Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Why I Write: Jenn Rush

I started telling stories at a young age. When I was five, my best friend was a little boy named Benjamin who lived in my neighborhood. I vividly remember, one day during the summer, I told him I could transport us to the world of the Smurfs. He didn’t believe me. So I got out my magic book (a bible), put on my magic vest, and recited a bunch of gibberish while pointing at the TV. I don’t know if I thought it’d work (it didn’t, in case you were wondering), but I wanted to believe I could transport us. Years later, I realized I could send people on an adventure, not with magical books and magical vests, but with my words, and the worlds I could create on the page.

I started reading voraciously in 6th grade, and when I hit junior high, I devoured anything I could about vampires. Back then it was L. J. Smith’s Vampire Diaries series, and Christopher Pike’s Last Vampire series. The feeling I got while reading those books---the excitement, the danger, the mystery and romance---was something I sought again and again when the books were over. So I started my own vampire novel, and while it wasn’t very good, I was hooked on crafting young adult fiction, because when I had music blaring in my ears, and words pouring out on the page, I felt all those things again.

Which brings me to the second reason why I write: escape. Every day life can be stressful, depressing, hectic, boring, lackluster, lots of things you would rather turn off. I think literature has the power to do that, whether you’re reading it or writing it. I remember, two years ago, I was working full-time as a bank teller, and in between customers, I was reading Ally Condie’s Matched. I loved that book so hard. And when I finished, I had this feeling in my chest, this exhilarating, electric feeling, like I wouldn’t ever be the same after having read that book. And I suddenly felt sorry for non-readers, or readers who never had the privilege of reading something that powerful.

I like to think of books as these little self-contained worlds that you can visit whenever you want or need to, that make you feel things you are having a hard time feeling in the real world. They inspire people, they excite people, they bring people together. And writing something that has the ability to do all those things to people you’ve never met is an experience a writer (at least this writer) has a hard time putting into words.

So why do I write? I write to feel something that nothing else has ever been able to make me feel. A natural high, I think you could say. I think that’s why anyone with a specific passion does what they do. They do it to feel. Actors perform. Dancers dance. Adventurers sky dive. And writers write.

Jennifer Rush resides in Michigan, in the same town where she grew up, right on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Easily bored, she's held many jobs, including a laundromat attendant (where she met her husband), a bank teller, and an apartment manager (twice). She wrote a book at each job, but expects nothing will compare to writing a book as a job.

A mother of two, a wife to one, Jennifer currently lives with her family in a noisy, messy, little house, but is looking forward to one day having a writer's cottage to call her own, where the carpet will be devoid of smashed fig newtons. Her debut YA novel ALTERED comes out January 2013, followed by an MG series in the summer 2013 called BOT WARS.

Connect with Jenn on her blog, on goodreads, on tumblr and on twitter. 

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  1. HA! Love the childhood story of trying to transport to Smurfworld! I'm so excited for Jennifer's debut novel to come out!!

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