Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Interview with Jennifer Walkup, author of Second Verse

Congrats to Jocelyn on winning a copy of Second Verse! Please leave a comment with your email so I can contact you. Thank you!
Bad things come in threes. In Shady Springs, that includes murder.

Murder Now
Lange Crawford’s move to Shady Springs, Pennsylvania, lands her a group of awesome friends, a major crush on songwriter Vaughn, and life in a haunted, 200-year-old farmhouse. It also brings The Hunt: an infamous murder mystery festival where students solve a fake, gruesome murder scheme during the week of Halloween. Well, supposedly fake.

Murder Then
Weeks before The Hunt, Lange and her friends hold a séance in the farmhouse’s eerie barn. When a voice rushes through, whispering haunting words that only she and Vaughn can hear, Lange realizes it's begging for help. The mysterious voice leads Lange and Vaughn to uncover letters and photos left behind by a murdered girl, Ginny, and they become obsessed with her story and the horrifying threats that led to her murder.

Murder Yet to Come
But someone doesn’t like their snooping, and Lange and Vaughn begin receiving the same threats that Ginny once did. The mysterious words from the barn become crucial to figuring out Ginny's past and their own, and how closely the two are connected. They must work fast to uncover the truth or risk finding out if history really does repeat itself.

Cindy: I'm so happy to welcome Jenn to the Enchanted Inkpot to chat about her fabulous debut, Second Verse! Jenn, your book begins with a seance, which is right up my alley! I've always been interested in the other worldly and the supernatural, so I especially loved reading Second Verse. Could you tell us what was the genesis behind this novel? Are you interested in the other worldly as well?

Jenn: Great question! Yes, I am super intrigued by the otherworldly! I’m not sure exactly what I believe exists outside of what we see and know, but I do believe there is something we don’t yet understand. (If we ever will). That idea alone is enough to really intrigue me. As for the origins of Second Verse, like most stories it went through a bazillion drafts and changes before becoming the final book it is today, but it did start with a teeny kernel of an idea, inspired in part by the anniversary of the death of a very famous musician (it’s a long story, and I have it posted on my site!second-verse-extras/c1yhf). I don’t want to give too much away, but I started asking myself lots of questions about what is here besides us, and what happens to us after all this. And it wasn’t just my take on these things that inspired me, but also weighing all the different ways people think about these things.

Cindy: I realize "where do you get your ideas from" is one of the most dreaded questions. But I'm always fascinated by the seedling of stories--and there usually is something! I also loved how you incorporated music into this novel, and it is woven in so well. Since it is so integral to the story, was the inclusion intentional, or did it arise more organically?

Jenn: Vaughn was a musician from the very first draft. I knew from the start his music would be important to his character development and also to his and Lange’s relationship, but as draft one led to draft two and draft three (and beyond!), the music began to play a bigger role. It was fun to play with other art mediums within the novel (both Vaughn’s music and Lange’s drawings) as vehicles to help them along on their discoveries as they attempted to unravel the mystery.

Cindy: I think it's so cool how organic it was, that the music began to play a bigger role. Vaughn and Lange are such a great, intense couple. What do you love about each character most? And what was the biggest challenge in writing each of them too?

Jenn: Lange, being the main character and point of view character, became real to me very early on. I naturally got to know her before the others, but I really enjoyed how the depth and resilience of her character changed and grew as I wrote her story. Lange goes through a lot in this book, and she’s certainly tougher than I originally thought she’d be. Vaughn was a fun character to write, I mean, most love interests are fun to create, in my opinion. But I know nothing about music so that research was challenging, but it was really interesting and fun too! As for challenges? Well, I write exclusively in first person and while I love the immediacy and closeness the reader gets from first person, it can be challenging at times too. It takes me a few drafts to get the voice just right for the character, without letting too much of my author voice sneak in.

Cindy: Tell us a little about your writing process. And what it was like writing the sequel to Second Verse. Can you give us any hints to what happens in the sequel?? (I'm dying to know!!)

Jenn: My writing process isn’t very concrete. I’m a pantser through and through. My first draft is usually exploratory as I get to know my characters and begin to figure out my plot and then I revise and revise and revise until I have something resembling a novel I can show people for critique. As for the sequel, it is, in fact, written! But it is very early yet, I’ve only done two drafts of it and there is tons of revision to go yet. I don’t want to give too much about book one away, so I really can’t say much, but I will say it follows a character or two from book one, but in a different setting – an old, closed-down psychiatric hospital turned boarding school. Just as creepy as book one, but in a very different way.

Cindy: Being mostly a pantser myself, i can sympathize! I have heard tidbits of your sequel research before, and I honestly can't wait to read it!! Last but not least, what is your favorite pastry?

Jenn: Would you kill me if I said I don’t really like pastries? Ha! I know, blaspheme to you, I’m sure, but I’m much more of a salty food fan than sweets or dessert fan. But I do love a good croissant every now and then.

Cindy: !!! *dies* ha! But no, actually, MORE PASTRIES FOR ME! =) Jenn, congratulations on the release of your fabulous debut and thanks so much for stopping by!

To find out more about Jenn and her books, visit her website:


Simply comment to enter. Tweeting, blogging, tumblr'ing, facebook statusing and linking directly to this interview will garner extra entries each. Followers of the Enchanted Inkpot also receive an extra entry. Please provide links in comment section to receive extra entries. I will select a random winner on Monday, October 7 and post winner at the top of this entry. OPEN to US address only. Good luck!

Cindy Pon is the author of Silver Phoenix (Greenwillow, 2009), which was named one of the Top Ten Fantasy and Science Fiction Books for Youth by the American Library Association’s Booklist, and one of 2009′s best Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror by VOYA. The sequel to Silver Phoenix, titled Fury of the Phoenix, was released in April 2011. Her first published short story is featured in Diverse Energies, a multicultural YA dystopian anthology from Tu Books (October 2012). Cindy is also a Chinese brush painting student of over a decade. Visit her website at


  1. This was a great interview, and the book sounds like one I would enjoy very much. I love mysteries. I love anything with a little mysterious history thrown in. And seances and ghosts and such really grab me. I enjoyed, too, learning about Jennifer's writing process. I tend to be a panster, too. I'm tweeting this and sending it to Facebook as well.

  2. Wonderful interview, and this sounds like a fantastic book; I can't wait to read it!

    I will happily take any leftover pastries. :D

  3. Those things that go bump in the night may be bad people and not spirits.

  4. What a fantastic interview! This sounds right up my alley--can't wait to read this one!

  5. oooh! I want to win!! Love the gorgeous cover...

  6. This book looks fantastic! Consider this me entering!

  7. I'm really intrigued by the use of music in the story. Can't wait to read it!

  8. I was waiting with baited breath for the next chapter in this story and boy did I get it. I LOVED how everything about this story came together and how there was forgiveness and love found between not only the main characters, but also with the other love in her life. Thank you Emily for sharing this story with us.

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