Highlights From the Jeff Zentner Event

If you’ve read Jeff’s amazing novels The Serpent King and Goodbye Days, then you are very aware of the fact that he makes his readers cry…A LOT. However, he makes up for that by giving out lots of hugs during his events.

In all seriousness, this event was so much fun. Thanks as always to The King’s English Bookshop for hosting another phenomenal author event.Getting to listen to Jeff discuss his writing process was so interesting, and he is truly one of the nicest authors, make that human beings, that you’ll ever meet.


Prior to this event, I had no idea that Jeff went to high school here in Utah. One of the neatest parts of the night was when Jeff shared a fun fact about Goodbye Days. Apparently, the Sauce Crew was actually inspired by a night out he had with some of his buddies in high school, which did, in fact, involve the throwing of sauce packets and a friend riding a bouncy horse on a playground. Some of those high school buddies just happened to be in the audience too, which was really neat.


As I said earlier, Jeff did talk about his writing process, and I found it absolutely fascinating. It makes complete sense after reading his books and experiencing firsthand how character-driven they are.


Once Jeff has a basic story idea in mind, he decides what types of people he wants his characters to be, and then he lets them inside his head for months at a time. He listens to them, and let’s them tell him their story before he ever starts writing.

That connection he has with his characters is more than apparent when you read his books, because they don’t feel like fiction. It doesn’t feel like reading a book. These characters absolutely leap off the pages at you, and their stories feel genuine and real. It’s an absolutely immersive reading experience.

Jeff’s family was at the event as well, and they made the whole night so charming. They brought brownies and even some really “pathetic” Sprite Zero. (If you don’t get that reference, you NEED to read The Serpent King.) I also had the tremendous honor of meeting his adorable son Tennessee, who was way more interested in checking out the books than in anything else that was going on, which is just evidence that he’s awesome if you ask me.


If you haven’t read these books yet, READ THEM. Whether you’re a fan of YA lit, a fan of adult lit, or even if you don’t usually like to read books, READ THEM. I promise you, they are so worth it!

19 thoughts on “Highlights From the Jeff Zentner Event

  1. TeacherofYA says:

    That’s it! I’m moving your bookstore to Michigan. I can’t take it anymore.
    I’m coming to claim it next Tues after 6.
    Please leave the keys for me.
    😂😂😂

  2. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    Jeff Zentner is a new author to me– I should check out his books. I adore character-driven books! The author event I went to recently was for Brittany Cavallaro. She did her masters at UW Wisconsin, so when she stopped by the audience was a lot of her friends. It was adorable watching them all catch up! I love seeing authors interact like that. It makes them so much more real. 🙂

    • YAandWine says:

      Awesome! I would love to meet her! I haven’t read her second book yet, but loved the first! Jeff’s books are incredible. Definitely start with The Serpent King if you read them. ☺️

  3. mypaperinfinity says:

    I have Goodbye Days on my TBR list right now and I’m very excited to read it. I’ve heard so many good things about the book, and about Jeff Zentner too. He seems like a really nice guy.

  4. Lois says:

    It sounds like you had an awesome time at this event. I love getting a glimpse of an author’s writing process and I know his books tend to pack some punches. I have The Serpent King so I will definitely be reading that book sooner rather than later.

    • YAandWine says:

      That’s definitely one of my favorite parts of author events. They all have such a unique and individual process, it’s always fascinating to learn about. The Serpent King is just phenomenal. I hope you enjoy it!

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