The O.G. reading copy of THOSE WHO SAVE US

Dear Readers,
This morning on Facebook, awesome reader Shannon Bromenschenkel requested a photo of my original reading copy of THOSE WHO SAVE US, so here she is.

She’s one of my most valuable possessions–what I’d grab along with Woodrow, my laptop and family photos if I had to run out of a house on fire. I bought her at Borders in downtown Boston in 2004, the first day the novel was published. I stood next to the “New Releases” table & watched people pick her up and put her down & finally couldn’t stand it anymore and purchased this copy myself, telling the beautiful gay couple standing next to me, “This is mine! This is my book!” They looked at the author photo and then at me in my yoga pants with my crazy writer hair and said, “Are you SURE?” But after I showed them my driver’s license, they hugged me and said “Congratulations!”
To this day, when I have a THOSE WHO SAVE US reading, I read from her. On the first, blank pages of this edition I inscribed every reading I took this novel to–until I ran out of space. There are literally hundreds of events written there. Thank you, readers! Thank you, Shannon Bromenschenkel!


Nexus of Literature and History: CATCHER’S KEEPER (author Q&A)

Dear Readers,

Sometimes new books are born at the nexus of literature and history. Today I interview J.D. Spero, author of the debut novel CATCHER’S KEEPER, an Amazon quarter-finalist alternate-reality portrait of what would have happened had Holden Caulfield intersected with the assassin of John Lennon–and tried to prevent the murder.


What if Holden Caulfield was around when John Lennon was shot? In 1980 John Lennon was killed by Mark David Chapman, who believed he was Holden Caulfield, narrator of the classic The Catcher in the Rye. After the shooting, Chapman remained on the scene calmly reading the book, which he later offered to police as “his statement.” Catcher’s Keeper asks the question, “What if Holden had met Chapman, learned of his plan, and tried to prevent the assassination?”

Motivation Time

Hi Jenna! I know you’re very busy, but I have a question. I’ve finally begun the actual writing of the first draft of my thesis, but I’m finding it tough to get motivated. I am constantly thinking about my project, but yet I find that once I sit down to write about it, everything goes out the window. Do you ever experience this?? If you do, what do you do to get past it??

* * *

Writer on the Holiday Rooo-oooo-oooo-ooad

Dear Readers,

It’s almost time to hit the road for many of us–not just me! I’m going to Blue House for the 4th of July and a family reunion, bringing a disproportionate number of books, as usual. Where are you going–and what will you bring to READ?

Here, for Grub Street’s Grub Daily, is my new Writer on the Holiday Rooo-ooo-ooo-ooad column, with my summer reading suggestions.

Enjoy! Happy trails!


National Lampoon's European Vacation



Work Like A Farmer, Party Like A Rock Star

Dear Readers,

Here’s a literary interview I did–re: which writers have influenced me and which I’d like to have brunch with–for Wichita’s newspaper F5. Their motto is, “Work like a farmer, party like a rock star.” Can’t go wrong with that!

Enjoy the interview.

F5 interview article



Want more THOSE WHO SAVE US? Click here.

Dear Readers,

Do you miss the THOSE WHO SAVE US characters? Do you, like me, fall in love with books and want to see more of their people after the back cover is closed? Then this story is for you. Called “Max & Josephine,” it’s what I call a “shrapnel story”–a short story I wrote after THOSE WHO SAVE US was finished, when the novel and its characters were still working their way out from under my skin. It’s about the Good Doktor Max Stern and what his life was like in the early days of the Reich in Weimar–and what kind of peril he was in.

Why Go To Writers’ Conferences? Writer on The Road: AWP, March 2013.

Dear Writer-Readers,

Do you dread writers’ conferences? Picture them as seething seas of competitive writers jockeying for position, throwing elbows, pushing each other’s faces into the primordial literary ooze? Me too. But they’re not really like that. Why you needn’t dread them and why you should go: 12+ reasons I gleaned from this year’s AWP in Boston.

Time for another…AWP.

My new Writer on The Road column for Grub Street, live now!

Enjoy–and write on.

x Jenna.

Thieves, Stalking Exes, Jail Time, and Ghosts: Best & Worst of the book tours, oh my!

Dear Readers,

Just about every writer (myself included) has dealt on tour with Invisible Audience Syndrome: the readings where NOBODY SHOWS UP. But some writers have had much more hair-raising experiences than that. In honor of so many friends publishing books this spring, I’ve compiled a Best & Worst of the Book Tours column for Grub Street. Here are some of these moments, featuring thieves, stalking exes, jail time, and ghosts.

Best & Worst of the Book Tours: Writer(s) on the Road




Ain’t That America Somethin’ To See: Photography Exhibit

Lone Bolt, CO

Lone Bolt, CO–one of the images in the show.

Dear Readers,

I’m utterly thrilled–and a little shy–to announce my 1st-ever photography exhbition, “Ain’t That America Somethin’ To See,” comprised of photos I shot while stormchasing.

Lone Bolt, CO

Lone Bolt, CO

The show will open at the Bluff Country Artists’ Gallery in Spring Grove, MN, on Saturday, May 18, 2013. First I get to do an author/ photographer presentation, sponsored by the Spring Grove Public Library, at the Spring Grove Theater at 2 P.M. Then there’s the exhibit, opening at 3 P.M., at the gallery, where there’ll be a meet, greet & signing. And those of you who have so kindly said over the past few years that you’d buy my photos–now you can.

What Happens After?

Dear Readers:

This morning I got an email from a reader wanting to know what had happened to Trudy after the end of THOSE WHO SAVE US. It’s a fairly frequent question, not just about Trudy but about all the characters–and not posed just to me but, I imagine, to many writers. I was just listening to an audio essay by Stephen King on this same topic, how readers will ask him what happened to this character or that?  ”As if,” Mr. King said, “I get letters from them every now and then.”

Character Valhalla?

Character Valhalla?