Ep 375 Meet Jennifer Niven, author of ‘Breathless’.

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In Episode 375 of So You Want To Be A Writer: Meet Jennifer Niven, author of Breathless. We discuss achieving your essential writing goals for 2021. Plus, we have 3 copies of What's it Like to be Chased by a Cassowary? by Felicity Lewis to give away.

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Show Notes

Writer in Residence

Jennifer Niven

Jennifer Niven is the Emmy Award-winning #1 New York Times and International bestselling author of eleven books, including All the Bright Places and Holding up the Universe. Her books have been translated in over 75 languages, and All the Bright Places has won literary awards around the world, including the GoodReads Choice Award for Best Young Adult Fiction of 2015. It was named a Best Book of the Year by Time Magazine, NPR, the Guardian, Publisher's Weekly, YALSA, Barnes & Noble, BuzzFeed, the New York Public Library, and others, and was the #1 Kids' Indie Next Book for Winter '14-'15. The film starring Elle Fanning, Justice Smith, Luke Wilson, and Keegan-Michael Key, is now streaming on Netflix, with a script by Jennifer and Liz Hannah (The Post).

Her third book for young adults — Breathless— came out September 2020. She also oversees Germ, a literary and lifestyle web magazine for girls and boys age high school and beyond that celebrates beginnings, futures, and all the amazing and agonizing moments in between. Her previous works include four novels for adults, as well as three nonfiction books. She divides her time between Los Angeles and coastal Georgia with her husband, kids, and literary cats.

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Interview Transcript

Valerie Khoo 

I am so excited to have Jennifer Niven on the call now. Congratulations on your latest book Breathless. Now there's so many things I want to talk to you about. But let's just start with if there are some listeners who haven't got their hands on a copy yet, can you tell us what it's about?

 

Jennifer Niven 

Absolutely. Thank you for having me, by the way. Breathless is a very personal story. It's actually pretty much just as personal as All The Bright Places was, just in a different way. When I was 18, my parents told me that they were separating and I felt like my entire world had just turned upside down. And it changed in an instant. The floor disappeared from beneath my feet. And this is what Breathless, this is actually the, you know, inspiration behind Breathless. Claude Henry is 18. Her parents tell her that they're separating. It feels like the world has changed in that instant. The floor has disappeared from beneath her feet. She is taken away with her mum, they leave right after high school graduation. And she finds herself on this remote island, off the coast of Georgia where she knows no one she has no cell service. She is isolated and feels completely cut off from her old life, her friends, her father, everything she knows. And she meets a boy named Jeremiah Crew. And it's a story really about first and last and about beginnings. And about how Claude really finds out in that summer where she begins.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Now, how did the idea for this book form? What was the seed that was planted that made you think, I want to write this story?

 

Jennifer Niven 

I think that I was, you know, I always kind of thought about that summer because it was really pivotal and profound for me when I was 18, Claude's age. And I kept thinking about it because with All The Bright Places, I wrote a very personal story about a boy that I loved and lost. And it feels very natural now because of that to write what I know. And I also like writing things that I think teens can identify with and relate to in the sense that, you know, this has been a year, in particular, where all of us have felt to some degree like our world has changed in an instant with COVID. And I just felt like, I felt like at any age, you can relate to that. And also you can relate to, you know, having to begin again and start over and rebuild the floor beneath your feet when it's been yanked out from underneath you.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Now, I'd just like to give listeners some context because you have a fascinating career history. Can you just give listeners just a brief potted history of your career to date? So we can know what happened until we got to this point.

 

Jennifer Niven 

I actually started my career in nonfiction. I started with a nonfiction account of an Arctic expedition from 1913. And from there moved to another nonfiction Arctic expedition story. And then from there, I wrote four novels for adults, four historical novels. I've written a memoir about my high school years growing up in Indiana. And All The Bright Places in 2015 was my first young adult book. And since then, I've written three young adult books counting Breathless and Holding Up The Universe.

 

Valerie Khoo 

So, so many different genres, but even take us back to when you were at college or at school, did you want to be a writer at that point? When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

 

Jennifer Niven 

I think I knew when I was a little girl, actually, because my mother was also a writer. And we had writing time in my childhood routine. Ever since I was able to hold a crayon and form words, I was wanting to write, and before that I was telling stories verbally before I could actually put pen to paper. So she knew that I had that in my genes and encouraged that because that's the thing I always loved doing most. So I think I knew it from a very early age.

