Monday, April 19, 2021

Blog Tour + #Giveaway: A Thousand Minutes to Sunlight by Jen White @jenwhite_ @XpressoTours

A Thousand Minutes to Sunlight
Jen White
Published by: Farrar Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication date: April 20th 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Middle-Grade

Jen White’s A Thousand Minutes to Sunlight is a sensitively-written middle grade novel about a girl struggling with anxiety, family secrets, and the meaning of friendship.

Cora is constantly counting the minutes. It’s the only thing that stops her brain from rattling with worry, from convincing her that danger is up ahead. Afraid of the unknown, Cora spends her days with her feet tucked into sand, marveling at La Quinta beach’s giant waves and her little sister Sunshine’s boundless energy.

And then danger really does show up at Cora’s doorstep–her absentee uncle, whose sudden presence in the middle of the night makes her parents nervous and secretive. As dawn breaks once more, Cora must piece together her family and herself, one minute at a time.

A Thousand Minutes to Sunlight is an endearing and revelatory middle-grade novel that is perfect for fans of Counting by 7s and Fish in a Tree.

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Interview with Jen White

What made you want to become a writer?

I’ve always been an avid reader (I promise I’m not trying to win brownie points by using your blog name 😊). When I was young, I wanted to become an author. As I grew older, I majored in English in college, got married, had some babies, and then realized I wanted to write for kids. I went back to school and got my MFA in creative writing. My first book, Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave, was born from that MFA program. I love being a writer.

What inspired you to write A Thousand Minutes to Sunlight?

I have experienced anxiety throughout my life and have watched my children struggle on and off with the same issue. I really wanted to tap into what it felt like to be a child who feared everything. These days, I think fear is very real concern. We all have an inner monologue that plays in our minds and sometimes that monologue isn’t kind. I think everyone battles self-doubt and worry. I hope this book encourages an open conversation about mental health challenges. We all need help sometimes and I hope A Thousand Minutes to Sunlight will highlight the stresses and challenges of being an anxious kid.

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters Cora, Brain and Patrick?

Cora is a worrier, trapped in her own life by her anxiety, while also suffering from panic attacks. The only think that makes her happy is searching for treasure with her metal detector at Cat’s Cove.

Brain is Cora’s brain. A friend, a protector, and also her foe. Snarky, witty and negative, he takes the stage front and center in Cora’s mind.

Patrick is a boy asked to walk Cora to class after she runs away from school. He is the epitome of bounce—a Tigger character at its finest. Patrick also has a dream, to make a time machine to go back and meet his long- passed parents.

You know I think we all have a favorite author. Who is your favorite author and why?

When I was young, I read huge amounts of contemporary fiction. I loved Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume and Lois Lowry. That’s probably why I gravitate to writing realistic fiction now. I love the grit and messiness of realistic fiction. In books, when difficult things happen, you can see the whole story and the why and how people behave. I am a people watcher through and through. Fiction is a front row seat into the world of other people.

Right now, I’m reading The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See and Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger and really enjoying both.

I love We Were Liars by E. Lockhart and Chime by Franny Billingsly. The voice in both of these books is phenomenal. I am obsessed with voice and have read these books more than once.

Can you tell us a little bit about your next books or what you have planned for the future?

I am working on….

A contemporary middle grade full of heat (as in the sun), friendship, and of course, struggle.

A historical middle grade, full of wind, sea, and ghosts.

A contemporary young chapter book series that makes me so happy.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I enjoyed the characters. Brain made me laugh. Obviously, he didn’t give Cora good advice, but I could appreciate his neuroticism and snark. I wanted to protect Cora at all costs, and that was tricky when I was the one creating difficult situations for her. Ultimately, I wanted her to get healthy and happy and I really loved watching that unfold. Finally, Patrick! What a kid. I seriously love that dude. He was a spark of enthusiasm and cheer that I think everyone needs in their life. I wanted more Patrick. He was a complete blast to write. I hope he shows up again in some of my future books.

Author Bio:

Jen White writes middle grade fiction. Her second book, A THOUSAND MINUTES TO SUNLIGHT, releases on 4.20.21. Her debut, SURVIVAL STRATEGIES OF THE ALMOST BRAVE, has been translated into several languages. She grew up in Southern California and currently resides there with her family. Jen received her bachelor of art’s degree in English and her master’s degree from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults. You can find out more at

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