A Talk With: Jennifer Dugan, on Hot Dog Girl

Hi everyone! Welcome back to another Talk With and today, I’m thrilled to talk with a debut author!

In case you missed it, “A Talk With” is a brand new feature here on Drizzle & Hurricane Books, where I will invite young adult book authors to chat with me about their upcoming books, share their writing tips and tricks and more!

Today on the blog, I’m welcoming the lovely Jennifer Dugan to talk about her upcoming debut with such a fun title, Hot Dog Girl. This book sounds like the perfect diverse young adult contemporary and, to be honest, a perfect spring read, too. Keep on reading to find out more about her upcoming book, comic writing, book recommendations and more!

1. Did you always dream of being a published author? What was your journey to publication like? Are there many adorable stories like Hot Dog Girl that you queried, before finally getting the deal for this book?

I did always dream of being a published author! I wrote stories non-stop as a kid and constantly forced my friends and family to listen to me read them. My path to publication had A LOT of detours though. I actually stopped writing for a while to focus on some things going on in my life, and I didn’t start writing seriously again until late 2009—from that point, it took me another seven years (and six novels!) before I landed an agent. Honestly, most of my earlier books should probably stay locked in a drawer. They were excellent learning experiences, but other than possibly recycling a few characters into their own books, I don’t think I’ll be reworking most of them.

2. With Hot Dog Girl, you’re giving us the queer rom-com we’ve all dreamed of! What inspired you to write this particular story?

There was so much that went into writing this story! It was the first time I felt like I was embracing my real voice and writing a book just for me, so I took a lot more risks. I had written several manuscripts that didn’t go anywhere and was feeling a bit burned out. I went into writing Hot Dog Girl with this attitude of “well, I’m going to write something just for the joy of it.” It was the first time I let go and had fun without having any expectations!

I knew before I even started that I wanted to write a rom-com—I love writing about people falling in love— but the idea itself came from visiting an amusement park. I was on the gondola ride, just sort of daydreaming and watching the park workers go about with their business, and I realized it would be such a cool setting for a book. I saw an employee in a princess costume having a dance off with some kids and knew that costumes definitely had to be involved. I tried to think of what the most ridiculous costume would be, and for some reason a hot dog suit came to mind.

I also knew that I didn’t want to write about a girl that had it all together. My teen years were kind of a mess, which served as some inspiration for the things Elouise does. Even though her heart is often in the right place, she makes a lot of decisions that make her life harder and more confusing than it needs to be.

3. You are also the writer of Circadia, a five-issue limited comic series (that looks absolutely INCREDIBLE, to be honest). How does the process from writing comics differ to writing novels?

For me, the process is EXTREMELY different. When I write novels, I’m a complete pantser. I find plotting to be incredibly suffocating, and usually have to write the entire first draft before I even know what it’s really about. My novels don’t generally come together until I’m working on the second draft.

Comics HAVE to be plotted from the start though. There is so much extra to account for when writing them: how many panels you can actually fit in a page, making sure the dialog won’t cover too much art, being aware of page flips etc—all while moving the plot along efficiently and effectively. It’s also a much more collaborative process, much earlier on than novels.

I try to tailor my scripts to the artist I’m working with whenever possible and leave enough freedom to make sure everyone can have fun with it. After all, the comic book wouldn’t exist without their contribution!

4. If your novel were being made into a movie, whom would you pick to play the lead roles? 🙂

This is so hard, there are so many amazing people I would love to see in those roles! Some performers that might be fun to see involved in a Hot Dog Girl movie someday though are Shannon Purser, Sophia Lillis and Jace Norman.

1. Is there any #novel19s just like yours that you loved and would recommend?

Again, this is so hard! I have so many novel19s that I love! While it’s different from Hot Dog Girl, it’s no secret that You’d Be Mine is one of my favorites! I’m also really excited for I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver and These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling.

2. You’re stuck in a local amusement park, just like the one in Hot Dog Girl… what is the attraction – or the place!- you would you spend the most time before you’re freed?

Probably the diving pirate show, but only if I could find a spot in the shade. I’d also definitely ride the gondolas because, despite loving amusement parks, those are the only rides there that don’t terrify me.