 

Valerie Khoo 

So you have some very clear chapters. There's the nonfiction chapter. Then there's the historical novels chapter. And then there's the young adults chapter. So did you always plan to try out different genres? Or were you experimenting, experimenting to see what fit? And would you go back to those other two?

 

Jennifer Niven 

I would definitely go back. If I found, you know, a story that compelled me and, you know, grabbed my attention in nonfiction or adult fiction, I would definitely go back. I think that for me, I just followed the story. I just followed the stories that came to me in that moment. And I wrote them the way I felt they needed to be written. And, you know, whether it was nonfiction, or, you know, historical fiction for adults, or young adult, I just wrote it, you know, the way that I felt that story needed to be written. But for me, it's, I feel like I'm a writer, first and foremost. And, you know, these stories are… The right stories present themselves at the right time in your life, I fully believe that. And sometimes they want to be written as a screenplay, or they want to be written as young adult, or adult fiction, or whatever. And I like to keep myself open to all of that.

 

Valerie Khoo 

So what was the turning point? Or what was the story that led you into the world of YA?

 

Jennifer Niven 

So the turning point for me was when the spring of 2013, I was finishing the last in a series of adult historical novels. My agent of 15 years died very suddenly and unexpectedly. And he was the agency, he was the only one in the agency. So I was having to interview new agents, as I was mourning my dear friend, mentor, agent. And the last time I had seen him, he said, “I want you to write, the next story I want you to write, I want you to write it, even if it terrifies you.”  And I kept thinking about that. And I knew what that was, it was the story of a boy I loved and lost to suicide years ago. And I'd always wanted to write something about him, about knowing him, about us and our relationship. But I had not had the courage and it had not been the right time. But I decided to sit down and try to write it in the, you know, spring/summer of 2013. Just to honour what my agent and friend had said to me. And it came out very quickly. I wrote it, I think in about six weeks.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Wow. Okay, well, obviously, you went down the right path, because apart from winning awards, and, you know, being longlisted for and shortlisted for awards, it became a film starring Elle Fanning, Luke Wilson. I mean, tell us about how that eventuated? Like, how does it suddenly go from, “Oh, I wrote this book in six weeks” to these major stars wanting to be in the film about it.

 

Jennifer Niven 

It's so interesting. I mean, you know, first of all, when I'm writing something, I tend to cast my characters. And so I had actually, no one knew this at the time, I had actually pictured Elle as I was writing Violet.

 

Valerie Khoo 

No.

 

Jennifer Niven 

Because Violet was so personal to me. And I couldn't picture me because it got in the way. I needed to be able to infuse this character with all of my emotions and my feelings, and my experiences, but I needed to have some distance as well. And so I cast Elle, in my mind. And then, six months before the book was released, Elle was attached to the project and I got to tell her that in person, which was the most amazing thing.

 

Valerie Khoo 

I'll bet. But what about the point of finding out, let alone telling her? Did you kind of go Oh, my god, that was just too freaky for words?

 

Jennifer Niven 

Absolutely, absolutely. And it was just, it was so lovely the way it all came together, and I was just… You know, you don't, or at least I didn't write All The Bright Places thinking, “Someday it will be a film!” And you know, I've obviously it was a lovely, lovely thing that happened, but it was totally unexpected.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Oh my god, the power of visualization. In fact, I just interviewed an author `who wrote a memoir and she, and Nicole Kidman played her in the movie. And she said she always knew that Nicole Kidman would play her, which is, you know, so the power of visualization. Okay, so you go down the story that you really had to tell and it obviously went very successfully. Did you… While you were writing All The Bright Places? Did you know that you were going to continue with YA, with young adult?

 

Jennifer Niven 

I did. I think, you know, I wrote All The Bright Places. And then I wrote Holding Up The Universe. And I remember, I was at an event, and I was on a panel, and it was a mental health and YA panel. And I had been thinking, kind of like, around that time, “Oh gosh, wouldn't it be easier if I wrote something that was really sweet and fluffy, and that no one could find objection with?” And because I had a lot of adults, when All The Bright Places first came out, saying that they didn't want teens reading this, because they didn't want them, you know, discovering mental health issues, suicide, all the things that teens are touched by and going through. And so I was thinking, “oh, gosh, I think the next book should just be really safe and really sweet.” And then we did a Q&A at the end of the panel, and this young man got up and there was like, a room of like, 500 people, and he went to the mic. And he said, “I just want to ask Jennifer if she will keep writing books for people like me who feel like we don't have a voice.” And I was like, “Yes, absolutely.” And I thought, “I can't not do that. I have to keep doing that.”

