Blogaversary Day 31- Interivew with Jenny Hubbard

And We Stay
by Jenny Hubbard
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: January 28th 2014
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When high school senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school library with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend Emily Beam, then takes his own life. In the wake of the tragedy, an angry and guilt-ridden Emily is shipped off to boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she encounters a ghostly presence who shares her name. The spirit of Emily Dickinson and two quirky girls offer helping hands, but it is up to Emily to heal her own damaged self.

This inventive story, told in verse and in prose, paints the aftermath of tragedy as a landscape where there is good behind the bad, hope inside the despair, and springtime under the snow.

Paper Covers Rock
by Jenny Hubbard
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: June 14th 2011
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At the beginning of his junior year at a boys' boarding school, 16-year-old Alex is devastated when he fails to save a drowning friend. When questioned, Alex and his friend Glenn, who was also at the river, begin weaving their web of lies. Plagued by guilt, Alex takes refuge in the library, telling his tale in a journal he hides behind Moby-Dick. Caught in the web with Alex and Glenn is their English teacher, Miss Dovecott, fresh out of Princeton, who suspects there's more to what happened at the river when she perceives guilt in Alex's writing for class. She also sees poetic talent in Alex, which she encourages. As Alex responds to her attention, he discovers his true voice, one that goes against the boarding school bravado that Glenn embraces. When Glenn becomes convinced that Miss Dovecott is out to get them, Alex must choose between them.

Hi Jenny! Thank you so much for celebrating our blogoversary with us. We are truly happy to have you in our blogs today and specially for this event. I bet our readers are going to love it!

Paper Covers Rock was my first book, actually. (It came out in 2011.) Both of my books feature protagonists who find themselves trapped in situations from which they must extricate themselves. They are introspective teenagers, soulful and smart, who struggle with being true to themselves.

I can think of no life I’d rather have. I have dreamed of this life for years and years, a peaceful one full of challenges that keep my mind sharp and my heart inspired. The best thing is that I can be with my dog Oliver all day long. He sits next to me as I write. Writer’s block? No problem! Oliver and I head out for a walk, and by the time we return, I’m good to go again.

To Kill a Mockingbird or The Great Gatsby or Catcher in the Rye (Don’t you know that this is an impossible question for a writer to answer?!)

Fitzwilliam Darcy

Nature on PBS

The Sound of Music 

Someone to Watch Over Me,” by the Gershwin brothers

Rufus Sewell (alive, please!)

“June Hymn,” by The Decemberists

Columbine. April 20, 1999. This is why I set the book in 1995, first because I wanted to place it in a time before school shootings were, I’m sad to say, common. Before they were America’s national tragedy. If I had set the book in 2013, there would be less impact. I wanted the “why” to linger and loom, which is the reason I chose not to tell any of the story from Paul’s point of view and another reason I set the action in 1995: before email, before texts, before Facebook. This way, Paul leaves no trail that a newspaper reporter, a parent, a girlfriend, could follow. This is a story of aftermath, of how to survive, of the silver linings—if we can even call them that—of tragedy. The mystery of why Paul did what he did will always be with Emily Beam, but she learns how to live with that mystery.

They are similar in a lot of ways. (See previous answer.) They feel things very deeply and use poetry as a way of making sense of what overwhelms and confuses them. They have dry senses of humor that they sometimes use to protect themselves. What makes them different from the rest of their peers is that they are extraordinary observant, which is, of course, what makes them such good poets. 

“This is the challenge: to stay. To stay true.” (And We Stay)

First of all, I’m grateful for your optimism. For And We Stay, I’d choose Saoirse Ronan to play Emily Beam and Mia Wasikowska to play Emily Dickinson, should the writer of the screenplay choose to embody the famous poet. I’ve got to be honest: there is no famous actor who could pull off Alex Stromm in Paper Covers Rock. We’re going to have to depend on a seventeen-year-old unknown—lanky, dark-haired, and shy, with a lot going on behind the eyes.

