About the Book:
Title: ZENN DIAGRAM
Author: Wendy Brant
Pub. Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads
Eva Walker is a seventeen-year-old math genius. And if that doesn’t do wonders for her popularity, there’s another thing that makes it even worse: when she touches another person or anything that belongs to them — from clothes to textbooks to cell phones — she sees a vision of their emotions. She can read a person’s fears and anxieties, their secrets and loves … and what they have yet to learn about calculus. This is helpful for her work as a math tutor, but it means she can never get close to people. Eva avoids touching anyone and everyone. People think it’s because she’s a clean freak — with the emphasis on freak — but it’s all she can do to protect herself from other people’s issues.
Then one day a new student walks into Eva’s life. His jacket gives off so much emotional trauma that she falls to the floor. Eva is instantly drawn to Zenn, a handsome and soulful artist who also has a troubled home life, and her feelings only grow when she realizes that she can touch Zenn’s skin without having visions. But when she discovers the history that links them, the truth threatens to tear the two apart.
How did you come up with the concept for Zenn Diagram?
In fall of 2013 I was feeling kind of blue because I could not find representation for the YA dystopian novel I had been working on for two years. The market was oversaturated with Hunger Games wannabes, and I was feeling low, realizing that something else I had worked so hard on was going to just sit on my hard drive indefinitely. One day (October 8th – I have proof!) I went for a walk and then sat in the park and brainstormed ideas. I think I wrote down seven of them … and they all pretty much sucked. But the last one – lucky number 7 – was this: Girl who can see the future meets boy who can’t escape the past. Something like that. And something about that idea intrigued me. The concept changed a little, but that was the seed. I think the story was shaped by watching my kids’ teenage years, watching them constantly resist being vulnerable. Teenagers try to hide everything, right? But what if you couldn’t? And what if that were OKAY?
Eva is pretty much a math whiz! Are you awesome at math, too?
Absolutely not. I mean, I was okay at math back in high school, but certainly no math whiz. I never even took calculus! I had to google EVERYTHING math related in this book.
Zenn is the ultimate book boyfriend. What inspired his character?
I’m not sure. I liked the idea of a guy who has challenges but isn’t bitter and brooding and haunted. I wanted a guy who puts his head down and tries to fight his way out of his situation, even if the odds are stacked against him. A guy who has big dreams despite his circumstances.
This book has quite a number of hilarious scenes. The quads having a number of them. Do you personally know anyone with quadruplets?
I don’t believe I do, but I do know someone with triplets. And my brothers are twins, so there’s that. Again, I’m not even sure where the quads came from. Writing is weird like that. Sometimes you just go, “Yeah. She has quadruplet siblings. Sure.” Like it makes total sense.
Zenn Diagram has it all from funny moments to fully charged emotional moments. Which one do you like writing more.
Hmmmm. This is a great question! The funny moments are harder for me, but so satisfying when they work. I’m constantly amazed when people say that this book is funny because I had hoped it would be, but I just wasn’t sure I could pull it off! The emotional stuff comes much more easily to me, but I always worry about being too sappy or overdramatic. I believe in minimalistic emotional moments – at least with the dialogue — if that makes sense.
Do you have a favorite scene in Zenn Diagram?
I always like the kind of sexy, flirting scenes, where you start to understand why the main characters fall in love: Homecoming night, the first date, the manicure scene … stuff like that. I guess my absolute favorite to WRITE, if I had to pick, is the manicure scene. That was fun.
What’s next for you in the writing universe?
Well, I’m thinking about resurrecting my dystopian story, because I think it is super relevant, given our country’s political situation at the moment. But I’m also writing a contemporary about Harper, a tech-savvy, phone-addicted blogger, and Eddie, an organic farmer who still has a flip phone, who get stranded together during an ice storm. Eddie helps Harper to be vulnerable, after years of hiding behind her internet persona. Eddie learns to let go of some guilt from the past.
Thank you for the great interview! I hope you all enjoy Zenn Diagram!
So my name alone should give you a clue that I graduated from high school when bangs were big and clothes were baggy. I went to Northwestern University and majored in journalism even though I had no desire to be a journalist. I’ve been married to a great guy for a whole drinking-aged person’s life. I’ve got two amazing and yet very different (and very tall) teenage kids. I like crappy food, pinning inspirational quotes on Pinterest, have a tendency to start paragraphs with “anyway”, and I wish I were funnier. I would love to be one of those really, REALLY funny bloggers (like Insane in the Mom-Brain) that makes you pee yourself a little bit. I am only moderately funny. I admit that. It’s one of my great sadnesses in life.
I started writing fiction when I was 10, but tried to be practical with the whole journalism thing. Didn’t take. Shortly after college, the fiction-writing desire reared its non-practical head and I’ve been writing ever since.
Anyway, I’m probably just like you. We’d probably be friends if we met in real life. (Well, let’s be honest. It’s likely that only my friends are actually reading this blog, so we probably ARE friends in real life.) But whether we are friends in real life, or just virtual friends through cyberspace, I hope you will enjoy your time here.
Check out my debut YA novel, ZENN DIAGRAM (KCP Loft 4/4/17), available for pre-order at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Target!
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