Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Newly minted PhD, professor, pop culture junkie, voracious reader, and author of the Raised By Wolves series, Every Other Day, Nobody, and More

Anonymous asked: Hi! Just out of curiosity: while writing a sequel, did you ever regret something you wrote in the previous book because it caused problems you struggled to resolve in the next one? (Adeline C.)

Yes. A million times yes!

Over time, I have learned to put only things that NEED to be in book one in book one, because a throwaway line that doesn’t really need to be there, or a random world-building choice that you put in because it “seemed cool” can really come back to bite you later!

For example, in the Raised By Wolves series, it was established in the first book that werewolves can smell lies. That played almost no role in book one, but then I got to book two, which is all about deception and trickery and political maneuvering in the werewolf world… all of which was made a million times harder by the fact that no werewolf could lie in the presence of another werewolf without everyone knowing they were lying. I’m not sure I *regret* the choice, because I like the challenges it made for book two, but I certainly didn’t anticipate them when I made that rule in the first book.

totallygayforelsa asked: Finding out that you had a PhD inspired me to make that a goal for myself eventually. I guess I just used to think that women don't really get PhDs but I thought it was really cool how you had one, and so I decided that I want to get the highest degree available for whatever career I choose, because PhDs aren't offered for every career but thank you for inspiring me and challenging my beliefs about what women can and can't do.

Thank YOU for this lovely note.

I didn’t go to college planning to get a Ph.D.—I actually thought I would probably end up in law school, but by my sophomore year, I’d fallen in love with research, and the idea of getting to spend five years in grad school designing and running experiments and talking science with smart people was too tempting to turn down!

I was lucky enough to have some wonderful mentors, including the lovely Laurie Santos (my undergraduate advisor and one of my grad school advisors as well), who led by example and made it so that I never questioned whether or not this was something someone like me could do. The most rewarding part of my job as a professor is getting to do for other people what Laurie did for me.


Fan-cast Jennifer Lynn Barnes “The Naturals”

Dean - Douglas Booth

Cassie - Sophie Turner

Michael - Drew Van Acker

Lia - Krystal

Sloane - Evanna Lynch

Another fan cast for THE NATURALS. I love these!

I looked back at Dean: Light hair. Dark eyes. Open posture. Clenched fists.

I cataloged the way he was standing, the lines of his face, the dingy white T-shirt and ratty blue jeans. His hair needed to be cut, and he stood with his back to the wall, his face cast in shadows, like that was where he belonged.

Why wasn’t it nice to meet me?

“Dean,” Michael said, with the air of someone imparting a fascinating bit of useless trivia, “is a Natural profiler. Just like you.”

(Source: duncanmortimers)





Recently, there’s been a groundswell of discontent over the lack of diversity in children’s literature. The issue is being picked up by news outlets like these two pieces in the NYT, CNN, EW, and many more. But while we individually care about…

Join the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign! Because it’s time for action!

Did you guys see the part about how on May 3rd, we get to go out and BUY BOOKS? I am already making my AWESOME DIVERSE BOOK shopping list. And you?

(via malindalo)


The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

A fancast for THE NATURALS. Look at their faces!

(Source: duncanmortimers)

Professor Jen's Class: Questions for Writers


This week in my Cognitive Science of Fiction class (at the University of Oklahoma), we’re talking about the psychology of writing. Specifically, we’ve been talking a lot about whether writers are more likely to perceive writing as an act of creation or an act of…

Thanks to everyone who’s answered so far! I find diving into other authors’ processes this way so intriguing (and my class will be thrilled to see what you guys have to say!) In that spirit, here’s my own answer to one of the questions:

I never *believe* that my characters have free will, but I sometimes *perceive* them as having free will, in the same way that a person walking across a glass skywalk might *believe* that she’s perfectly safe, but perceive herself as being in danger of falling. (Philosopher Tamar Gendler has coined the term “alief” to describe this kind of subconscious belief-like thing that often contradicts an explicitly held belief).

So I never believe my characters have free will, but sometimes, I “alieve” it. The interesting things to me as a scientist is trying to figure out what factors influence my alief. For example, I think I am more likely to feel like my characters are operating independently of me if:

*I am writing, rather than rewriting

*The scene has more to do with a character’s emotions than a character’s actions

*The character in question is a secondary character

So basically, I perceive myself as having more control over my first-person protagonists than the characters the protagonists interact with, and more control over my characters’ actions than the way the characters feel about what is going on.

If any other authors want to chime in, please do! I’m sharing the answers with my class on Wednesday!

Professor Jen’s Class: Questions for Writers

This week in my Cognitive Science of Fiction class (at the University of Oklahoma), we’re talking about the psychology of writing. Specifically, we’ve been talking a lot about whether writers are more likely to perceive writing as an act of creation or an act of discovery.

In the class, we do a lot of experimental design (yay, science!), and the first step of the scientific method is observation. Since I am a writer, this means my students have been probing the way that I think about these things, but I told them I would post their questions to tumblr to see if other writers (published or otherwise!) would like to chime in.

So if you have a few minutes and you’re a writer, I’d love it if you could answer one or more of the following questions:

1. Do you ever perceive your characters as having any free will? Do you feel like you consciously control everything your characters do, or do you sometimes feel like they control their own actions?

2. Do you perceive your characters as having more free will (or more of a “mind of their own”) if they are similar to you or dissimilar to you? Does the point of view you are writing in ever affect this?

3. Do reader/fan reactions ever change your understanding of who a character “really is” (or have you ever discovered something you did not realize was true about one of your characters based on feedback from early readers?)

4. If you’ve ever had a movie made from your book, do you think the movie altered your mental image/concept/understanding of the character in any way?