 

Valerie Khoo 

Okay, so we have a point of comparison, in that All The Bright Places was six weeks. Let's come to Breathless now. And can you just give us a little bit idea, some timeframes of the gestation period of this book? Like when you first started thinking about it, how long you were thinking about it before you put pen to paper, and then how long was the first draft?

 

Jennifer Niven 

It was, you know, it was a very different process, because I was still touring for All The Bright Places and Holding Up The Universe when I started working on Breathless. And I had in my mind the characters and I always do a lot of work on the characters first and foremost, and the story. So I do a lot of work on the front end so that once I start writing, I write very quickly, because I know a lot of, you know, I just know the characters inside out. So I had started doing that. But I hadn't actually put pen to paper, in the sense that I hadn't actually started like, you know, chapter one. And so it was probably a period of about two years, maybe two and a half years. Because it was very sporadic when I would get time to work on Breathless. And thankfully it took the time it did because I finally was like, I have to shut everything out. I'm going to go to the island where I've set this book, and I'm going to immerse myself in the writing and get started. And that's where I met my husband, my now husband, and all of the adventures that Claude and Jeremiah have in Breathless, our adventures that my husband Justin and I had when we were falling in love on that island. So it was really lovely to get to do that. Yeah, so it was personal in that way, too.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Wow. Okay, so it was sporadic because you were juggling a bunch of things. But when you had those periods where you could write, I'm interested in like, your writing routine or your day, you know? Did you have some kind of routine to get through the day so that you had that discipline to get the words on the page?

 

Jennifer Niven 

Absolutely. I mean, the thing I think that, you know, that I always tell young writers is you have to show up to do the work and you have to even if you feel like you're doing nothing, and you're just sitting there, at least you're sitting there and you're, you know, you are writing even if you don't actually have your hands on the keyboard or on the paper. And I, you know, get up and I try to exercise if I can or get right to work depending on what is going on in my day. And I, you know, am at my desk usually for 10 or 12 hours.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Wow.

 

Jennifer Niven 

Yeah, sometimes. I mean, it depends on what's happening. Sometimes eight. The creative work is unfortunately the, you know, not, I don't get to do that all the time. It's a lot of, you know, there are a lot of emails and there are a lot of like other things that I'm doing for the business of writing. But I have to, I try to really make sure to carve out creative time for me, not only for deadlines I have, but just for me. Because if I don't get to do the writing, the actual writing, I get very cranky. So it's very important. So I really am at my desk for a long time, though.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Wow. Okay, so did Breathless have a deadline?

 

Jennifer Niven 

It did have a deadline. You know, luckily, Random House certainly understood because I was touring so much around the world. So, you know, they're just so wonderful to work with. And they're like my family now. And so we did have a deadline and I was able to meet that. I have to, one of the things too, that I… If you're not just blessed with like endless time to immerse yourself in your writing, one of the things my mother, who as I said was a writer, used to say was, “you have the patchwork quilt method of writing.” Which is, you have a little bit of time here, a little bit of time there. And eventually, you can piece all of that together, all of these little bits of time, you can piece them together into one beautiful piece of work. So I've had to do, I had to do that a lot. All The Bright Places was written kind of in an immersion sort of way, which is ideal, but does not always happen. Whereas this one was really done in, you know, fits and starts.

 

Valerie Khoo 

So I'd love to talk about the comparison, the feeling that you have when you're writing, when you're writing narrative nonfiction, which I also love, because you have to be so accurate. And you are obviously constrained by reality and facts versus the freedom of, you know, writing all these characters from your imagination. Can you talk about how it feels, the difference to how it feels, writing those two types of things?

