Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Interview with Jenny Torres Sanchez (The Downside of Being Charlie Blog Tour)

Today we have Jenny Torres Sanchez here for an author interview! This post is part of The Teen Scene's blog tour for The Downside of Being Charlie by Jenny Torres Sanchez. You can find out all about the tour here

1. Checking out your website, I see you used to like thinking of other names for yourself, so you must like being allowed to invent names for fictional people! How do you go about choosing names for your characters?
I do like the naming my characters, but actually, I tend to keep them relatively simple. But I will “ feel out” a character’s name for a while, use the name for a scene or two and see if it feels right. If it does, I keep it.

Charlie has always been Charlie, but in my second YA nove I changed the names of some characters a couple of times before they felt right.
2. Without spoiling anything, could you tell is what was your favorite scene to write in The Downside of Being Charlie?
I think my favorite scene to write was the snow scene. In this scene, Charlotte and Charlie are lying down on her front lawn, looking up at the sky as it snows. That scene is very vivid in my mind. I can see the inky sky and the blur of falling snow. There’s this quiet beauty to the whole thing, but this scene is also where Charlie and Charlotte start to get somewhat real with one another and it’s crushing to Charlie. I don’t know, somehow this scene just seemed very important. And I just really liked figuring out the conversation between Charlotte and Charlie in this scene—how much they would tell each other and how much they would still keep from one another.
3. What is the best writing advice you've ever received?
Produce, produce, produce. This became my mantra as I set out to write The Downside of Being Charlie because sometimes (and I was definitely guilty of this for many years) there is a lot of talk about writing, or a lot of reading about writing, or a lot of going to writing conferences and workshops, but there’s not a whole lot of actual writing, which is after all the most important part of writing. I don't discourage anyone from doing any of these things, but it should be in addition to writing. Because no matter how much prep work you do, the best way to become a better writer is to produce work. Work that serves as practice, that you can learn from, that you can tweak and make better and use to better understand what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. If you don’t produce anything, you won’t learn no matter how much you discuss it with other writers, or read about it, or attend the best conferences. And you won’t get better. You have to produce. You have to write.
4. I read you're a high school English teacher. How does that help you with your own writing?
My experience as a teacher definitely helped my writing. Seeing the drama and angst that is high school (after thinking I was done with it and blocking out most of my own teenage years) was really interesting. Seeing the struggles my students had, the way they behaved, the things they would say or wouldn’t say, really made me think about and appreciate the teen experience in a new way and made want to me to write about it. It helped me remember what it was like to be a teen and it gave me the opportunity to observe teens. But most of all, I think it reminded every day to give teens lots of credit. Sometimes it’s easy to generalize teens, and perhaps think that they don’t appreciate literature. But they do, and they have strong opinions about different issues but they’re also incredibly openminded, and they’re passionate. Being a teacher helped me (I think and I hope) write characters that are real, that I hope teens can relate to and they see themselves in.
5. If you had to pair up your main character Charlie with any other character from any other book, who would it be and why?
I would pair Charlie up with Vera Dietz from Please Ignore Vera Dietz. Please Ignore Vera Dietz is one of my favorite books and I think both Charlie and Vera suffer quietly, I think both are very good about hiding things, but I think they would see this in the each other and somehow feel connected. I think they would understand each other and become really good friends.
Thanks fo the great interview answers, Jenny!

Make sure to check out all the other stops of the tour, and keep your eye out for The Downside of Being Charlie, which has already been released. 

The Downside of Being Charlie by Jenny Torres Sanchez
(Amazon | Goodreads)
Charlie is handed a crappy senior year. Despite losing thirty pounds over the summer, he still gets called “Chunks” Grisner. What’s worse, he has to share a locker with the biggest Lord of the Rings freak his school has ever seen. He also can’t figure out whether Charlotte VanderKleaton, the beautiful strawberry lip-glossed new girl, likes him the way he likes her. Oh, and then there’s his mom. She’s disappeared—again—and his dad won’t talk about it.
Somewhere between the madness, Charlie can at least find comfort in his one and only talent that just might get him out of this life-sucking place. But will he be able to hold his head above water in the meantime?


  1. Another interview. ;)

    I love Jenny's favorite scene. It sounds such a sweet real scene to me. Makes me want to read it! Pffft. It's a good thing that she's an English High School teacher. Her characters must really sound genuine for she has seen the high school drama! Can't wait to read this one. 

  2. The characters in Jenny's book sound so real, like they really feel things and help the readers experience everything along with them.

    It's interesting how some characters name themselves and some beg for a different, more suitable name.

    Great interview and thank you for introducing us to such an awesome book (and that scene sounds heartbreaking - why do great scenes also cause so much heartbreak?)

  3. Great questions!! My copy arrived today (GO AMAZON!!) so now I can finally read beyond chapter 1.


  4. I really love author interviews and this one especially as it's a book I'd never heard of but I'm now super interested in reading it, hooray for my YA from boys' perspectives!

  5. The snow scene intrigues me! It sounds really magical and kinda romantic ( is that meant to be a normal reaction?) And that's fabulous writing advice, I must actually write to become a writer. LOL. Hahahahah great interview !


Please leave a comment - I love to hear what you think!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...