Jennifer Niven Interview & Giveaway

Posted on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 12:00 AM

We are so happy to have author Jennifer Niven on the blog today!  We both LOVED All the Bright Places and we were so excited to interview Jennifer.  After you read the interview, be sure to enter the giveaway :)


What was your reason to writing a book about such a hard topic? 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?

Christy and I loved the way the book ended, but had you always pictured it ending the way it did? I never questioned how All the Bright Places would end. 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.

What made you choose the name of the main characters? I really loved both of their names and I was curious as to how much thought went behind them. Some characters pretty much name themselves, whereas others take some work. When I sat down to write Finch’s first chapter, I heard his voice in my head saying, “I, Theodore Finch, being of unsound mind…” I never even thought about his name. It just appeared. (Probably unconsciously influenced by Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird.) Once I had Finch, I worked to find “Violet Markey.” I knew I wanted a classic-sounding name, and landed on Violet pretty quickly. Her last name took a bit more thought, but it ended up being perfect. I didn’t choose it so that Finch could call her “Ultraviolet Remarkey-able”—that was just creative serendipity.

Who would you like to play Finch in the movie (which Christy and I are thrilled about)? I’m thrilled too! When I was writing the book, I pictured Nicholas Hoult as Finch, right down to his imposing height, the dark hair, the blue eyes. In a dream world, it would be three years ago and he would play the part, but sadly he’s a little too manly and mature now. I’m hoping for a wildly gifted, largely unknown actor who can become Finch to movie audiences and to me.

What was the hardest part for you to write? In the interest of avoiding spoilers, let’s just say the entire book was challenging because it was so personal. 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.

Finch had a place he ventured to when he wanted to get away, where is the place you go to relieve stress and just relax? I go hiking/walking—either to the Santa Monica beach or to the Hollywood Hills and Griffith Park. One of the twelve million things I love about living in Los Angeles is that nature is so accessible.

If you could choose one place on Violet and Finch’s list, where would you go on an adventure to, and why? I think I’d go to Hoosier Hill, because that was really where it all started for them. Although I’m going back to Indiana in April and I can’t wait to ride the backyard roller coasters!

What are three books that you recommend the most? There are too many to pick just three! But three books I love to share with other readers are In Cold Blood, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and The Lovely Bones.

Christy and I are both wondering, what is next in the YA world for you? I’m at work on my second YA novel now. It’s about a boy who can’t recognize 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.


Winter or Summer? SUMMER!
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate. (Although I’ll take popcorn over either!)
Movies that make you laugh or movies that make you cry? Movies that do both.
E-book or hardback? Hardback, hardback, hardback.
Contemporary or Fantasy? I admire fantasy writers/books greatly, but I’m definitely a contemporary girl.


Erica and I loved All the Bright Places so, so much and we wanted to give our readers the opportunity to read it, so we are going to giveaway a copy of All the Bright Places to 1 lucky winner!  The giveaway is INT (as long as TBD ships to you).  Please make sure you read the rules below before entering.
A few rules for the giveaway:

You must be 13 years or older to enter any giveaways.  Note: if you are under 18 you must have a parent's permission.

· You must provide a valid email address so that I can contact you if you win
· All winners will be sent an email and must respond within 48 hours or I will pick a new winner
· All prizes will be sent directly to the winner
· Your address will not be shared with anyone, I will delete the email containing your address
   as soon as I have shipped your prize
· I am not responsible for any prizes lost in the mail
· Entries will be checked and anyone found cheating will be disqualified from all future giveaways.


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Christy is a 27 year old wife, mother, nursing student and self proclaimed book addict. When she's not busy spending time with her family or learning to save lives, you can find her with a book in her hands, and a smile on her face.
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