Dash-Board Interview: Jenn Stark w/a Jennifer McGowan

11 May

Let’s start off with a short bio.

I’ve been writing for fun and profit since I was too young to know any better, and have made my living as a writer and branding guru for the past twenty years. I spent the early part of my life inMontana, but grew up inOhio, and really learned what I was made of inParis,France. I now live and write inOhio. MAID OF HONOR is my first published novel, coming from Simon & Schuster Young Readers in late 2012. 

 Tell me a little about your GH book.

My GH book is a historical YA titled MAIDS OF HONOR (just changing the “s” for the published version).

It’s the story of a wry, resourceful thief who must join a group of elite female spies in Queen Elizabeth’s court to solve a murder, save the crown, and resist the most forbidden freedom of all: falling in love. 

What’s the opening line.

Little Tommy Freeman would ruin everything. 

Tell me about your GH call… and aftermath  

I was with my bff Liz Bemis on our way to check out her amazing new digs, and the phone rang in my hand. It was in my hand because I was clutching it, hoping for a call. I didn’t recognize the phone number, but I’m a freelance writer with clients all over the country, so I didn’t want to get too excited. That changed when I answered the phone to hear a sweet and very patient woman tell me that MAIDS OF HONOR had finaled. Maggie Landry endured my high pitched scream (as did Liz) and the rest is a bit of a blur. 

Then I called my mom, who believed in me long before I believed in myself, and texted everyone I could imagine would care.

What got you started writing?

A story idea called THE SILVER KEY, which was a Choose Your Own Adventure tale I wrote on the Commodore Vic-20 and Commodore 64 as a computer program. Yes, I really am that old. J My sister helped me with the project, and I really wish I still had that program.

Have you always written YA?

Heck, no. MAIDS OF HONOR was my first. Before that, I was focused on historical and paranormals. There is a touch of paranormal in MAIDS—and of course it’s a historical—but the rest is all brand new to me. However, I’ve had a thing for Elizabethan history for longer than I care to remember, so it was only a matter of time before this tale was told I suppose.

What’s your book’s or character’s theme music?

oo… Great Question! I think I’ll go with PRETENDER by the Foo Fighters, since Meg Fellowes is a thief and an actress who must learn who she really is in order to accomplish her mission and claim her destiny. 🙂


Now, let’s do the fast money round!

Chocolate or Vanilla?


Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter? 


Movies or TV


Hot or Cold 


Beach or Mountains   


Travel or Staycation 


 Soccer Boys or Some Other Sport Guys (yes, we’re a little partial here at Luv YA)


 Silly or Serious 


 Early or Late Bloomer 


Morning Glory or Night Owl 


Since we’ve been doing Quirky Facts on the GH Loop – share the quirkiest one you have… about you J

I wish I was more quirky! But probably the quirkiest thing about me is that I’m a professional Tarot card reader (which simply means I’ll read them for strangers as opposed to just my friends)

13 Responses to “Dash-Board Interview: Jenn Stark w/a Jennifer McGowan”

  1. Bria Quinlan May 11, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    Jenn~ I’ve been dying to read this book since you mentioned it. I love stories like this! So glad you’ve sold so I can put it on my “come on publishers and push this puppy out sooner” list!


  2. skalb May 11, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    Hi Jenn–this is the kind of book my daughter and I would snatch right off the shelf. It sounds fantastic. Is this book the first in a series?


  3. Arlene May 11, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    Great interview, guys!

  4. Amy Raby May 11, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    Wow, a choose your own adventure on the Commodore 64? It’s very possible I once wrote something like that myself! Can’t wait to read your book when it comes out.

  5. Jenn May 11, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    Hey, Bria! And yes, you are still more interesting than me after having re-read this blog! 🙂

    The book is actually still undergoing some retitling possibilities, but I think (hope) we will call it MAID OF SECRETS now, given how it’s evolving to a bit of a darker tale.

    strange to see the name in print, even as a “transitional” title!

  6. briaq May 11, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    PFFT Jenn – We’re both just amazingly interesting *snort*

    Wow, now that I know it’s getting darker, you’re killing me. Can’t wait to read it.

    Thanks everyone who stopped by!

  7. Jenn May 11, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

    Hey! Thanks for stopping by and keeping me company today! (waves)

    Thanks, Suzanne for your question! It’s the first of a series, but so far for sure we have the first 2 books.

    Meg’s book is about a thief who finds herself entrusted with the treacherous secrets of her Queen, her country, and her own heart — hence MAID OF SECRETS.

    Beatrice’s book is about a court insider whose style, status and sophistication earn her the highest regard in the land–and the most danger. It’s tentatively titled MAID OF PRESTIGE , but that changes about every 37 minutes. 🙂

    If the series continues, there will be a MAID OF MAGIC (about a royal seer whose visions of the future bring both turmoil and triumph); MAID OF WONDERS (about a scholar whose inventiveness and ability to decipher unsolvable puzzles leads to the most unusual royal discoveries of all); and MAID OF SHADOWS (about an assassin who must defeat her own demons along with the newest threat to the crown).

    You’ll meet all the girls in Book 1, but they each have their own story! 🙂

  8. Jenn May 11, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    Hey there, Arlene! Thank you for stopping by! Go GH 2011!!! 🙂

  9. Jenn May 11, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    Amy, hello! And I suspect your tale will be on the shelves very soon as well! 🙂 And go Commodore 64! did you see where they’re coming out with it again?


    I mean… really! 🙂

  10. Shoshana Brown May 11, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    Oh–I’m so glad there’s a pub date for MAID OF HONOR. Even if it is too far away. 🙂

  11. Gwynlyn MacKenzie May 11, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    Cute! I’ve never read a YA, but at the rate my friends are going, I’m thinking that’s going to change soon! Go, Jenn!

  12. Jenn May 12, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    Hey, thanks Shoshana and Gwynlyn, for stopping by! I am looking forward to seeing a lot of our books on the shelves sooner rather than later!

  13. Gwen Hernandez May 18, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

    Great interview, Bria! Jenn, this story sounds so intriguing. Just the kind of thing I would have read as a teen (and still might). =) Congrats on the upcoming release!

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