Thank you for having me on your blog, Laurie! I love learning more about my favorite authors and their personal lives, so hope people enjoy this interview!
Tell us about your current release.
I am a HUGE fan of zombie movies—Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland being my favorite. I am also hooked on The Walking Dead TV series. After I recently read a book in which a teenage girl expertly killed off undead corpses off with a gun—even doing some stunts as she did so—I got to thinking: if this were to happen to me, I would be so dead. I wouldn’t have any idea how to work a gun, and I am the complete opposite of athletic. In The Day Zombies Ruined My Perfectly Boring Life, Emma is basically how I think the teenage me would have reacted to such an event. Emma may sometimes come off as being an idiot, but she is basically using humor to keep herself from going insane.
Tell us about your next release.
This fall I will be releasing my third novel, Shymers. A friend once asked me, “Wouldn’t it be nice to know exactly how long you have left on this earth?” I thought about her question for many days, and decided in the end that I would rather not know. I am more of a “live like you’re dying” type of person by nature. Shymers is a dystopian story in which the government is able to predict a person’s date of death. Because of this, people with shorter life spans are discriminated against—as in, “Why spend time/money on someone who isn’t going to be around much longer?” My main character was raised in the wild by parents who didn’t believe in that way of life, and she is appalled by the way government treats these people with short life spans, also known as “shymers.” On her journey, she falls in love with a shymer and discovers a whole string of secrets her family had been keeping from her.
Who is your favorite author?
It was Stephen King from the sixth grade up until J. K. Rowling came along. I am utterly floored by how she was able to create an entirely different world and make you experience all the emotions: from tears of joy, to complete fear and anger, and also tears of sadness. Her books take you through an emotional journey that is just so epic and unlike anything I have experienced before. Fortunately, my kids share my passion—we have been to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and our dog is named Bellatrix. I am probably one of those people who could have used some therapy when the books and movies ended. I have yet to find a series of books that have the same kind of effect on me.
Does your significant other read your stuff?
Funny story—my husband has never been much of a reader. He likes his farm magazines, but I don’t think he even reads those from front to back. After my first book, he made the comment that he would read my books if they were about tractors. So in The Day Zombies Ruined My Perfectly Boring Life, I added a scene with combine harvesters just for his benefit. But he still hasn’t read it, and I’m okay with that. He may be scared to go to bed with me at night if he ever actually does.
I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. When I was growing up, other kids would be outside playing while I was inside writing books (all of which I still have and are pretty painful to read). It took me many years to actually have the courage to let others read my work. I still have a hard time accepting compliments on my books and think people are just being polite when they say they love it.
What are you passionate about these days?
Music, although I have always been really into it. When I turned 16, I went to my first concert and have probably attended 30 more since then. But I think the older I get, the more music influences me. Each of my books has a theme song that I listen to (sometimes even on repeat) while writing. I am playing some kind of music—usually Jack Johnson, Beastie Boys or Foo Fighters—nearly every minute of the day. Listening to music just makes me really happy.
How do you react to a bad review of your book?
Bad reviews are really hard to swallow—it feels like someone is telling you that your child is ugly or dumb. When you write a story, you become completely immersed in this other world, and the characters become like family to you. If I see a bad review, I get depressed for long periods of time and want to quit. I am trying to learn how to push the bad ones aside and remind myself that not everyone has the same taste—whether in music, movies or books. To cheer myself up, I usually look at the bad reviews of Harry Potter. Not only do I get a good laugh, but I am reminded of just how different people are. If we all liked the very same things, life would be super boring, right?
What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?
I learned that I have this romantic bone in me that I just can’t seem to bury, no matter how hard I try. I am generally not a big fan of romantic movies and books. I am much more into comedy and action. But every single time I sit down to write a story, a romantic sub-plot always manages to sneak its way in. Even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, Emma finds time to act on her long-time crush in The Day Zombies Ruined My Perfectly Boring Life. If it were to happen to someone else, Emma would probably turn to them and say, “You’re an idiot.”
Jen Naumann has lived in southern
all her life. She currently lives on a farm with her husband Brian, daughter Sammy, and son Owen. She has two grown step-daughters (Lindsey and Jamie) who have made her a grandmother of three gorgeous little girls at a freakishly young age, and mother-in-law to two handsome men close to her own age, but she loves every minute of it. Her favorite free time is spent at the family lake cabin, catching the newest movie release or rocking out at concerts to her favorite bands. Minnesota
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