Author Spotlight: Jenna Gavigan
Nov. 2, 2018
We are excited to feature middle grade author Jenna Gavigan and her novel, LULU THE BROADWAY MOUSE (Running Press Kids Oct 9, 2018)
Enter to win a signed copy of her book below!
|Illustrations © Irwin Madrid|
Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for children.
I had an idea for a book that starred a mouse who wants to be on Broadway, which felt like an appropriate topic for a kids’ book, so… here we are!
Congrats on your MG LULU THE BROADWAY MOUSE. Tell us about it and what inspired you.
I made my Broadway debut in the Shubert Theatre, where LULU takes place. One day, while backstage during the run of our show (Gypsy, starring Bernadette Peters!) I spotted a mouse running across a water pipe in the wardrobe room. I was initially freaked out, as most people are by rodents, but my mind quickly jumped to: “Perhaps this mouse thinks it works here! Or wants to work here!” and the idea for a mouse who dreams of performing on Broadway was born.
Over the years I wrote a few little drafts—one of them a picture book version, while I was at Columbia in a “writing for children’s books” class—but it wasn’t until the summer of 2016 that I sat down to write this story as a middle grade novel. I had just closed a play off-Broadway and really needed a project to keep my mind off the fact that I wasn’t going to be working in theatre 6 days a week anymore. Writing this book allowed me to be in the theatre in a different way! It also reminded me of why I became an actress in the first place. I’m thankful to LULU for reminding me that it all simply started with love.
Was your road to publication long and windy, short and sweet, or something in between?
I’m reminded of a line from the end of “When Harry Met Sally” that goes something like this… Harry: Three months later we were married. Sally: Twelve years and three months.
The idea for this book was dancing around my brain for more than a decade. But once I finally sat down to write it, I went from a blank computer screen to a purchased book in one year.
What other projects are you working on? Any new books coming out?
I’m really hoping I’ll get to write a sequel, if not a series for LULU. We’ll see what happens! I’m also in the early stages of a middle-grade book set in a Brooklyn boarding house in the 1930s, loosely based on the experiences of my ancestors.
What are the one or two best things you did for your career?
1. Majoring in creative writing at Columbia, which not only made me a stronger writer but made me a more well-rounded person.
2. Constantly reminding myself of why I got into show business in the first place and why I’m now an author, too: I love these things! They should be fun! Yes, they’re work, and can be stressful, inconsistent, aggravating… But let’s keep reminding ourselves that we’re playing make-believe and getting paid for it!!
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
I’ve worn glasses since the first grade. I woke up one morning after having had a bad fever and my eye had crossed! It eventually corrected itself, thanks to glasses (and a patch!) but I still wear glasses/contacts because I have astigmatism. When I see kids with glasses or very obvious eye issues I want to tell them they’re not alone and that it’ll all work out. (And that they look adorable.)
Where can people find you online?
On Twitter and Instagram @Jenna_Gavigan and on my website at https://www.iamjennagavigan.com/
Jenna Gavigan grew up dreaming of Broadway. As a teenager, she made her Broadway debut in Gypsy, opposite Bernadette Peters. Since then, she’s appeared in a handful of films, on a gaggle of television shows, and on stages east and west. A fourth-generation New Yorker, Jenna graduated with a BA in creative writing from Columbia University, where she focused on fiction, television and screenwriting. She lives in a teeny tiny apartment with her husband, Kevin. Like Lulu, Jenna loves cheese, regularly quotes musicals, and continues to dream of Broadway.
Lulu the Broadway Mouse is her first novel.
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