I'm so excited to have Elana Johnson on my blog!!! She's super awesome and I feel honored to be interviewing her today! She's super famous in the blogging world and if you don't follow her you should start! She's fantastic!
So as well all know by now Control Issues is due out in Summer 2011, could you give us a little insight on what the book is about?
CI is about a girl who wants to make her own choices, living in a society where that simply isn’t done. Oh, and a hawt guy. There’s always a cute guy, right? I mean, it is YA.
I love a great story with a hot guy, don't you?!
Which character did you have the most fun writing?
CI is written in first person, so I only wrote one character—Vi—and she’s frawesome. At least I think so, but it’s not like I’m biased or anything. No…
Anyone who can have a cool nickname like Vi would be super awesome... or frawesome!
What were you doing when you first came up with the idea… if you remember; Were you washing dishes, eating dinner, modeling?
Yes, modeling. ROTFL! Since I do that in my spare time. I’m not entirely sure I remember where I was, but I do know I’d been thinking a lot about choices and what life would be like if my ability to make my own decisions was taken away.
What a thought! I am excited to see how you imagined the world would turn out!
Are you a panster or an outliner?
Pantser in the extreme.
Just like myself!
How long did it take you to finish your first draft?
Holy Toledo Batman! Here I thought 5 weeks was good, but 17 days that's insane! You really are a panster! I think you've earned yourself a badge!
How many sets of revisions did you go through?
So many I want to cry (and I have no idea, because I’ve lost count). That’s the life of a pantser – at least one like me. I wrote 90K in 17 days, and proceeded to spend the next 17 MONTHS trying to get it right. Sometimes I really really wish I could outline. It would make cleaning up the word vomit so much easier. Good thing there’s a process for each of us!
At least I know I'm not alone in the crazy world of revisions!
What were the emotions you felt after finishing that first draft? Or any draft that you’ve ever finished? Cry, Laugh, Scream, Hug a rhino?
There’s always a huge high when you finish a draft. For me, it’s short-lived, because I know I have to go all rhino and go back in there to salvage the book.
I think we have all experienced this feeling!
Are you part of a critique group? Online or in your area?
Both. I have a live group I’ve been in for over 2 years, and I have an online group that operates on and off based on when we have material to crit. I have betas who read for me on whims, so that’s nice too.
Definitely have a team to back you up! That's fantastic!
Do you have any other published pieces, or any other pieces you are currently working on?
Nothing else published, and multiple things I’m working on. I’ve sent in my second book to my agent and am currently writing another novel. I wish I knew what it was about, so stay tuned for that!
I know we'll be excited to hear about your second book!
How was the querying process for an expert like yourself? Did you send out several?
Several? *rolls with laughter* Several? *laughter turns maniacal*
Ahem, yeah. I sent out “several.” Over the course of 8 months. So let’s face it, I sent out more than several. About 180 more than several.
The querying process was the longest, horriblest (yes, it’s a word), most ledge-worthy activity I’ve ever done in my life. Basically, it was hell.
But I survived. (That seventh rung down there is d-i-r-t-y.) And you will too.
So basically you're saying it's going to be tough. Got it.
Were you ever discouraged at any point in the writing process?
Um, yeah. See above. I feel like quitting on a near-daily basis, even now.
How did you decide what agencies to send your work to?
Interviews, agent blogs, websites, agent query profiles, information on Publisher’s Marketplace, etc. I researched my brains out on each and every agent.
I sent my query to anyone I thought would be a good match. After I had about 20 submissions out there, I did sort of go crazy and query the planet… Yeah, sometimes desperation took me over.
Desperation and craziness paid off it seems!!
What does a day in the life of Elana look like?
Depends on the day/season. It’s summer right now, so I pretty much do whatever I want all the time. But really, I get up, go to work, take care of my family, watch copious amounts of reality TV and then end my day with writing. Blogs all get written on the weekend. Books read from 3 – 4 PM or in bed from 11 – midnight.
Oh, and soda. There is always soda.
A girl after my own heart! Reality TV, Blog post written on weekends... and soda, always soda!
What is your favorite weather to write in? Sunshine, snow falling, raining?
Rain. I absolutely hate the feel of rain on my skin, but I love the way it smells and hears. And it’s a sad sound, and I sort of have to be in that frame of mind to write in a brainwashing setting. So I love writing in the rain.
Rain and writing is the best mix to a wonderful day!
Do you have a favorite book, or favorites?
Every book I read becomes my new favorite. Just ask my husband. I do the same thing with foods and songs.
I suppose you'd be every authors favorite customer!
Who is your all time favorite character in what I’m sure is a substantial amount of reading you do?
Harry Potter. (Cop-out? Whatev.)
Harry Potter rocks! Cop-out? I think not.
Any advice to aspiring writers?
Don’t Give Up.
Pay It Forward.
Best advice a writer/author could give!
Now for random questions... Ready... Set... Go!
Favorite song: (right now) Whattya Want From Me by Adam Lambert
Favorite writing spot: In my blue chair
computer or notepad: Both – paper when the words won’t flow, computer when they will
sweet or salty: Both – at the same time. Can you say, “Pretzel M&M’s?”
snow or rain: Rain. My car slides off the road in snow.
bicycle or rollerblades: Bicycle. I am balance-challenged.
chick flick or horror: Chick flicks. I cannot stomach horror – I have nightmares. True that.
favorite ice cream: Anything with peanut-butter cups and caramel
What book are you currently reading: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
What's your favorite treat while writing?
It varies (see the whole favorite thing up there *grins*). Sometimes it’s Red Vines – the superior Twizzler. Sometimes Sour Patch Kids. Right now, it’s Pretzel M&M’s, but I’ve been known to chow down those French fried onion things that are supposed to be a garnish…but you know.
Yum I love your list and garnish or not those rock!
What's your favorite writing book?
Uh…I don’t really read non-fiction or anything with real substance. Yeah, I’m that shallow. I’ve tried reading writing books before, but I just don’t find them that interesting. *ducks* The one that helped me the most, and I only read a couple of chapters, is “Stein on Writing” by Sol Stein, so let’s go with that one.
I'm glad I'm not the only one that hasn't found them interesting. I think I'll give Stein on Writing a chance though!
Do you have a favorite series?
Okay, I’m not a huge series fan. (Don’t throw Coke cans!) I’m usually burnt out after two books, but I will finish a trilogy if I’m really into it. But I have read and will read again, the Harry Potter books.
Woohoo!!! 10+ for Harry Potter!
Do you have another job outside writing?
Yes, I teach elementary school computers (K-6). I’m basically a glorified typing instructor – but it gives me a lot of time to check email and read blogs!
So there you have it! Isn't she great?! So again if you are not following her you must! She is great and always has the best posts!! Have a wonderful Wednesday!!