 

Jennifer Niven 

It's, you know, it's interesting, because when I'm writing narrative nonfiction, as you say, like every, everything has to be factual, and you can't take liberties, because if you're calling it nonfiction, it has to be nonfiction. Meaning, not fiction. You're not making it up. And, you know, but I also want it to read like a novel or read, you know, easily, so it doesn't feel like you're just reading a history book filled with facts. And so I want the characters to come alive. And so it's, it's a very, you know, it has to, for me, like if I, as I said, if I'm going to say it's nonfiction, it absolutely is going to be. So I'm not going to, you know, make up things or dialogue or people or put myself in there in any way. Whereas, you know, with fiction, you can. You do have, you can make up everything. You make up the world, you make up the characters, you make up the story. And sometimes that can be very daunting, because, you know it all rests on you. Whereas with nonfiction, there's a lot of research, and there's a lot of responsibility in that way. But the story is there. And it's, you know, finding your way into the story and the angle that you're going to take, but you have all the facts, and the people are already there, and they're real. And so, you know, in some ways, I think fiction can be a bit more, for me, like a bit more overwhelming, because there's always a moment when I think, “Oh, my gosh, each book is a fluke. I don't know how I did it. I'll never get to write another one because I don't know what I'm doing.” But I think most writers feel that way at some point.

 

Valerie Khoo 

So you also wrote historical novels. Now, obviously, there was, there would have been quite an element of research and accuracy in those things as well. How do you, whether it's the nonfiction stuff, or the historical novels, how do you approach your research? Is it something that you do before you start writing or as you go along?

 

Jennifer Niven 

It's definitely, I try to do the bulk of it before I start writing. You know, and the same is true, I would say also, for All The Bright Places which deals with very heavy issues like mental health and suicide with Holding Up The Universe dealing with bullying and prosopagnosia, which is also known as face blindness, which one of the characters has. And then Breathless, just dealing with first times, with like, making it a sex positive book. And I really wanted to do my due diligence, whether I'm writing nonfiction, historical fiction, or young adult because I do feel a great responsibility. And I try, as I say, to do most of the research at the beginning. And that way, I know I kind of go into the story armed with all this knowledge. But there are things that pop up along the way that I will definitely do research as I'm going on some things. And I love that. I actually love researching. I always kind of wanted to be a detective. So it feels a bit like that.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Somehow, maybe I think that the next genre is going to be mysteries.

 

Jennifer Niven 

It very well could be, who knows?

 

Valerie Khoo 

Oh, is that a hint?

 

Jennifer Niven 

Possibly.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Oh, right!

 

Jennifer Niven 

We'll see, Valerie.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Ah, interesting. Okay, so are you currently… I'll ask you a different question then. Are you currently writing your next book?

 

Jennifer Niven 

I am. Actually, I'm doing a couple of things. I am writing the screenplay for Holding Up The Universe, which has been optioned for a film. And I am also, I just finished a collaboration with another author. And it's a YA novel. I can't quite say who but we're so excited about it. And that one should be out probably next year. And then I just started to work on my next solo YA novel. So a few things going on.

 

Valerie Khoo 

So have you cast… You're writing the screenplay for Holding Up The Universe. Have you cast that in your head? Because, hey, let's do some visualization now and get, you know…

 

Jennifer Niven 

Oh exactly, exactly. You know what? I love Amanda LaCount, the dancer. I don't know if you're familiar with her, but she's just absolutely phenomenal. And she has this beautiful energy, and she's such a great dancer, and she just makes me smile. So I kind of think about her for Libby, and she has that kind of wonderful, fierce, positive attitude. For Jack. I don't know, but I'm definitely taking suggestions. And then also, like, it's funny, because most of the, because the other books that I've just worked on or am working on, I've definitely have cast those as well, of course. So I felt, you know, it worked so well with Elle Fanning, why not do that again?

 

Valerie Khoo 

Yeah. Why not? Can you tell us about the process of taking a novel, which is a very specific form with, you know, the way it's told and then writing a screenplay, which has actually so many more restrictions and parameters in a sense?

