October 16, 2019

The Write Space – Jen Malone

by cns2020

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The Write Space is a monthly Q&A series from Creative Collective covering a local writer and a North Shore space(s) s/he associates with writing.  Questions? Contact: ellorelizabeth@gmail.com.

Give us your best writerly bio 

Jen Malone is the author of over a dozen middle grade and young adult titles including The Arrival of Someday (HarperCollins), The Sleepover (Simon & Schuster), Wanderlost (HarperCollins), and Follow Your Art (Dreamworks Animation/Penguin Random House). Jen once spent a year traveling the world solo, met her husband on the highway (literally), and went into labor with her identical twins while on a rock star’s tour bus. These days she saves the drama for her books.  You can learn more about Jen and her books at www.jenmalonewrites.com. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @jenmalonewrites.

Tell us about a North Shore Write Space

I generally write at home (everywhere BUT the tiny bedroom-turned-writing-space, for some reason), but when I need to get out into the real world, I like to write in laundromats (weird, I know, but warm and cozy with rhythmic noises). My newest novel has a chapter that takes place at the ropes course in Jordan’s Furniture in Reading and it was fun to write that one on-site (bonus: Richardson’s ice cream!!). 

When I’m in North Shore, not writing, I’m … 

Oh, I’m excellent at procrastinating on my writing, so there’s always something I can find to distract me. I have a backyard shed we turned into an art studio this summer and I’ve been experimenting lately with natural dyeing (using flowers, berries, etc. to dye fabrics and yarn). There have been lots of foraging walks in the Lynn Fells Reservation with my golden retriever puppy. Now that summer has passed and dogs are permitted on beaches, we’ve also been frequenting Plum Island and Devereux Beach in Marblehead. 

What are you working on now? 

I’m currently gearing up for the start of my sixth year as the Author in Residence at the Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School, where I’ll spend the better part of a school year working with four hundred sixth graders on a project where they follow all of the steps to brainstorm, plot, worldbuild, write, edit, design a cover, and publish a story. 

And finally – 

Here’s a “local flavor” excerpt from my current release, THE ARRIVAL OF SOMEDAY, which is set in Cambridge and follows a roller derby dynamo, Amelia, who is poised to graduate high school and launch into her bright future when she learns a disease she hasn’t dealt with since infancy has returned. She’s asymptomatic for most of the book, so it isn’t “sick lit” per se, but it does deal a lot with navigating uncertainty and vulnerability.  

Revere Beach has a reputation for being a little . . . cheesy. It was once home to a seaside amusement park that rivaled Coney Island, but that closed in the sixties and there’s no trace of it now. There’s still plenty of amusement, though, provided by the catcalling potbellied old men in Speedos showing off their ink to the walking clubs of women in velour jogging suits. People set up their lawn chairs in the parking spots and actually turn their backs to the beach to watch a steady procession of muscle cars cruising the strip, ignoring the fact that right behind them, separated only by a short sea wall and a wide sidewalk, is a flat stretch of sand and endless blue-gray water.

But at eight o’clock at night, off-season, there are only the low-flying planes lining up to land at Logan and the dim house lights of Nahant—far across the water where the land forms a horseshoe that circles back on our wide cove—to remind us where we are. It feels like we could be on any beach, anywhere.

“Down there,” I decide, pointing at a spot halfway between the street and the cresting waves.

Find out more at www.jenmalonewrites.com. Signed copies are available at Whitlamb in Reading.

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