Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Interview & Giveaway: Of Jenny and the Aliens by Ryan Gebhart

Of Jenny and the Aliens

by Ryan Gebhart
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Sci-Fi
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When boy meets girl meets alien, the angst of first love gets an extraterrestrial intervention in a tale both outrageously funny and full of heart.

Ten years after Earth sent messages out into deep space, there has beenan answer. Music from a distant planet has reached the world’s radios. Are aliens about to invade? No one knows, and almost-eighteen-year-old Derek doesn’t really care, because at a wild end-of-the-world party, Jennifer Novak invited him to play beer pong, and things, well, progressed from there. Derek isin love. Deeply, hopelessly in love. He wants it all — marriage, kids, growing old on a beach in Costa Rica. For him, Jenny is the One. But Jenny has other plans, which may or may not include Derek. So Derek will try anything towin her —even soliciting advice from an alien who shows upin his hometown. This alien may just be the answer to Derek’s problem, but is Derek prepared to risk starting an interstellar war to get his girl? Just how far ishewilling to travel to discover the mysteries of the universe —and the enigma of love?

What are the three words that best describe you? 
Awkward, anxious, and genuine (or at the very least, I try to be genuine).
What books have most influenced you? 
Pretty much anything by Michael Crichton and Stephen King. The fact that Michael Crichton was able to make the most absurd concept—a theme park with actual dinosaurs—sound like the most realistic and plausible thing, it just blew me away. I was convinced that some day, maybe I could do that too. And Stephen King. He writes with such ease you can tell he wouldn't want to be doing anything else. If I could have as much fun with writing as King does, then I know I've made it. Currently it's a struggle, as I am still learning the essentials of good storytelling.
Favorite quote from your book? “Love is not a shape. There is no love triangle, no love square. Love is a network. It's a form of communication.”
What's more fun to write – the world or the characters? 
Man, this has got to be a fifty-fifty split for me. The characters populate the world, but the world shapes the characters. Writing both has their challenges as well as their joys.
Has a character ever taken over a story you were writing? Or done something that surprised you? 
Yes. I think all of my characters have surprised me to some degree at one point or another. If a character doesn't surprise you as you're writing them, then they're likely not as fleshed out as they need to be to satisfy the reader. I've never met a human that didn't surprise me with their actions at one point or another, no matter how set in their ways they seem. Fictional characters should reflect this. 
What do you like to do when you're not writing? 
I'm also a portrait artist. And I play the piano . . . and I pretty much hang out with my pups whenever possible.

Ryan Gebhart is the author of the middle-grade novel There Will Be Bears, about which Publishers Weekly said in a starred review, “ Fully developed characters, complex and realistic relationships . . . and a spot-on narrative voice . . . make this story stand out. About Of Jenny and the Aliens, the author says, “ This book is about first love and discovering that we're notalone in the universe, and how maybe those two things aren't that different from each other.” Ryan Gebhart lives in Ohio.

His debut young adult Of Jenny and the Aliens, about first love and discovering that we're not alone in the universe, willbe released Spring 2017 with Candlewick Press.

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