Justina Chen Headley (“Nothing but the Truth (and a few wite lies)”) answers my questions…
Can you tell us more about yourself and your novel, “Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies)”?
I’m a new author with my first two books published this year. Here’s a snapshot of life before I became a writer: I went to Stanford University, graduated with honors, worked at Microsoft (including several wonderful trips to Microsoft France–I love Paris!!!), and started a business consulting group that does FREE work for non-profit organizations that help women and children. But…I’ve always wanted to write, ever since I was 8 years old. So I’m thrilled that my debut YA novel, NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH (AND A FEW WHITE LIES), was just published and received a *starred* review in Publishers Weekly. My novel is about a half-Asian, half-white teen girl who’s never felt comfortable in her own skin. At summer math camp (yes, math camp) she finally realizes that her life glimmers with all kinds of probabilities. I’m also tying community service to every book I publish. That’s why I’m personally sponsoring a $5,000 college scholarship essay contest, open to any student in the U.S. ages 12-24. Deadline is July 31, and details are up on http://www.nothingbutthetruthnovel.com/.
How do you work? (What influences you (especially for Nothing but the Truth)? Do you outline ? Where and when do you write in general ?)
I try to write 4 hours a day or so, and do most of my research and editing late at night. You know, I try so hard to outline, because that seems like such an organized, sane way of going about writing 300 pages. HOWEVER, my mind must not work in a linear way. And instead my characters hijack my story, leaving any outline far behind them. I have a home office which overlooks our garden. Since I adore hummingbirds, I’ve planted a side garden just to attract them. So I get a few visitors every so often–these tiny little flying jewels who hover in front of my window, wondering what the crazy lady is doing.
Do you already have other projects?
Yes! My next novel, GIRL OVERBOARD, is coming out in April 07. That’s about a snowboard girl. And I’m hard at work on my next novel.
“Tea or Coffee?”
About you : Shy or Easy-going ? I must be like a chocolate eclair. There’s a social exterior covering a very shy and squishy interior. So I’m both shy and outgoing.
The Leader or not ? I’m the leader in any situation involving sushi.
Serious or Funny ? Hmmm…I think I’m amusing at best–not totally serious but not a stand-up comic either.
Traveller or not ? Traveller!! I love discovering new places.
About your likes/dislikes :
Book or Cinema? Books!!! Is there any question??
Holidays. Beach or Mountains? Beach + pink drinks = bliss
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?)? Chick flicks!
Country or city? I’m a city girl with a closet need for the country. To ground myself, I have to go hiking.
About your work
Outline or freefall? Free form!
Are you inspired by music? When I’m writing a first discovery draft, I need extra loud music to drown out my insecurities as I face the blank page. But when I’m revising, I need QUIET.
Take ideas from your own life or not? I constantly embarrass myself, which provides lots of inspiration for my stories. Oh, say, the time when I thought I was a much better skier than I am…and ended up wiping out on a ski slope, busting my knee. That inspired my second novel.
Thank you, Justina!
You can visit Justina’s site http://www.justinachenheadley.com/