Ask the Author: Jennifer Richard Jacobson
What would you like readers to know about you?
I need to feel as if I’m constantly growing. I don’t want to stop taking risks – even though it means accruing more rejection.
What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
In The Dollar Kids five families purchase homes in a former mill town for the price of one dollar. Unfortunately, twelve-year-old Lowen discovers that beginning in a new (and not always welcoming place) while processing his grief over the death of his buddy (something he was determined to escape) is not as simple as it appears.
As a budding-artist, Lowen processes his grief by drawing comic strips. These strips (illustrated by the talented Ryan Andrews) are included in the story.
What has been your inspiration for writing it?
My husband grew up in a former mill town – one that I’ve grown very fond of. We visited this struggling town often while I was grieving the death of my mother and my beloved dog. Grief and hope got wrapped up together in the pages of this story.
What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write?
There is a scene when Lowen and two other kids (one a Dollar Kid, one a Townie) crawl into an unoccupied grave together. They lie down in the dirt, shoulder to shoulder. In this moment, Lowen finally trusts enough to share his deepest and most shameful secret. The frayed edges of his new community don’t unravel, and they don’t create a new seam. Instead, they weave together a whole new fabric.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
Like many children’s authors, E.B. White was my first inspiration. His stories have that perfect balance of conflict, humor, and wisdom. His sparse, but precise use of language is a lullaby to my ears.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
Go for it! Know that Fear and Doubt are constant companions for most writers. Befriend them. Your fear will point to your most authentic and riveting story. Your doubt will push you to go deeper, to remind you to use your vulnerability. It will prompt you to ask, Is it true yet? since the best fiction brings us home to ourselves.
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