Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Introducing Jenny Meyerhoff

I am so excited because one of my critique partners is celebrating the release of her first book this week! I'm talking about the one and only Jenny Meyerhoff and her fabulous chapter book Third Grade Baby! 

Want to know what the book's about? Check out this book trailer Jenny made:


Jenny is going to pop over to my blog for an interview as soon as she finds an opening in her calendar. (I'll have my assistant call her assistant!) But for now, I bring you a very special treat... an up close and personal view of Jenny Meyerhoff by those who know her best... her critique group.

Our critique group meets every other Wednesday morning, and we share our writing, our angst, and even our beauty tips (if time permits). We've grown so close over the years that we call each other "writing sisters." There are four of us. You already know me, so allow me to introduce you to Ellen and Carol.

Ellen Reagan is working on a mammoth young adult historical fiction fantasy novel that will knock your socks off. If I ever write half as beautifully as Ellen does, I'll feel I've accomplished something big. Carol Grannick writes lyrical picture books and heartfelt realistic fiction. She is also a licensed clinical social worker, which comes in handy for delving deep into feelings - both characters' and our own.

Clockwise from top left: Jenny, Carol, Ellen, Me

So, without further ado, here is a critique group take on Jenny Meyerhoff:

What makes Jenny such an amazing writing sister/critique partner?

Brenda: Jenny's comments on our manuscripts are always spot on and delivered with sensitivity. Also, she is a huge producer. I'm always inspired by how quickly and well she writes and revises. 

Ellen: She is a consummate professional who takes her craft, and her partners' efforts, seriously, and keeps us all believing that we can meet the incredible demands of the creative life.

Carol: Jenny's perpetual gifts as a critique partner/writing sister are a unique perspective on a manuscript and an ever-giving spirit to challenge, encourage and support. Her capacity to view a manuscript as a "whole" often seems to me to be the intellectual version of walking into a chaotic, messy room (speaking for myself, here) and reordering it so that everything has a place (and of course one of those places is the garbage can or as Jenny calls it, her "clip file"). But this is not Jenny's only area of brilliancy. Her incredible talent with word choice, voice and plotting, and her breadth and depth of literary understanding, are invaluable for revision work. Her generous and loving heart make her a priceless critique partner and writing sister. I am beyond lucky to know her.

If you could have one of Jenny's strengths (or superpowers as I like to call them), which would you choose?

Brenda: I'm convinced Jenny has a time turner... the kind Hermione uses in Harry Potter. How else can you explain how Jenny reads five books a week, whips out first drafts faster than I can write a chapter, comes up with amazing marketing plans (check out her online contest for third grade classes!), all while taking care of three cute kids? So yeah, that's the superpower I'm after... Time Travel.

Ellen: Jenny is always saying that there are two types of writers -- egg layers and egg polishers -- and identifies herself as the former. Sometimes I wish I were an egg layer instead of a meticulous egg polisher.

Carol: I would choose the ability to view the overall "whole" of the story, then sort out what's right, what's not right, what's misplaced, and in what order it all goes. Oh, and the ability to plot the way she can...Oh, and...

How does Jenny take care of her curls?

Brenda: She almost never washes her hair and instead uses conditioner, and she towels dry with a t-shirt, not a towel.

Ellen: She never touches them with sodium lauryl sulfate, combs or terry-cloth towels. (A husband's T-shirt is a curl's best friend).

Carol: I know the secret...

Why does Jenny's skin always look so flawless?

Brenda: Jenny introduced me to Bare Minerals. Fantastic light make up. You can't even see you're wearing it, but it smooths your skin beautifully.

Ellen: Clean, healthy living? A pure soul? (It doesn't have anything to do with sodium lauryl sulfate, does it?? Or a cotton T-shirt instead of a towel?)

Carol: Gotta be her genes. Can I borrow a few?

Write a blurb for Third Grade Baby:

Brenda: Move over, Clementine and Junie B. Jones! Make room on the bookshelf for Polly Peterson, a third grader who will capture your heart and tickle your funny bone. Debut novelist Jenny Meyerhoff is a fresh new voice to watch!

Ellen: Readers will lose their hearts to Polly Peterson, a third-grader with gumption . . . and a long-awaited hole in her gums.

Carol: First novelist Meyerhoff gives readers a great new heroine with a unique voice, and a funny and important story about being as big as your heart and mind can make you, even if you haven't lost your first baby tooth yet!


Jenny Meyerhoff said...

I'm having a regular sobfest here at the Meyerhoff Manor. You guys are so sweet and amazing and supportive.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for those confidence boosting words! I think they will definitely help me finish this revision (that is certainly not going quickly!)

Lisa Chellman said...

This is so sweet-- you all are so lucky to have each other as writing sisters! And I feel lucky to know you through SCBWI.

Brenda Ferber said...

You're most welcome, Jenny! It was fun to do.

Lisa, you are right... I feel so fortunate!