July 2009


Jill Amy Rosenblatt is the author of Project Jennifer and For Better or Worse. She lives on Long Island and confesses to being a hopeless romantic.

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  1. What inspired you to write For Better or Worse?

    I wanted to examine the concept of the power structure in relationships and answer the question, does every relationship have a power structure? Does one partner always have the upper hand? So I decided to do this by looking at three different couples: one couple vying for power by hiding things about their life from each other (Elizabeth and Ian), one couple where one partner clearly has the advantage and takes advantage (Emily and Parker), and one couple who choose to be completely open and available for each other (Karen and Robert).

  2. Was it also your aim to focus on the theme of female friendship?

    It was important to me to focus on how these three very different women relate to each other but not my ultimate aim to focus solely on female friendships in this book. I really wanted to focus on each couple's relationship.

  3. And what put you in such a wedding mood?

    I'm a hopeless romantic. I thought it would be interesting to have each couple at a different place in the beginning of the book. Emily and Parker have just gotten married, Karen and Robert will be getting married in one year, and Elizabeth and Ian are supposedly happy as they are, agreeing to be in a relationship without getting married. I wanted a lot of space to examine these relationships from different perspectives.

  4. Which of the characters do you most identify with and why?

    Of all the characters in For Better or Worse, I think I identify most with Elizabeth. She's trying to figure things out and she's not settled in her own mind about her life and how it's turning out. I have a tendency towards introspection, maybe too much, and I'm never satisfied. I always want to accomplish more. I haven't learned to enjoy the journey. I'm always looking ahead, wanting to see an end result.

  5. Why did so many of your characters work in the financial sector?

    That storyline turned out to be timely considering the headlines for the past months. At the time I crafted the story I picked the financial sector because I felt it fit the personalities of the characters. Parker is very competitive and aggressive, and he's all about forgetting his lower middle class upbringing. Elizabeth is driven and extremely capable but she's also looking to get away from her past life as an artist. I felt the financial sector was about as 360 degrees away from painting as a person could get. Also, this was a world that I had never written about before so I enjoyed the challenge of doing the research and creating something completely new.

  6. Have you ever been to a wedding where the guests have caused lots of trouble?

    No, I haven't. All of the weddings I've been to have been very pleasant and sedate - no fun for a writer! I have heard wedding mishap stories from other people. I thought it would be fun to let my imagination roam and see what I could come up with.

  7. Do you think getting a college qualification (Bachelor of Arts in Writing and Literature) has improved your writing?

    Definitely. The Independent Degree Program at Burlington College was a great opportunity and exactly what I had been looking for. You have the opportunity to personally design a lot of your program so I had a terrific experience studying different writers and working on my writing skills. I had studied at several colleges but had never completed my degree. I was glad to find Burlington. I was able to focus on studying what I loved and devote all of my time to that.

  8. Which authors do you most admire?

    Tough question! There are so many. Most recently, I was blown away by Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. She's an amazing storyteller and her narrative is just beautiful. That book stayed with me a long time after I read it. I admire her ability to tell such an affecting story. There are so many authors, and I enjoy their work for different reasons: how they write comedy, action sequences, narrative prose, etc. Janet Evanovich, Harriet Doerr, Jane Austen, Meg Wolitzer. I'm sure I'm forgetting people.

  9. What has been the response to your debut novel Project Jennifer?

    The response has been positive. I received some really nice emails from readers sharing how they enjoyed the book and what it meant to them. I appreciated the emails and their taking the time to write to me.

  10. How do you think your life would be different if you were named after your mother's choice of Jennifer?

    I confess I still do wonder on occasion if my life would have been different as Jennifer. I wonder if I would have been more outgoing or social (and had better hair - flowing locks would have been nice). But then I think, a rose by any other name...

  11. Which famous Jennifer do you think best encapsulates your image of a Jennifer?

    I would say Jennifer Lopez. She seems like a very polished, put together person that has everything under control.

  12. What message do you hope readers take from Project Jennifer?

    That there isn't just one "right" path to take. It's not the best thing to have a pre-conceived notion of the perfect life. Each woman has to find and make her own journey and be true to herself.

  13. What are you working on now?

    I'm supposed to be taking a break right now but a story idea I had given up on suddenly became completely clear to me. The working title is Deciphering Bella, it's about a newly married young woman who begins to exhibit signs of mental instability. Through switching back and forth between the present and the past, the reader will be able to follow her story and what brought her to this point. I have a few other ideas floating in my head but this is the one that's grabbing me, so for now this one is next.

  14. How much do you depend on social networking sites such as MySpace and Twitter?

    Tremendously! MySpace and Facebook have been an amazing way to meet and connect with people and introduce my book. I've met really nice people through both sites. Twitter I'm still getting used to. It feels a little like an existential black hole. I wonder if it's the tree falling in the forest kind of thing. "If I say something on Twitter and no one answers me, did I really say it?"

  15. What is my favorite:

    1. Season: spring and fall. I'm a middle-of-the-road kind of person. I don't like extremes.

    2. Movie: too many to name but definitely When Harry Met Sally, Notorious, Sleepless in Seattle, Pride and Prejudice - hopeless romantic, that's me. But I do like action films as well. Also The Godfather, Parts I and II are on my all-time favorites list.

    3. Food: Chinese food (barbecued spare ribs). Pasta, pasta, and more pasta.

    4. Holiday destination: London. I love London! Despite an unfortunate chicken salad food poisoning incident on my last visit, I would love to go back again.

    5. Celebrity: Viggo Mortensen (two words: Eastern Promises), Ewan McGregor (the inspiration for the Ian character in For Better or Worse), and Chris Pine (shamelessly indulging my inner cougar).
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