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Jennifer Niven's Blog

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My recurring fantasy about libraries is that at night, after everyone goes home, , the books come to life and mingle in a fabulous cocktail party. — Neal Wyatt A perfect Saturday: a trip downtown to the vast and gorgeous Los Angeles Central Library to do book-related research. Before leaving,...
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The final book cover
Titles change and so do book covers. For a long time, I’d been calling Velva Jean’s third adventure Velva Jean Learns to Spy. But that book (to be released September 25) is now Becoming Clementine. These decisions aren’t always left up to the author, though we do weigh in. There are many,...
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Becoming Clementine ARC
One of the strangest times in a writer’s life is when the ARCs go out into the world to seek early praise and attention. The “ARC” is book world shorthand for “Advance Reading Copy,” which translates to: an unedited, unfinished version of a book. Which translates to: one of my worst...
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“Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy.” — Isaac Newton I am a southern girl at heart. I was raised by southerners– a southern mother, a southern daddy, southern grandparents, a giant, closeknit southern family. As I’ve made my way out into the world, personally and...
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Eudora Welty at her desk
I haven’t blogged for a week because, unfortunately, when something’s gotta give in my schedule, the blog is the first to go. I figure when it comes down to writing for my website or writing for Penguin, I will always choose the latter. Last week was a mad scramble to get through some important...
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One of the latest phenomenons in the writing world is the book trailer. These trailers are meant to do what movie previews do– alert an audience to an upcoming project and inspire them to see (or, in this case, read) it. Five books into my career, I’d never had a trailer for any of my books....
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Ada Blackjack aboard her rescue ship
As I’m researching Velva Jean’s Hollywood story, I am reading through book after book written by or about movie stars and movie moguls from the 1940s. I’m reading about the studio system, the star machine, the inner workings of the movie musical, every bit of Hollywood and Los Angeles history...
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Katherine Mansfield once said, “Looking back, I was always writing. Twaddle it was, too. But far better to write twaddle or anything, anything, than nothing at all.” I have good friends who are good writers, but some of them are so terrified of writing anything bad or imperfect that they just...
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There’s a very strange something that happens when you finish a book. Call it Writer’s Postpartum, but it is a kind of mourning/grieving/losing-your-best-friend/wandering-about-the-house-without-a-purpose feeling. It’s the feeling that something is missing, that something is not quite right...
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In the Velva Jean kitchen
Right now I am so busy juggling two books, that my readers and friends worry about me. Their primary concern is that my work is too isolating and that it keeps me too burdened down at my desk. I am at my desk a lot, especially at this moment as I’m editing what’s called the galleys or first...
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Lulu in the new chair
This week I’m working on the loose galleys of Becoming Clementine, which means reading the entire book at least once with a colored pencil by my side (I typically choose some shade of purple, but for this one I’ve decided to use green). Even though this stage isn’t as grueling or intense as the...
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Sam and Dean Winchester
When Judy Garland was just a talented teenager at MGM, she worked a very demanding schedule– sometimes 18-hour days, one after another. To keep her going and to ensure she would be able to perform, MGM supplied her with sleeping pills so that she could rest between scenes, and then, when it...
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One of the most terrifying moments in a writer’s life is the moment her editor says, “We have a mock-up of the cover for your new book, which we’ll be sending you soon.” The reason this is so terrifying is that you never know what they’re going to send you. It could be magnificent. Or it could...
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Velva Jean Learns to Fly Aviation Adventure
Novelist John D. MacDonald once said, “If you would be thrilled by watching the galloping advance of a major glacier, you’d be ecstatic watching changes in publishing.” I’d like to amend that just slightly to say if you would be thrilled by watching the galloping advance of a major glacier, you’...
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Gable and Lombard
As I sit at my desk on Valentine’s Day, researching and reading about 1940′s Hollywood– today’s subject: Clark Gable– I can’t help getting a little misty-eyed thinking about one of my favorite couples, Carole Lombard and Clark Gable. Other than Gone with the Wind, I’ve never thought much of...
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