Friday, May 2, 2014

All About Middle Grade Interview: Jennifer Nielsen (Author of the Ascendance Trilogy)

This week, I am very excited to welcome Jennifer Nielsen, author of the Ascendance trilogy, to the blog to talk about her books and which character(s) she think could stop a robot invasion.

About the Author:
New York Times Bestselling author, Jennifer Nielsen, was born and raised in northern Utah, where she still lives today with her husband, three children, and a dog that won’t play fetch. She is the author of The Ascendance trilogy, beginning with THE FALSE PRINCE; Book 6 of the Infinity Ring series, BEHIND ENEMY LINES, The Underworld Chronicles, beginning with ELLIOT AND THE GOBLIN WAR; and the forthcoming PRAETOR WAR series. She loves chocolate, old books, and lazy days in the mountains.

You can haunt Jennifer Nielsen at-
Goodreads | Twitter | Website | FB | Blog |


1. In seven words, tell us why you think readers will enjoy the Ascendance trilogy?

Betrayal. Murder. Love. Swords. Friendship. Rebellion. Jaron.

2. Why is it you think Jaron attracts followers so strongly? Being one of the characters you've created, what did you enjoy most when it came to writing about his story?

I think readers respond to his fight – the fact that he really doesn’t want the challenges that have come to him, but he puts his whole self into the fight anyway. Beyond that, he gets knocked down so many times, and yet he always finds a way to get back up. I think readers believe that if he can do it, so can they. Or at least, that’s something I hope readers would pull from Jaron’s story.

The thing I enjoyed most about writing a character like Jaron is that he’s unpredictable, even to me. There are times when I could feel his character really wanting to go in a direction that I didn’t necessarily think was a good idea. But I would follow where he led, and interesting surprises always waited at the other end.

3. Hardest chapter to write in each book?

For me, it’s usually the first chapter. That first chapter has to do a lot – define character, define the problem, and grab the reader. I will often completely rewrite Chapter 1 many times before I find the right beginning.

4. Why you write children's fantasy and young adult books?

I write for young people because that’s pretty much where my maturity maxed out.

And I didn’t start out writing fantasy. I came into it quite late, actually, and once I did, it electrified my imagination like no other writing ever had. I love the infinite possibilities always waiting in a great fantasy book, and though I may eventually write in other genres, I will never leave fantasy behind.

5. Last book you read that stuck with you long after you finished it? 

Two books: ONE FOR THE MURPHYS by Lynda Mullaly Hunt, a contemporary middle grade about a girl who goes into foster care. Her main character, Carley, just leaps off the page in the most brilliant way. Like most readers, I am eagerly hoping for a sequel. Second is THE DARKEST PATH by Jeff Hirsch, a near-future story of a United States divided by civil war. It was so exciting and stressful and wonderful an adventure - I could not put that book down!

6. Time for some fill-in-the-blank fun: 

"When not writing I can be found catching up on laundry. Or avoiding it."
"I am great at avoiding my laundry."

7. If you could spend a day in any fictional world which would you choose and why?

I’d love to visit Jane Austen’s world of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. There is, however, a significant risk of me refusing to ever leave it.

8. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose? 

Robots, huh? I’d give Harry Potter first shot at Expelliarmus-ing the daylights outta them. Legolas from LORD OF THE RINGS can take a second try. And if that doesn’t work, let’s give Jaron a chance, because I know at least he’d never give up until the last robot is down.

9. Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?

My “cave” isn’t really a cave. I write wherever it’s quiet and low on distractions. But here’s a pic of my office, which is a good refuge when the kids are home and I’m on a deadline!

10. Any upcoming projects that you can sure with us?

My next release is called MARK OF THE THIEF, with a new series (The Praetor War). It takes place in Ancient Rome with an escaped slave, some stolen magic, and a battle to control the fall of the Roman Empire. The hero, Nic, has some traits in common with Jaron, but some of his own as well, and definitely has a great story to tell. With that stolen magic, he’s in so far over his head that he won’t be able to avoid the most wonderful, dangerous, and epic sorts of trouble!

Jennifer, thank you so much for stopping by to talk about your books. So excited to have discovered the Ascedance trilogy this year; also looking forward to your next series (Ancient Rome for the win).

Don't forget, y'all can see my thoughts on the entire Ascendance series:
The False Prince | The Runaway King | The Shadow Throne |

The Shadow Throne (Ascendance, 3) by Jennifer A. Nielsen, February 25, 2014. Published by Scholastic.
One war.Too many deadly battles.Can a king save his kingdom, when his own survival seems unlikely?
War has come to Carthya. It knocks at every door and window in the land. And when Jaron learns that King Vargan of Avenia has kidnapped Imogen in a plot to bring Carthya to its knees, Jaron knows it is up to him to embark on a daring rescue mission. But everything that can go wrong does.

His friends are flung far and wide across Carthya and its neighbouring lands. In a last-ditch effort to stave off what looks to be a devastating loss for the kingdom, Jaron undertakes what may be his last journey to save everything and everyone he loves. But even with his lightning-quick wit, Jaron cannot forestall the terrible danger that descends on him and his country. Along the way, will he lose what matters most? And in the end, who will sit on Carthya's throne?

You can check out the entire Ascendance series on Goodreads.

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