Interview with Jennifer A. Nielsen ~ Plus a Giveaway

As promised from yesterday’s post, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce Jennifer Nielsen to my blog!!!

Along with this wonderful interview, I am also hosting a giveaway for any book in the Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer Nielsen. I recently reviewed The False Prince (first book in the trilogy), so if you would like to read my review, click here: The False Prince. And, I will be reviewing the rest of the book in the trilogy throughout this week.

I hope you all enjoy reading this interview, as much as I did writing it with Jennifer. She is an awesome person!

Thank you so much, Jen, for doing this with me! I have really enjoyed chatting with you through email and learning more about you and your books. I hope you had a great time. I certainly did!

If you have any questions or comments, please contact me by messaging me or commenting on this post.


About Jen:Jen Nielsen.png

New York Times Bestselling author, Jennifer Nielsen, was born and raised in northern Utah, where she still lives today with her husband, three children, and a dog that won’t play fetch. She A Night Divided.jpgis the author of The Ascendance trilogy, beginning with The False Prince; the Mark of the Thief series, and the forthcoming A Night Divided. She loves chocolate, old books, and lazy days in the mountain


Q. Are any characters based off of someone you know?

A. The characters are all completely original, but there is one trait of Sage’s that is based off a real person.

I used to teach high school debate, so every weekend we’d get on a bus to travel to a tournament. One of my debaters was a kid named Ken. He was brilliant, popular, a fantastic debater…and a thief. When he’d get on the bus, he’d shake the bus driver’s hand, thank them for driving us, and while shaking their hand, he’d steal their watch! He’d take the watch to the back of the bus and hold it for the entire ride, and then when we arrived, he’d go back to the driver and say, “Hey, I found this on the floor. Could you have dropped it?” The bus driver would gush with gratitude to Ken for being such an “honest young man,” and I would just roll my eyes.

So although Sage has an original personality, every time I wrote his thief scenes, I always thought of Ken.

Q. Who do you like better, Sage or Nic? Imogen or Aurelia? (For a The Ascendance Trilogy vs. Mark of the Thief Trilogy question)Mark of the Thief.png

A. Who do I like? It’d be like choosing between two good friends. I like all of them, just for different reasons. For the record though, I think Imogen and Aurelia would get along really great, but Sage and Nic wouldn’t like each other at all.

Q. What is your writer’s kryptonite (weakness)?

A. Hmm, it might be research. I love the research process, but that is a bottomless rabbit hole and it’s sometimes hard for me to say, “Enough is enough,” and go back to the story. And I’m always worrying about factual accuracy, so I might check and recheck certain facts multiple times, which slows down the writing. That said, I always consider it a great compliment when someone comments on how real a scene felt to them – that meant the research paid off.

Q. How long have you been writing? Where do you keep all of your ideas—in a notebook, on a computer? When did you first come up with the story of Sage and/or Nic?

A. For most of my life, I’ve been writing in one way or another, but I didn’t get serious about it until near the end of college when I began working on longer, more serious effort stories. I used to store my ideas in notebooks, but now I have a file on my computer for ideas or bits of ideas when they come. It’s amazing how often that file comes in handy.

I started writing The False Prince in fall of 2009, and it was all so clear in my head that it was a very fast write. The idea for Nic came after a few facts about Ancient Rome that I stumbled upon in some random readings. That one was a longer writing process because of the research required. But I’m very proud of both series and it’s been interesting to see readers latch on to one or the other.

Q. What was your favorite book when you were a kid?

A. It would have been “The Wolves of Willoughby Chase” by Joan Aiken. I loved that story – still do! A lot of my writing today is influenced by the way that book used to make me feel when reading it.

Q. If you could travel into any book, what book would you pick? Which character would you want to meet?

A. Ooh, that’s a tough one, but I think I’d have to visit the wizarding world of Harry Potter, and of course, get placed into a house! I’d want to sit down with Snape, who is such a fascinating character and really try to understand his perspective of how the different events unfolded.

