Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
The Big Picture
(NavPress Publishing Group, April 15, 2008)
by Jenny B. Jones
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jenny B. Jones is the author of A Katie Parker Production series. The other books in the series are In Between and On The Loose. Though now an adult, she still relates to the trauma and drama of teen life. She is thrilled to see her writing dreams come true, as her previous claim to fame was singing the Star Spangled Banner at a mule-jumping championship. (The mules were greatly inspired.)Jenny resides in Arkansas, where, as a teacher, she hangs out with teens on a regular basis.
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ABOUT THE BOOK
Sometimes there's a fine line between comedy and tragedy—and Katie Parker is walking it.
School is winding down for the summer but Katie Parker is having a bad day. After leaving the drive-in, where her imploding love life was the main attraction, Katie arrives home to a big surprise on the Scott's front porch. Her mother, Bobbie Ann Parker, a former convict and recovering addict, wants to take Katie away from her family, friends, and church. Now Katie's life will be changed by a series of dramatic choices as she struggles to understand what family and home really means.
Katie is forced to walk away from In Between, leaving behind a family who loves her, a town drive-in to save, and a boyfriend who suddenly can take his eyes off his ex. When the life her mother promised begins to sink faster than one of Maxine's stuffed bras, Katie knows she needs to rely on God to keep it together. But where is he in all this? Can Katie survive a chaotic life with her mother—and one without the Scotts? And if God is there, will he come through before it's too late?
A Katie Parker Production series offers teen girls real-world fiction balanced by hope and humor. The The Big Picture helps us realize that the difficult chapters in our journey are only part of God's big story for our lives.
You can read the first chapter HERE
"A heroine to love. Jones just gets better with every book, and The Big Picture is her best one yet." ~BARBARA WARREN, author of The Gathering Storm
"Such inspiration in a package of fun and faith!" ~EVA MARIE EVERSON, author of the Potluck Club series
1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?
We knew from book one, IN BETWEEN, that my main character, Katie Parker, had an addict mother. So it was just a natural progression that Mom would have to show up sometime and deal with some issues, as we find in THE BIG PICTURE. As a teacher, I see a lot of teens struggling with addict parents or parents who just aren't living right, and the kids getting trapped in the cycle. And it is a cycle. Without education, encouragement, and support, these kids will most likely go on to repeat the process or repeat some form of dysfunction. So I wanted to write the story from the perspective of a kid who has hope and wants more for herself, no matter who her biological parent is or how she was raised. The cycle can be broken, and God provides that out. Also Katie is a new Christian in book three, and I wanted to see how these life challenges played out against new faith.
2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?
I definitely have experience with addict family members, though not from a teenage perspective. I think as a teacher, my teen students influence me a lot. Their personalities, humor, trials and issues are on every page. And I think there are definitely aspects of myself in this girl. We're both a little snarky, clumsy, irreverent, and occasionally love to ham it up. We both had wonderful, sassy grandmothers. And we both look just like Keira Knightley. (Kidding!) And as for aspects of Katie that were just hers? Hmmm...she's into vintage eighties clothing, and I'm definitely not, since I lived it once already...though I am REALLY thankful the giant hair didn’t come back in with the clothes.
3. What themes exist in The Big Picture that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?
I think we see a few themes played out. There's the theme of defining what true family is. There's the dominant theme of trusting God when it makes no sense—when life isn't fair, when the tragedy or problem defies explanation. There's also the theme of using fireworks to snare a man, but I won't go into that.
4. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?
I think any of the scenes were Katie deals with her addict mother were hard. Though I wouldn't call this a dark book, this was dark for me. In my own life, I don't function well in pitiful situations and will start cracking jokes immediately. So it's hard to stay in one of Katie's issues until it's fleshed out. But you can see in her character that she can't be pitiful or wallow either. Most sad or high emotion scenes end with some sort of joke or crack. I was really worried the book would be too emotionally charged, too dramatic, but I've gotten nice feedback from reader’s with similar life experiences as Katie or her mother.
5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?
Next is a new series for Thomas Nelson called A Charmed Life. The first book, So Not Happening, won't be out until spring of ’09, but I'm really excited about it. It's quite a departure from the Katie Parker Production, but still includes humor, sass, and teen issues. This series revolves around Bella, a 17-year-old socialite from NYC. Her life radically changes when her plastic surgeon dad dumps her mom for a newer version, and Mom remarries...a professional wrestler from Oklahoma. I'm really excited about it, though I miss Mad Maxine already. But there's enough spandex and pile drivers to keep me typing.
Thanks for letting me stop by!
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Thank you, Jenny, for being with us.
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