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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Everything Under The Sun, an interview with S. R. Johannes.

On The Bright Side

1.      What was your inspiration for writing On the Bright Side?
I have an obsession with death. With all the dark books out there, I wanted to write a funny book about death. I thought it would be cute to have a disgruntled angel covering someone she hated when she was alive. It made for good conflict.

2.      Why did you change Satan to Malum?
I didn’t want to be boxed in with impressions people already had. I wanted to create someone evil and strange and didn’t want the devil in people’s minds. It let me be more creative. IN Latin, Malum means evil so I thought it was perfect.

3.      Why did you choose to have a goddess in charge of Heaven, instead of God or Jesus?
I wanted kids to be able to read this book without worrying about the religious aspect of Heaven and God. I wanted them to step away and get lost in a new world. I also did not want to disrespect anything anyone felt about God or Heaven. So if I changed it – I could do and say what I wanted without offending anyone. Though I think I may ruffle some feathers since the assignment computer’s initials are G.O.D (Gateway of Duty)

4.      Do you plan to make a love triangle for Gabby?
Well the book is middle grade/tween so I really just wanted a crush as opposed to love. I remember being 14 and arguing with friends over who could crush on what guy. We had a girl rule. If your friend likes someone, you shouldn’t. Angela breaks that rule and has to deal with Gabby.

5.      What are your beliefs on death, Heaven, and Angels?
I believe something exists beyond what we are and I believe we have protectors. What they are called and where they live to me doesn’t matter.

6.      Are there things in your book that you think people will get confused about? If so what and why?
I think the rules are somewhat complicated but so was Harry Potter. I think keeping Cirrus and Heaven separate in minds in the toughest part.

7.      Did you always plan to have this book as a series?
I always leave potential in my books in case I get inspired to write another. Never say never. With this particular book – I do have 2 others planned/outlined, but that was mainly because when editors originally wanted it – they asked for 2 more. So it forced me to think through Gabby’s after life beyond book 1.

Untraceable. (Aslo by S R Johannes.)

8.      Who is more like you: Grace or Gabby?
I like Grace because she doesn’t give up no matter what and I like Gabby b/c she is who she is. I think they are both funny in different ways and vulnerable in different ways. They would both be friends of mine. I love snarky people. Those encompass aspects of myself.

Though, I am not dead and I don’t live in the wilderness. But there are pieces of me in both of them.

9.      Who do you like better: Mo or Michael?
Seeing as I’m older, it might be creepy to say either ☺ I think they are both cute guys that I would have liked if I was in 8th grade or 11th grade

10.   What was your inspiration for writing Untraceable?
My hubby came home one day from camping and talked about how deep he was in the wilderness. So deep that anyone could do anything and no one would ever know. That stuck with me. The next summer – we went to Cherokee and I saw the bear pits. I had wanted to write a contemporary thriller so those 2 ideas just came together.

11.   Any thoughts of a movie for Untraceable?
I think all authors dream of seeing their characters come to life in movies and TV. I have a few different producers reading it, but I try not to focus on it.

Writing a book.

12.   Have you ever participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)?
No, I cant write that fast and find when I force myself, I don’t get good work. I have ADHD so focusing that long on one thing doesn’t happen easily for me.

13.   Is it true that you are a self-publishing author? If so do you have any advice for other authors who would like to try this?
Yes, both of these books are self-published . Though I prefer to think of myself as an Independent Entrepreneurial Author – nice ring right? If you are interested in self-pubbing, do your research and be prepared to play about 30 different roles daily. It’s hard but rewarding.

14.   What is your favorite part about writing and publishing your books?
Hearing how people respond to them – good or bad. To me good reviews are just as awesome to read as bad ones. Good ones give me confidence and bad ones give me feedback on my writing that I think makes me a better writer.

15.   Do you listen to music when you write, and if so what kind and does it change for each book?
I have a playlist for every book and a song for every chapter. I listen to that over and over. It puts me in the mood of the scene. I only listen to those when I’m writing the story. When I’m in edit mode, I only listen to instrumental music.

16.   How long does it take you to write a book?
About 6 months from start to copyeditor if I stick to my schedule, which doesn’t always happen. 12 months if I do major revisions, which are sometimes needed. Untraceable had a total rewrite from scratch. But besides adding some beginning chapters, On The Bright Side - the book and concept - has been the same since early 2009 with only a few changes in scenes and subplots.

17.   Have you ever had to scrap an idea? Why and if so would you ever try going back to it?
My problem is that I have too many ideas I love and I have a hard time choosing (i.e. ADHD ☺ ). I have definitely had to scrap ideas but most importantly I have to scrap whole and partial books. I’ve probably started about 5 other books that might not ever be completed due to not being excited to write it, the idea not working, or me losing touch with the characters and story.

18.   As someone with Dyslexia, I was wondering is it difficult to sit down and write with a different learning disability, such as ADHD?
ADHD makes it hard for me to focus on one thing, hard for me to sit still, and hard for me to remember what I have and haven’t done. I also get major anxiety if I don’t or can’t move fast enough because I will forget things quickly. So I have to train myself to slow down. But it is just like any disability, you just do your best to work through it and find ways to use it to your advantage. My ADHD gives me unlimited energy, the ability to multi-task, and a boundless creativity. My hubby always says I can do more in one hour than some do in a whole day.

19.   Do you have any advice for young writers?

Write and don’t give up. ☺