Author Interview + GIVEAWAY: Jen Sanya Williamson - author of Six Strings {BLOG TOUR}

Riley Witt is running out of time.
Battling Alzheimer’s disease, Riley’s grandmother Mary suffers from memory loss, mood swings, and a tendency to wander off.
As senior year approaches, Riley has to face the reality that the one person she depends on most is slowly fading. Making matters worse, when Mary does remember the past, she tells tales of time travel and visions. As Mary’s version of the past gets more confused, Riley knows they are running out of time together.
But when Riley discovers a guitar belonging to a famous rock star at Mary’s house, the truth behind the crazy tales finally comes out.
SIX STRINGS tells the story of Riley’s journey back to 1973 where she enters a world of music, long-lost family, and first love. Her adventure is all about discovering her past, understanding her present, and figuring out how to step into her future.

Jen Sanya Williamson is a graduate of the University of Arizona where she received a BA in creative writing. She spends most of her time with her junior high students, teaching and talking books. When not in a classroom, Jen is writing, watching TV shows from the ‘90s, or cheering on the Wildcats with her husband and children in her adopted hometown of Tucson, Arizona.

Do any of your characters have the same traits as you?
There are definitely some parallels between Riley, the main character from Six Strings, and the kind of girl I was in high school. Like Riley, I have always been a bit of a rule-follower. I was never the type of kid to sneak out past curfew or steal gummy bears from the bulk bins at the store. I was in the school band, but not nearly as talented as Riley. My closest friends in high school were often boys, like Nathan is to Riley. So, there' definitely some experiences I pulled from when writing her character.

When did you start writing?
I have been writing since I was kid. I remember the first short story I wrote was in third grade; it was a story about the tooth fairy. It was a big hit with my teacher. I still have all of the notebooks of stories I wrote during  junior high and high school. Sometimes I go through them, looking at the loopy handwriting, the bright purple and pink pens I would use. It makes me smile.

Do you have a favorite author?
I love too many authors to call one my favorite. John Irving has been influential because he puts such human emotion into stories in which you have no idea what will happen next. I find his stuff thrilling. I adore Edith Wharton. Instead of going to parties in high school, I would be up until two in the morning finishing just one more chapter of The House of Mirth or The Age of Innocence. Raymond Carver is the master of the short story. And I really love young adult writers like Sarah Dessen, Markus Zusak, Walter Dean Myers, and Neal Shusterman.

What are you currently writing?
I am currently working on the second volume of the Six Strings series. Riley is going to find herself in New York City during the 1970s; maybe not the best time to travel back for a cautious rule-follower like Riley!

What or where do you see yourself a year or two from now?
I hope I'm in a similar place: still surrounded by family and good friends, writing, and teaching awesome teenagers.

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