We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Holm and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I’ve always felt very strongly that the worse thing that can happen is that someone says no to one of my ideas. And, honestly, that’s really not a bad thing anyway. Because someone else might say yes. You just never know. As a children’s author, I began my career writing historical fiction. But I pivoted after a few years and began creating a graphic novel series called Babymouse with my brother, Matt. At that time (2003), graphic novels were not yet an established format in children’s publishing. But I figured we had nothing to lose, so we took it out. Now years later, there are more than three-million Babymouse books in print. Likewise, I pivoted again a few years ago. I began writing a science fiction book called THE LION OF MARS for middle-grade readers. I had never written such a heavy science fiction book before, but I wanted to give it a shot. Luckily, my editor believed in me and let me run with it.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Of course, writing and publishing my first book was hard. My first novel, OUR ONLY MAY AMELIA, was rejected many, many times. It went on to be published and won a Newbery honor. It was a complete surprise. But writing every subsequent book has been harder. Because I second-guess myself and sometimes I hear the echoes of what reviewers have said in my ear, Still, at the end of the day, I have been very fortunate to have a full-time career as an author.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live in Costa Mesa, California and I love it. I grew up in land-locked Pennsylvania, so being able to bike to the beach is a novel experience for me! First, I would bike down to the beach and enjoy some sun and sand. One of my favorite restaurants is called The Lighthouse Cafe. It’s right on the bay and perfect for sunsets! Of course, you have to rent a duffy boat and go for a tour on the water.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My late father had a tremendous impact on this book. He was a Navy fighter pilot who served in the Korean War. He went on to become a physician (he was no slouch!) He really showed me that I could do anything I wanted to do if I put in the hard work.
Photo credit: Todd Rafalovich