Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Interview With YA Author & Journalist Jennifer Alsever


1. What motivated you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and turning it into this book? I started this book during COVID lockdown, after seeing how some things I wrote in 2016 for my first trilogy, the Trinity Forest Series, came to fruition—mainly a pandemic. It was a bit eerie, even if it was fiction.  Still, I wondered: What if everything you wrote came true and played out in life? I also noted how social media was impacting young people today. It was productizing young people, and it was shifting how people viewed themselves and each other. Are people really their authentic self on social media? Last fall, the Wall Street Journal published a series that showed that Facebook knew that Instagram was terrible for girls. The company knew that 32 percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse. This was really disturbing.  I’ve been far more aware from my own life experiences how we assume we know people. But we don’t really know each other’s stories. We don’t know the deep experiences and situations that drive people, that make them behave a certain way, and appear a certain way. We don’t really know people’s stories, and if we did, we might be more compassionate, we might be more kind, we might be more forgiving.   

2. What is it about and who is it for?  Burying Eva Flores is a paranormal mystery about a war between two girls, Eva Flores, a TikTok star who moves to the small town of Paonia, and her classmate Sophia Palmer, a girl who has no interest in people or social media. That war comes to a head when.Sophia receives a notebook and everything she writes somehow changes her future. She finds a new power, and now, the whole town thinks she killed Eva. It takes time to untangle the true story of both girls. It’s a story of revenge, power and the stories we project to the world. It’s perfect for fans of Holly Jackson’s Good Girl’s Guide to Murder and Karen M. McManus’ One of Us is Lying.  

3. What takeaways might the reader be left with after reading it?  I hope that people can read this book and be wildly entertained with a page-turning thriller, but that they also stop and think about how they show up in the world.    

4. How did you decide on your book’s title and cover design?  I hired a wonderful designer, Nicole Hower, who I worked closely with to come up with the cover design. I gave her a lot of information about the book, the characters and the mood, and she came back to me with a series of cover ideas. I like this one because the pose struck on the cover is very social media-ish, and the design reflects the kind of mixed media art my main character creates. I also loved the red Xs, because it begs a question and draws your attention. I believe it stands up well on the shelf with other similar books. The title came to me because I wanted to evoke a question about what happened to my character Eva Flores, and it actually makes a lot more sense when you get to the end of the book. 

5. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?  I’d say if you get stuck with writing, read more books, talk to more people, go someplace new and take a break. I tried to write this book several months earlier, and it didn’t really come together. I stopped and started reading as much as I could. I traveled to new places and started paying attention to the people around me more closely. I relaxed. I ended up getting inspired when I read the book, Daisy Jones & the Six, which is told entirely through documentary interviews, and then Good Girls Guide to Murder. I realized there was more than one way to tell a story, and it started flowing. 

6. What trends in the book world do you see -- and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?  I recently wrote about the publishing industry for Fortune: Until COVID hit, the industry’s growth had been lackluster, with physical book sales rising just 1% to 3% annually for years. Indie publishing has continued to blossom.I think there are parts of the book publishing industry that are trying to stay relevant and innovative— Hachette Livre for one. Writers and publishers are starting to deliver stories in bite-size digital stories that can be read in shorter amounts of time—trying to appeal to the generations that grew up on SnapChat and Instagram. Last year, Amazon launched Kindle Vella for novellas, and Tap by Wattpad, Radish, Hooked, Kiss, and Chapters deliver readers interactive and gamified stories and serial fiction. As many as 90 million people spend 23 billion minutes monthly on Wattpad. The service features nearly 1 billion uploads of content, most of which is free. I think indie publishing will only grow amid this.  

7. What challenges did you overcome to write this book?  I wrote this book in a format I’d never tried before: a mix of POV narrative, documentary interviews, newspaper articles, text messages, notebook entries, and screen captures of Snaps and TikTok posts. So that in itself was tricky. How do I tell the story effectively, keep it moving and allow people to really feel the characters and story all the same. How do I keep the timeline right? Self-doubt sometimes creeped in, and I worried whether people would like it.  

8. How would you describe your writing style? I’ve spent my career as a working journalist, so I tend to move quickly and write in a way that's to the point… more conversational. I also feel the world deeply so my writing mixes in those turns of phrases, the visual, physicality and emotion of a scene throughout.  People usually say my books are fast reads.  

9. If people can buy or read one book this week or month, why should it be yours? Burying Eva Flores is a book unlike most others. It will keep you guessing and keep you engaged. It will introduce you to complex characters who will stay with you long after you finish. And it will explore important topics, such as social media, hero worship, bullying, friendship, power and the stories we each project to the world. 

About The Author: Jennifer Alsever is a Colorado-based young adult author and a working journalist. For more than two decades, she has contributed to such publications as Fortune Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Wired and Fast Company. She is the author of five young adult novels, including the Trinity Forest Series, (Ember Burning, Oshun Rising and Venus Shining), Extraordinary Lies and Burying Eva Flores, the bulk of which was written during 2020 lockdown. You’ll most likely find her at her keyboard or under a blanket with a great book, enjoying a handful of frozen chocolate chips.  She also loves watching birds, reiki, hiking, mountain biking, skiing, yoga, and surfing. For more information, please see: www.jenniferalsever.com 


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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2022. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This blog, with over 4,000 posts over the past decade, was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby  http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Susan RoAne, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, IBPA, Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult: linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum. 


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