Jennifer Austin – Interview and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Jennifer Austin, author of her debut The Girl from Far Away, which is releasing in paperback on November 26. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of the book.

Jennifer’s debut novel The Girl From Far Away is based on a world and characters she imagined as a child and teenager.

“It just wouldn’t feel right to me to write it for adults,” she explained. “It was such a huge part of my childhood, and I almost want to use it as a way to express how it felt to move into adulthood and how doing so transitioned this story from my head to paper.”

She used to tell tales about her characters on the school yard, and they formed the bedtime stories she would read to her younger sisters.

“In my head I was the girl from far away, escaping to a mirror earth for adventures. I’ve also tried to put in parts of my own experiences, bad relationships and friendships, feelings I struggled with. It’s almost like therapy if you write about the bad things you’ve experienced but end them with a lesson learnt,” she said.

“How long have you been writing?” I wondered.

“I think I was eight years old when I wrote my first ‘book’. I remember proudly presenting it to my father who read all twenty pages of font size 100 before telling me that it was great but next time I should write a bit more!”

For this debut novel, her characters came first and then she created a story for them. For a project she’s currently working on, she came up with the rough plot before the characters, though she did say that as she’s developing the characters, the more detailed the plot becomes. She’s also writing out the journey for her main and secondary characters before she starts writing.

“This way I can tie it into the chapters and ensure that my characters are actually growing throughout the book,” she told me. “I wish I had done this for my first book.”

Jennifer was born in Kingston-Upon-Thames, spent her childhood in Cardiff, and her teenage years in Berkshire. As an adult she’s lived and worked in London, Dublin and Bristol.

“For a long time I refused to consider myself Welsh as I let trauma from my childhood define my Welsh experience,” she told me, “but after living in Dublin I’ve finally rediscovered my heritage and I’m now proud to call myself Welsh. And the thing I love best about Cardiff is revisiting my old house or where my friends lived. It’s like travelling through memories.”

“What are you reading now?” I asked.

“I just finished Queenie and cried through about 1/3 of it. I cried so much I had to take a break as I couldn’t read through the tears but it was so good I had to read until I finished. Highly recommend to anyone but be warned it is quite dark but brutally honest. Before that I just finished the Raven Boys series which ended with me googling tarot card decks for hours.”

She told me she would love to be psychic and read tarot cards because of the books. However, as far as having a superpower, she would love to be able to move object with her mind.

When she’s not writing, she loves playing story based video games, binging Netflix, and coming up with excuses to get out of social gatherings.

“I’ve recently taken up running which I’m addicted to and I’ve always loved long walks/hikes with my dog!” she said. “I also do a lot of reading but this comes and goes over the years. I went through a period where I maybe read three books over five years and yet this year alone I think I’ve read thirty books since July!”

As a young adult, her favorite books to read were dystopians.

“This is still what I love today,” she assured me. “Don’t get me wrong I love a good romance or self-empowering feminist tale, but I will always have a soft spot for dystopia. I think it’s the strength of the characters, how they keep on surviving. And I always wonder what I would do if I lived in a dystopia!”

She has an adult dystopia, Alone We Shall Prosper in the works for next year, as well as the second and third books in her The Girl From Far Away series.

Finally, I asked, “What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?”

“Just write. Even if you think you’re writing garbage, keep writing. Write the next chapter and the next. You can go back and rewrite stuff once you’re done but it’s much easier to edit a book than it is to write it in the first place! And get yourself some cheerleaders that will keep you going on the days you really can’t.”

Enter the captivating and compelling world created by Jennifer Austin – an exciting new talent in the world of young adult science-fiction and fantasy – with her debut novel The Girl from Far Away.

Ella Day, the first princess of a mirror Earth known as Biack, is struggling to deal with mounting pressures while living in the spotlight.

Jessica Durand, a teenage girl on Earth, has felt out of place her whole life and sought comfort in her regular dreams of Ella’s life.

But when Jess’s life falls apart around her, she ends up trapped on Biack – a world that she isn’t ready to accept as real – only to discover this world isn’t ready to accept that she’s real either…

In a world saturated with Marvel and DC comic stories, it’s hard to find a non-comic superhero tale for young adult readers – especially one that’s led by strong female characters. But The Girl from Far Away isn’t just a superhero story. It is a coming of age novel, dealing with friendships, relationships, and independence, set against a stunning backdrop of other worlds, advanced technology, myths and legends.

Innovative and imaginative, Austin is a thrilling storyteller, and readers are bound to be held captive by her inventive and touching story.

About the Author:Jennifer Austin was born in Kingston-Upon-Thames, grew up in Cardiff, and as an adult has studied, lived and worked in London, Bristol and more recently Dublin. Jennifer began developing the characters in The Girl from Far Away when she was five years old. The stories she once told in the playground have now found a home on pen and paper.

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Buy the book at Amazon.

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