 

Jennifer Niven 

Definitely. It's like, it was so interesting during All The Bright Places, because there's less, there's less real estate on the screen than there is on the page. So and, you know, inevitably you have to cut a lot of your favourite scenes, readers' favourite scenes, because there's just not enough room. And so that was the first thing I had to learn. That was very, very difficult. And of course, I thought we should do a 15 hour movie, but I was the only one who believed in that. No one else supported me in that. So that was very sad. But it is, it's an interesting process, it really is. And I think it's just, it's hard to kind of kill those darlings, as they say, and decide what belongs and what doesn't belong. But ideally, for us, what we wanted to do with the film is just capture the heart of the book, and the story and the feeling of reading the book, we wanted you to feel that way when you watch the film.  And also, it's a collaboration. And that's something that's you know, you're used to writing a book by yourself until you hand it over to your editor. But this is a collaboration from day one, the screenplay, which is really fascinating.

 

Valerie Khoo 

So let's just go back to… Because it was your friend and mentor who said, I want you to write something that terrifies you. And then you wrote All The Bright Places. So is it correct to say that you wrote that without a promise of publication? You just wrote it as an exercise, really.

 

Jennifer Niven 

I did. I wrote it without knowing if it would it be published or not. But I needed a new idea to tell the agents I was talking to as I was interviewing them, and I wanted to tell them what I was working on next. I mean, I had a body of work that I could show them, but they all wanted to know what the new idea was. And so I thought, Okay, well let me work on this first, and then I will tell them if it works out. If it doesn't work out, no one will know I ever tried to write this. And, and it, it worked. And I was, you know, I just, even as I shared it with agents, I did not know if it would be anything anyone would want to read. Because it was so personal to me. And it was really hard to have that kind of objectivity about it.

 

Valerie Khoo 

And did any agents kind of go, ah, you've been writing narrative nonfiction, historical novels. You know?

 

Jennifer Niven 

Yes. There was, there was actually it was very like it was interesting. It was really crushing. There was an agent who, a friend of mine who was my first editor on my first two books, and he's in the business and he's absolutely lovely and wonderful and we've remained friends. And he said, let me recommend you to a friend of mine who represents young adult, you know, and I think that you would hit it off. Well, this person did not even want to talk to me because, as he said, You, you know, she has written in all these different genres, that is career suicide. I would never represent someone like that. And I was so demoralized. I mean, first of all, I was still mourning my agent, I was like, feeling very lost. The floor, you know, had been ripped out from under me. And my world had changed in that instant. And I was trying to put the pieces back together. And that to me, at that moment, was such a blow. And I thought, Oh, my gosh, I've just ruined my chances of ever getting another agent, my career is over. I must, I'll have to stop writing. And I remember my mom said, “That's one person. That is one person's opinion. And you do not ever need to question the choices you made, or the things that you've written. Because you wrote them for a reason.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Yes.

 

Jennifer Niven 

And she was right.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Wow, I bet they're kicking themselves now. But anyway. What age would you describe as the, you know, ideal reader for your books? Your YA books?

 

Jennifer Niven 

For my YA books, you know, older teens. I think, probably 14 and up. I have a lot of adult readers for them as well. And, you know, I do occasionally hear from a 12 year old or 13 year old who's read the books. And I think that really, it just all depends on the reader. You know, and sometimes I'll have questions from parents who want to know what I think and I just always tell them, you know, you know your child far better than I do. And so you need to make that judgment call based on whatever information I can give you, but you need to be the one to make that decision.

 

Valerie Khoo 

How do you make your decisions in terms of when you are writing about sex? And what to include, or how far to go, in a sense?

 

Jennifer Niven 

I think it's, you know, it is a sensitive thing when you're writing for teens. And it's something again, with like mental health and suicide I take, I feel a great sense of responsibility. But I also, I think, with all of those subjects, I just feel like the more honest you are, the better. Because I feel that young adults are the most discerning, the smartest audience in terms of readership, I just feel like, you know, you can't talk down to them, they're so smart. And they'll know if you're talking down to them. And you owe it to them. We owe it to them, to be honest. And so that's what I told myself as I was writing, you know, in Breathless, writing the sex positivity and writing sex scenes or… I wanted it to be an empowering story, I wanted Claude, the heroine of the story, I wanted her to be empowered, because her world does change in that instant. And she feels like she has no floor. I wanted her to rebuild that floor, to build a new floor. And part of doing that, one of the first things she does is make the decision to have sex for the first time. But it's a decision she makes and she makes it for the right reasons. And she owns that decision. And it's, it ends up being a very empowering decision for her. And I wanted to be able to show that in a very positive light.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Now you obviously, I assume you have very strong connection with your memories of being a teenager yourself. And you've written, you know, a memoir about kind of like that time in your life. So obviously, that's very useful. But how do you get into, when you're writing your YA, how do you know you're really getting into the mind of someone of that age? Or are you very much relying on what your feelings were at the time yourself?

