New York Times bestselling YA author Jenny Han visited the country for book signing tours in Manila & Cebu last June 21st & 22nd, 2014. The events are organized by National Book Store for the Filipino fans of the Korean-American writer.
For those who are not familiar yet with Jenny Han, she is the author of children book (Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream), middle grade book (Shug) and YA books (Summer series : The Summer I Turned Pretty, It’s Not Summer Without You, We’ll Always Have Summer; Burn for Burn series: Burn for Burn, Fire with Fire, Ashes to Ashes). Her recently released novel, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before which is the first part of a duology is a YA contemporary hit.
I’ve read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before few weeks before Jenny Han’s visit and I can honestly say that the book is good. Which makes me more excited to see in person and talk to the genius behind Lara Jean’s story. Check my review for the book here.
Since I was invited to the bloggers forum (Thanks so much NBS), I got the chance to spend more time with Jenny Han during the Q&A event together with other blogger friends. We asked Jenny Han questions and talk to her some more about her books, writing process, experiences, and even her crushes. It’s a light and fun event. Here are some of the things I’ve learned from her during the forum.
Jenny Han and her co-author Vivian Siobhan met in graduate school in New York at David Levithan’s class. David is Siobhan’s mentor in writing. When writing __ series with Siobhan they don’t have a specific characters assigned for them unlike the usual tandem writing. They have to learn and know all characters very well in their books well and they just exchanges pages and help each other in every way possible. When it comes to division, Jenny think that she is more in charge with the dialogue and conversations since she feels she is good at that while Siobhan is in charge with the plotting and storytelling since she has a screen writing background and went to a film school. For her writing with Siobhan is really fun because they are best friend.
Like Lara Jean, her main character in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Jenny Han also got the her own hatbox where she put her personal letter when she was younger. Her letters never got sent out and they are for her eyes only. For her writing letters is a personal experience. Letters for her thus not only reflects the writer’s true and deep feelings but also reveals the writers personality. It can be also a way of coping up by letting all our feelings flow through ink and paper.
As for the usual present of sister relationships in her novels, it is actually from her own experience. She also got sisters of her own whom she love so much. Kitty from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is inspired by her own sister Susan.
Jenny pictures Peter Kavinsky (Lara Jean’s love interest in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before) as very handsome in a nice old-fashioned way, like a young James Marsden. And if she will be Lara Jean her top celebrity crushes are Alexander Skarsgard of True Blood, Norman Reedus of Walking Dead. The cop from The Killing (a Swedish model), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau from Game of Thrones, Jo In Sung and Seo In Guk.
Thank you so much Jenny Han for gracing us with your presence and for sharing us your time, and experiences. A big thanks too to National Book Store for inviting me to the forum. Thank you too to Jenny Han’s publisher, Simon & Schuster for the for the advance copy of Ashes to Ashes.