SC: How long did you have the idea of Undeclared in your mind before you started writing it?
JF: I started writing “Undeclared” back in September but I’ve been thinking a lot about the military men coming home from the war and how a whole generation of men are marked by this violent experience. I don’t know that civilians like me can ever completely understand how emotionally taxing it must be.
SC: How did you come up with Grace and Noah’s story? Do you know anyone personally who has been in their situation?
JF: I have a good friend who was deployed to Afghanistan who helped me with some details on the story but his love was already here when he left and remained true while gone. They are together now that he is home safe.
As for the letter writing aspect, I’ve always been a sucker for those and have thought that that romance between Abigail and John Adams as immortalized by their letters to each other is inspiring.
One of the first New Adult books may be Daddy Long Legs which is written almost entirely in letter form. It’s part of the public domain if anyone wants to read it but it’s about an orphan who is sent to school by an anonymous benefactor whom she then falls in love with.
SC: Are the characters in Undeclared modeled after anyone you know in real life? (Noah, Grace, Lana, Bo, and the rest of the gang)
JF: No, I try to keep the characters completely fictional but that might change in the future. I did see this letter (http://imgur.com/gallery/6tyLl6r) after I wrote the book and thought, there is no fictional tale that is not matched by some real life event. Grace is older than this, though, and has much better penmanship, I promise.
SC: I read at the end of the book that each of them will have their own book to share their story. Can you give your readers a little hint as to what will be happening with each of them?
JF: Bo is going to meet AnnMarie in “Unspoken.” That book is due out in late August, early September. AnnMarie (or AM as her best friend calls her and Sunshine as Bo ends up calling her) is the subject of terrible campus rumors and so she’s withdrawn from as many campus events as possible, marking time until graduation. Bo likes to “save” girls from bad situations and thinks that maybe AnnMarie is one who needs his help. What he doesn’t realize is that AnnMarie is so much stronger than he ever anticipated and that in the end it is Bo that needs saving.
Finn’s story is after Bo’s and will be released in December (hopefully). He comes from a really messed up family which makes him look at relationships very cynically. Finn falls for a tattoo artist, a twenty year old college drop out, who has some devastating secrets of her own.
Adam’s story will be released in the spring of 2014. He’s a bad boy rocker who hooks up with a very good girl going to Central.
Mal’s story will end the collection and be released in the summer of 2014. I don’t want to tell you the heroine’s name because it will be a surprise.
SC: Will we see more of Grace and Noah in Bo’s upcoming story, Unspoken? Will we also get more insight into Bo and Noah’s friendship from the beginning?
JF: Yes, we will see some of Grace and Noah in “Unspoken” and we are going to take a trip back home with Bo so you’ll find out a lot more about who Bo is and why his bond with Noah is so strong.
SC: Will Bo get his happily ever after?
SC: Why did you want to write a book like Undeclared?
JF: It just came to me. I wanted to write about a soldier coming home and penpals seemed to be such a romantic thing. I make mention in the book how Grace determines early on that they’ll only correspond through written letters, WWI-style. These days, most everyone communicates via emails and Skype.
SC: What do you want your readers to take with them from reading this book and this Woodlands series as a whole?
JF: Both Noah and Grace have their own insecurities that they have to overcome before they can come together as a couple. I think that is true for everyone but it’s hard to come to grips with, particularly when you are just figuring out who you are as a person.
SC: Are there any other projects you are working on that you’d like to share with your readers?
JF: I’m working hard on finishing up The Woodlands series. I’m not sure what is next after that. Stay tuned.
SC: Any last words you would like to say to your readers?
JF: I so appreciate you taking a chance on a new author.
SC: Writing a letter or typing an email?
JF: Writing a letter these days seems so much more permanent and meaningful because it takes more effort to put pen to paper and then actually mail something.
SC: Fate or Luck?
JF: Luck is something you make through hard work.
SC: Favorite Food?
JF: I love love love Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups.
SC: Kissing in the Rain or Dancing in the Moonlight?
JF: Kissing in the rain.
SC: Favorite Book?
JF: I don’t have one favorite book of all time, but in the story, Grace send The Odyssey to Noah and he refers to it in his letters and in his narrative a few times. My husband and I read that to each other when we were early in our marriage. I have fond memories of that book.
About the Author
Jen Frederick lives in the Midwest with her husband, child, and one rambunctious dog. She’s been reading stories all her life but never imagined writing one of her own. Jen loves to hear from readers so drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Links for Jen Frederick: