New from Simon & Schuster

Author Revealed

About Jennie Shortridge

Q. What is your birthdate?

A. 9/23

Q. Previous occupations

A. Plumber, rock and roll singer, cook, advertising copy writer, marketing and sales person.

Q. Favorite job

A. Writing. Hands down!

Q. High school and/or college

A. I went to Cherry Creek High School in Denver. I didn't go to college because I chose to emancipate and begin my adult life at 17.

Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?

A. There are far too many to name one. I once revered Bonnie Raitt, and still love her, of course, but I love a lot of music and musicians.

Q. Favorite movie

A. Harold and Maude.

Q. Favorite television show

A. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I have a crush, and he makes me laugh.

Revealing Questions

Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?

A. The dream I worked toward all these years.

Q. What is your motto or maxim?

A. You create your own happy.

Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?

A. Being with people I love, eating, drinking, laughing.

Q. What’s your greatest fear?

A. Loss of those I love, but . . .that's part of life's rich pageant.

Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?

A. On a beach. It's my place to reconnect with nature and myself.

Q. With whom in history do you most identify?

A. I don't know about identifying, but my heroes are those who fought for civil rights when I was growing up, whether over race, gender, or other forms of discrimination. Martin Luther King Jr. fills a big place in my soul.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?

A. My sisters, who've all come through the same difficult childhood and went on to raise their own families.

Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?

A. I'm a horrible overuser of "awesome." I know, decades later.

Q. What do you regret most?

A. I ended a junior high romance really awkwardly. Nuff said.

Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?

A. I'd love to be a talented instrumentalist. I've taken lessons, practiced, all to no avail.

Q. What is your greatest achievement?

A. My 21 year marriage. And having five novels published. Both make me incredibly happy.

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?

A. I live to please. That doesn't always serve me well.

Q. What’s your best quality?

A. I live to please. Sometimes, it works out.

Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?

A. I sometimes wish I could be a smoothie maker in a little shack on a beach, but then I get over it.

Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?

A. I think it might be my wild-ass hair. I try to tame it, but ...

Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?

A. Huck Finn

Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?

A. I don't believe I have one. I mean, favorite villain?

Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?

A. Martin Luther King, Jr. I'd say, "Thank you for inspiring so many of us."

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?

A. Mean people.

Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?

A. Teaching. I love working with kids especially.

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?

A. I'd love to have a preschool. Or a breakfast/lunch restaurant. Or a bed and breakfast in a tropical location. Or . . .

Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?

A. Kindness, sincerity, optimism.

Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?

A. Vietnamese food.

Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?

A. I am incapable of narrowing it to five. Completely at a loss... it changes from day to day, year to year.

On Books and Writing

Q. Who are your favorite authors?

A. The ones I grew up with: Mark Twain, Harper Lee, John Steinbeck of course, but also Barbara Kingsolver, Alice Walker, John Irving, Anne Tyler, Louise Erdrich, Julia Alvarez, Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Tom Robbins. And now I know so many really wonderful authors as well, and I love their work. But I can't name names.

Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?

A. Huck Finn, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, The Color Purple, Yellow Raft on Blue Water, The World According to Garp. Because they each came to me at a time when I was figuring out life and my place in it, and they each helped me to the next place. And they all made me want to be a writer.

Q. Is there a book you love to reread?

A. Honestly? No. I love to remember them fondly.

Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?

A. Learn your craft, speak your truth, and write the best book you can before you ever think of trying to find an agent.

Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?

A. Thank you for writing about (topic that is important to them, such as mental illness in families, women and body image, mothers, relationships).

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