Thursday, March 11, 2010

FF - THE SECRET YEAR by Jennifer Hubbard

Welcome to another debut author celebration Freebie Friday with YA author Jennifer Hubbard, whose book THE SECRET YEAR just hit the shelves in January.

The author:

Jen is from Philadelphia. She's a night person who believes mornings are to be slept through. Like me, she's a chocolate lover, and she loves to hike. She hikes nearly every day if she can.

She is an avid reader and began writing at the tender age of six. Her short fiction has appeared in literary magazines such as Willow Review and North American Review. THE SECRET YEAR is her first novel.

You can find out more about Jennifer on her website, her blog, or by following her on twitter.

The Book:

Colt and Julie were secretly together for an entire year, and no one - not even Julia's boyfriend - knew. They had nothing in common, with Julie in her country club world on Black Mountain and Cold from down on the flats, but it never mattered. Until Julia dies in a car accident and cold learns the price of secrecy. He can't mourn Julia openly, and he's tormented that he might have played a parrt in her death. When Julia's journal ends up in his hands, Colt relives their year together. But how do you get over someone who was never yours in the first place?

The Interview:

What inspired you to write The Secret Year?
I had the idea of a secret relationship, a death, a notebook left behind. I wrote the book to find out what would happen next.

Are any of your characters based on real people that you know?
No. I deliberately avoid doing that. However, I’ve given some of the characters my own preferences and quirks: Julia’s love of Christmas decorations, Kirby’s desire to walk in the snow.

What excites you?
Long stretches of time in which I can write or read or hike as I please!

What turns you off?
Wastefulness. Car alarms. People who drive through red lights.

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?
I’d be tempted to ask Einstein, but I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep up my end of the conversation.

Have you ever kept a relationship secret?
No, I haven’t been in a situation like Colt and Julia’s!

Do you have any special writing rituals or totems to connect with your muse?
I like to turn on the music and have a bite of chocolate at the start of a writing session. Physical activities, such as hiking or showering or doing laundry, also give time for the muse to come out and kick around some ideas.

What songs would make the playlist for The Secret Year?
I listened to a lot of Fleetwood Mac and Tom Waits while I wrote this book, but I don’t know if others would connect that music with the book. REM’s “Turn You Inside Out” was very helpful while I was rewriting the final scene in the book.

What's one thing most people don't know about you?
? I have no idea.

What's your favorite quote?
I have, “Do not wait until you are thirsty to dig the well” posted in my writing office. I don’t know if that’s my favorite, but I like it.

The Freebie: Jennifer is offering a miniature version of Julia's notebook to this week's lucky winner, along with some postcards and bookmarks. To be entered to win, leave a comment below telling us - have you ever had (or wanted to have) a secret relationship? (I have... I'll tell you about it on Wednesday, March 17 (ooh! St. Patrick's Day!) when this drawing closes.)

Bonus Freebie! I'm blogging over at Teen Fiction Cafe today to celebrate our third anniversary. Come party with us and you could win books!