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Jennifer Niven's Blog

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The L.A. Central Library
I spent yesterday at the Central Library downtown, gathering the most enormous armful of books you’ve ever seen on everything from Darryl Zanuck to Louella Parsons to a history of Los Angeles itself. I spent today at my desk, constructing a timeline for the book– listing every interesting event...
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For every author photo that appears on a book, there are hundreds of possibilities of photos that could have been used but weren’t. In keeping with the fact that I’m in the midst of choosing a new author photo for Velva Jean #3, here is a little gallery of author photos that might have been...
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My current author photo
It’s that time again: my publisher needs a new author photo for the upcoming book. When I was starting out, back in 2000, before my first book, The Ice Master, entered production, my then-publisher Hyperion let me know that a very famous and important photographer specializing in author...
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Jennifer and Joe
When I was in high school in Indiana, my best friend Joe Kraemer and I would sometimes take what we called a “Creative Day,” which meant that we skipped school so we could work on outside projects– namely our writing and having fun. While our parents weren’t all too thrilled about this (when...
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Mrs. Muir writes her book with the help of the ghostly captain
I’ve written my books in various settings. The Ice Master was completed at a duplex just off busy Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, CA. Ada Blackjack was composed in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. I began Velva Jean Learns to Drive while living in a 100-year-old bungalow in Atlanta’s inner city...
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At Warner Bros in Charlie Sheen's (former) parking space
“To give words meaning, you must first know the reality, the thoughts, sensations and experiences that the words stand for.” — Lee Strasberg People who aren’t writers often assume that you’re only writing when you’re sitting in front of your computer. But, as many writers will tell you, as...
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Jennifer reading to her mother
It seems like only yesterday my mother was teaching me to read. And now, many, many years later, I’m teaching her the ins and outs of social media. While she was visiting from North Carolina for Christmas, we set aside one day for a Social Media Crash Course (aka Teaching Mom to Tweet). My...
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Since Christmas I’ve been immersed in a nice big stack of brand new Velva Jean research books, including one about the MGM backlot, the most famous backlot in history. Everything from The Wizard of Oz to Ben-Hur to Singin’ in the Rain was shot there, and it’s estimated that twenty percent of...
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Jennifer and the Christmas tree
When I was seven going on eight, I began worrying over Santa Claus. This was because some of the other kids in my second grade class were spreading rumors about how Santa might not exist. To be fair, it’s something I had started wondering about in first grade. Sometime around Easter, I went to...
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Jennifer and Joe
Because I handed in the edited manuscript Wednesday, and because it is, after all, the holiday season, I’m giving myself a couple of days off to rest, recharge, and focus on Christmas. But I’ll be back to blogging about the book next week. In the meantime, I wanted to share one of my funniest...
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Saying goodbye to the book
Last Monday, I received the last of my editor’s notes on Velva Jean #3 (in which she finds herself spying in World War II), and, at my editor’s request, I have addressed her notes, big and small (cutting 26 pages in the process), and delivered the edited manuscript back to her by this morning...
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Chuck Yeager
One of the best things about being a writer is doing research. Before I got notes back from my editor (last week) on the third Velva Jean book, and before I found out (this past Wednesday) that my own edits are due back to her by next Wednesday (!), I had scheduled a tour of Edwards Air Force...
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It's 11:34 pm, and I'm just finishing up work for the day.  Today was spent editing, editing, editing Velva Jean #3.  And now I will fall into bed, read precisely two pages of my current Shirley Jackson novel, and wake up at 5:00 am so that Louis and I can head out to the desert to take a...
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On days like today I try to remind myself of something my granddaddy Olin used to say. Granddaddy was a postal inspector, back in the days when they carried guns and traveled the country, investigating dangerous crimes. He also wrote for the paper in his North Carolina town. He was brilliant...
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I spent my day with the manuscript of Velva Jean #3, rereading my editor’s notes and starting to painstakingly work my way through from the start, addressing each of her comments one by one. Sometimes, even with a giant monitor (my boyfriend Louis surprised me with an early Christmas present...
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