Joy Preble, Author of Dreaming Anastasia trilogy
Hi, Joy! *cyber wave* Let's begin with any advice you'd like to share on how parents/teachers/schools can promote and nurture young readers?
If you’re a parent, read to your kids. Read every day. Fill your house with books. If you’re a teacher – talk about books with your students. Have your own lending library. Make books easily available. Be widely read yourself. Same for librarians – read widely. I know school librarians who don’t read much YA lit. I think that’s a disservice to their clientele. All that said, I do think you can’t force people to read if they don’t want to. But the reading aloud and the exposure to books will expose them to a world of thoughts and ideas that will help them grow in ways they wouldn’t without it.
A lending library - genius!
What did you find most appealing about your favorite childhood, MG, or teen stories, and how can you and other writers apply those elements to our stories and character development?
Questions like this are always hard for people who read a lot! I have so many favorites, so many books that inspired me/affected me/ taught me something about how to tell a story. In terms of fantasy, the book Half Magic by Edgar Eager is one that sticks out. I don’t know if a lot of people know this book – but I loved it and it’s still on my book shelf. Independent kids meet magic talisman meet adventures… it’s a solid blueprint for how to craft a memorable tale of magic.
Whose advice do you seek most?
My agent, Jen Rofe – who is wise and wonderful and a lot of fun. She knows when to counsel, when to kick my butt, and when to let me stew and figure it out myself. A rare talent, that Jen.
What are the three most important lessons you’ve learned about yourself during your road to publication? And since then?
- I am far more competitive and resilient than I thought I was.
- I should have done this sooner but I was afraid of failing at it.
- Good writing comes from a place of personal honesty. Always.
Writers - wisdom to take to heart...
Post publication, my biggest lessons and struggles have been with balance. Publishing books is like having children – in many ways your job is there for the rest of your life! And if you want to build a career, then you have to keep moving forward. So I think most writers struggle some with balancing the writing of new books, editing of ones about to come out, keeping up with publicity and appearances and on line stuff and still living life fully enough to ‘fill the well’ with experiences and observations to inspire the storytelling. Add in family, friends, and a day job and you’ve got a pretty packed schedule. I’ve had to learn to take things one day at a time, one project at a time.
How have you found writing different since being published?
Once you’re published, it occurs to you very quickly that writing is a job. It’s a job you wanted very badly, but a job nonetheless. Deadlines are a lot quicker. Most of us took years to write our first book. Then you sell the sequel and it’s like, okay, we want it in six months. Maybe less. And there is certainly an expectation – as there should be! – that you will continue to grow in the craft, write better and better books. (there are exceptions to this of course. Their names are JK Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, and Harper Lee, who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird. I have no idea how any of these women could ever surpass their iconic works. JD Salinger fits here, too.) So yes, writing is different now. But I still love it.
I told you, Alleywalkers, that Joy is brimming with information about how we can better tap into our inner writer. Feel free to connect with Joy via cyberspace: Website, Blog, YA Blog, Twitter, Facebook.
Please stay tuned tomorrow for the conclusion of her interview, where she chats about social media, the first two books in the Dreaming Anastasia trilogy, and answers a time-old Graffiti Wall signature question!
Oh, and she's giving away a SIGNED copy of book II in her trilogy - HAUNTED!! So come back to enter and spread the word!