Jennifer Brody, author of The 13th Continuum and Return of the Continuums, is a graduate of Harvard University and began her career working in Hollywood on many films, including The Lord of the Rings. She lives and writes in Los Angeles. Here are her answers to our questions…
What author or book inspires you most, now and/or at any time in your career?
This is such a tough question—how do you pick just one? I’m such a voracious reader. But I consistently cite J.R.R. Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings. The Hobbit is one of the first real books I ever read (full disclosure: my Dad paid me 10 bucks to read it; he was afraid I’d never read anything besides Nancy Drew books). I fell in love with the world, characters and story and never let it go.
Later, after college, I landed my dream job working for the Executive Producer of The Lord of the Rings films at New Line Cinema. My appreciation for Tolkien only grew as I watched the films take shape in vivid sound and color, on big screens all over the world, finally triumphing at the Oscars. When I sat down to write my Continuum trilogy, I wanted to capture the immersive feel and transportive worldbuilding of Tolkien, even though my story is very different. However, so many other authors shaped me as a writer, from Anne Rice, to Stephen King, to Tamora Pierce and Anne McCaffrey. In the acknowledgements of Return of the Continuums, I thank many of my favorite authors. So you can read my list there!
What is your favorite part of participating in book festivals?
I love meeting book lovers and readers. My favorite part has to be the middle-grade and teen readers, since I write young adult books. My books and characters lived in my head for so long that’s it’s amazing to see them out in the world and talk about them with actual readers. I also love being around other authors and books (and this festival brings me back to my home state, so it’s a double bonus).
When did you realize you wanted to write this book?
I’d worked in Hollywood for years and actually been writing for a while when I stumbled on the idea while watching news footage of the BP oil spill. As I watched the oil coat the ocean, I wondered what would happen if we couldn’t live on the surface anymore? I’d long been fascinated by the deep-sea and the ocean trenches. I loved 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Abyss. I wanted to explore that environment, and so my book The 13th Continuum was born. I hit upon the bigger idea when I decided that the colonies wouldn’t just be located underwater, but they would be in outer space and underground, too.
Which part of the book are you most proud of?
I love the Before Doom prologue scenes which begin each of the three books in my Continuum Trilogy (the third one The United Continuums comes out July 11, 2017). These are glimpses of the world before it was destroyed by the Doom. I also love the scenes in the middle of The 13th Continuum when Myra learns about the true history of her people (I don’t want to give away spoilers)! The constitutional amendments that open The 13th Continuum are also pretty cool and show how the colony slowly slid into a dark age ruled by the totalitarian Synod.
What are you working on next?
My third book The United Continuums comes out in July, so we’re putting the finishing touches on getting it ready for publication. It might be my favorite of the series! We’re also working on turning my Continuum Trilogy into a film or TV show, so hoping we make progress on that front next year. Finally, I’m going to start writing my next book. I can’t reveal details yet, but it will be another YA science fiction book with lots of cool space stuff!
Jennifer Brody will be participating in The Supernatural Self: Fantasy and Intrigue in YA Fiction at this year’s festival, along with authors Brenda Drake (Thief of Lies), Shaun Hutchinson (At the Edge of the Universe), and Eric Smith (Branded).