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Ask the Author (Almost) Anything: Jenn Reese, author of the Above World series

Teenscape Department, Central Library,

Jenn Reese will be at Teen Book Fest on Saturday, Oct. 12 on the Middle Grade Book Party panel in Teen'Scape at 12pm. Jenn will be signing copies of Mirage at 1:00pm in Meeting Room B.

Mirage, the follow up to Above World, is an epic with strong ecological community building questions and swashbuckling strong characters. Loyalty and friendships are questioned as this story continues the race to protect Above World from the conquering desires of Karl

Strand and his clone Scorch. In this fantastically well-imagined world, the desert dwelling Equians have allied themselves with the maniacal world domination desires of Strand and Scorch. High Khan Onggur, the leader of the Equians has been swayed by the words of Scorch and is demanding that all of the herds of Equians to join forces with him to conquer the desert by the time of the start of the Thunder Trials. Aluna and her friends must convince themselves and the Equians to cooperate with their neighbors to destroy Scorch and her venomous ways.

We asked Jenn about her collection of magical amulets and books that inspired her as a teen. Here's what she had to say:

1. What book were you forced to read in school that you were surprised you enjoyed?

Jane Austen’s PRIDE & PREJUDICE. For some reason I thought it was going to be a depressing book about someone wrongfully imprisoned. I imagined a dingy cell, food rations, and three hundred pages of misery. Instead, it turned out to be one of my favorite books of all time. Another book I loved was Kurt Vonnegut’s SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE. I didn’t want to go anywhere near it because of the title -- I’m a vegetarian! -- but I ended up loving it and reading as many of Vonnegut’s other novels as I could find. (You'll be happy to know that I've learned my lesson about not judging a book by its title.)

bb2. If you were getting your own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which celebrities would you most like to be near?

Two of my favorite Hollywood personalities are Katharine Hepburn -- the quintessential smart, witty woman who could hold her own in any situation -- and Bruce Lee, an incredible athlete, philosopher, and visionary who did so much to popularize martial arts in the United States.

3. What is the weirdest thing your Mom ever found in your bedroom?

When I was twelve, I started playing Dungeons & Dragons. From that point on, my mother might find oddly shaped dice, “magical” amulets I picked up at flea markets, and eventually swords. (Now she’d find swords, staves, and spears, since I study weapons with my kung fu class.)

4. What are one or two books that inspired you when you were a teen?

One of the most inspiring books I read as a teen was Ellen Raskin’s THE WESTING GAME, which is a smart, intricately plotted murder mystery filled with a large cast of colorful characters. Turtle Wexler is arguably the main character, and she was exactly my sort of hero -- tough, clever, and kind-hearted. I also loved Douglas Adams’s THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, a wild, funny ride through a very bizarre universe that made me push myself creatively. I continue to love both of these books and re-read them almost every year.

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To learn more about Jenn, visit http://www.jennreese.com/


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