Monday, February 7, 2011

ELANA JOHNSON ~ Period! Oh, and Elana SWAG!!

The Graffiti Wall stills. Past splatters wait in anxious anticipation. A blank space of brick and mortar brightens. And with what, you might ask?

The fantabulos-O Elana Johnson's splats!

If you don't know Elana (Really??), well, pull up a chair and get ready to be entertained. She's one of those fast-movers we hear about every-now-and-then in the publishing world. And rightly so. From mother to elementary school teacher to mentor and writer, she's a class A act all around.
Elana Johnson, Author of POSSESSIONS (to debut June 2011)

The whole writing gig, what was your motivator to start?

I started writing after a personal loss that sent me into a very dark place. I lost myself for a while. A long while. I wasn’t sure how to find my way back. I was turning 30, and I wrote my autobiography of the first three decades of my life. And I discovered I liked writing.

So I started writing a story. And it was horrible, filled with pent-up emotions and darkness and honestly, it’s pretty scary. I keep writing because it is an emotional outlet for me – and what better place to dump my emotions than on teenagers?? (ha!)

Magazine or chapter book kid? Which were you? In Junior High? High School?

Chapter books have always been a love of mine. But I’ll admit I was a Seventeen subscriber as a teen…So I started writing a story. And it was horrible, filled with pent-up emotions and darkness and honestly, it’s pretty scary.

How do you juggle being a mom, teacher, writer, taxi driver, baker, etc....

Very carefully. And also, I’ve learned that sometimes it’s best to let all the balls fall. That way, the juggling is very easy.

You are an accomplished blogger - 1800+ followers and counting. Could you share three of your blogging secrets? 3 cyber Oreo's are up for grabs.

1. Comment as often you can (this is different for everyone, so don’t compare yourself)
2.Follow twice as many as follow you
3.Be yourself
That’s it, really.

Do you feel it's important for a writer to have a platform? A website?

Yes – if it’s kept up. It’s lame to have a blog that you haven’t posted on since last October. You should have a static website with the basics, and if you’re able, a blog that you update regularly. Again, “regularly” is different for every person. You have to do what you’re able to do. Nothing more.

Ideal meal?

Pepperoni pizza with salad and ranch. With ginger ale. And Oreos for dessert.

Oh, Oreos dangling like carrots from the skies, again.

Do you have a system in plotting out your stories?

*insert hysterical laughing* No, and it’s becoming a huge problem. I really need to learn how to outline/plot. Usually what I do is sit down, crack my knuckles and start typing. And not even in order. It’s a real problem.

We interrupt this interview for a very important message: POSSESSIONS, Elana's debut YA novel, is due for release this Summer.

OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION: Vi knows the Rule: Girls don't walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn...and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi's future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

Elana's personal take on the story: CI is a dystopian novel in the vein of The Giver and The Hunger Games. It’s set in a brainwashing society, where rules aren’t meant to be broken and free-choice doesn’t exist. But one teenage girl decides that’s not the kind of life she wants, so she tries to beat the Thinkers at their own game.

For those who don't know, what's dystopian fiction? What attracted you to this type of fiction?

Dystopian novels are stories set in the near-future or post-apocalyptic future that have the appearance of being perfect. But they’re far from perfect. I’m attracted to fiction like this because it’s fascinating to think about what our society could evolve into.

The Call. The one we're all waiting for--we'll some of us anyway. You are represented by Michelle Andelman of Regal Literary. How did it go down?

Dude, this story is so long. Let me just say that I went George with Michelle. Have you seen that episode of Seinfeld where George Costanza does everything the opposite of what he normally would? Yeah, that’s what I did with Michelle, mostly because I was sick of being rejected left and right. POSSESSIONS was my second queried novel, and I was up to 189 queries. I was desperate. I went George.

And in the end, I won her over. And we’ve had an amazing ride so far.

I bet you did win her over. And I like you as George!!

I'd like to thank Elana for spending this time with us. As expected, it was informative and filled with her verve. PLEASE stay tuned for Part II of my interview with Elana when she shares her wisdom about writing a fangtastical query letter and offers up her very own query critique!!


Take a trip over to the official website and become part of the RESISTANCE. You can also help Elana spread the word about her amazing story by participating in Operation Bookmark Dropoff.   

NEED  more Elana? Go HERE, and visit the official POSSESSIONS website and Fan page. Don't forget to become part of the RESISTANCE! 

WANT some POSSESSIONS SWAG? Leave me a comment about Elana, her book, or dystopian literature and you're in for the giveaway!! 3 lucky followers will receive a signed bookmark by Elana J. and 2 will received signed bookplates. That's 5 lucky WINNERS in all!! GIVEAWAY is open until February 20th, so please pass the word around. If you do, let me know in your comment for extra entries. (It's not necessary, though.) I'll announce the winners February 21st!! Awesomesaucesome!!

Best of luck to everyone!


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