Jennifer E. Smith, the author of best selling YA novels like The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight and The Geography of You and Me, was in town recently to meet her fans and talk about her books. Candy had a few minutes to chat with her and we discovered a few interesting things about the author!
On love at first sight: "It has never happened to me, but I am an optimist and a romantic. I've heard enough stories from other people that that has happened to and I want to believe it's possible."
On fate: "I believe in fate. I'm a big believer that everything happens for a reason, which is why in a lot of my books, it's 2 people who might have not met or those who don't know they need each other yet and they come into each other's lives at just the right moment. It's really fun to play around with that idea."
On the most important 4 minutes of her life: "I think those kinds of moments in life, often you don’t realize them until later on. You look back and say, 'If I had done it, if I said yes to this or no to this instead of yes, everything would have been different.' That’s what I’m fascinated with and I think I explore that most of the time in my books. It's just so interesting to me how the briefest moments and the seemingly smallest decisions can actually have this huge ripple effect."
On another YA character Hadley could fall in love with: "Who doesn't love Augustus Waters? I mean, they would all love him! I could also see Hadley liking Park from Eleanor and Park."
On why Hadley and Oliver didn't exchange numbers: "I have a thing about wanting to make the books as timeless as possible. Technology changes so quickly and that always worries me. It was purposeful in Statistical Probability for them not to get the numbers, because the whole book doesn't make any sense if they did. There was also a point in the book when Hadley was thinking if she should try to get out a piece of paper. But yes, the whole thing would have been much easier if they exchanged numbers."
On what inspired her to write The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight: "A few years before, I was on a plane. It's not a romantic story but I sat with an older, Irish gentleman. He was very nice. He was reading a book and that got us talking. We ended up spending the whole flight chatting. We got in Dublin the next morning. There were 2 separate lines in customs, one was for Irish citizens and one was for everybody else. There was this sort of moment when we were like, 'We'll see each other on the other end.' We assumed that we’ll see each other when we got to the other end of the line. But when we got out, I waited for a little bit and I didn't know if he already left because my line was longer, or if he just stayed or if he was behind me. It kind of just struck me that you could spend several hours talking to somebody and never know his name. I knew his first name, but I never knew his last name and I'll never see him again. It was nothing romantic, but it struck me in an interesting way to start a love story."
On a sequel fans have been requesting: "The problem with my books is that I like the ending, but the fans have trouble with that because they end with a dot dot dot. They don't end with a period or an exclamation point. I'm a big fan of slightly open-ended endings because it's fun to leave stuff to the reader's interpretation. But I do understand that certain readers get frustrated by this, so I get a lot of sequel requests... I'm really happy with where I left Statistical Probability. It's hard to imagine revisiting them, but I also love those characters and would never say never."
Jennifer E. Smith's books are all available at National Bookstore.