Monday, September 27, 2010

GRAFFITI WALL: Terry Lynn Johnson, author of DOGSLED DREAMS

As most of you know, the Graffiti Wall is the place for the undiscovered and the newly discovered writer to spray their  splatter, tell us about themselves, their work, and their journey.
Today we have an author with a chilly road to share with you. She's an avid outdoors-woman who loves thunderstorms, water sports, and winter camping. She lives with her husband and two step daughters in Ontario where she pursues her love of writing. She also thinks dog breath is pretty cool. Oh, and she's offering up three SIGNED bookmarks for three of you lucky Alleywalkers. Fill out the FORM at the end of the interview to enter!! 
Terry Lynn Johnson, author of DOGSLED DREAMS

You began writing for magazines. What is your favorite article you've published. 

That is hard! I wrote one about canoe racing with my husband. That holds a special place in my heart because it's the only time I've ever written about our relationship. But that hasn't been published yet!

One article that has a link is Frozen Turd Wars.

I like it because it's about one of my favourite sled dogs. He was quite a character - as the title suggests.

I read on your website about the writers who have influenced you: Scott O'Dell and Gary Paulsen. I also know that you truly appreciate nature. How does nature influence your writing?

Nature influences every part of my life. I live in the bush on a lake. I work as a Conservation Officer. I camp and play outdoors in my spare time. Being outside is my church. It fills up my soul. There is so much to be learned if we listen to the beat of nature. Gary Paulsen is a master at capturing that on the page. I'm still trying and learning.

You are obviously a dog lover. Is this one of the reasons you were attracted to writing?

I wanted to write my memoirs about my time working in Quetico Provincial Park. Ten-day canoe trips for twelve years makes for lots of stories. But when I took a course to learn how, my tutor convinced me to write about my dogs. My passion for dogs leaped off the pages and crackled with energy. Two books later, I feel as though I'm just getting started writing about dogs. There's so much to say!

DOGSLED DREAMS, your debut novel, is due for release in January of 2011. Tell us what makes this unique from other middle grade books.

Well, there aren't a lot of books about sled dogs! And certainly having a female protagonist who is brave enough to run dogs on her own is pretty cool. In writing DOGSLED DREAMS, I had hoped to show the relationship a musher has with her dogs so that everyone who reads it will understand the special and unique nature of the mushing lifestyle.

Can you tell us anything about ICE DOGS, another novel you're working on?

ICE DOGS is a wilderness survival story - with sled dogs, of course! It's my first young adult novel. This is the story I managed to snag my rock-star agent with, Caryn Wiseman. Currently, I'm working with her on revisions.

I posted the first page on my blog during a blog-fest.

Silly question: if there were no books *dodging tomatoes and mustard splatters*, what would you do to get away or relax?

I have a lot of interests and hobbies. Sometimes too many! I'm constantly learning new things because I crave change and need to keep moving forward. Always.
My recent obsession is kayaking. Hiking is as necessary as breathing. My best ideas come when I'm hiking. I also sail, snowshoe, ski, sing in the shower and dance in the rain.

You are represented by Caryn Wiseman of the Andrea Brown Agency. How did that all come about?

After I wrote ICE DOGS, I was extremely excited about it. I decided I should have an agent and started researching. I queried six agents and received three requests for fulls that same evening. Caryn responded within an hour! You can imagine my amazement that my DREAM agent had responded so quickly. When she finally got back to me after reading the full, she said she loved it and that survival stories were IN right now. Good timing! I'm pretty sure luck had a huge part to play in my success! But I'll take it.

What are the three most important things you've learned about yourself on your road to publication?

You ask tough questions!

Hah...just imagine the angst of my poor kids. *tee-hee*

Okay - truthfully, I've learned to have faith in my writing. I was so nervous when I started submitting to magazines. But then they all sold. I felt open and exposed when I started submitting my novel. But then that too found a home. I even won a few awards for my articles this year. I've learned to allow myself to believe I'm a writer.

I've also learned that I suck at patience. And I can't be alone in a room with a pan of brownies.

This is something I shared with Terry, and she really enjoyed. I thought you'd all like it too.

