Author Chat with Janae Marks (From The Desk Of Zoe Washington), Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Today we're excited to chat with Janae Marks author of
From The Desk Of Zoe Washington.
Read on for more about Janae and her book, plus an giveaway.
Meet Janae Marks!
Janae Marks graduated from the New School with an MFA in Writing for Children. When she isn’t writing fiction, she’s spending time with her husband and daughter at home in Connecticut. FROM THE DESK OF ZOE WASHINGTON is her debut novel. Visit Janae online at janaemarks.com.
Meet From The Desk Of Zoe Washington!
From debut author Janae Marks comes a captivating mystery full of heart, as one courageous girl questions assumptions, searches for the truth, and does what she believes is right—even in the face of great opposition. A perfect book for fans of Front Desk and All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook!
Zoe Washington isn’t sure what to write. What does a girl say to the father she’s never met, hadn’t heard from until his letter arrived on her twelfth birthday, and who’s been in prison for a terrible crime?
A crime he says he never committed.
Could Marcus really be innocent? Zoe is determined to uncover the truth. Even if it means hiding his letters and her investigation from the rest of her family. Everyone else thinks Zoe’s worrying about doing a good job at her bakery internship and proving to her parents that she’s worthy of auditioning for Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge.
But with bakery confections on one part of her mind, and Marcus’s conviction weighing heavily on the other, this is one recipe Zoe doesn’t know how to balance. The only thing she knows to be true: Everyone lies.
Amazon * B & N * Indiebound
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I was inspired by real-life events! In 2014, I listened to the first season of the podcast Serial, which told the story of a young man who’s serving a prison sentence for murder, but many believe could be innocent of the crime. I also watched the Netflix documentary Making a Murderer, which told a similar story. I knew wrongful convictions happened, and had heard of the organization The Innocence Project, who helps overturn them. I started researching this issue, and then, since I write for kids, I started to wonder what life is like for the children of incarcerated parents. Zoe Washington was born from there! As for the baking storyline, I love watching baking competition shows, especially the ones featuring kids, so I decided to make Zoe an aspiring pastry chef.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Zoe’s grandmother. I loved writing about her close relationship with Zoe. She really gets Zoe, and understands that she doesn’t need to be sheltered from the realities of the world. Plus, she wears fun earrings!
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
By the time I finished my first draft, I also had my title. I chose it because it’s what’s written on the top of the stationary Zoe uses when she writes to Marcus in prison. The amazing thing is that the title has stayed the same since then! Authors sometimes have to change their titles once they start working with a publisher--to make it more marketable, for example--but thankfully, everyone at Katherine Tegen Books has been on board with From the Desk of Zoe Washington.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
No spoilers, but I loved writing the scenes at the end of the book where Zoe and Trevor go on an adventure through Harvard Square. It was so much fun to write and I think I succeeded in making those scenes suspenseful, cinematic and emotional.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
Don’t give up. I started writing my first novel when I was in my creative writing MFA program, which I graduated from in 2010. My debut novel is coming out a decade later. There were more manuscripts and lots of rejection in between! Had I given up at any point during those ten years, I wouldn’t be debuting now with a book that has already gotten amazing feedback from readers, booksellers and reviewers. The publication journey is a marathon, not a sprint. There are always low moments, but if you really want to be published, you need to pick yourself back up and keep writing.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love everything about it! The illustration of Zoe and all of the little details in her bedroom that tie into the book. The handwritten title. The colors. It’s so beautiful!
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
I much prefer revising! When I get into the zone of drafting, it can be fun, but the blank page is intimidating. I like when the draft is written and I can go back and make the story and sentences better. That’s when my best writing comes out.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I’m currently working on my second middle grade novel, which will come out in 2021! I can’t wait to share more about it soon. If you like Zoe’s independent, passionate spirit, I think you’ll enjoy my next protagonist as well.
From The Desk Of Zoe Washington
By: Janae Marks
Release Date: January 14th, 2020
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Two winners will recieve a copy of From The Desk Of Zoe Washington (Janae Marks) ~ (Us Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
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