Heidi Marie Vestrheim - Selected Title Author

Heidi Marie Vestrheim would have loved to have a Jenny to read about when she was little. – There aren’t that many books about girls who love rock and have big dreams! she says.

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Heidi Marie Vestrheim has written the book 'Jenny Fender'. Photo: Jan Tore Eriksen / NORLA.

Jenny Fender is chosen as one of NORLA’s Selected Titles for autumn 2023. It is written by Heidi Marie Vestrheim, and here she speaks about the book, what inspired her to write it and where and when she works best.

What is your book about?

Jenny Fender is about 12-year-old Jenny, who is growing up in what she calls a “godforsaken village” in Western Norway. Her dream is to become a rockstar, go on a world tour, and hang out at cool cafes with her best friend, Signe. Together, they’ve just started the band “Nabovarsel” (Neighbor Warning) and are now planning their lives as real rockstars – a cool and difficult life, but they’re “not going to become those rockstars who are depressed and OD and die in bathtubs”.

Nabovarsel sees the start of something big when they get their very first gig this summer: opening for “Sidergutane” (The Cider Boys), who will be performing at the annual Cider Festival. But then things start to take a turn for the worse for Jenny. Signe moves to Stavanger, and both the gig and the rockstar dream are suddenly in jeopardy. On top of it all, a new neighbor comes strutting onto the scene – a neighbor who is really annoying because she has a rockstar haircut, drums in her basement, AND grew up in the big, cool city of Oslo. Jenny hates her a little bit, but she’s also quite fascinated by this new girl…

Jenny Fender is about being a dreamer, the overwhelming transition from childhood to adolescence, determination, and the energy required to steer your life in the direction you want. But it’s also about how to be a good best friend when things happen and new feelings take on a life of their own.

What inspired you to write this book?

I suppose it’s the fact that I myself would have liked to read about Jenny when I was little. There aren’t many books about girls who love rock and have big dreams! I also love everything that comes along with starting a band: practicing, discussions about the band name, who will do what, how to write songs, what the lyrics should be about, friendship, and collaboration. It was also fun to write about a slightly straightforward girl from the countryside who needs more space than her surroundings can offer. She loves rock and her Fender guitar, takes up a lot of space, and falls in love with a girl on top of it all. There’s a lot of momentum in the text, and she dares to dream big. I had a big surplus of energy when I was writing; it was an effortless and enjoyable environment for my thoughts to exist in.

Who is this book for?

The book is well-suited for children aged 9-12 who are interested in friendship and rock music and who aren’t all that preoccupied with My Little Pony and scented candles Each chapter in this book has its own soundtrack, so you can listen to music that complements the different chapters. Listen to the soundtrack before you read the chapter and it will set the right mood! Perhaps you’ll even discover some music you haven’t listened to before!

Where and/or when do you work best?

Oof, that’s pretty tough to answer since I’ve only written this one book, but my writing tends to be a bit sporadic. I really thrive on a consistent workflow – like starting my day with two to three hours of writing. Over several weeks. I can also go several days or weeks without writing, just some short sessions here and there, but the best feeling is when I get into the rhythm of writing, keeping the text fresh and alive in my mind. Toward the end of writing Jenny Fender, it got pretty intense. Thank goodness I’m a night owl; then, I had a full-time job editing the TV program “Alle mot 1” by day and wrote the book at night. I can also write in noisy environments like a café or with my kids running around – as long as they don’t ask me anything because they won’t get an answer… I’m an expert at tuning out noise while still enjoying that it’s there.

Read more

See full presentation of the book here

See all NORLA’s Selected Titles for autumn 2023 here