Give a warm welcome to these five lovely ladies–all Young Adult authors I had the privilege of sitting down with and interviewing. All five have new YA novels out, and through a series of really fun questions, I was able to learn more about their books, their favorite book universes, writing influences, and more. Trust me, you don’t want to miss their answers! Enjoy, and click on the titles to find out more about their books. You’ll find their full bios at the end of the interview.Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 10.17.44 AM



Lori Goldstein (BECOMING JINN)



And now, for the questions!

Describe your book as “this meets that.”

Jen Brooks: If I Stay meets Every Day (David Leviathan)

K.R. Conway: Goonies meets Jaws

Lori Goldstein: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants meets Sabrina the Teenage Witch

Trisha Leaver: The Lying Game meets Vanishing Girls

Jen Malone: (Map to the Stars) This is What Happy Looks Like meets Catch a Falling Star

Biggest book or TV show or movie that influenced either your writing or this specific book?

Jen Brooks: Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse and Star Wars (writing)

K.R. Conway: Jaws, The Breakfast Club, and Saving Private Ryan (book)

Lori Goldstein: The Vampire Diaries (book)

Trisha Leaver: The Road by Cormac McCarthy (writing)

Jen Malone: Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never (book)

The Zombie Apocalypse is happening: which character from someone else’s book do you want with you and why?

Jen Brooks: Azra from Lori’s book Becoming Jinn

K.R. Conway: Celaena from Throne of Glass – that girl takes on Skin Walkers, so she sure as heck can deal with Zombies!

Lori Goldstein: Jonathan from Jen’s Book In a World Just Right

Trisha Leaver: Elizabeth Bathory (countess known for being a serial killer)

Jen Malone: Brienne of Tarth from Game of Thrones

What food would be the best accompaniment to your book?

Jen Brooks: Hot chocolate

K.R. Conway: S’mores (made with a  beachside campfire, or course)

Lori Goldstein: Chicken Tagine & Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Trisha Leaver: Pizza with Banana Peppers

Jen Malone: Crepes

What song would be the best accompaniment to your book?

Jen Brooks: Bridge over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel

K.R. Conway: For Undertow – Evanescence, Bring Me to Life
Stormfront – Gin Wigmore, Kill of the Night
Cruel Summer – Ane Brun, All My Tears
True North (upcoming 2016) – Royal Blood, Figure It Out

Lori Goldstein: Hey Ho by The Lumineers (reflects the arc of the story)

Trisha Leaver: Say Something by A Great Big World

Jen Malone: Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen (tone matches book)

Favorite “fandom”?

Jen Brooks: Harry Potter

K.R. Conway: STAR TREK, Battlestar Galactica, The Avengers, X-Files. Did I mention Star Trek???

Lori Goldstein: Game of Thrones

Trisha Leaver: Outlander

Jen Malone: Star Wars

What author would you totally fangirl?

Jen Brooks: J.K. Rowling

K.R. Conway: Sarah Maas!! Mad skills, woman!

Lori Goldstein: Rainbow Rowell

Trisha Leaver: Sarah Dessen

Jen Malone: Meg Cabot

What book universe would you choose to live in?

Jen Brooks: His Dark Materials

K.R. Conway: Harry Potter – I seriously need a Cloak of Invisibility and a snarky Sorting Hat. Like, now. I better not be relegated to a mere muggle though. I’d be pissed. Oh – and the flying car! I need that for tourist season desperately.

Lori Goldstein: Harry Potter

Trisha Leaver: The Cat in the Hat (colorful, fun, & everything cleaned up at the end of the day)

Jen Malone: From the Mixed Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

What ability/characteristic do you have that would help you survive if you were in your main character’s predicament?

Jen Brooks: Learns things quickly

K.R. Conway: Ummm . . . a sharp tongue and a morally compromised psyche???

Trisha Leaver : Chronic people watcher (watch what is going on and fill in the blanks)

Lori Goldstein: Organization

Jen Malone: I believe in happy endings (hope, optimism)

What are you reading at the moment? Or planning to read if you aren’t reading something at the moment?

Jen Brooks: Alive by Chandler Baker

K.R. Conway: Kiera Cass – The Heir; Sarah Mass, Heir of Fire; Katie O’Sullivan, Descent; Lance Rubin, Denton Little’s Death Date — My full TBR list can be found on YouTube here.

Lori Goldstein: Cruel Summer & Game of Thrones, Book 4

Trisha Leaver: The Boleyn Reckoning by Laura Anderson

Jen Malone: Judy Blume’s New Adult Novel, In the Unlikely Event; Exit Stage Left by Gail Nall (out in September)

What specialty drink do you like?

