Author Spotlight: Jenni L. Walsh
Dec. 21, 2018
Today we are pleased to present middle-grade author Jenni L. Walsh. Jenni is the author of the SHE DARED series (Scholastic Jan. 1, 2019).
Be sure to enter the rafflecopter to win a copy of both SHE DARED books, MALALA YOUSAFZAI and BETHANY HAMILTON (Scholastic)!
|cover design © Maeve Norton|
Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for children.
You could say I’ve danced around writing for children for quite a few years. Once upon a time I wrote a young adult manuscript, but when a publisher wanted to bring it to shelves, they asked me if I’d age up to adult. That book – along with my sophomore novel – were both adult. Then, my agent came to me and mentioned how Scholastic was looking for an author for a new nonfiction middle grade series. I jumped at the chance. The series, SHE DARED, is all about brave young women who accomplished daring feats of perseverance and bravery. And, as I’m in the process of raising a brave young woman and also a brave young man, I knew I wanted to be a part of Scholastic’s wonderful vision. Fortunately, I got the gig!
Congrats on the SHE DARED series! Tell us about them, what inspired you, and how you researched the books.
|cover design © Maeve Norton|
We’ll be kicking off the series with two books, one profiling surfer Bethany Hamilton (who lost her arm in a shark attack), and the other activist Malala Yousafzai (who, after being shot by the Taliban, became an advocate for education). These women are remarkable and inspired me a great deal as I was writing and researching. Like other biographical series, they aren’t authorized – so I sadly didn’t interview Malala or Bethany directly – but I spent many hours reading their interviews, their memoirs, watching videos and documentaries, learning about their cultures, their beliefs, their causes. I hope I did their stories justice and made these women proud (should they ever read my books).
|Cover design © Maeve Norton|
Was your journey to publication long and windy, short and sweet, or something in between?
I’d say it was a whirlwind. Once I jumped at the chance to throw my hat into the ring to be the author of the series, the following months consisted of writing various sample chapters for multiple girls. I wrote about historical girls, contemporary girls – and we finally decided on Bethany and Malala. The timing coincided with the birth of my second child, so it was a hectic, but happy time.
What projects are you working on now?
I hope to be adding to the series – and have been thinking of other remarkable young women to write about. Otherwise, historical fiction is a passion of mine, especially women who history has largely overlooked, and I have a middle grade and an adult project underway. Hopefully I can share more about those soon!
You write nonfiction. What's your best advice for aspiring authors who want to break into the nonfiction field?
Be open to opportunities! I was fortunate that my agent came to me, asking if I was interested in working on this series. But, otherwise, if you’ve got a great idea, pursue it. Many publishers are open to proposal ideas.
What is something most people don't know about you?
I’m such an introvert. The caveat is that I love talking about books so that gets me yapping and takes me out of my comfort zone!
Where can people find you online?
I’m on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter as @jennilwalsh and my website is jennilwalsh.com. This introvert would love for you to come say hi ☺
Jenni L. Walsh spent a decade enticing readers as an award-winning advertising copywriter before becoming an author. Now her passion lies in transporting readers to another world, be it in historical or contemporary settings. She is a proud graduate of Villanova University, and lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her husband, daughter, son, and two furbabies. She also writes historical fiction for adults and children.
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