JAN SAENZ is a writer and photographer, living in North Houston with her husband and two children. She has a BA in Theatre and a doctorate in useless pop-culture facts. She is represented by Sarah LaPolla at Bradford Literary.
WHAT AN ASSHOLE (Paper Darts, Summer 2017)
What kind of writer are you? What do you like to write about?
I like exploring the human condition. Unusual relationships. Unhealthy environments. I love characters that are far from perfect.
I prefer to write in first-person. Coming from a theatre background, it feels more natural to tell a story from a character’s point of view rather than a spectator’s. I like to find the voice before I find the story.
What is your goal as a writer? What is your dream?
My goal never changes: Just be a great writer. My dream is to be read. Simple as that.
Who is your audience?
Woman mostly, though I aspire to broaden my audience over time. But for now, I stick with female readers. Ages 18-50, depending on the material.
What do you read? Who do you like?
I’m a picky girl, and the hunt for the perfect novel is a struggle for me. I prefer satire and dark fiction. Paula Bomer’s Inside Madeleine, Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho, Tom Perrotta’s Little Children, Tawni O’Dell’s Back Roads. Alissa Nutting is a recent favorite of mine. Also, anything featured on Emily Books—those reads are always right up my alley.
50% of my book shelf is non-fiction (the way it should be, people!). Patti Smith’s Just Kids, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk, Susan Sontag’s On Photography, Diablo Cody’s Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper, Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils of Artmaking
In addition, I ADORE comedy writers. Mel Brooks. Trey Parker and Matt Stone. George Carlin. Tina Fey. Stephen Colbert. I could seriously go on forever. There’s a lot to be learned from comedy.
New Adult is a genre I still turn to from time to time, hoping to find something new and fresh. After its boom, it kind of got stuck in an unfortunate stereotype. Nevertheless, I’m constantly on the hunt for smart, well-written NA.
On a more personal note…
Favorite way to say hello?
What are you into?
Kindness. Common Sense. Education of all kinds. Autism Awareness. Secular parenting. Comedy. Rock music. Films. Documentaries. NFL football. I love encouraging my kids to “stay weird.” And I love fashion, but I don’t have the funds (or the body) to fully indulge in it.
What are you not into?
Women who put down other women. Lack of passion. Wasted potential. Humidity hair. Free weights.
One stupid thing you can’t live without?
Favorite city to visit?
A boiled crawfish. Extra spicy.
Favorite way to say goodbye?
“Take it easy.”