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Meet Daintry Jensen, Author of The Hidden Forest
Daintry Jensen has a background in dramatic writing from Skidmore College and UCLA’s Professional Screenwriting Program. Before that, she was acting professionally in Los Angeles and NYC. Growing up, she spent her summers on Nantucket Island were she had many an adventure that sparked the imagination, and where she returns to whenever she gets the chance.
Learn more about Daintry by visiting her website. Her middle grade fantasy adventure novel, The Hidden Forest, will be published on June 12, 2015 by Green Writers Press, and you can read all about it here.
- What first gave you the idea for The Hidden Forest?
Growing up in the summertime on Nantucket, my grandparents had a house out in Polpis near the real Hidden Forest. My grandfather used to take us on twilight walks nearby and we’d see tiny paths going under the brush. I would always wonder who lived there–what was happening there that was hidden from us humans?
- I can remember getting very caught up in biographies of famous people as a kid. What is it about Amelia Earhart that inspires your protagonist, Adelaide?
That’s such a great question. I think in Adelaide’s mind, Amelia had no limits because she could fly! What could be better than that? If you can fly, than you can go wherever you want–a great thing for an adventuress! You could have breakfast at the Great Pyramid Of Giza in Egypt, lunch at Machu Picchu in Peru, and dinner on the peaks of Kilimanjaro. Amelia Earhart was also incredibly courageous and had tons of moxie, which is all very appealing to Adelaide. Amelia was a woman who really lived life to the fullest and followed her dreams.
- What are some of the challenges of writing a fantasy book?
I actually feel like there a fewer challenges with writing fantasy because you can completely create your own world and the rules that apply there. You’re the boss, and it’s really great fun to not be bound anything but your imagination. That being said, because The Hidden Forest takes place on Nantucket, I wanted to make sure to capture the island itself, a place that is very near and dear to my heart.
- What are some of the elements of your book that make it engaging for middle grade readers?
Summertime! I think kids have very visceral experiences during the summer because you’re outside so much. Also, adventures, exploring hidden worlds, and dealing with the consequences of breaking the rules.
- How did your background in studying dramatic writing and screenwriting help you in writing your book?
Dramatic writing is all about creating an emotional experience for the audience. The best way to do that (a little tip I learned in screenwriting) is to create conflict. Conflict almost always causes emotional reactions, sparks. Relationships are also front and center (and something I love exploring) and writing dialogue that has subtext and layering. But for me, emotion is #1. There’s a quote I read by a famous actor recently that goes something like “I go to the theater/movies to laugh and to cry, and that’s why I go.” I feel that way about books, too. People want to connect. Emotional journeys are a great for that and create a lovely and fulfilling experience. In the words of E.M. Forester, “Only connect.”