 

Jennifer Niven 

I think it's a combination. I think that I can definitely channel those feelings in an instant. It does not take me long to go back in my mind and in my heart and feel. I can still think of cringe worthy moments and swoony moments and all of those and like feel them. And so I think that that really helps. And then I feel like, you also, it's just, I always think it's like writing… Like it's as if you're playing a song on the piano and if you hit a bad note, you feel it, you hear it. It's the same with writing. If it feels, it doesn't feel organic, if it feels forced, if it feels like it's too adult sounding, or you know, whatever it is, you hear the, you hear the bad note and you feel that and you change it.  And then the other thing I do is I have these wonderful young readers who I will give, like, early versions of my books too, so that they can read them before I even send them to my editor, just so, you know, I can make sure that like with the language, like the sex conversations that my characters have in Breathless, I wanted to make sure they sounded as like current and, you know, just as, as current as they can be. And I wanted to make sure that they sound authentic. And so I shared them with these young readers. And that was very helpful too.

 

Valerie Khoo 

When you're writing your manuscripts, do you already know what's going to happen? Have you already planned it out? Or do you just see how it unfolds yourself?

 

Jennifer Niven 

It's kind of a, again, a combination. I think, you know, I like to think of certainly, when you're doing fiction, nonfiction has to be very planned out. But when you're doing fiction, I have to know my characters completely. And then I think of the story as kind of a road trip. It's the equivalent of going on a road trip. So I know where I'm starting, I almost always know where I'm ending. And then I know the general arc of the story and the beats I want to hit. So I know the general route that I'm taking. But there's so many, you know, detours that happen, small and large, along the way, and I have to leave yourself open to those. And I think that's some of the joy and the fun of writing, because you don't know what's going to happen sometimes. And sometimes the characters will take you off in directions you didn't expect, which can be really wonderful.

 

Valerie Khoo 

You have, you're in this great position now where, you know, your books are just really successful, obviously, they're being turned into movies as well. So in a sense, you have a little bit more freedom than other authors to say, you know what? I'd really like to do X, as opposed to having to, you know, just kind of take what comes or do whatever it is that the publisher says.

 

Jennifer Niven 

Right.

 

Valerie Khoo 

What's your grand master plan for the next 10 years?

 

Jennifer Niven 

Oh, my goodness, I love this question. First of all, I feel so fortunate to be able to be in that position. It's just I feel incredibly grateful. And I couldn't do that without readers, because my readers are everything, and they support me in so many ways. And I, you know, I would love to just, there's so many projects I want to do, and there are, you know, different collaborations with different authors, there are solo, you know, YA novels that are in different genres. And that would really push me too as a writer, which I love to do. And I want to adapt every single one of my books, you know, on the screen, and I want to be the one to write it. Um, I think that's a big goal. I would love, I would like to work…

 

Valerie Khoo 

Well, hey, you've won an Emmy already. So, you know…

 

Jennifer Niven 

Why not? I'd love to also work in television, because I love television. So that would be… I mean, pretty much everything, Valerie, it's like, the sky's the limit. You know, my mom taught me when I was little, she said, just never limit yourself or your imagination. So I've tried to honour that.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Wonderful. Alright, so let's finish on what would your top three tips be for writers who, for aspiring writers who would love to be in a position where you are one day?

 

Jennifer Niven 

I would say, write and read. Just read everything and write. It sounds very trite, but just show up and do the writing. Don't pressure yourself or put so much, you know, expectation on yourself to write something perfect, because I know a lot of writers who get kind of paralysed because they're so afraid they won't write something perfect. And the thing is, there is no such thing. And you can go back and you can edit. So just write, write, write. I also say write the story you want to read, because that will keep you invested heart and soul and mind in the story you're writing. And lastly, I would say you are the only you there is in the entire world, which is really extraordinary. And that means that only you can write the story that you can write. So don't ever compare yourself to others.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Perfect. On that note, thank you so much for your time today. Congratulations on Breathless and I really appreciate you taking the time.

 

Jennifer Niven 

Oh my goodness. Thank you so much.

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