Jen Brooks: Water (with lemon)

K.R. Conway: Iced Mocha Latte from Nirvana Coffee in Barnstable, MA

Lori Goldstein: Earl Grey Tea with Vanilla & Sugar (Argo)

Trisha Leaver: Frozen Sangria Margarita

Jen Malone: Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Want to know more? Here are the bios for these five Young Adult Authors:

Jennifer Brooks was born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. After high school she matriculated at Dartmouth College to become a research scientist, but by the end of her sophomore year she felt a calling to the teaching profession. After graduation and fourteen years of teaching high school English, she answered a second calling to write full time while raising her new son. Her journey began with two theses for an MA and later an MFA in writing popular fiction at Seton Hill University. A competitive hurdler and jumper in high school and college, she coached thirty-one seasons of cross-country and track and field, which is why runners show up so frequently in her stories. Jen has also had a lifelong relationship with books–as a youngster checking out a dozen at a time from the library, and as an adult buying books to build her own personal library. She has always been attracted to the science fiction and fantasy genres and claims Star Wars is the single greatest fiction influence in her life. She also enjoys British literature and says Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse is her favorite book of all time, which is why lighthouses also make appearances in her stories. Running, Hiking, Traveling, and Gardening are Jen’s favorite activities when she’s not writing. She lives with her husband and son on the North Shore of Massachusetts where she writes from her office overlooking their little backyard pond.

K.R. Conway: I have been a journalist for 15 years and serve on the Board of Directors for the Cape Cod Writers Center and is a member of the SCBWI. I also drive a 16-ton school bus because I am ENTIRELY NUTS. In addition to working jobs that should come with a warning label , I hold a BA in Psychos (Forensic Psych), torment the tourists about Jaws, and occasionally jump from the Town Neck bridge in an attempt to reclaim my youth. I live on Cape Cod with two smallish humans who apparently are my kids, my fishing-obsessed husband, two canines (adept at both flatulence and snoring), and a cage-defiant lovebird that sleeps in a miniature tent. Nope – that’s not a type-o. The bird is quite the indoor camper.

Lori Goldstein: My debut novel, the Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy Becoming Jinn, is a modern spin on the traditional tale of wish-granting genies. It will be released on April 21, 2015, by Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s. The sequel will follow in Spring 2016. I am represented by Lucy Carson of The Friedrich Agency. Too much of my day involves chatting books, obsessing over The Vampire Diaries, and perfecting the art of efficient writing through Twitter. Find me at @loriagoldstein and follow my blog at or my Tumblr at Like my author page on Facebook for fun book-related photos, tidbits, and happenings as well as news on Becoming Jinn.

Trisha Leaver lives on Cape Cod with her husband, three children, and one rather irreverent black lab.  She is a chronic daydreamer who prefers the cozy confines of her own imagination to the mundane routine of everyday life.  She writes Young Adult Contemporary fiction, Psychological Horror and Science Fiction and is published with FSG/ Macmillan, Flux/Llewellyn and Merit Press.

Jen Malone writes books for tweens and teens. Her debut middle grade novel At Your Service (Simon & Schuster) published in 2014. Next up is the co-written series You’re Invited (S&S, 2015 and 2016) and three young adult titles with HarperCollins, beginning with Map To The Stars (Summer 2015). Jen is the Author-in-Residence at a middle school outside Boston and has presented workshops at SCBWI conferences, the Baltimore Book Festival, Girl Scouts of America Adult Learning symposium, the Princeton Children’s Book Festival, the Writer’s Loft, Savvy Authors, and others. She also teaches creative writing to tweens at popular library and school workshops.

Thanks, Jen B., K.R., Lori, Trisha, and Jen M. for taking the time to answer these questions! You can go to each of their websites to see their events, but if you check out Trisha Leaver’s Events page, you’ll see that there are upcoming panels with this group, so plan to go out and see them!

What Katie Read

2 Comments on Young Adult Author Panel Interview with Jen Brooks, K.R. Conway, Lori Goldstein, Trisha Leaver, & Jen Malone

  1. That cracked me up! I love seeing authors support and love other authors (and be in fandoms). Yay! I had most of those books on my wishlist before, but now they all are. Thanks!

    • I thought their answers were fantastic! It was so much fun to find out their answers to these. Thanks for stopping by, Beth! I’m glad you’ve added the books to your wishlist! 😀

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