Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Misfit Interviews: Jennifer Niven

Hi there Misfit Booknerds!!! It's been a while since I got to interview and author for the blog but this is clearly an amazing time to introduce to you a wonderful author and dear friend, Jennifer Niven!  I'm sure some of you know her already but let's get to know her a lot better.


What's your morning ritual? Or are you more of a night owl? 
  •  I’m definitely a night owl!

Do you collect anything? 
  • I love ABBA, and so I have all sorts of weird ABBA stuff like ABBA clogs and ABBA dolls and ABBA soap and perfume. I also love the golden age of Hollywood, and have a small collection of movie star jewelry (Bette Davis’s earrings, Carole Lombard’s bracelet, Ava Gardner’s cigarette case, which I use to carry my business cards) as well as a vanity set belonging to Jean Harlow and Lana Turner’s alarm clock from her days at MGM.

How tall are you? 
  • 5’7”

Your celebrity crush? 
  • Jared Padalecki!


If you could work with an author for a collaboration, who would it be? 
  • David Levithan. Not only is he an amazingly brilliant writer, he’s one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met.

If your name weren't Jennifer, what would it be? (Btw, I really would love to be a Charlie, but my parents love the letter J so. Hahaha) 
  • My parents almost named me Larkin, which I’ve always thought was pretty. But I think I’d be something chic and adorably British like Imogen or Clementine.


All The Bright Places is such a poignant and heartfelt book. What made you tackle the theme of mental disorders? 

  • Thank you! Years ago, I knew and loved a boy, and that boy was bipolar. I witnessed up-close the highs and lows, the Awake and the Asleep, and I saw his daily struggle with the world and with himself. The experience was life changing. Back then, I didn’t talk about it, but it’s important to talk about. I experienced firsthand the stigma associated with mental disorders—both from his perspective and from mine—and I realized that we need to make people feel safe enough to come forward and say, “I have a problem. I need help.” If we don’t talk about suicide or depression or mental illness, how can we expect anyone to reach out for help when they need it most? 

How was your emotional and mental process when writing about Finch? How about with Violet? Who did you love writing best? 
  • A young writer asked me recently, “How did you write All the Bright Places without crying over it?” The answer is that I did cry while writing it, but I also knew that it was okay to cry because that meant I was tapping into all of the emotion that was going to help me write what I needed to write. This was true whether I was writing Finch or Violet. But I most enjoyed writing Finch because he was so different from any character I’d ever written before, and also because he arrived so fully formed with such a strong, vivid voice. 

Finch is such an amazing, mysterious character and I couldn't thank you enough for him. Did you ever think that an alternate ending could've happened? 
  • While I wanted to create a happier ending for Finch and for Finch and Violet, I knew in my bones that the only ending could be the one I wrote, not just because too many stories about teen mental health are tied up in neat little packages with bows on top, but because it’s the ending I lived with the real-life Finch. It was the story I knew. 

You were on a book tour for the release of All The Bright Places and I love every bit of it! (DO COME TO THE PHILIPPINES!!!) What was your best or most memorable fan encounter? 
  • I would LOVE to come to the Philippines!! The book tour really has been wonderful so far, and the highlight for me is meeting readers of the book who have related to it or to Finch in some way. The most memorable of these was meeting a teen in Georgia who has struggled all her life with self-harm, depression, and suicide. She came to an event to tell me that the book had changed her life, that it made her realize she wasn’t alone, and that it made her want to live again. 

Germ Magazine and even are real websites right now! How do you explain Germ further to those who have read the book, and would like to submit their thoughts or thank you's? 
  •  Germ is a magazine for girls—high school and beyond—that celebrates beginnings, futures, and all the amazing and agonizing moments in-between. The website ( was originally created on the pages of the book, when Violet gets an idea for a new web magazine, one that would inspire and entertain, educate and empower, tackling issues big and small, serious and funny, hard and helpful, while also encouraging young writers and artists and other creative types to share their work. After I wrote the first draft of the book, I thought: What if Germ were real? We launched in January 2014 and work on a strictly volunteer basis. At this moment, we have forty-five staff members, most of whom are between the ages of fourteen and twenty-six. We began in Los Angeles, but we now have staff writers from all across the US, as well as England, Hungary, the Ukraine, and the Philippines (!!), and we have readers all over the world. In addition to being a lifestyle magazine, Germ is also a literary magazine, and we welcome both creative writing and journalistic submissions from readers. We would love to hear from you! (For details on how to submit, please visit the Germ site.) 

What advise could you give to those going through their mental disorders? How do they get help? 
  • I want readers to know that help is out there, that it gets better, that high school isn’t forever, and that life is long and vast and full of possibility. I want them to know that they would be missed, that they matter, and that there are others in the world who understand their thoughts and feelings and their pain. I want them to realize that suicide is not a solution and that it can’t be undone. It is a permanent “fix” to situations and feelings for which there are help. And I want them to speak up, to tell someone how they’re feeling—a parent, a sibling, a trusted friend or teacher or adult. (For resources on suicide prevention, please see 

Are you writing anything new right now that has a chance to be published? Some deets please? 
  • I’m working on my second YA novel (which will also be published by Random House and Penguin UK). It’s an unconventional love story of a boy who can't remember faces and a very visible girl who feels invisible. It’s about seeing, being seen, and learning to recognize what’s important. It’s about what makes us love someone. 

And finally, what advise could you give aspiring writers, like myself, who wish to write stories that are outstanding like yours, even be at par with yours?

Thank you so, so much Jennifer! I love you and I'm sure your fans and booknerds everywhere love you too! Thank you for sharing these fun facts about you and your experiences! I am sooo excited for your new novel, you have no idea! And I hope you guys too!

Follow Jennifer on Twitter and on Instagram and like her Facebook page! Also don't forget to check out the Germ website and of course, read her beautiful, lovely book! Thank you Misfit booknerds!

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