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September 8, 2009

Interview with Jennifer Jabaley

Today I have an interview with the author of Lipstick Apology Jennifer Jabaley!
Where did you get for inspiration for Lipstick Apology?
Here's the true story how I dreamed up the idea for LIPSTICK APOLOGY: My sister and I are very close. Several years ago she had two children and I had none. She was about to go on her very first vacation without the kids and she was freaking out a little bit. The night before her flight she called me about ten times, each time telling me random information "in case the flight goes down". Yes, she is a bit dramatic like I tend to be. Information about our wills is here...The key to the safety box is here...If you have to sell the house call this person...When the phone rang for the six or seventh time I turned to my husband and said, Can you imagine, the flight would be going down and she would whip out her lipstick and start outlining the kid's schedule and bedtimes on a tray table. My husband laughed and said that would be a great idea for a book. So I grabbed a post it note and scribbled "note on a tray table". I stashed that post-it note in my drawer and didn't see it again until almost a year later when I was packing to move. And that post it note became the inspiration for my story

What kind of research did you do for Lipstick Apology?
Most of my research was related to setting. In my original manuscript I set Aunt Jolie's apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.  But because of the popularity of Gossip Girl and their Upper East Side setting, my editor and I decided to switch the location to the West Village. Unfortunately I didn't know that much about the area so I had to do quite a bit of investigation!

How long did it take you to write?
To complete my first manuscript it took about one year.  After the novel was aquired by Razorbill we spent about four months doing revisions.

When did you decide to become a writer?
Gosh, I really don't think I even realized I was a writer until I got the call that Razorbill wanted to buy my book! Since I'm a mother to two small children and they require most of my time and energy and patience, I always title myself first as a Mom.  Also, all my education has been for my optometry career so naturally I tend to think, I'm also an optometrist.  But writing? That's something I do more for me - to tell a story, to get my words down - I don't think it really hit me that this could also be a title or a career. But, wow, now that my book is out on the shelves, it's so exciting that the reality is there.

What makes you get up and start writing even when you really do not want to? (characters, plot, wanting to know what is going to happen, ect.)
Self motivation, I guess.  And you're right, somedays it is really hard.  Sometimes all I want to do is curl up on the couch and watch T.V. But there's a little whisper inside me that says 'no one else is going to write your stories' and that pushes me.  You do have to have an idea or character that really ignites the fire in you or else I do believe there are too many distractions to compete.

Do you use an outline when you start a book or do you just start writing?
I outline extensively.  I'm definitely not the fly by the seat of your pants kind of girl - in any aspect of my life :)

If you could travel anywhere from a book that is not your own where would it be?
Hmmm, that's a tough one.  Most of the books that I'm drawn to are contemporary fiction and the settings tend to be just average towns or cities in the U.S.  One setting that I do remember having a huge impact on me as a child was the garden from the book The Secret Garden.  Reading that as a child I remember imagining a vivid place of serenity and intrigue. I would love to check it out.

Anything else we should know about Lipstick Apology?
I think the number one thing I want people to know about Lipstick Apology is that although there is a serious theme of forgiveness and death of parents, the overall tone of the book is lighthearted and fun.  Lipstick Apology has both humor and heart.
Thank you so much!!
Visit Jennifer's website to find out more! 



  1. Great Interview! That's really neat how the story idea came to her. I haven't had a chance to read this yet, but I really want to. It's been on my wishlist since I first heard about it. And I like the cover.


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