“Read to your heart’s content—though if you are a reader, the heart is never content.” (My favorite quotation from Paper Covers Rock)

Jenny lives with her husband, a high-school math teacher, and Oliver, their rescue dog, in Salisbury, NC. For 17 years, Jenny taught English at the high-school and college levels. Now a full-time writer, she volunteers as a literary tutor with the public library just around the corner from her home. She also manages a summer theatre company, St. Thomas Players, and is teaching herself how to write plays. Most days, you can find Jenny at her desk with Oliver by her side. The two of them enjoy late-afternoon walks around the neighborhood. Oliver likes to chase the squirrels.

Blogaversary 30 - Win all 3 signed books from the OTHERKIN series (Us Only)

Otherkin (Otherkin #1)
by Nina Berry
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: July 31st 2012
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Dez is a good girl who does as she's told and tries not to be noticed. Then she rescues a boy from a cage, and he tells her secrets about herself. Now inside her burns a darkness that will transform her.

Everything is about to change--and neither Caleb, nor the Otherkin, nor those who hunt them, are prepared for what Dez will unleash.

Othermoon (Otherkin #2)
by Nina Berry
Publisher: K-Teen
Release Date: January 29th 2013
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Everyone has secrets. I had no idea mine would lead me into shadow. Dez has found the place where she belongs. With the otherkin. With Caleb. Or so she thought. As the barriers between our world and Othersphere fall, a wall rises between Dez and Caleb, leaving her fiercest enemy her only friend. 

And maybe something more. 

Now Dez must make a devastating choice: keep the love of her life, or save the otherkin from annihilation.

Othersphere (Otherkin #3)
by Nina Berry
Publisher: K-Teen
Release Date: December 31st 2013
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Dez thought she knew who her mother was, who she was. Thought she had friends, a boy who loved her, and a school where she finally fit in.

But across the veil linking our world and the next lurks a monster which can annihilate. . .or liberate her. Now she must confront it there with help from one boy who loves her and one who can't stand the sight of her.

Dez thought she understood her tiger form, her deepest self. But in this treacherous place, she'll have to choose between the two halves of her soul--and determine which world survives.

Othersphere is the third and final installment in Nina Berry's acclaimed young adult Otherkin series, which blends romance, fantasy, and action in a powerful story of friendship and self-acceptance.

Hi Nina! We are really happy to have you in our blogoversary event.

It’s awesome to be here. Congratulations on the anniversary!

It’s about a girl named Dez with a back brace who discovers she can shape-shift into a tiger, which leads her to discover the secret world of shapeshifters, the otherkin, and those who hunt them. While uncovering the mystery of who she really is, Dez makes friends and allies, falls for a boy with his own strange powers, and becomes the target of ruthless enemies who will literally tear the world apart to destroy her and her kind.

So it’s mostly a paranormal adventure with generous helpings of romance, friendship, and action. Read it and you’ll get everything from first kisses to helicopter crashes to (I hope) connecting to the awesome beauty of the world around us.

I had a back brace when I was a teen, and I knew that I wanted to write about that experience somehow because it had a profound effect on me. At the same time I wanted to write a separate story about a girl who shifts into a tiger because how cool would that be? Then I figured out how to bring the two ideas together. Dez has a lot of issues about her body image because of the brace, and shifting into a tiger forces her to confront those issues in a whole new way.

That was the seed that started it all. Then I had to create a world where all that was possible, and that included other types of shapeshifters and their enemies and the other world from whence they get their power. So the stories just grew and grew as I fleshed out the characters and the world they live in.

Dez is a six-foot tall redheaded teenager with self confidence issues who learns to become a leader, a friend, and a girlfriend over the course of the books. The best thing about her is her willingness to do what she thinks is right, even if it means losing friends, family, and the boy she loves. The worst thing about her is that she can be kind of bossy and isn’t always right about what’s “best.” She’s flawed, but she’s loyal, kind, and brave, so that helps.

Among the many worlds that inhabit our universe, Othersphere is the world that lies closest to ours. The veil between our world and Othersphere is thinnest in places where great energies have been expended – like where the Tunguska meteor struck in Siberia in 1908, or where the US tested atomic bombs in the Nevada desert. So sometimes, under special circumstances, it’s possible for certain creatures to cross the veil between the worlds.

