Sunday, August 31, 2014

Author Interview: Jennifer Coburn: Purpose of Writing is Sharing Universal Truths About Life and Connect

Jennifer Coburn is a USA Today best selling author of six novels and contributor to four literary anthologies. Over the past two decades, Coburn has received numerous awards from the Press Club and Society for Professional Journalists for articles that appeared in Newsday, Mothering, Big Apple Baby, The Miami Herald, The San Diego Union-Tribune and dozens of national and regional publications. She has also written for Salon.com, Creators News Syndicate and The Huffington Post.

Coburn lives in San Diego with her husband, William, and their daughter, Katie. We'll Always Have Paris is her first memoir.

Your real name and pen name?

I write under my real name, Jennifer Coburn.

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood

My best memories are spending summers at Camp St. Regis in East Hampton. I started going there when I was six years old and continued until I was 15, which was the last year the camp was in business. It was the most wonderful, free time of my life, with horseback riding, sports, swimming -- dozens of activities, all with your best friends living in cabins on the beach.

About your education

I graduated from the University of Michigan in 1988.

       What career did you plan during your education days?

I thought I'd go into advertising, but always dreamed of writing articles and books.

What languages you can speak and write?

I am monolingual, but I have mad charade skills so I'm able to communicate pretty well with people who speak other languages. Whenever I travel, I try to learn a few words and key phrases.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life?

The realization that it's not going to last forever.

What hurts you most in this world?

Mothers who lose their children. Senseless violence and hatred.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?

I lost my beloved father when I was 19 years old. I don't know that I have overcome it, but writing WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS helped me work through a great deal of my grief over his loss.
If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?

I'd like to spend the day as Adele and just sing constantly. I would not shut up. At hour 24, you would find me collapsed over a piano (with an amazing CD I just made!).

What is your favorite genre and why?

I like chick-lit because it's fun, light and makes me laugh. I also like travel memoirs quite a bit. I just started I'LL NEVER BE FRENCH (NO MATTER WHAT I DO), and I absolutely love the author's observations about French life. 

 What is the purpose of your writing?

That's a pretty heady question, one that doesn't have a single answer. I write because I love to tell stories and enjoy entertaining people. I also write because I have a fundamental need to be heard and to have people know who I am. It sounds a bit narcissistic and I suppose it is. I mean, writers are basically saying: "Here, read my thoughts, I think you'll be interested in them." The higher purpose, though, is to share universal truths about life with hope that you will connect with others.

Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?

In addition to WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS, I have published six novels and have contributed to four literary anthologies. Synopses are all on my website jennifercoburn.com

What four top most things you take care of while writing a book?

I'm not a big outliner. I don't know exactly what is going to happen plot-wise, but I always keep close track of what each character needs to learn over the course of the 300-400 pages of the book. I am also very aware of word-counts and deadlines so I am able to deliver my manuscript. It is also important for me to enjoy the writing process because if I'm not enjoying writing my story, how can I expect others to enjoy reading it?The fourth thing is to always take care of the dishes. It's weird, but I cannot write if I know I've got dirty dishes. Even though I cannot see my kitchen from where I write, it is impossible for me to focus knowing there's a mess in the next room.


How much real life goes into a fiction writing?

In mine, quite a bit. Some novels have a disclaimer in the front about how characters and events are purely products of the author's imagination and any similarities to real people and events are coincidental. That is never in my books because I borrow from friends and family all the time. In fact, my first novel THE WIFE OF REILLY -- which is about a woman who secretly tries to find a new wife for her soon-to-be ex-husband -- is based on a conversation I had with a girlfriend who was having what I like to call a bad husband day.
Is high level of imagination important to have for an Author?

Either a great imagination or a crazy family. Let's just say my imagination isn't that great.

Your favorite time of the day?

Middle of the night. I feel like I'm cheating and getting extra time out of the day. This makes absolutely no sense because I end up sleeping late the next day, but I always feel slightly mischievous, like I'm getting away with something by being up at 3 AM.

Your zodiac/ sunsign?

Cancer.

Your favorite color and why?

Blue. It has so many different shades and each one looks pretty to me.

What is the last book you finished reading? What is the current book you are reading?

Just finished THE PARIS ARCHITECT by Charles Belfoure which was really wonderful and just started I'LL NEVER BE FRENCH (NO MATTER WHAT I DO) by Mark Greenside.

Your favorite book and why?

I love Sue Monk Kidd's THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES because of its multiple maternal relationships.

Your favorite movie and why?

IDIOCRACY because every detail is so brilliantly thought out. It's about a futuristic world ruled by imbeciles that is so, so funny, but also a very frightening cautionary tale.


Your favorite food?

Almost any Asian dish, but especially ones with seafood.

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote 

Enjoy life!

The last line of your autobiography would be…

We'll always have Paris

Links:
Twitter handle: JenniferCoburn
Facebook page: JenniferCoburnBooks
Goodreads author page: Jennifer Coburn


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