3. If you could spend 24 hours with one of your book characters, which one would it be?

Oh wow, I’d want to spend time with all of them really. If I could only pick one, though, I think I’d spend some time with Elouise. I’d love to give her some motherly advice! As someone that has lived through having an absentee parent, like Elouise also has, I know the impact that can have on you and your relationships as you grow up. I’d love to talk to her about that. I’d also be very curious to hear what she thought about the various situations I put her in, and I think it would just be blast to hang out with her in general. Maybe she’d let me try on the hot dog suit.

4. Can you share with us one line of Hot Dog Girl, or one of your previous or upcoming works you’re particularly proud of?

The first two responses I thought of were super cute but MAJOR spoilers, so I’ll share this one instead—which I think does a good job of setting up how Elouise sees herself in comparison to some of the other kids around her and shows off a bit of her snark.

“These two have everything—the nice houses in the better part of town, the parents with fabulous marriages, the great relationships, the perfect colleges—the least they can do is leave me alone to wallow in this dirt pile of an amusement park that I call home.”

Thank you so, so much Jennifer, for taking the time to chat with me about your debut, Hot Dog Girl! Friends, keep on reading to find out more about this book!

📖 More about Hot Dog Girl

Elouise (Lou) Parker is determined to have the absolute best, most impossibly epic summer of her life. There are just a few things standing in her way:

* She’s landed a job at Magic Castle Playland . . . as a giant dancing hot dog.
* Her crush, the dreamy Diving Pirate Nick, already has a girlfriend, who is literally the Princess of the park. But Lou’s never liked anyone, guy or otherwise, this much before, and now she wants a chance at her own happily ever after.
* Her best friend, Seeley, the carousel operator, who’s always been up for anything, suddenly isn’t when it comes to Lou’s quest to set her up with the perfect girl or Lou’s scheme to get close to Nick.
* And it turns out that this will be their last summer at Magic Castle Playland–ever–unless she can find a way to stop it from closing.

Jennifer Dugan’s sparkling debut coming-of-age queer romance stars a princess, a pirate, a hot dog, and a carousel operator who find love–and themselves–in unexpected people and unforgettable places.

📖 More about the author, Jennifer Dugan

Jennifer Dugan is an avid YA and comic writer. She strives to create the stories that she wishes she had growing up. Her debut novel Hot Dog Girl will be released Summer, 2019 from Putnam. She is based out of upstate New York, where she lives with her family and a murderous cat that she adores.

Find Jennifer Dugan on :

💻 Website 📱 Twitter 📷 Instagram


Do you want to read Hot Dog Girl? Did you read it already?

Are you a fan of sweet, fun contemporary reads? Do you have any recommendations for me? Let me know your thoughts in comments!





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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. 📚 |🌍 | 💞 Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

27 thoughts on “A Talk With: Jennifer Dugan, on Hot Dog Girl

  1. This is a fab Q&A Marie! I’m REALLY excited for this book to release so when I saw you had a Q&A with Jennifer Dugan I clicked on it straight away. It’s great to read about Jennifer’s writing experiences and which character she’d like to spend a day with 😀


  2. I can relate to wanting to hide all my old writing haha but I loved that Jennifer said they were learning experiences because it’s so true. You get better at something, the more you do it!!
    I like that Elouise doesn’t have it all together because SAME!!
    I do love amusement parks— and I love that the book is set at one– but I am not a big fan of rollarcoasters and they terrify me too haha!!
    I am loving Elouise’s snarky voice in the line haha!!
    Lovely interview!! It was really fun to read 🙂


  3. AHHH I love reading your author interviews, Marie!! I’ve been meaning to pick up Hot Dog Girl before it’s released ❤ I really like your stuck in an amusement park question, especially! I also think Jennifer would be a great motherly figure to Elouise 🙂 Great post, Marie!


  4. Hot Dog Girl has been on my TBR ever since I first saw the cover! I loved reading this post to get a better sense of what drove Jennifer to write the book, since I’ve kept my knowledge pretty minimal with this book. I can’t wait to read it!


  5. Hot Dog Girl sounds like such a fun read. I’m definitely going to be adding it to my Summer TBR list. I really loved learning more about the author and her writing process, when it comes to my writing I’ve learnt in definitely a pantser the planning work that clearly goes into graphic novels is never going to be for me I think. Still I can enjoy reading them, I may even have to check out Jennifer Dugan’s graphic novel, the cover looks gorgeous.
    Great post Marie. 🙂 ❤️


  6. Amazing interview! Definitely made me add Hot Dog Girl on my tbr, I can’t wait for it to be released! I also love how all the books Jennifer talked about are some books im also excited for! 😁

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