(We begin our second interview at Jenn’s house, which is somewhere near Ottawa. She is looking relaxed and beautiful as she lounges on her huge blue couch while holding her second chai latte of the day. Her dark hair, which is soon to be a lovely caramel/red is in a straightforward bun, while gold hoops hang from her little ears. Her make-up is minimal (none) and her dark blue turtleneck is fitted and her gray gap pants are frayed at the hem. Her neurotic dog, Daisy, is wandering the house in search of kibble or an ant. The interview begins…)
Hello Jenn. So nice of you to let us come back into your house.
Yes, well, I haven’t exactly cleaned up much since you were last here.
No, I noticed that pile of dog hair was there last time as well.
That’s not very polite you know. Pointing out people’s faults.
Um, I’m sorry. I didn’t think I was.
I can’t help if housecleaning isn’t a strong suit of mine. At least I can cook. Here, try a sugar cookie.
Well, I don’t know if I should. Trying to watch my weight and all.
Listen, when someone-not-famous-yet offers you a cookie. You take it.
Um, ok…this is pretty good.
I know. Can we get on with the interview? I may have energy to do laundry and I don’t want to miss my chance. Rockstar hubby is out of underwear.
Well, let’s start with your family. You refer to your husband as a ‘Rockstar’. Is he?
Not in the official sense, no. But it was fun for awhile when people actually thought that. They were all like, ‘what band does he play for?’ and I’ll like, ‘what are you talking about?’ just to mess with them. No, when you say someone is a rockstar, you mean that they are pretty amazing. And he is. And he can do everything. And really well. But he can’t sing. Or play an instrument. Or dance. Just don’t go there.
Ok, so what does he do?
I thought I had already told you, but he’s a firefighter.
(stammering) Well, I just mean, most firefighters are hunky…aren’t they?
But mine is.
Yes, of course he is. Now tell us about your five year old gaffer. What’s a gaffer?
I think it means they do something with sound in movies. Not sure. Don’t care. I just like to call him gaffer. He’s five.
And what’ s he like?
Well, he’s five. And he’s brilliant. I know most people say that about their children and that’s fine, but I think he’s brilliant. We had quite a conversation about hot dogs today.
Well, I was on my way to take him to school and we were getting our stuff on at the front door. Today is hot dog day. We don’t eat hot dogs. They’re full of junk. But I asked him if he would like to have a hot dog today. He said yes. I asked him if it was too late to sign up for hot dog day and he said no. Then we noticed it was raining outside. And he said, ‘I hope the hot dog driver doesn’t get wet.’ And I was like, ? and he said, ‘the hot dog driver. The guy who delivers the hot dogs.’ And I asked, ‘where does he get the hot dogs?’ And he said, ‘from the hot dog place of course. You get pizza from pizza place? Well, you get hot dogs from hot dog places’. And all I could think of was the pork packing plant down the road and I felt ill. But it was still funny.
And your dog.
Yes, Daisy. Terribly neurotic. Love her though. Wouldn’t trade her for the world. Can we talk about something else now?
Sure. Let’s come back to your writing. You say you’ve written a few poetry books.
Have any of them published?
Are you kidding? No! Do you know how hard it is to publish poetry? Unless of course it’s the National Poetry blah blah and they’ll publish your poem in a book and it’ll cost you only 50$ etc. No, I did do the whole school newspaper thing, but that’s it.
Oh, up at Lakehead. There was a poetry magazine that came out monthly, and then there was the newspaper, but I usually did short stories for those. Mostly about animals and they always died in the end.
Yah, had a morbid sense of humour. Still do. Hm..anyway. My three poetry books are safely in my library upstairs.
Can I see?
See what? Upstairs? The books? The library?
Oh. Well, maybe you could put a few poems up on your web-site? Maybe a short story from school?
Maybe. Maybe later when I’m done laundry. Or making more cookies. Maybe tomorrow. Dunno.
Let’s talk about your book. “Jackson and His Great Aunt Harriett”.
It’s not called that anymore. As far as I know, it’s called, “Jackson Jones: the Tale of a Boy, an Elf and a Smelly, Dead Fish”.
Wow. That’s quite visual. Do you like it?
I don’t hate it. It’s better than the other ideas they threw at me. But I begged my amazing editor to fight for a great title, and she did. She really is fantastic. Do you know when she sent me my edits, she included a gift card from Starbucks? How sweet is that? I’m trying to figure out if I can Fed-Ex Christmas cookies to her office…
So what kind of edits have you had to make?
I ‘think’ I’m allowed to talk about it…Ok, so in the story, Jackson climbs into his aunt’s hair.
Do you even know what the book is about?
Ah..(rustling of notes)
You’re a cheesehead. Ok, I’ll tell you. Jackson Jones is ten and he’s normal and wonderful. He has a honkin huge family that he loves, but they have to move away because his mom’s a writer. So after they move he’s very lonely. So one night after a family reunion, he climbs into his great aunt’s hair and the adventure begins. He meets an elf who is a tour guide and they go through all these rooms…wow, I really suck at selling. Thank goodness I’m not in marketing.
So what were the changes?
Jackson fell in, as opposed to climbing in.
Can you give us any exerpts from the book?
I don’t know what I’m allowed to do.
So when does the book come out?
As far as I know, by Christmas 2010. I’d like it to be sooner, but I don’t think you can rush these things.
So what are you going to do while you wait for the next editing?
Well, I should probably keep writing. They say that writers need to write everyday. I wish I fell into that category. I get too distracted too easily. I think it’s amazing when writers can lock themselves to desks and just work. Blows my mind.
Well, how did you write your book?
I started writing it in March of 07. My son was three and he would go to the sitter’s once or twice a week. I would drop him off at 8am, then go to Chapters in Kanata. They have a Starbucks there. I’d order my chai latte and commandeer a huge table to myself. Then I’d just write. Whenever I got antsy, I’d walk around Chapters and look at books, go pee, bother people. I did meet some interesting people. Anyway, when Jackson started school in the fall, I did two days a week. And then I finished it. I had to listen to acid/funky jazz though. Or it didn’t work. Go figure.
So for now? Besides writing everyday?
Get ready for Christmas. Clean house.
Are you working on a new book?
Well, I have ideas for a prequel to “Jackson Jones” but I’ve got a side project that I’m working on that I don’t really want to discuss right now. It’s completely different from this.
No. So don’t bother asking.
(The interview ends with Jenn going back upstairs to stare out window forlornly, waiting for postman to bring her contract. We may be invited back again. Who knows?)