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Monday, January 11, 2010

Interview with Jen Nadol, Author of The Mark

I'd like to welcome debut author Jen Nadol, whose highly anticipated novel The Mark, releases January 19th of this month. Jen stopped by to talk about the book with us - let's get started!

In The Mark, Cassie sees a light glow surrounding certain people and desperately seeks out the meaning behind this unique and disturbing ability. How did the idea for The Mark evolve from a tiny spark to full length novel?

When the idea of knowing it was someone’s last day hit me, I saw right away the dilemmas it would present and knew how it would manifest – the mark, even some of the scenes that’d play out all at the same time. With the “right” choice such a clear theme, philosophy seemed a natural layer to the story. So, the path of the story formed fairly quickly, without a whole lot of evolution. Writing it took a bit longer…

Do you have a favorite scene, quote or passage within The Mark that you could share with us?

Well, avoiding spoilers, I’ve always kind of liked this one:

I doodled Cassandra Canton in my notebooks, liking the alliterative sound of it whispered aloud, then quickly scribbled it out before Lucas could see that I wasn’t the deep thinker he took me for, but just a silly schoolgirl after all.

The setting of the book alternates in Pennsylvania, where you hail from, and then switches to the Midwest, when Cassie travels to Kansas. Was there a reason in particular you chose to transplant Cassie into Kansas?

Actually, no. I use “placeholders” when I write – just picking a character’s name or city or whatever – off the top of my head as I’m writing so I don’t disturb the flow of getting the story on paper. Later, I’ll go back, think about it and choose a more appropriate name or city. In this case, I wanted her far from home and quick-picked the middle of the country as my placeholder. I ended up changing the town’s name, but didn’t see any reason to move her to another state so Kansas it was.

Cassie’s relationships with other characters in the book, especially Lucas and Nan were very vivid and realistic. Did you draw from your own experiences or people in your life when constructing the characters within The Mark?

I really didn’t. I don’t know anyone like either of those characters – or any of the others in the book - wouldn’t even say they’re composites of people I know. Where I think I do draw on my experience in how my characters act. Especially with Cassie, I put myself in her head a lot and as a result, she does a lot of stuff I probably would in the same situations.

Cassie enrolls in an intro philosophy course and speaks with a psychiatric professional in order to gain some insight and guidance into her ability. Did you do a lot of research in these areas when writing the book?

I’ve always been fascinated with mental disorders and have read a fair amount about them so I just had a psychiatrist friend and my mom, who’s a nurse, check those parts.

I did have to read a lot of philosophy – lots more than made it into the book. There were whole class lessons that I ended up deleting, but I think it got my head in the right place.

Cassie struggles with whether to tell people about the mark and is subsequently conflicted by the ramifications of her choices. Can you talk more about the questions of ethics, fate and happiness that are explored in The Mark?

IMO, the stuff Cassie thinks about is just good to consider from time to time. It’s very easy to live life by rote, but we only get a certain number of days and doing a double-check of our choices – big and small - every now and then is a good exercise.

How you think you’d handle seeing the mark if you were in Cassie’s shoes? Would you tell people?

Just like she does – I’d be just as unsure of the right choice.

At this time, are you planning on writing a sequel to The Mark? If so, will we see more of the smaller, but interesting characters like Drea and Petra? Can you tell us about any other projects you are working on?

There is a completed un-contracted sequel to The Mark that's with my Bloomsbury editor now and Petra does re-appear in it, as do some other characters. I have two other YA novels in early stages, one paranormal and one dytopian.

Thanks Jen for taking the time to stop by! Be sure to check back tomorrow for your chance to win an ARC of The Mark and swag!

Jen Nadol grew up in Reading, Pennsylvania, the hometown of John Updike, Taylor Swift, and the now-defunct Monopoly railroad. She has a BA in literature from American University and has lived in Washington DC, Boston, and New York City. She currently resides in a 150-year-old farmhouse in Westchester County, New York, with her husband and three young sons and is at work on her next two related novels. She has no paranormal abilities and is pretty happy about that.
www.jennadolbooks.com




47 comments:

JessiKay89 said...

This was a great interview! I'm excited for this book!

brizmus said...

Awesome interview! So funny how she ended up picking Kansas.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Marv interview!

Edna said...

great interview, new author, please enter me into the drawing

I follow you
I follow you on Twitter

mamat2730(at)charter(dot)net

RKCharron said...

Hi :)
Thanks for the interview with Jen Nadol and thanks to Jen for sharing. I enjoyed learning a bit more about her. YAY for the editor having the sequel! *hopes contract comes soon*
I'm looking forward to reading THE MARK.

