Welcome to Author Jen Barton
What is one book everyone should read?
Steinbeck’s East of Eden is my all time favorite, but I would suggest Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. Not only is it a great read, but it’s dense. And what I mean by that is Strout is somehow able to pack a HUGE amount of emotion, description and back story into a really small amount of words. It’s an amazing example of an author making every word count.
If you were a superhero what would your name be?
I would be The Recognizer. Not a great name, but I have an uncanny ability to recognize actors (and other people too) out of context. I’m that annoying person who does this all through the movie, “He was in that movie where he killed that guy and there was that thing they had to get to the girl. Remember?” Seriously, I once named an actor who was wearing a mask (Hugo Weaving in V for Vendetta) after hearing about 5 seconds of his voice. Not the greatest power, but it’s mine. I keep thinking I’ll witness a crime or something and be able to put it to good use.
If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
I would love to be able to travel instantly, like by floo powder or disapparating or something. First of all, I hate to fly. You do not want to be next to me on a plane. It’s not pretty. And because all of my family and most of my friends are still on the East Coast, I go home a lot. Not as often as I’d like, but enough to have to get on a plane a few times a year. A little bit of dizziness or a queasy stomach from disapparating would be much better than 6 hours of terror.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
I’m a huge foodie and I make a lot of ice cream (you have to use eggs in the custard—it’s essential for a great creamy texture) so I have a lot of favorites, but if I had to pick just one it would be peanut butter. I would put peanut butter on everything if I could.
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
My husband makes a ridiculous pasta carbonara. Every once in awhile on a lazy Sunday morning or when we have a house full of company, he’ll make it. It’s out of this world. I mean, pasta, eggs, cheese and bacon? How could you go wrong?
One food you would never eat?
I can’t wrap my head around sushi or sashimi. I’ve tried it (my daughter has been eating it since she was about seven and keeps encouraging me) but I can’t get past the texture. It’s just not for me.
Rudeness is hard for me. I try to be very considerate and think of other people, of how things would seem from their perspective. I’m not perfect at it, but I try. When people don’t seem to even try to do that, it bothers me.
Skittles or M&Ms?
Not really a candy person, but if I had to pick…hmmm…M&M’s, but can I have peanut ones please?
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I’ve been spending a lot of time marketing my book and trying to get it in front of as many people as possible. Owners of indie bookstores have been so welcoming and eager to help. That’s been very nice. But just yesterday I was in a store, looking for some pants for my daughter to wear in the trailer we’re working on for the book, and I showed the cover to one of the girls working there, hoping she could help me find what I needed. She was blown away that I had written the book, or any book. She said she’d always wanted to be a writer and that she was just honored to have even met one. It was the first time anything like that had ever happened. It made me feel great, like I was really connecting with someone instead of spending endless hours in front of my computer.
Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?
This is going to sound weird, but as I was writing Fiona, I always pictured it in my head, kind of like a movie playing. There’s a scene where an old fairy is about to Shine, or become one with the universe, and everyone in the Enchanted Wood is heading to the ceremony. As they’re on their way, I always heard Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenbaum in my head. I could just see the flickering of the little fairy lights against the dark of the night sky, fireworks bursting overhead, and Spirit in the Sky playing as the characters walked through the Wood.
If you could have a signed copy of any novel what would it be and why?
I would LOVE to have a signed copy of East of Eden by John Steinbeck. It’s my favorite novel of all time. When I grow up, I want to be Samuel Hamilton (one of the main characters). It’s just all in there; love betrayal, evil, goodness, wisdom. It’s an epic saga and I love it. I read it every few years, which reminds me, I’m about due.
What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you’d be embarrassed to admit?
Real Housewives. I’m not even picky. Any of the variations will do, though my favorite is NJ. Maybe it’s because I’m from the East Coast, but I just can’t get enough. Sad, but true.
In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with?
This is tough, because there are so many great ones. Barbara Kingsolver pops immediately to mind. I’m a huge fan of hers. I remember thinking about the Poisonwood Bible for weeks after I’d finished it. I couldn’t stop chewing on it. But I am, at heart, a fantasy nerd. If there are dragons and fairies or elves and magic, I’m in. And no one does fantasy quite like George R. R. Martin. So, I guess I would pick Martin. Now you’ve got me thinking how awesome that would be!
Print or Ebook?
I have some ebooks, but they’re not my favorite. I volunteer at a local convalescent home, reading to the residents, and the books on my phone come in handy there. But I can’t get used to it when I read for myself. I want to feel the book in my hand and slide my finger over the paper as I turn the page. I want to smell that musty, inky smell books can get (especially when they’re old). It’s just part of it for me.
Sweet or Salty?
I have a salt addiction. No lie. I might need help. You could wave a bar of chocolate or a vat of ice cream in front of me and I couldn’t care less. But open a bag of chips and all bets are off. Especially if they’re kettle cooked and extra crunchy. So good. My family likes to say there’s an ogre living inside of me, surviving only on chips. He’s not nice either. I’ve been known to knock someone out of the way for a bag of chips.
Harry Potter or Twilight?
Harry Potter for sure. No question. Rowling is the master. I bow before her greatness. I mean, it’s obvious, I guess, but think about how she’s influenced the world, all with some characters she imagined. But that’s what great writing can do. I find that amazing. She’s an inspiration.
Spontaneity or Planning Ahead?
I am a notorious planner. I have lists all around my house reminding me what I’m supposed to be doing. I love lists so much that sometimes (don’t tell anyone) I even write something on the lists that I’ve already done, just so I can cross it off. How weird is that?
Fiona Thorn and the Carapecem Spell
When Fiona Thorn, an ornery orphan with an expertise in explosives, sets out to rescue her imprisoned friend, Jaydin Rowan, she wants nothing more than a few sleeping guards and a satchel full of Blast. What she gets is a run-in with three bickering princesses that puts all four girls on the wrong side of a locked dungeon door.
Now, accidentally involved in a plot to assassinate the King and accused of kidnapping the princesses, Fiona must find a way to free them all, save the King, and rescue Jaydin, all while struggling to pay the magical debt that’s slowly killing her. Unless, of course, the princesses’ annoying sibling rivalry kills her first.
Packed with powerful magic, fun-loving fairies and a vicious ogre turned pet, Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell is a fantasy kids’ book sure to become a favorite in middle grade fiction.
1 copy of Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell
Paperback available to US only, ebook open Internationally