Elana Johnson’s official release of Possession is TODAY! YaY!
Remember when I had that "400 Followers Fiesta" and people had a chance to ask Elana’s question? And then I had a post called "Elana's Answer Awesomeness" when I posted her video answer? At the time, I also posted her answers to commenters’ questions. This is Part II of that interview.
Part I was all about Possession. Part II is about Elana’s writing process and publishing journey. Read and Learn.
Tara Tyler's question:
How did you know the Young Adult genre was your “perfect fit?"
I started writing during a troubled time in my life, and it became the way I got my emotions out. And what creature is better to pour your angst and heartache into than a teenager? YA became a natural fit for my sort of half-therapy, half-hobby of storytelling.
Erica and Christy's evil question:
We want to know about your first book. You know, the one you trunked that you wish no one knew about? Tell us about that one - what didn't work about it and how you knew it needed to go away.
Ah, the dreaded first book. When I read about author’s whose first books make it to print, I sort of hate them a little.
My first book was about an immortal boy who hated his immortality, and the girl who could turn him back into a human. I still think the premise is somewhat decent, but the actual writing is horrific.
I think it takes practice to learn how to craft a story from blank pages, from inside your head where no one else can see, from nothing. So I’m okay with my ten practice novels. (That’s right, TEN.)
There were many things that didn’t work in my first novel: the word count was too long, nothing happened, the reveals were all off, the characters weren’t well-developed, there were too many characters, too much going on, the list could be a mile long.
I knew my first book wasn’t “the one,” during the query process when I didn’t get any partials upgraded. The only fulls agents read were the ones that were requested straight from the query. Also, I always felt squeamish putting my first ten pages after the query. Looking back, that’s a huge indicator that I knew my book wasn’t good. I mean, I didn’t want anyone to read it! How lame is that?
Have you ever had writer's block and if so, how long did your longest bout of writer's block span? How do you get over it?
Absolutely. I spent most of one summer completely paralyzed, unable to write anything. I didn’t think I’d ever get another idea, and the novel I was working on was terrible. (It’s trunked now, and I do get ideas.)
I think the best way to get over writer’s block is to do something mindless. Read a book. Play a video game. Fold the laundry, wash the dishes, take a shower. When I don’t feel like writing, I don’t. It’s awesome.
What is the most challenging part of the writing process for you?
Coming up with a premise that doesn’t fizzle out after 10,000 words.
Deniz Bevan's question:
What was the favourite part of your writing/publishing journey, Elana?
Selling the book. That was amazing. Like, for real? Someone’s going to pay me to publish this? Okay!
Janet Johnson's question:
Elana, you have helped so many people in this writing process in so many ways. What is the one thing that helped you the most?
SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder, a book that was recommended to me by my critique group. So, my critique group has been invaluable to me (in other ways too)!
VB Tremper's question:
What has been the biggest surprise on your journey to becoming a published author?
The biggest surprise? Depends on the leg of the journey we’re talking about. During querying, I was surprised the novel didn’t get represented sooner. (I thought it was good!) When I finally got an offer, I was shocked beyond belief. I mean, everyone else said no! How could this be?
I was floored when the book sold. Completely floored. Sometimes I still am.
Sometimes I’m surprised when people say they like it. When I look at Goodreads and see thousands of people have marked it to be read. When someone blogs about it and seems excited as I am. All of that is surprising. I think it would be sad if it weren’t.
Thank you commenters for the wonderful questions and thank you Elana for the honest answers.
Want to check out the Possession bloghop to find out when your fellow bloggers broke the rules? Then head to Nichole's Blog.
Want to win a copy of Possession? Leave a comment on my post telling me when you broke the rules! (Broken writing rules especially welcome.) You’ll earn an extra point for each way you advertise the contest. Oh, and please be a follower of my blog. (And, yeah, it’s international.)
Contest ends 06/14.