Interview with Jenny Han

Posted by Goodreads on May 1, 2017
Saying good-bye to fictional characters is never easy, but sometimes—if you're really lucky—your favorite authors will give you a second chance.

In 2015, readers thought they had seen the last of charming, whimsical Lara Jean, the girl who accidentally had all her love letters mailed to her secret crushes in Jenny Han's To All the Boys I've Loved Before. But good things (sometimes) come to those who beg for more! Always and Forever, Lara Jean, the third and definitely final book in the series, hits bookshelves this month. Still glued to her writing desk, Lara Jean wars with her head and her heart as she prepares to choose a college and contemplates leaving the boy she loves behind.

Han answers your questions about what she loved most about returning to Lara Jean's world, why she believes everyone has a special story to tell, and how to cook up her characters' tasty recipes.

Gabrielle: Hi, Jenny! I've read your books more times than I can count! I am a HUGE fan. As such an expert on YA novels, what advice would you give a teenager in today's society?

Jenny Han: Thank you, Gabrielle! My advice would be to join everything. My only regret about high school is not doing more. I always wanted to be class secretary, but I never ran because I hated public speaking. And now look at me! I have to speak in public all the time! Also, don't overpluck your eyebrows.

Rufaida: As someone who grew up between different cultures, I really related to the Song sisters' story, even though their cultures were different than mine. What books did you personally relate to while you were growing up?

JH: Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great by Judy Blume, Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary, and Just as Long as We're Together by Judy Blume

Izzy: What do you love the most about being a professional writer?

JH: I love creating characters more than anything.

Tanelle: The recipes you mention in your novels sound amazing! Would you ever consider adding them to the back of your novels so we can attempt to make them at home?

JH: Tanelle, I have good news for you—the Target edition of Always and Forever, Lara Jean has recipes! Check it out!

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Emily: Do you feel like your characters are your friends or are they more like extensions of yourself?

JH: I feel like they are separate from me. But in every character I write, there is something of me in them.

Nancy: You've said you originally intended P.S. I Still Love You to be the end of Lara Jean's story. What was the most satisfying part of going back and giving her one last book?

JH: I got to close a loop on a story I meant to tell in P.S. I Still Love You, and I got to bring Lara Jean's journey full circle. In the first book her sister is the one going off to college, and now it's Lara Jean's turn.

Sarah: Any book recommendations? And what show would you recommend that your fans binge on Netflix?

JH: My favorite book is I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. As for Netflix bingeing, I would recommend a K-drama like Boys Over Flowers.

Jenna: Hi! I teach seventh grade, and my students love your Lara Jean stories. We've been discussing the need for diverse books and especially diverse book covers. I keep returning to your series as an example. The covers are so delightfully appealing and do none of the typical whitewashing or just-put-the-character-in-silhouette-and-maybe-no-one-will-notice-the-protagonist-isn't-white traps. What was the process of creating your beautiful covers?

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JH: Hi, Jenna! From the very start I wanted an Asian girl on the cover—not illustrated but an actual girl. I wanted her front and center, so that when an Asian girl walks into Barnes & Noble, she would see herself right there on the shelf. I'm so lucky to work with my cover designer, Lucy Cummins, because she is very collaborative and has an amazing eye.

Shay: I have been writing YA for more than ten years now, but I am always reluctant to try and get published because I feel like I am not yet good enough. Did you ever experience this? If so, how did you get over it?

JH: The truth is, no book will ever feel good enough or done enough, but there's a point when you just have to say, I've done the best I can…and then release it into the world. Remember that only you can tell this story from your specific point of view. That's what makes a story special.

Cola: Which Hogwarts houses would the To All the Boys I've Loved Before characters be placed in?

JH: This is an actual conversation in Always and Forever, Lara Jean, so I won't spoil it—but I think we all know that Kitty is a Slytherin! Just like moi.

Check out more YA author interviews here!

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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message 1: by Julia (new)

Julia Boys Over Flowers is actually a remake of a Japanese manga, then anime and TV show, Hana Yori Dango. Just sayin'.

message 2: by Renée (new)

Renée Schleiter She is here at Granger Middle School in Aurora, Illinois today! The kids could not be more excited to meet her and talk about her books!

message 3: by Daniela (new)

Daniela I got to the part about Hogwarts houses last night. It was brilliant! :) I'm loving the book so far!

message 4: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Ceniceros I'm really excited! I am trying to make plans so that I can meet her on Friday !!

message 5: by Liliya (new)

Liliya Sakharchuk Yeah! Boys Over Flowers was a great kdrama! Its worth bingeing. I also liked a japanese drama called Good Morning Call on Netflix, it was cute and lighthearted.

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