Jennie Withers is a graduate of Boise State University, Boise, Idaho and taught Technical Reading and Writing and Creative Writing at the high school level. ‘Hey, Back Off!’ is her second book in the ‘Hey’ series. The first was, ‘Hey, Get a Job! A Teen Guide for Getting and Keeping a Job’. She has also published or contributed to ‘Twist’, ‘Boys’ Life’, ‘Family Circle’ magazines as well as other popular and trade magazines. She lives in Meridian, Idaho, with her husband and two daughters.
What inspires you to write?
The desire to help kids and their parents through the good, bad and ugly of being young.
Tell us about your writing process
Writing allows me to combine my two passions: writing and teaching. My ‘Hey’ books were born in my classroom. I saw what my students needed and first lesson plans were born. Those lessons became the outlines for my books. Once I had an outline, I added an expert (Phyllis Hendrickson M. Ed.) to help me with the research and writing process. We drew from our experiences and from the experience of those we interviewed. All of the stories and examples in ‘Hey, Back Off!’ are true. Then, it was into the editing stage and finally finding New Horizon Press Books to publish it.
How do you think writing for children and young adults is different from writing for an adult audience?
It’s different and yet the same. Young adults need examples they can relate to rather than just information. It seems less like a lecture that way. I am a firm believer in talking straight with young people about what it takes to become a successful person in a crazy world. I don’t talk down to teens and I put it all out there. In other words, I write for teens with the belief that they are, or can be, mature, intelligent and independent people.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
My first book, ‘Hey, Get a Job! A Teen Guide for Getting and Keeping a Job’ is self-published. ‘Hey, Back Off!’ is published by New Horizon Press Books. I chose to attempt to traditionally publish ‘Hey, Back Off!’ because I wanted some layout, editing, and marketing help. What I found out, however, is that there is still an incredible amount of work with a traditional publisher.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
It’s definitely in flux, and I think the self-publisher has a lot of power. It seems that agents and publishers are hanging back until a self-published ebook hits a certain number of sales and then they’ll consider representing or publishing that author. In other words, they are waiting for the sure thing. I still see a need for agents and publishers, but for niche authors like me, I think self-publishing is the way to go.
What do you use?
Co-writer, Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
Young Adult Non-Fiction
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print