S: This past school year, my eleven-year-old daughter was given a project. She had to adopted a sledder who was participating in the Iditarod Dogsledding Race. After following her musher, Sebastian Shculle, for two to three days she was hooked. (I think she had crush on the guy.) It was one of the most fascinating adventures she's ever taken from home on our computer. (BTW, my daughter will love your book. She was so excited when I showed her the information I had on you and the book.)

TLJ: This is seriously cool! you've totally made my day.

Do you believe DOGSLED could/will influence dog sledding itself? What are your hopes?

When I used to race sled dogs, I always had people come up to me asking questions about my life with the dogs. My hopes with this story, are to let people in to see a world that they could only imagine on the sidelines of watching a race. I wanted to show how a musher and her team get to the race. And the sheer magic of the dogs.

In the past, you worked for a dogsledding company. How did you end up taking home eighteen Huskies?

Trust me, once you start mushing, it's incredibly addictive. You give up your freedom, your money, your time and your heart and soul for the dogs who give you everything in return. The relationship a musher has with her dogs is different than with a pet. It's richer, deeper, more rewarding. I apprenticed under an experienced musher, and built bonds with some of those dogs. I had to take them home. Then my real education began! But, that is a whole other story.

Terry is a member of the Elevensies, a community of 2011 debut authors. So cool! You can also find Terry at her Websiteher Blog, and Facebook. Pay her a visit and give her a follow. It's great.
Fill out the FORM

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  1. Great interview. That's so awesome how quickly you got our dream agent Terry.
    I love seeing all the pictures of the cool trips you take on your blog. They are so amazing and places I would never otherwise see. Good luck with your book.

  2. Those pictures are amazing. I love hearing these author stories, very inspiring. Thanks for another great interview!

  3. I love this series. Great interview ladies!

  4. Wow I am jealous of Terry's cool life and series! She was able to meld passions together--awesome!

  5. Congrats, Terry, on landing your dream agent and on your book. :D

  6. wow! How often does that happen - that you get an agent the same day you send out your query? Very impressive. And great interview, Sheri:)

    ps when are you going to do an interview with yourself?

  7. Wow for someone who claims to be impatient she sure got lucky on the agent front! Love the interview Sheri. Thanks for posting.

  8. Awesome interview!! Congrats to Terry.

  9. I adore Terry and am so happy for her! I will be buying Dogsled Dreams for sure. Great interview, ladies. :-)

  10. I've been following the progress of this book on Terry's blog. It is going to be a winner, for sure.
    Terry, you may have had a little luck, but your talent is what got you where you are.
    Best wishes to you.

  11. great interview, and super tips! Thanks, Sheri! :o) <3

  12. Oh, I'm a little overwhelmed with all this attention! Sheri - thanks for doing such a beautiful job with this. Somehow, my photo looks way better here than it does on my own site!

    LTM - thank you for commenting!

    Beverly - you make me blush. This enthusiasm for my book coming from such a talented writer as yourself, is truly amazing to me!

    Shannon - words cannot express how happy this makes me. Thank you for your support.

    Lisa - thank you so much.

    Anne - yes, I'm thanking my lucky stars!

    Mshatch - I agree! Sheri, you need to let me interview you!

    STina - thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment.

    Christina - YO! Thank you very much, though, some days are cooler than others!

    Christine - thanks for your comment!

    Renae - Sheri does such an amazing job with her interviews! Great questions!

    Natalie - girlfriend, you will also be splattered here in no time! Thanks for your support.

  13. Hey everyone! Thanks for visiting and taking such an interest in Terry's book. I, for one, think it's going to be awesome!

    Hotheads for all the compliments about interviews. I try my best to put the author/or undiscovered author's best foot forward.

    AND as far as interviewing time will come. Thanks again!

  14. Terry, you totally rock! Congrats on your agent, Elevensies, Dogsled Dreams and Ice Dogs.

  15. What a great review! Congrats on your dream agent Terry! That is sooo cool! =D

  16. Great interview! I seriously adore Terry Lynn! How sweet of her to giveaway bookmarks! I'm looking foward to the release of her book!

  17. Great interview! I can't wait to read Terry's book...(I love Paulsen too...)

  18. Terry, Loved this interview. Makes me feel like I know you. I can't wait to buy your book for my collection, as well as for some of the younger folks I know and love.

  19. Terry didn't mention she's an amazing swimmer too. ;)

    I love the really unique perspective Terry brings to the mid-grade world. Can't wait to read this. Terry is one special woman.


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