Friday, April 17, 2009

FREEBIE FRIDAY with Jenny O'Connell

Welcome to another FREEBIE FRIDAY. This week I am pleased to bring you GCC sister Jennifer O'Connel. And check this out - she's offering three chances to win!

is the author of ten books, the most recent of which are her two teen novels Local Girls and Rich Boys, and the editor of the anthology EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT BEING A GIRL I LEARNED FROM JUDY BLUME, a collection of essays by such cool authors as Meg Cabot, Megan McCafferty, Cara Lockwood, Melissa Senate, Laura Caldwell, Stacey Ballis, Shanna Swendson and 17 others.

The Chicago Sun-Times calls the anthology "honest... emotional reading" and Entertainment Weekly says it's "Wry... more than a nostalgia trip."

First, the interview - then your chances to win:


I was about to begin writing my first teen book, PLAN B, and I sat at the computer and thought to myself, “Everything I needed to know about being a girl I learned from Judy Blume.” And so the idea for the collection of essays was born. Because I knew I wasn’t the only one who felt like that.

Are any of your characters based on real people that you know?
Oh my god, yes. In my teen books I use a lot of people I went to high school with (mainly for the mean girls, my own little revenge). All my guys in
my books are based on what I imagined my husband like in high school. Cute and nice.
What excites you?


What turns you off?

Sunday nights.

What's the biggest lie you ever told, and what happened as a result of the telling?

Hmmm. You know, I actually try not to lie. You know why? Because it’s never worth getting caught. I learned that early in life from my brother, who got caught doing EVERYTHING. He’d take the car out when he was grounded and end up passing my parents on the road, that sort of thing. I never thought it was worth the punishment. You know what else? I find that even if you tell the truth and it’s not good, people actually respect you more and don’t get nearly as mad as you thought they would.

What's the most suspenseful thing that's happened to you in real life?

I was convinced my daughter was a boy. I didn’t know for sure, because I believe in finding out when your baby is born, but I just KNEW she was a boy. So when I was in the hospital ready to
have her I couldn’t wait to be proven right. When I heard her crying and saw her for the first time I swear I saw a boy part that proved it was a boy. I remember thinking, “See, I knew it.” Then I turned to my husband and he said, “It’s a girl.” And I was like, “What? That’s not possible.” So all that suspense for 9 months and in the end I was totally wrong.

If you could invite anyone you wanted - living or dead - to hang out with you at a weekend retreat, who would you invite and why?
My mother in law, who passed away from breast cancer 5 years ago. I’d love to tell her what we’ve been up to.

What's one thing most people don't know about you?

I don’t cry, not at sad movies or anything you’re supposed to cry over. I cry at stupid things that make people happy, like parades.

What's your favorite quote?
“You get what you settle for.” I even used it in one of my adult books.

Milk Chocolate or Dark?
Milk. But I’ll take any chocolate I can get.

Jennifer has generously offered copies of EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO LEARN ABOUT BEING A GIRL I LEARNED FROM JUDY BLUME, LOCAL GIRLS and RICH BOYS for this week's freebie. That means three winners! To be entered to win, leave a comment below. This contest will remain open until Tuesday, April 21.

If you'd like to know more about Jennifer and her books, you can find her on her website
here or here.

NOTE: Keep reading in the post below for a BONUS Freebie Friday giveaway!