Book Giveaway & Author Interview: The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard

Welcome to Author Jennifer Hubbard.


I grew up in New England and came to Philadelphia at the age of seventeen. Except for a six-month stint in Atlanta, I have lived in the Philadelphia area ever since. I am a night person who believes that mornings were meant to be slept through, a chocolate lover, and a hiker. I walk every day, and hike on weekends when I can.

I’ve been writing since the age of six, when I used to write and illustrate my own picture books. (Fortunately, none of those early efforts have survived, unless my parents are hiding them for future blackmail plans.) In high school, I considered it fun to come home from school and write novels. My grandfather worked at a printing plant that produced spiral-bound notebooks. Any flaws in the printing or binding process would land the notebooks in the company store at a steep discount, so I always had plenty of notebooks on hand. Now I write on a computer most of the time.

I will read almost anything (see the lists below for some of my favorite books); I prefer to write short fiction and young-adult novels. I had my first short story published when I was seventeen, but it took me many years to write well with consistency, and I continue to learn more every year. My short fiction has appeared in literary magazines such as Willow Review and North American Review. (See “Publications” for more.) My first book is a contemporary young-adult novel called The Secret Year.


Skittles or M&Ms?
M&Ms. When it comes to candy, chocolate is really all I care about.

What is your favorite sport to watch on TV?
Tennis. I watch the Grand Slam tournaments, and I once wrote a blog post about what the rivalry between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal could teach writers about using rivalries in books.
I also watch the Olympics, and the Tour de France, and the occasional football or baseball game.

What do you do when you are in-between books?
I don’t take much time off between projects: a few days, at most. I might do a little extra hiking, reading, or cleaning. Because I have a full-time job, I rarely get burnt out on writing. I treasure my writing time.

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?
There were two I listened to constantly while I wrote The Secret Year: “Temptation” by Tom Waits, and the 1997 live version of “Big Love,” by Fleetwood Mac. But I don’t know if anyone else would ever connect those songs with the book.

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
Actually, there are many stages in the sale of a book: the offer, the contract negotiations, the editing, the production. And since I know how volatile this business can be, I didn’t completely relax until the book was actually in stores. Then I celebrated by signing books, doing a giveaway and a library fundraiser on my blog.

Night owl, or early bird?
Absolutely night owl. I do most of my writing at night.

Blog: or
Twitter: @JennRHubbard

The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard
Take Romeo and Juliet. Add The Outsiders. Mix thoroughly.

Seventeen-year-old Colt has been sneaking out at night to meet Julia, a girl from an upper-class neighborhood unlike his own. They’ve never told anyone else about their relationship: not their family or friends, and especially not Julia’s boyfriend. When Julia dies suddenly, Colt tries to cope with her death while pretending that he never even knew her. He discovers a journal Julia left behind. But Colt is not prepared for the truths he discovers about their intense relationship, nor to pay the price for the secrets he’s kept.

Giveaway Details:
1 Copy of The Secret Year
Open to US & Canada
Ends 4/15/11

Optional Extra Entry:
+1 Follow Jennifer on Twitter