On Thursday May 13th I had the pleasure of meeting Author, Jennifer Holm at The Hotel Palomar in Midtown. We sat in the beautiful (and cool) lobby and talked about her new book “Turtle in Paradise”. She was excited about the interview and it was an honor to meet her.
Sydney: I am Sydney Jarvis reporting for Cinemom’s and I am here with Jennifer Holm, Author of Turtle in Paradise. Let’s get started.
Sydney: What was your inspiration for the book?
Jennifer: Wow, I am so excited to be here - this is so cool. My inspiration for Turtle in Paradise was from my Mom. When she was a kid and living in New Jersey her Grandmother use to take her to Key West, FL in the summers and she didn’t real like to go. It was in the 1950’s so it wasn’t as much fun as it is now. It was a long drive, it was hot, there was no air conditioning and it was kind of strange of her. The strangest thing was that her Mom always told her to shake out her shoes in the morning and she never understood why until one morning a scorpion popped out. So the story of shaking out your shoes inspired the book. I brought a scorpion to show you!
Sydney: Do you think this is your best book so far?
Jennifer: Honestly this is the book that took me the longest to write. It took me 4 years and part of it was I had a second child and we had a lot of sleepless nights. Plus I had to do a lot of research about Key West and about The Great Depression.
Sydney: Are you going to write “Turtle in Paradise 2”?
Jennifer: You are the third person to ask me that but I think right now it is a stand alone book.
Sydney: The characters names are so interesting. How did you come up them?
Jennifer: You are asking awesome questions! So Key West is famous for this tradition of nicknames and when I was doing my research I actually found 2 books from a Key West historian where he wrote down all the nicknames and people he could remember from the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s. So Slow Poke, Beans and Johnny Cakes were all nicknames of real people!
Sydney: Do you have a favorite Character in the book?
Jennifer: I would have to say Buddy because he was a little bit inspired by my son when we were potty training him. He never quite made it to the bathroom and was always a little late! Do you have a little sister or brother?
Sydney: Yes, I do.
Jennifer: So you probably understand what I am talking about!
Sydney: Do you hope this book is made into a movie because I would love to see it!
Jennifer: Awww…so cute. Well, I think we should call up Steven Spielberg and see what we can do! Plus it is a good location right! Have you been to Key West?
Sydney: Not yet.
Jennifer: I think you need to go now!
Sydney: When did you realize that you wanted to be an author?
Jennifer: So…I was always a big reader. I loved to read when I was a kid and I had a little brush with fame. I was a big Lloyd Alexander fan and he was a fantasy author when I was a kid. He wrote “The Black Cauldron” and all sorts of awesome stuff. I wrote him a fan letter when I was in 4th grade and one day when I got home from school my Mom told me that there was a Mr. Alexander on the phone for me! I thought he called because I had written such a great fan letter but it was because in my letter I put my phone number but not my return address and he called for my address! I still got to talk to him, which was very cool.
Sydney: What is your advice for kids who are interested in being a writer?
Jennifer: Well my best advice is to read as much as possible. Read books, read comic book and even read the back of the cereal box! I was a really big reader. The other good advice is when you start out as a writer and as most things in life you get a lot of rejection. Even in school when you start to audition for plays and try out for teams and it is really painful. You just have to brush it off and get up and keep going! Don’t get discouraged.
Sydney: Thank you so much for taking time to talk to me. The Cinemom readers will really enjoy this interview!
Jennifer: It was my pleasure!
Sydney Jarvis is a rising 5th Grader at Heards Ferry Elementary School in Sandy Springs.
Click here for your chance to win a free copy of Turtle in Paradise!