Monday, September 17, 2012

Author Interview with Jennifer Jabaley

A few weeks ago I picked up Crush Control by Jennifer Jabaley and died of laughter! This young adult romantic comedy about hypnosis gone crazy is a fun read, and I'm excited to have Jennifer on my blog today. First, a little bit about Crush Control:

When Willow Grey was nine, her mom dropped the bomb of ultimate betrayal: they would be moving from their small town in Georgia to glitzy Las Vegas. Willow was devastated to have to leave her best friend, Max, behind. So she decided to take control of the situation: she told Max to relax, to let his eyelids droop and then she said: "Max Montgomery, for as long as we live, you and I will be best friends..."
Now, at seventeen, Willow and her mom move back to their hometown and Willow is determined to pick up where she and Max left off. But even though he's still her best friend, his heart now belongs to someone else—and Willow realizes that what she feels for him is so much more than just friendship. For the second time in her life, Willow finds herself using hypnosis to get what she wants. But what starts off as a harmless experiment soon spirals into chaos and Willow is forced to wonder: Is the heart really something you can control—with mind control?

Welcome, Jennifer! I'm curious. Have you been hypnotized before? What was it like? If not, are you ever tempted to be hypnotized?
No. I did attend a hypnosis show in Las Vegas while researching for the book but I was not hypnotized myself. I learned that people who like to remain in control are not easily hypnotized.  I'm pretty type A and I don't think I'd really relinquish my control - especially not on a stage!! Now if it was for a medical reason - like to help fight a habit or something - I might be amenable to try.

A trip to Vegas for research. Not bad! I'm a pretty remain-in-control type person myself, so I've always wondered if I could be hypnotized. Jennifer, you have a knack for writing humor (I was laughing out loud!). What advice/tips do you have on writing humor?
Oh, well, thank you! I do not think I'm witty at all but I like to create situational humor - which in my opinion is much easier to do. I have great respect for naturally humorous people! I, on the other hand, have to assemble circumstances that everyone can relate to, like embarrassment or humiliation.  I think the biggest tip for writing comedy would be to read comedy or watch it. See what works, what you connect with and what comes across as trying too hard.  

If you had mad hypnotist skills like Willow and could hypnotize anyone, who would you hypnotize and what would you have them do?

Oh, my kids and my husband, lol! They would suddenly love to do the laundry and clean the bathrooms.... :)

Wise choice! Any reoccurring nightmares? Humor us. 

Ok, I'm going to go with this one because no one has ever asked me this before and I have a very true story. When I was in about third grade I had a recurring nightmare (I'm talking this went on for months - close to a year) where the Incredible Hulk smashed through the sliding glass doors in our house and kidnapped me.  He'd haul me over his shoulder, drag me into the woods in our backyard and then I'd wake up.  Oh, it was terrible.  When The Avengers movie came out and my kids got Hulk masks it kind of made me shudder.

Hilarious! Why are people always chasing us in our dreams (the Hulk, no less)? Character, setting or plot: which one is most important to you and why?
For me, it's all about characters.  I've given a lecture at writing seminars about characterization and it's my absolute favorite topic. Because I think if you relate and identify with a character, really, almost any plot or setting will work. Conversely, if the reader does not identify with the character, it has to be a really, really intriguing plot to make it work.

Agreed! And I'd love to hear your lecture someday. On that note, do you have any advice to give aspiring authors?
Find an idea or story that you love.  You will have to love it as much one year after you start working on it as you do the day you think of it.  Sometimes more.  A novel takes many years to go from creation to publication (if that's your goal) and you have to be willing to invest a lot of blood sweat and tears into it. And learn that people's opinions of your work are not their thoughts about you as a person or your worth. Nowadays with the internet, there are so many avenues for authors to read crushing reviews or negative thoughts about their novels.  It can be crippling if you let it. You really have to remember that fiction is subjective and not everyone is going to like what you write. Write what YOU love and be proud of it.

I've invested tears and sweat for sure but no blood yet, so I'll keep going! Great answers, Jennifer. Thank you for interviewing on my blog!

I LOVE COMMENTS!  If YOU could hypnotize anyone, who would it be and what would you have them do (within reason!)  ;)


  1. Ah, I loved this interview. What a cute premise for Crush Control. I loved Jennifer's advice--especially in light of my first negative review popping up on Goodreads last week--"fiction is subjective and not everyone is going to like what you write." Now, if I could hypnotize anyone I would follow Jennifer's lead and convince my kids they love cleaning the house, that it is more fun than playing on the iPad. :)

  2. So glad you posted this on Facebook or I would have never found this wonderful blog! (Follower 100 btw!) And that was an awesome interview! Can't wait to read the book! :)

  3. Thank you for the comments, Kelly and Konstanz! And thanks for the 100th follow! Too bad we can't hypnotize everyone into loving our writing, eh? Hang in there, Kelly, The Keeper's Calling is an awesome book!!! :D

  4. I really enjoyed this interview too. If I could hypnotize anyone it would be myself. I'd have more follow through on getting important things done and doing things that are healthiest for my body.

  5. This was a fun interview. I agree, character development is everything. If you don't have likable (or unlikable) characters, you'll lose the reader, and then who cares about what the background looks like?

  6. Kris, you should read this. I think you'd enjoy it and have a good laugh! Debra, thanks for the 101! And thanks for the comments!

  7. This is so much more than i needed!!! but will all come in use thanks!!
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  8. Ha ha! Sounds like a fun book. I want to read it while waiting at the airport, sounds like the kind of book that will make the drudgery of waiting fly by! Great interview:)