I met the fabulous Jen Malone through the slush of a writing contest and now here she is revealing her gorgeous COVER for her debut Middle Grade novel AT YOUR SERVICE. (Available August 2014 from Aladdin!) I am seriously honored to be its first host.
And yes, of course you can add AT YOUR SERVICE to Goodreads. :)
Here it is . . . (Absolutely ADORABLE, right?!)
Tween Chloe Turner wants nothing more than to follow in Dad’s footsteps as a respected concierge at a posh NYC hotel. After all, living at a hotel is heaven, and perks like free concert tickets and chic restaurant meals aren’t too shabby either. When the spoiled brat child of an important guest is only placated by some quick thinking on Chloe’s part, Chloe is awarded the role of Junior Concierge. But she might be in over her head when tasked with tending to the every whim of three royal guests: a twelve-year-old who can’t stand her, a fourteen year-old prince(!), and a ten-year-old with a nasty habit of going missing. When the younger princess slips Chloe’s care, Chloe must risk her reputation and embark with the remaining royals on a time-sensitive, but funny, and event-filled hunt through NYC’s best tourist spots.
If you could have been told one thing that you weren't told when you were a teenager, what would you like to have heard?
Almost any path is changeable and/or fixable. Back then, I thought I had to figure out what one job I would do forever and I think I’m now on career change #47. But each one has influenced the other and what’s even more fun is how they’re all now showing up in my writing. The jobs I worked as a teenager were the most fun: they included being Santa’s elf at the mall one Christmas (hidden skill: I can laminate pictures and turn them into keychains in my sleep) and supervising customers’ hot tub try out sessions. Let’s just say I learned a few things on that job. Bubbles only hide so much!
What is the best thing you have done in your life?
Made faces at a total stranger in the car next to me, while zooming down the highway, in a state I didn’t live in. Second best thing was holding my cell phone number up to the window. He called. That stranger is now my husband and yes, we honestly, truly, did meet this way. I swear.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you?
I don’t know if this is the weirdest but I traveled for a year solo after college. At the beginning of my trip, I made a friend in Sydney at a youth hostel. A month later I ran into him on a bus in Singapore. A month after that I bumped into him at a street market in Kathmandu and three months after that I saw him out a train window while in Dublin, Ireland. The world is a small, small place, my friends.
What's your favorite material object that you already own?
My stuffed hippo. I’ve had him since I was nine. He still sleeps with me and I make sure my kids know that they can hang onto their special things as long as they want. Even grown-ups sometimes need something that makes them feel safe just by virtue of being snuggly. When I was a teen, my mom warned me no guy would ever want to marry me if he had to share the bed with a ratty stuffed animal. She had to eat her words, but she was a good sport about it. She made Hippy a tuxedo and planted him right on the bridal party table at our wedding. So yeah, I’d grab him first in a fire.
If you could visit any place in the world, where would you choose to go and why?
At the moment it would be Chili. I’ve visited five continents but I still need South America and Antarctica. If I were in Chili, I could hop a boat to the South Pole and check both boxes at once!
If you woke up as Oprah Winfrey, what's the first thing you would do?
Copy every one of her contacts so that, when the spell wore off, I could have direct lines to the president, Ryan Gosling, AND the Dahli Lama- maybe I’d even conference them.
As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
A writer. Even though I forgot that for a very, very long stretch of time. I was just going through our attic and found, in a storage box, a little pillow that my mom cross-stitched when I was about ten. It is tiny and has a ribbon attached, so it can hang from a doorknob. It says “Quiet, Writer At Work”. Yeah, I cried. It now hangs from the corner of my writing desk.
What was your favorite decade? (50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, etc.)
80’s. I was a kid and early teen then and I genuinely didn’t realize that what made the music so good was that it was so very bad or that the reason the fuzz stuck to the walls of my bathroom was all the aerosol hairspray residue. Plus…jelly bracelets.
What cartoon character best represents your personal philosophy?
Tigger. Bounce first, look later.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
I would like to have either an amazing memory or the ability to jump through my life at will and relive days here and there. I would love to go back and experience the first day I drove a car or started college or left for a trip around the world or had a kiss knock me senseless or found out I was pregnant. I have rosy memories, but I’d like to know what I was REALLY feeling. I think this is on my mind so much as I try to write younger characters.
If you can be a Disney character, who would you be and why?
Belle. So cliché, but that LIBRARY at the castle!!
What is something you have that is of sentimental value?
My great grandmother’s day planner from 1912. Her entries are along the lines of “Went for carriage ride in snow with Sadie” and “Ed picked me up in his machine and we went for drive”. I like to see what she was up to on this day in history.
Do you like to sing in the shower?
No, but I did have to buy Crayola bath crayons because I plot in the shower and I’d constantly be jumping out with shampoo still in my hair to search for a pen and paper.
Weirdest thing you've ever eaten?
Jellyfish. And a crocodile and kangaroo shish-ka-bob in the Australian outback. Best meal ever was in Morocco. A few travel-mates and I rode with two guides on camel into the Sahara desert, the guides stopped at a seemingly random sand dune and began digging up this unbelievable naan bread they’d buried to cook in the sun on their last trip. It was ah-mazing. The stars out there didn’t hurt either!