Windfall Q&A with Jennifer E. Smith

Today on the blog, it's our lucky day! We've asked author Jennifer E. Smith some of our most burning questions about her latest novel, Windfall. See below for everything you need to know from the author herself about love, luck and how to write a bestselling YA read. 


Describe Windfall in a 140-character tweet

Alice buys a lottery ticket for her best friend, Teddy – who she secretly loves – and he wins $140 million, which changes everything.


Are there any parallels between you and your protagonist Alice?

Well, I’ve never bought a winning lottery ticket! But there are definitely some other similarities. All my protagonists share a certain sensibility – for all their flaws and differences, they’re generally big-hearted and well-intentioned, which is how I find my way into writing from their point of view. But Alice is also unique in a lot of ways. As a kid, she won the worst kind of lottery imaginable when her parents died a year apart from each other, so she’s understandably wary of change. Which just makes her journey over the course of the book all the more interesting, especially since she’s the one who bought the ticket for Teddy, which sets everything into motion.  


Have you ever been in love with your best friend?

No, thank goodness! I know a lot of happy couples who have gone from being best friends to something more, but I’m always sort of glad I’ve never been in that position. In some ways, it seems like such a lucky thing, to fall in love with your best friend, but there’s also such an enormous risk to it – if it doesn’t work out, you can lose both in one fell swoop. Which is why Alice is so careful with her feelings – she knows what’s at stake when it comes to Teddy. But she’s also been in love with him for three years, and a secret like that can only stay secret for so long.


What would you do if you won the lottery?

I would definitely travel…a lot. My passport is pretty worn out as it is, but I have a very long wish list of places I’d love to see, and if I won the lottery, I’d immediately start working my way through it. I’d also want to buy a little cottage in Scotland, which is my favorite place in the world, probably up on the Isle of Skye. And, of course, I’d want to give a lot of it to charity. There are so many important causes out there, and so many people in need, and I’m a firm believer that we have a responsibility to help others. Especially now. So it would be a real joy to be able to make more of a difference.


If your collection of books was ravaged by a fire and you could save only one, what would it be, and why?

This is such a tough question! I have a lot of books, so it would be very hard to choose. Aside from photo albums and journals, I guess I’d probably want to save my first edition Harry Potter books, which I know is cheating, because there are actually seven of them, and that’s a lot to carry during a fire-related emergency. But I’d at least give it a go!


Can you recommend a YA classic that every MKB reader should have on their shelves?

I’m clearly not very decisive, because it’s hard to pick just one for this question too! But I’d probably say The Book Thief. Very few novels have impacted me as much as that one. It’s just completely brilliant.


Do you have more books planned?

Yes, I’m working on a new one right now, though it’s still in the very early stages, so a bit too soon to talk about it. But it’s lovely to have fallen into another story, and I’m excited about this one too!


Thanks, Jennifer! Have you read Windfall? Let us know what you think at @mykindabook.