It’s from Othersphere that the otherkin draw their ability to shapeshift and, in the case of callers of shadow like Caleb, where they get their wizard-like ability to change the shapes of objects and people. They draw upon the shadow of power Othersphere casts into our world.

For the enemies of the otherkin, the Tribunal, Othersphere is literally hell itself. Readers get a chance to visit themselves in the third book in the trilogy, helpfully titled OTHERSPHERE, so they can make up their own minds.

I had to research everything from tigers to eagles to quantum physics! The good news is that I really enjoy research. I learned a lot about shapeshifting lore in many different cultures, and I drew upon some names and legends I read about in Mongolian mythology. In one section of an old Mongolian epic poem, a clever King battles a tiger as big as a mountain. That certainly gave me ideas.

I’ve been lucky to travel to a lot of fabulous places, so even though I didn’t draw upon any of my favorite places specifically, I did use some of the landscapes that linger in my mind, particularly for when the characters go to Othersphere. But Dez’s house in Burbank is a variation on a house some friends of mine live in, and of course, she and her friends go to some places inspired by Las Vegas and the Sierra Nevada mountains in California.

You can read the mentioned post about Nina's favorite places in the world by clicking here.

Intense, visceral, stormy at times, but it becomes a relationship where they completely understand and accept each other – warts and all. Even though the attraction is there right away, the trust is not, so it takes awhile for a real love to form. It’s not all sunshine and kisses because they’re both very strong-willed. But ultimately it works because they not only love each other, they understand and respect each other. 

I could never pick a favorite book! That’s like picking a favorite child. The first one is special because it was my first book ever published, but the other books allowed me to expand the story in such cool ways that I love them too.

I must say, my favorite moment is in the first book, and it’s not romantic or pretty or sweet. It involves a conflict between and eagle and a helicopter full of armed men. And the eagle wins. I think I love that scene because it’s one of the first I visualized completely. For me, the message behind it is – nobody messes with Mother Nature. I can see the movie version of it in my head. And it’s pretty cool.

Another impossible choice! The second one, for OTHERMOON, is probably my favorite. Green’s my favorite color, and the tree branches (is that the Lightning Tree maybe?) around the moon make me very happy.

That’s a tough question. I listened to different songs during the different books to get me in the right mood, but the only one I always listened to to get me pumped before writing a big action sequence, was Uprising by Muse. The otherkin are the underdogs in all their fights, particularly because they’re so fragmented and filled with distrust for each other. Dez sees how they need to unite against their common enemy, but it takes longer for them to get over their tribal differences. So for me Uprising is a sort of “underdogs of the world – unite” anthem.

I didn’t do a playlist for these books, but I highly recommend Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (all four of them, depending on your mood and the season you’re in) for reading (or writing) music for these books. One of the themes of the books is nature versus technology, and Vivaldi really connects me to nature. The version by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, conducted by Sir Neville Marriner is excellent.

No film version in the works yet, but from your lips to the universe’s ears! I don’t think of actors when I write, but after a book is done, it’s fun to think about a fantasy cast. My favorite pick for Dez is Shailene Woodley. Go big or go home, right? And for the reckless Caleb, I really like Thomas McDonnell.

I’m writing a new series for Harlequin Teen - historical thrillers about a disgraced teen movie star who gets caught up in intrigue and danger in Berlin of 1961, just as the Berlin Wall is going up. The first book is called THE NOTORIOUS PAGAN JONES, and it’ll be out June of 2015, with the second book out the following year. I’m having a great time writing and researching it!

Nina Berry is the author of the acclaimed YA paranormal OTHERKIN series from KTeen and the upcoming historical thriller PAGAN JONES series from Harlequin Teen. She grew up bodysurfing in Hawaii, learned to throw snowballs at the University of Chicago, and now lives and works in Hollywood, pretending to lead the glamorous life. 

When she’s not traveling, reading or tweeting links to save the tiger, she writes all kinds of things, some of which might surprise you.

Nina blogs at, and you can follow her on Twitter @Ninaberry or hang out with her on Facebook at

Win signed copies all three of the books in the OTHERKIN series (Otherkin, Othermoon and Othersphere) and some bookmarks (US Only)


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