Q&A with Jennifer Rosner

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Q&A With Jennifer Rosner

Today I have the honor of doing a Q&A with author Jennifer Rosner. Jennifer’s debut novel “The Yellow Bird Sings,” came out in 2020. Jennifer’s second novel “Once We Were Home,” comes out in March of 2023. 


Q: So Jennifer at what point did you realize that you were called to write? 

A:  I came to writing quite late in life! I was a philosophy professor before becoming a writer; I had never considered a creative writing life until our daughters were born. Both of our girls were deaf, and this came as a complete surprise. I began by journaling, and I found myself very nourished by the process of writing down my thoughts and feelings.  From this personal writing, I moved into fiction, and I love it!


Q: What advice do you have for those wanting to write historical fiction novels like you do?

A: My advice to those wanting to write (in any genre) is to write consistently. Persistence is the key! Patience helps, too, especially for historical fiction, because there is often a lot of research.  I think historical fiction requires a delicate creativity, because we want the factual details and truths to permeate our fictional stories, without dictating their every turn.


Q: What made you want to write historical fiction novels about the Holocaust?

A:  I was carried in by the concept of hiding, actually.  I’d written a memoir, If A Tree Falls: A family’s quest to hear and be heard, about raising our deaf daughters in a hearing world. At a book event, I was discussing our decision to get them assistive technology and to encourage them to speak. A woman in the audience raised her hand and described her childhood experience: she had to remain completely silent while hiding with her mother in a shoemaker’s attic during WWII.  I couldn’t stop thinking about what it must have been like for a mother to have to keep her child hidden and silent, and for a child to have to stay quiet for months on end. I later interviewed this woman, and then many other hidden children of the Holocaust. The Yellow Bird Sings grew from there (and Once We Were Home has roots there, too).


Q: What do you want readers to take away from your novels?

A: I hope readers will find meaning in the themes of connectivity and longing, the place of creativity in human survival, what it means to find home.  These drive me to my writing table each day, and hopefully bring sustenance to readers.


Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to any of your novels?

A: Not yet. There are a couple of conversations in progress, but nothing set.


Q: Are you writing a new novel now? If so can you spoil a little about it?

A:  Yes, I am at work on a new novel that follows a girl from France to the US, and explores the fractiousness between the Hearing and Deaf worlds as a microcosm for the political fractiousness between groups in the US and elsewhere.