Interview with young adult novelist Jocelyn Bly Karney

Welcome, Readers. My special guest today is YA author Jocelyn Bly Karney. She’s chatting with
me about her new young adult fantasy, Priela.
Bio:

Jocelyn
Bly Karney, the author of Priela, has
a background in finance working for Wells Fargo, TD Ameritrade, and AccessData,
where she’s always viewed her role as something of a fortuneteller. Although,
when you use spreadsheets instead of a crystal ball and wear dark suits instead
of a colorful headscarf, people take you far more seriously.



Jocelyn
graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University and received her MBA from
the Marshall School of Business at USC. She also has two strong, confident
daughters and a husband who loosely inspired the character of Daniel,
particularly that part about not being able to dance.



Welcome,
Jocelyn. Please tell us about your current release.

Priela is the
story of a teenaged girl who doesn’t fit in at high school. Then one day she
turns invisible, grows wings, and figures out she’s not even human, but a muse.
She hopes to escape humanity and delve into the muse realm, but quickly discovers
that she’s a misfit there too. How can Priela live her life being no one and
nowhere? How can she hope to inspire others when she doesn’t even understand
herself? Ultimately, her journey is a coming of age tale where Priela must
reexamine everything she thought she knew in order to find her place in the
world.
What
inspired you to write this book?
With a background in finance, I’ve often been asked,
“How do we teach young people about financial literacy?” The book, Priela, is my attempt to answer that
question. The novel is young-adult fantasy fiction, but it also has an
educational message that’s woven throughout the story in what I hope is a
subtle, nuanced way. Specifically, the goal of the book was to teach young
people about the importance of education, the hazards of debt and unrestrained
spending, and the notion that financial decisions made today can have an impact
far into the future.
Back of book excerpt:
Priela had always had this heightened insight. She knew
things about people she simply shouldn’t know, like their plans to ditch
school, or to buy an essay online, or to cheat on a boyfriend. Her abilities
went beyond empathy, beyond well-honed intuition, as if Priela could genuinely
hear people’s thoughts and sense their emotions. She’d mostly succeeded in
hiding her clairvoyance, but then she learned the truth about who she really
was and everything changed.
When
did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always loved writing and I’ve always written for
pleasure, but it’s only recently that I’ve started to introduce myself as a
writer.
Do you
write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other
than write and how do you find time to write?
I work full time in financial planning and analysis and
I’m also a mom. But I can’t stop myself from writing. It’s the activity that I
delve into whenever I’m having insomnia, or when I’m on a long airplane flight,
or when I’m feeling overwhelmed and simply need an escape.
What
would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I like to color-code my fonts as I write. Green might
mean, ‘this section needs editing,’ while purple might mean, ‘this section is
in good shape.’ It’s a way for me to jump around a file and still keep track of
my progress without having to write in a linear fashion.
As a
child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be different things at different times – a
gymnast, an actress, an architect, a writer. I definitely never saw myself
working in finance, but today I’d encourage young people to consider it as a
career path. It may not be glamorous, but you never know what you’ll enjoy
until you give it a try.
Thank
you for joining me today, Jocelyn.

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