Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Jennifer Haupt's Journey to the Past

Today we are pleased to have Jennifer Haupt back at CLC. She was here in 2018 to talk about her favorite TV shows. This time around, she's talking about her latest novel, Come as You Are, and sharing some other interesting things about herself.

Jennifer Haupt's essays and articles have been published in O, The Oprah Magazine, Parenting, The Rumpus, Spirituality & Health, The Sun, and many other publications. She curates the popular Psychology Today blog, "One True Thing," a collection of essays and interviews for authors and readers. Her debut novel, In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills was awarded the Foreword Reviews Indie Award for Historical Fiction. She is also the editor of Alone Together: Stories of Love, Grief, and Comfort During the Time of Covid-19. Come as You Are is Haupt's second novel. She is currently working on an autobiographical novel, set in Haiti. (Bio courtesy of Amazon.)

Visit Jennifer online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram


Set against a backdrop of Seattle in the early '90s, Haupt's second novel is a compelling love story and family drama that addresses the question: Can we alter our dreams and stories from the past to create a better future for our children?

Zane and Skye are two misfit teens drawn together by their love of music and their loneliness. They dream of moving to L.A. together: Zane's music career following the trajectory of Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder, and Skye drawing Picasso-esque portraits on the Venice Beach boardwalk. When a tragedy violently catapults them from best friends to lovers, their bond is forever strengthened and their relationship destroyed. Ten years later, they must come together as parents, putting aside abandoned dreams and broken promises. The question is: can they face the truth of who they are, and become the parents their daughter needs them to be? (Courtesy of Amazon.)

"This story reminds us we all can get lost on the path to becoming good humans, even as it teaches us that better is possible."
--Erica Bauermeister, The Scent Keeper

"Come as You Are isn't just about overcoming heartache; it's about how to turn the unimaginable into something rewarding and even wonderful."
--Ann Garvin, I Thought You Said This Would Work and founder of Tall Poppy Readers book club

"Haupt's characters struggle with the dreams they ache to come true, and the bravery it takes to know when and how to let those dreams go. Complex and unforgettable."
--Caroline Leavitt, With or Without You

What is a favorite compliment you have received on your writing?
For Come as You Are, a favorite compliment has been when people tell me it kept them up late because they couldn't put it down!

What were the biggest rewards and challenges with writing Come as You Are?
The biggest challenge was figuring out how to tell the story because it's told in two time periods: Seattle in the late '80s and early '90s, set against the grunge music scene, and then New Mexico and Seattle in 2002. 

Another challenge was making Zane, a highly irresponsible and volatile character, at least likable if not loveable. I love him, and I didn't want readers to be like, "Why does Skyler even care about this guy?" I like to create characters who aren't all-good or all-bad, because real people aren't built that way.

The biggest reward was, after ten years, finally finishing the manuscript and being pleased with the outcome. And, of course, I can't wait for my book launch party on March 3! Folks can find out more information and register here.

If Come As You Are were made into a movie, who would you cast in the leading roles?
Oh, I love this question and I haven't really thought about it. Let's see, probably Dave Franco, younger bro of James Franco, would be grown-up Zane and Emma Stone would be grown-up Skyler. Skyler's mom would be Lauren Graham. I'll have to do some heavy visioning on this question to come up with a full-blown cast and make it happen!

What are some of your favorite things from the '90s (music, movies, fashion, etc.)?
The early '90s were great because music clubs are where young people shared their love of bands and music. I know young people still do this, but it was different before Spotify and the Internet (said the old fogey!). 

There was this great sense of freedom with the music and fashion--or non-fashion--of the grunge clubs. We never thought we would grow up and become parents, become old! That's a big theme of Come As You Are. Many of us actually did become parents and with that came a responsibility to grow up and, many times, let go of some of our dreams. 

What is something you have learned about yourself during the pandemic?
I learned that I need people more than I ever thought I did. I also learned that if I only have my husband and two grown sons to hang out with, I'm pretty good with that!

What is your favorite springtime activity?
Gardening and walking in the woods. (Sorry, I cheated and gave two answers!)

Thanks to Jennifer for visiting with us today!

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