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Aspiring Author 101: 'Always and Forever, Lara Jean' Novelist Jenny Han

Aspiring Author 101: 'Always and Forever, Lara Jean' Novelist Jenny Han

Do you have dreams of becoming a novelist? Aspiring Author 101 is a new feature on JustJaredJr.com where we dive into the nitty gritty of writing a novel with some of our favorite, successful YA authors.

Our next writer is the super talented Jenny Han, who recently released her highly-anticipated book Always and Forever, Lara Jean. (Get it now!)

It’s the third book in the popular To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series.

You may also recognize Jenny for her The Summer I Turned Pretty and Burn for Burn trilogies too.

We sat down with her to get the goods on her writing process, her advice for aspiring authors, and more.

JJJ Aspiring Author 101 – Jenny Han

Hardcover, paperback or digital copies? I read books on my iPad when it’s not something I necessarily want to keep on my shelf. I like to buy hardcover, but I actually do like having a paperback version of it. If it’s something I love, I really like to have something I can carry around with me.

Favorite place to write? My favorite place to write is usually on a writing retreat. A couple times a year, friends of mine and I will rent a house somewhere beautiful, and write. We always pick a house that has a hot tub (laughs). It’s always nice to take a break and chat. It’s almost in that college mode. It can be a lot of fun. It’s also just that solitary pursuit.

Music or no music? For It’s Not Summer Without You, I was listening a lot to Taylor Swift‘s album…I think it may have been Fearless. There were a couple songs that really tapped into the pain of the story. You know that song ["The Way I Loved You"], I thought a lot about that song with Jeremiah and Belly. For me, it will help me to quickly get to an emotional place that I need to be in with certain songs. I always have playlists for whatever I’m working on.

Endings – happy, sad, or ambiguous? I like endings that leave the door open to other possibilities.

Best advice for someone who wants to write a novel someday? I always have a diary. Getting in the habit of writing in a very honest, truthful way where you don’t hold anything back, it helps you find your voice. That’s really the key thing for any writer. There are only so many stories in the world that exist. All stories are derivative of something else, but only you have had your experiences. Only you can bring that story out from your point of view. So I think it’s honing that.

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'Always and Forever, Lara Jean' Author Jenny Han Talks Bringing Her Story Full Circle

'Always and Forever, Lara Jean' Author Jenny Han Talks Bringing Her Story Full Circle

The final book in the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series, Always and Forever, Lara Jean, is out today!

We recently sat down with New York Times best-selling author Jenny Han to talk about how the third installment came together.

“I wasn’t planning on doing a third book. It was just supposed to be the two,” she told JJJ. “I just started secretly working on it because I didn’t want to get anyone excited about it. I wanted to see if there was enough story left to tell. The first night I started working on it, I was up til dawn just writing it. Then I thought, ‘OK, there’s stuff I still want to say.’”

“One of the things I’m glad about is being able to bring her full circle,” Jenny said. “Because as the first book ends, her sister is going to college and leaving, and she’s feeling really adrift about it – feeling just like her support system is gone and the ground is shifting below her. She’s thinking ‘I would have done things this way and I wouldn’t have gone so far away. I wouldn’t bring my boyfriend.’ It was fun for me to put her in that place because it was going to be her time. How would she do things differently…or not?”

“I wanted to write a character who felt very comfortable in own skin, and satisfied in her circumstances,” Jenny told us about crafting Lara Jean as the series’ protagonist. “She’s really not longing for a boyfriend or longing for a better social life. She really does like to be at home, and make cookies and hang out with her sisters. That’s sincere. She is a character with a lot of longing and romantic ideals, but that doesn’t necessarily look the same way that someone else’s does. I like to explore that.”

As for deciding whether or not Lara Jean and Peter live happily ever after, Jenny said, “In terms of teenage romance and falling in love…you want that to be forever. And then you think, you’re 18. Is that person really the person for you? Maybe. They might be. They might not be. I really grappled with that idea – what I wanted for her and what she would want for herself.”

Be sure to pick up your copy of Always and Forever, Lara Jean now!

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