Monday, 12 April 2010

Interview with Jenn Johansson

Today we're chatting with a wonderful aspiring writer named Jenn Johansson.

Jenn is 31 and lives in Utah with her husband, two sons and a boy puppy—she says this may or may not have something to do with why she enjoys writing male characters so much.

Welcome, Jenn! Tell us about your manuscripts.

ORACLE is YA Sci-Fi and INSOMNIA is YA Dark Paranormal.

Great titles! Here’s the part where you pitch them. What are your stories about?

ORACLE is about Lexi, a teenage girl who has telekinesis and hates it. At least until she meets a group of people from another world and has to help them save those on Earth who are just like her. INSOMNIA is about Parker, a teenage boy who watches other people's dreams when he falls asleep at night. Pretty cool, until he realizes his little "gift" is going to either make him go crazy or die from sleep deprivation.

Both terrific premises. I've always wanted to have a dream gift. So how did the ideas of the stories come to you?

Honestly, I'm not sure. I think they just evolved over time. A flash of an idea, the boy who sees other peoples dreams, then it is all about asking questions. What then? Until you come up with something really cool.

Are your manuscripts complete or still works in progress?

ORACLE is complete and currently on submission. INSOMNIA is in the works.

For INSOMNIA, do you have a word count goal, and how far along are you at this point?

INSOMNIA is intense, so I don't want it to be too long or it's exhausting. I'm aiming for between 60 - 70k. Right now, I'm just over 30k.

What is your next step?

When INSOMNIA is finished and all sparkly, I'll probably start querying agents. Right now, editing is about as far away as I feel comfortable planning for.

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

I do all of the above. I do a serious amount of self-editing, then I send it to beta readers that are part of my critique group. Every step is essential for me to get to the finished product.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

I have this moment in the middle of writing every book where I'm just aching to hit the delete key about a million times. I just have to get past it and believe that when it's finished, I won't feel that way anymore. So far, it's working.

Good advice. Perseverance! Any other tips you’ve learned about writing you’d like to share?

No book is perfect of the first go around. More than half of writing is being a good editor. No matter what you write, be willing to revise and revise until it's exactly what you hoped it would be. Another thing--get out there. Writers conferences, writers groups, anything, just meet other writers and learn from them.

Yes, self-improvement, self-exposure, and self-promotion. It's all good! Do you have an idea of your book’s cover art?

I gave up the delusion that I'd have any say in this a long time ago. I do hope they use photography and keep it dark. I don't think illustration would be a good fit.

Who are your inspirations?

Orson Scott Card, Piers Anthony, Tom Clancy, J.K. Rowling... this list could really go on and on. A recent book that really influenced me was, "I Am Not A Serial Killer" by Dan Wells. It's an awesome exploration of good vs. evil.

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. Can you name three things about yourself people may not know?

Let's see... I swim, I sing... and I shouldn't be allowed around any activity remotely gym related. Trust me, people get hurt.

LOL, okay. So here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Who would you like to give a shout out to?

My writer girls and my family. Without them, I'd still be on page 1.

And finally, where can people find you online?


Thank you so much for chatting with us Jenn. I'm crossing my fingers that your publication journey is a successful one!


Kris said...

Fantastic interview! Both books sound wonderful. (especially Insomnia) Good luck with your goals!

Gina said...

Enjoyed the review and the two WIP's (well, one is technically a submission) sound rather intriguing...can't wait to hear more about them as they continue to develop! Thanks for bringing to light another great aspiring author, Dorothy!

J.R. Johansson said...

Thanks for inviting me to do the interview, Dorothy. It was really fun! It's always nice to meet fellow writers! :)

Patti said...

Great interview Jenn and Dorothy. I love learning about other authors.

Stina said...

Great interview! I can't wait to read INSOMNIA. But you already know that, Jen. :D

LOL about the cover. I love photos for covers as well. There's something more compelling about them. That, and because I'm a photographer, I'm biased.

Susan R. Mills said...

Nice interview. Thanks to both of you.

Christine Fonseca said...

Great interview - your books sound terrific

Dorothy Dreyer said...

Thanks, everyone, for your great comments. I think it's fun finding out about great books before they're published.

Good luck, Jenn!

Tribute Books said...

Must read, thanks! for the interview!

Jenni James said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE Oracle! *sigh* CAM!!!

And I can't wait to read Insomnia... ahem, just sayin.

Great interview!