Today I’m introducing MG Author, Jenny Lundquist. Jenny grew up in Huntington Beach, California, wearing glasses and wishing they had magic powers. They didn't, but they did help her earn a degree in Intercultural Studies at Biola University. Her favorite part of college was spending one semester living in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, where she drank lots of tea, met some really interesting people, and honed her Yahtzee skills. Jenny has painted an orphanage in Mexico, taught English at a university in Russia, and hopes one day to write a book at a café in Paris. Jenny and her husband live in northern California with their two sons, and Rambo, the world's whiniest cat. Jenny is represented by Kerry Sparks of Levine Greenberg Agency. Her middle grade book, Seeing Cinderella, will be published by Aladdin M!X in March 2012.

Welcome Jenny!

Hi C.K., thanks so much for having me. Every time I stop by The Mind's Eye I want to get lost in your blog banners!

Thanks Jenny. You’re so kind. Please tell our readers something interesting about yourself.

For my last semester of college, I studied abroad at a university in Russia. Those four months were some of the best days of my life. The students I studied with played TONS of games of Yahtzee, and I never won a single game, except…one night we decided we just had to play a game of Yahtzee at midnight in Red Square and I WON!! It was the only time I won the entire semester, but it was awesome (and totally made up for the fact that being outdoors in Moscow in the middle of a November night is freeeeeezing!).

That is fascinating. So, what was your favorite book as a teen? Tell us about it and how it affected you as a person.

My favorite book as a teen/tween was THIRTEEN by Candice F. Ransom which was part of her Kobie Roberts series.  Kobie is a lovable character who has to navigate all the pain/confusion/excitement of junior high while watching her best friend slip away from her, something I really related to at the time. Like Kobie, my childhood best friend was ready to move into the crazy world of adolescence before I was and I watched silently on the sidelines while she got swept up into new friends, boyfriends, and dances. Kobie made me feel like there was someone else out there who knew what I was going through.

I will definitely have to check Kobie out. Tell us about the genre you have chosen to write for. Why do write specifically for them?

Currently I write middle grade (though I also have ideas for YA projects). For me, nothing beats a good coming-of- age middle grade book. Books were my secret sanctuary when junior high seemed so rough, and I still remember the thrill of taking a trip to the bookstore or getting the scholastic flyer from my teacher each month. My target audience is for those girls who stand in the shadows and feel confused by the changes around them. My hope is that after reading my books they'll believe they have what it takes to become the person they want to be, and can step confidently into the next phase of their life, when they're ready.

Tell us about your new book. How did it come about and share your favorite excerpt/scene.

My book is about Callie Anderson, a shy seventh-grader, whose goal is to survive middle school by "being as unnoticeable as possible."  The day before school starts she receives a pair of magic glasses that can read people's thoughts and she begins to see that the world, and the people around her, are much different than she believes.

I first got the idea from an embarrassing incident that happened to me in seventh grade which involved my glasses, a really cute boy, and spit. You can read about it
here: http://jennylundquist.com/blog-2/.

One of my favorite scenes is two-thirds into the book when Callie approaches her crush to ask him an important question. The results are heartbreaking, but pretty true-to-life.  Also, she keeps a list of Super Freaky Glasses "Rules" which were so much fun to write.

How has writing affected your life? And what’s your favorite part of being a writer?

I started writing at a time when I was struggling with being a stay-at-home-mom and just needed a creative outlet for myself. You can read more about it here: http://jennylundquist.com/2011/05/31/why-i-write/.   There are so many things I love about being a writer it's hard to choose just one. Nothing beats that sense of satisfaction I feel after writing a scene I love (until the next day, when I re-read it and decide I hate it!). Also, I love meeting new writers/readers/ bloggers, the kidlit community is extremely supportive and caring. And, I love being able to read for hours on end and then tell people I was "researching and studying my craft."

What advice can you give regarding the writing process?

Just keep writing. It's a common answer, but so true. The more you write, the more your writing improves. And read as much as you can. Find out what other writers are doing and learn from them. Some of the best textbooks on writing are other novels. Harry Potter, anyone?

Regarding publication and marketing, what advice can you offer aspiring writers?

Develop a tough skin and learn not to take things personally. A rejection doesn't necessarily mean your writing isn't good, it could just mean that the agent/editor isn't a good fit for you right now. And don't be afraid to seek out other writers (published and unpublished) and learn from them. The kidlit industry is filled with people who want to encourage you in your writing journey. Go find them! :0)

How can your fans find, follow or friend you?

I love meeting readers/writers/bloggers so come find me! When I'm not writing, I can be found hanging out at my
website or on Twitter, goodreads, or facebook. I can also be contacted directly at jenniferlundquist@gmail.com

Thanks so much for visiting my blog today, Jenny. Your book sounds like a great read and one I will have to check out next March.
C.K. Volnek