Monday, October 20, 2014

Chick-Lit for Chicklets With Jen Malone's 'At Your Service'

Every writer has an interesting path to publication. For Jennifer Malone, author of At Your Service (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin M!X, August 2014), a book contract came looking for her. And after proving she had plenty of writing chops for the first title, Jennifer landed five – count 'em five – more book deals, for both middle-grade and young adult fiction.

At Your Service is a fun read, telling the story of thirteen-year-old Chloe who works with her dad as a concierge at a fancy New York City hotel. She gets to enjoy plenty of perks with her job, but when a family of royals shows up, Chloe's patience and her hospitality are put to the test.

Question: What inspired you to write your book?

Jennifer Malone: My situation is a bit unique (well, less so than anyone would think, but kind of a publishing secret) in that my editor actually commissioned me to write this story, and the inspiration came from her! She had read something else of mine and thought I had a good middle-grade voice that would work with this concept. Five or so authors were asked to submit sample pages, and I was thrilled when they chose mine, and even more thrilled when I was given carte blanche to develop the story idea beyond the premise and really take ownership of it!

Question: What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?

JM: I hate that a lot of tweens who were big readers as younger kids start to drift away from reading for pleasure, as required reading texts get more intense and, frankly, less interesting to them (not that there aren’t some great classics out there and not that I don’t think a good foundation of classics is necessary, so don’t get me wrong!). But personally, I really want to write books that remind kids (and the occasional grown-up!) that reading can be pure, escapist fun. I like to think of my books as “chick-lit for chicklets.”

Question: What are you working on next?

JM: I’m co-writing a series with a good friend of mine, Gail Nall, called RSVP,  which follows four tween besties as they form a party-planning business on their tiny (and very quirky) North Carolina island. We pitched it to Simon and Schuster as Babysitters Club meets Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and the first one comes out next May. It’s been so much fun to write these girls – I cannot even tell you! After that I have two young adult titles forthcoming with HarperCollins.

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