Emma said...

Lovely review! The Mark looks excellent.

Brooke Reviews said...

I like the idea of placeholders. Usually thinking of a name or a place stumps me and then I lose track of what I'm writing.

Great interview :)

Book Crazy Jenn said...

Loved your interview, The Mark is one of those books I cant wait to pick up this coming year...

Jill of The O.W.L. said...

Great interview. I like what she says about only have a certian number of days and that we need to check out choices.

Well done.

Jen said...

Great interview! I love how Jen creates her characters. So often there characters in books are based on people(or parts of people), but she just created whole individuals from her imagination. So cool, can't wait to read the book!

Inked Books said...

I love that quote from the book.

Catie S (Book Bound) said...

This is a very informative interview. (I know that sounds stiff.) It's not all the same questions or odd questions, that'a what I mean.

misskallie2000 said...

You did a great interview with Jen. She had a unique way of choosing the area/town for her books. In fact she gave you a lot of info the reader would like to know. Thanks..

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

DontcallmeKatie said...

I really enjoyed the thought process that went into this book, I cannot wait to put it in my "to be read" pile! :)

Jessy said...

This is one of my most anticipated reads of 2010. I'm glad to hear more about it.

Bethie said...

Great interview. I wish her luck with the sequel.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Erin said...

Great interview. I really Like Jen, she sees like such a cool person. Thanks for sharing!

Stacy said...

Great interview! I can't wait to read this...I am glad there is a sequel in the works!

Irene said...

Interesting questions in your review, and was impressed with the philosophy research. Would love to win this one!

cyeates AT nycap DOT rr DOT com

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Awesome interview! This is how fans are made, I swear it.

Anyway, I'm just dropping in to let you guys know I've posted about this (and the give) at Win a Book.

Chanelley said...

Excellent interview!

Erica said...

Good interview! I'm looking forward to reading The Mark!

Zombie Girrrl said...

Nice interview! The dystopian book she mentioned piqued my interest. I'll be waiting for that, now, too!

Sarah said...

Awesome interview! Can't wait to read this book, sounds incredibly interesting.

Bere said...

Thank you for the interview.
It was great! This book is in my
Wish List, I hope to read it
soon! Thanks!

Bere =)

Emily said...

I am so excited for this book! Beautiful cover, great interview!

Erin said...

Great interview! It's nice to gain some insite to the minds of published authors. Yay for Reading, PA!!! :)

van_pham said...

heard a lot about this book, can't wait to read it. great interview!

Jenny N. said...

Nice interview. I'm curious to read about the choices that Cassie makes.

justpeachy36 said...

Great interview. I can't wait to read this book.

Book Addict Girl said...

ooooh, I'm totally excited about the upcoming books. Can't wait till The Mark comes out!

kalynnick said...

Great interview!

kalynnick AT yahoo DOT com

Violet said...

Excellent interview! Like the excerpt involving Cassie worrying about being caught engaging in a bit of silly name doodling. Cute & very relatable. Glad to hear there is a possible sequel in the works. :)

donnas said...

Great interview. Very interesting. Cant wait to read it.

Linda Henderson said...

I enjoyed the interview very much. I will enjoy reading the book.

SloMo2639 said...

+1 Comment on my interview with Jen Nadol HERE.
for the contest...;)

btw, nice review!

Nikki @ Bookizzle said...

Great interview! Interesting to read how the book came to being from Jen's perspective. Thanks for sharing!

Cherie J said...

Great interview! Cassie sounds like a fascinating character. I am looking forward to reading The Mark.

InABox said...

I always find it interesting to read about what and how the author researched in preparation for the novel. Thanks for asking that question!

Aik said...

What an amazing interview! I'm not aware that Jen has always been fascinated with mental disorders and have read a fair amount about them.

Wanda said...

This book looks wonderful. I must read this one!

Megg said...

Killer interview! I always love interviews, so thanks for doing this (and to the author!)

Bani said...

Nice interview! The Mark sounds so interesting and well thought out. I'm curious about the dystopian book she's working on too.

CherylS22 said...

I enjoyed reading the interview! Your process for choosing names & cities is interesting. Thanks!

skyla11377 said...

Good Interview With Jen. What A Unique Concept For A Book. This Sounds Like A Book I Would Enjoy Reading.

Book Sp(l)ot said...

Those were some really great interview questions--I just might have to read some of this again after I read the book.

I really wanted to read this book after seeing somethign about it a while ago, but after reading Numbers recently, I want to read it even more for whatever reason :D

-Lucile

S.F. Robertson said...

I can't wait to read this book. The concept sounds so intriguing!