Jennifer Gooch Hummer

Lit IT Girl: Debut author Jennifer Gooch Hummer

Today's guest: Jennifer Gooch Hummer Why we love her: Her dazzling debut reminds us why we love to mix it up with a great YA novel.

Her debut: Girl Unmoored

The scoop:  Apron Bramhall has come unmoored. It’s 1985 and her mom has passed away, her evil stepmother is pregnant, and her best friend has traded her in for a newer model. Fortunately, she’s about to be saved by Jesus. Not that Jesus—the actor who plays him in Jesus Christ, Superstar. Apron is desperate to avoid the look-alike Mike (no one should look that much like Jesus unless they can perform a miracle or two), but suddenly he’s everywhere. Until one day, she’s stuck in church with him—of all places. And then something happens; Apron’s broken teenage heart blinks on for the first time since she’s been adrift.

Mike and his grumpy boyfriend, Chad, offer her a summer job in their flower store, Apron’s world seems to calm. But when she uncovers Chad’s secret, coming of age becomes almost too much bear. She’s forced to see things the adults around her fail to—like what love really means and who is paying too much for it.

Our thoughts: Loved. With a capital L-O-V-E-D.

Giveaway: 5 copies. Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winners after 6pm on Sunday, April 22.

CHICK LIT IS NOT DEAD PRESENTS...Lit IT Girl Debut author Jennifer Gooch Hummer

1. How many agents did you query before you found "the one"? Oh boy. Agents. Well it took me about two years and fifty-ish rejections to get my first agent. This one was at a huge talent agency and I had first queried her “boss” whom I had a college connection with. My connection ended up passing my information onto the agent she was training, and this junior agent ended up representing me. When she couldn’t sell my first book (which is now Girl Unmoored) she told me to put it aside and write another book. I did. This second novel is a chick lit and just when she started pitching it, she left the agency. I went with her to her new agency, but felt like she had given up on me. So we parted ways. I then entered the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award and ended up making it to the semi-final round. I thought this would help with the agent querying process. It didn’t. After another fifty rejections, I was finally picked out of a slush pile and offered representation. The weird thing is that I ended up getting my own book deal for Girl Unmoored after submitting it to the publisher myself.

2. What's a line from your "favorite" rejection letter? “Dear ________,”

Sometimes they don’t even fill in your name!

3. What was the hardest part about writing your debut novel? Not giving up. I wrote the novel in two years and spent the next eight trying to get it published. In that time, I was constantly rewriting, querying, submitting. A sane person would have quit, but writers aren’t really sane. I ended up framing a piece of paper with “I’m quitting…. tomorrow!” on it and keeping it on my desk. I meant it too, but then there was tomorrow… and tomorrow… and tomorrow… It’s a strange but effective strategy for me to keep writing.

4. What is the best/worst advice you received while you were trying to break into the book biz? Best: Anne Lamott’s advice to allow yourself to write the most horrible, pathetic, lame-o first draft possible. Because no one is ever going to see this draft, and inside all that awful-ness is the beautiful gem of your story that you’ll find in your second draft.

Worst: Quit, you’re never going to get published anyway. (But that was me saying that to myself. Luckily I didn’t listen.)

5. How did you celebrate your book deal? Quietly, because I’m really superstitious and generally suspecting. I got the email from my publisher while we were in Maine where we live in the summer. When my husband called from France (he’s a sport broadcaster and was covering the Tour de France) he was surrounded by his co-workers so I didn’t want to tell him. But my daughters, who I’d just read the email to, made me. Just like I thought, he had the whole crew congratulate me - exactly what I didn’t want him to do. I’d had so many close calls up to that point that I wasn’t a hundred percent sure this one was going to be it. I proved myself wrong though. And have since suffered through my family’s constant reminder of what a buzz-kill I am. But now every day that I wake up knowing my book is finally published is the real celebration.

6. Who is your writer crush? David Sedaris. I needed windshield wipers for my eyes while I was reading Me Talk Pretty One Day. That man is hi-larious. He has such a gifted way of describing the most mundane yet absolutely hysterical events of every day life. I wish he’d rewrite The Constitution. That would be the best!

7. If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one book, what would it be? Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth.

8. What's on your iPod right now? I have no idea because we have a family iTunes account so whatever my daughters and husband have recently purchased just shows up on mine. For the past two weeks it’s been The Hunger Games album non-stop. But yesterday my nine year-old discovered Justin Beiber’s “Boyfriend” so I’m guessing I’ll be running to that pretty soon. It’s a good song actually.

9. What's your #1 stress reliever? Exercising. I swim on a master’s swim team every weekday morning at 5:30 so I’m ahead on the day. I also run or spin or go to a barre class. If I don’t work out, I’m really hard to live with.

10. Who/what would you place in the center of the Entertainment Weekly bullseye? AAPL   (Apple Stock)

Thanks, Jennifer!


Liz & Lisa

To find out more about Jennifer Gooch Hummer, visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.