When I read Jennifer E. Smith's The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, I realized that I have a hole in my heart, and it can only be filled by a hot British guy sitting next to me on a plane. (Or, you know, a dozen Pimm's cups. Those are great too.) So it's appropriate that, after interviewing Jennifer, I found her to be exactly the type of person I'd love to share a row with on an airplane! And I'm not saying that just because she wears headphones and reads books and doesn't, like, talk my ears off then fall asleep on my shoulder and mouth breathe all over my face. She's also super nice! And really down to earth! And SHE TELLS THE BEST JOKES!
After you check out her interview below, I guarantee that you, too, will want to sit down on a plane with her and convo it up over a few mini-bottle liquor cocktails...
THE BOOK-RELATED QUESTIONS
After reading this book, I was struck by the unfairness of the fact that a hot British boy has NEVER sat in my row in an airplane. So of course I have to ask: has this ever happened to you?! And in case this has happened to you, a follow-up to diffuse my insane jealousy: What's the worst flight experience you've ever had?
Unfortunately, it's never happened to me. I'm usually the person with my nose in a book and my headphones on when I'm traveling. My worst flight experience is a perfect example of this, actually; the girl next to me got sick, and I was so engrossed in my book that I didn't even notice until she started reaching into my seat pocket for an extra airsickness bag. It was only then that I looked over and realized what was happening, and I was up and out of my seat in record time. There was a flight attendant on either end of the aisle motioning for me to sit back down since the fasten seatbelts lights were still on, but once they realized what was going on, they were really nice about finding me another seat. But I wouldn't say it was my favorite flight ever. And I'm sure that sort of thing would never have happened if I'd been seated next to Oliver!
Wow, that story is... really gross. I'm sorry.
My feelings towards Hadley's dad are all over the place. There were moments when I understood his unhappiness, but there were other times when I just wanted to punch him in the face. Was it difficult to write a character that exists in such emotionally gray areas?
In some ways, I think it's a lot more interesting to write a character like that. Although one of my biggest issues is that I tend to get too fond of the people in my books. In the case of someone like Hadley's dad, your reaction is exactly what I was expecting all along, yet whenever I hear people say they don't like him, I can't help feeling sort of protective. But this book really doesn't have any true bad guys -- something that I did on purpose -- so if he's the worst of it, and your feelings are mixed, then I can live with that.
In the book, Hadley reminisces about Elephant, her beloved stuffed animal from childhood. Did you have an Elephant as a kid?
I had a few different Elephant-like stuffed animals as a kid -- a few incarnations of Grover (I tended to lose him a lot, so my parents kept back-ups), a couple of different fuzzy dogs, and an old frayed blanket. But when I started writing this book, I'd just returned from South Africa, so I think I must have had elephants on the brain.
Each chapter begins by marking the time of day. Did you actually go to London and time yourself following Hadley's footsteps from the wedding to Paddington, etc? Also, while we're talking about London, tell us about one of your fave spots there.
I've been to London many times, but I actually never made it over there while I was writing this book, so I was mostly guessing (and Googling). But I've made that journey before, and I think it all works out. London's a great city, and there are so many things I really love about it. My favorite spot is probably a little clich, but I don't care; I love it anyway! There's nothing better than walking around the Portobello Road market in Notting Hill. I love the buildings that line the streets, and the range of things you can get there. It's just such a beautiful area, and I try to make it there whenever I'm in London.
THE YA QUESTIONS
"This was our Christmas card when I was fifteen. (I'm totally taking my sister down as well.) It's actually kind of embarrassing how little I've changed since then..."
If your real life adolescence was a YA book...What would you, the main character, be like?
I was basically the nice girl; a little bookish, a little shy, but pretty much friends with everyone, which is something of a gift in high school -- to be able to fit in wherever.
Who is your secret crush?
It would probably be the really tall guy with glasses hanging out in the library during study hall.
What is your number #1 source of angst?
Honestly, I didn't have a whole lot of angst. I worried about grades and friends and boys like anyone else, but it was all sort of remarkably average.
At what point would the reader pump his/her fist in victory?
I'm a pretty cautious person, but during my junior year, I joined Outdoor Ed on a whim. I was the biggest scaredy cat you've ever seen, though, climbing up the rock walls and clamoring through caves, and when we went out on our big end-of-the-year camping trip and had to rappel off the side of a cliff, I waited to go last, completely terrified and fighting back tears as I watched everyone else go over the side with such ease. It was a big deal for me, tipping myself off the edge like that when it was finally my turn. The next year -- my senior year -- I was asked to be a TA for that class. Most of the other TAs were accomplished outdoorsmen, and I couldn't understand why they chose me, but as it turned out, they wanted someone who had faced their fears and gotten to the other side, in order to show others it could be done as well. That was a big moment for me.
Dude, that is awesome. Also, YOU RAPPELLED OFF THE SIDE OF A CLIFF. WHAT.
And who would play you in the film adaptation?
Oh man. I don't really know. I keep imagining someone with glasses even though I've never worn them myself, which probably says a lot.
THE SLUMBER PARTY Qs
What is your secret power?
I have a great memory. I'm basically our family historian, and I'm often called upon to set the record straight on certain memories. I love to memorize poems so that I can keep my favorite ones with me at all times, and I have an unhealthy amount of space in my brain that's devoted exclusively to silly jokes. (Why do seagulls fly over the sea? If they flew over the bay they'd be bagels!)
THAT IS MY NEW FAVORITE JOKE. I'M SERIOUS.
What is your #1 favorite food?
Tell me about your area of expertise.
I read really, really fast, which is a handy trick when you're an editor with piles and piles of manuscripts to read.
If you could assemble your own Ocean's 11 of fictional characters, who would you pick and why?
I don't think any sort of mission would be complete without Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, and I'd take Neville Longbottom along too. Gale and Peeta from the Hunger Games, and also Rue. Honestly, if I could scrape together all six of them, I don't think I'd need the other five. Nobody would stand a chance.
What is your best karaoke song?
I'm allergic to karaoke. And trust me, you should be very happy about this.
Tell me something scandalous!
I once tried to break up a bar fight and ended up with a black eye.
What is your favorite adult beverage?
I love a good beer.
Don't we all!!!!
What book have you read the most number of times?
It's probably a close call between The Great Gatsby and Harry Potter.
Who is your "freebie"?
John Krasinski. Love him.
YA authors are so cool. Who would you give a BFF charm to?
There's absolutely nothing I'd love more than to be best friends with JK Rowling.
Again, I say, DON'T WE ALL?!!
Out of all of the characters you've written, which one do you most wish you could be?
I think it would be fun to be Hadley, if only because she was seated next to Oliver -- a far better traveling companion than I've ever been lucky enough to have!
If you were invited to the FYA slumber party (and obvs, you ARE), what pajamas would you wear, and what is the most crucial snack food and/or movie you'd bring?
I practically live in pajamas pants and old t-shirts. And I'd definitely bring Red Vines, which are the best. As for the movie, is there anything better than Love Actually for a slumber party?
I've got that one on DVD, but you should bring your copy too... JUST IN CASES.
Thanks for hanging out with us between two lockers, Jennifer! Before you go, let's iron out your destiny with a quick game of MASH!
# of Kids
100K Chuck E. Cheese Tokens
Ice Cream Truck
Hope you and Seth enjoy taking your T-Rex on a walk with all of those dogs! Also, I heard you can get some sweet glow in the dark stuff with that many Chuck E. Cheese tokens.
Want to tag along on Jennifer's blog tour? Check out the info below!