaign, and eats copious amounts of chocolate. She’s represented by Saba Sulaiman at Talcott Notch and would love to connect on Twitter or at www.jessicavitalis.com.