This article is the fifth in a series that catches up with the finalists from last year’s BookLife Prize.
Jennifer Voigt Kaplan was something of an anomaly among last year’s BookLife Prize finalists: she was the only author who had yet to bring her book to market.
Kaplan’s historical novel—the finalist from the middle grade category—Crushing the Red Flowers was still in manuscript form. But that didn’t stop our judges from loving this tale of two ordinary boys—one Jewish, the other in Hitler’s Jungvolk—living in 1938 Germany.
Author and guest judge Taran Matharu, praised the book saying: “This deeply powerful and poignant book is an important addition to world literature.”
We caught up with Kaplan to chat about what she’s working on now and what advice she has for aspiring authors.
What happened as a result of you becoming a finalist in the 2016 BookLife Prize?
Coming in as a BookLife Prize finalist has opened doors. A few agents have contacted me and I’ve been able to forge connections with new publishing professionals. It was an incredible honor to win the middle-grade category, but since Crushing the Red Flowers is currently unpublished, I felt compelled to reexamine the manuscript. I’ve edited the entire novel and feel it is now stronger than last year. My goal is to get the book into school libraries.
What are you working on now?
I am currently working on my next novel, Sleep Leap, a middle-grade sci-fi story.
What’s one tip that you have for other indie authors?
Know your market and find creative ways to reach them.