Q. What was your hardest scene in any of your books to write?

A. The final scene of The Shadow Throne (the third book of the Ascendance Trilogy). It was awful knowing that when I finished, I’d have to say goodbye to these characters I’d come to know and love, and to think of how far they’d come from those first words I wrote.

About the Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer Nielsen:

The False PrinceFalse Prince

In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point—he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well. As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

The Runaway KingRunaway King

Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom?

The Shadow ThroneShadow Throne

One war. Too many deadly battles. Can a king save his kingdom when his own survival seems unlikely?
War has come to Carthya. It knocks at every door and window in the land. And when Jaron learns that King Vargan of Avenia has kidnapped Imogen in a plot to bring Carthya to its knees, Jaron knows it is up to him to embark on a daring rescue mission. But everything that can go wrong does.
His friends are flung far and wide across Carthya and its neighbouring lands. In a last-ditch effort to stave off what looks to be a devastating loss for the kingdom, Jaron undertakes what may be his last journey to save everything and everyone he loves. But even with his lightning-quick wit, Jaron cannot forestall the terrible danger that descends on him and his country. Along the way, will he lose what matters most? And in the end, who will sit on Carthya’s throne?

To enter the giveaway, click here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats, Cheri S! You are the winner of the giveaway! I will email you immediately!

Thank you so much, everyone, for entering!


26 thoughts on “Interview with Jennifer A. Nielsen ~ Plus a Giveaway

  1. Erudessa Aranduriel says:

    I’ve only read the first book in the Ascendance Trilogy, but if I could travel in time and meet one character, I’d have to say Jaron.

    Ms. Neilson, was this series in anyway inspired by Megan Whalen Turner’s Attolia series?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mary says:

    I love the Ascendance Trilogy and A Night Divided. The question is a hard one, but my answer would definitely be someone from Middle-earth – perhaps Gandalf, Aragorn, or Faramir.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haley J.S. says:

      I definitely agree. Middle Earth would be a super fun place to travel to! I would meet Gandalf, Faramir, Merry, or Pippin! It would be hard to choose which person though, if I could only meet one!


  3. Crystal says:

    You really like to pick tough questions Haley! Uh… let’s say the Canadian West series by Janette Oke. I just really am interested in how they lived in those times and I love the dresses women wore! I’d love to meet Wynn and Elizabeth (or for those who watch the TV show, Jack and Elizabeth :P). I got When Tomorrow Comes and the Return to the Canadian West series from the library, so I’m super excited to get started on those! 😀

    Ahh I saw Wrath of the Storm at the library! I should’ve picked it up! humph….

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Paula S. says:

    If I could travel into any book, I would travel into the book Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke. I would love to have a cup of coffee with Ma Graham.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Staci S. says:

    If I could travel into any book, I would have to choose between The Hobbit to meet Bilbo Baggins or Rangers Apprentice to meet Halt or Will. But, it would be a very hard choice!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haley J.S. says:

      Oh wow! That would be a hard choice. I haven’t read The Hobbit in a while but I am going to soon (especially since I just watched the movies!), but I think Bilbo would be cool to meet. To be honest, I think I would want to meet Thorin, Fili, or Kili. Then again, I would like to meet the actors, not just the characters. (Just to be clear, I do not at all have a crush on them…wait, just kidding!) Anyway, for Rangers Apprentice, I totally agree! I would love to meet Halt or Will; I would add Alyss to my list, though! She is pretty cool!!!


  6. Sage Allaway says:

    If I could travel to any book…hmm…probably “Keeper of the Lost Cities” by Shannon Messenger. I just adore the world of the forbidden cities – and would love to explore them! I would love to meet Keefe. Or wait, no, Fitz…no – Sophie! Ugh, that’s just a hard choice.


  7. Heidi S. says:

    Awesome interview! I read The False Prince a while ago and loved it… I may have to pick up the next books in the series now that I have some free time to read again! 🙂 If I could meet a fictional character from a book I would have to say any of the characters from Narnia!! Since I’m reading a biography about Queen Victoria, I would also have to say that I’d love to meet her… she seemed like someone I would get along with since she did have some independent spunk!

    Liked by 1 person

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