Monday, September 12, 2011

Graffiti Wall: Author Joy Preble

The Graffiti Wall is back!! And today, we have an amazing guest. She's a wife, mother, English teacher, and lover of all that makes breakfast yummy. As a child and teen, she didn't just read books but consumed them--a storyteller at heart. And she answered my questions with such awesome depth, this post is only Part I of her interview. I felt it necessary to share all her wisdom with you. Please give her a warm Alleyway welcome.

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, BlogYA 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!

Hearts ~


  1. Thanks for all the awesome advice Joy. Writing is a job that is sometimes hard to juggle with everything else. Thanks for sharing to take it one step at a time. Sometimes I need to remember this or it gets too overwhelming.

  2. Great advice. I find too and love about the best writing being from a place of honesty. Dreaming Anastasia is on my Kindle. Hope to read it soon!

  3. I liked the first piece of advice! I have a 15 year old girl that totally digs that mom's a writer and she reads a lot. My 10 year old boy struggled to learn how to read, so he now appreciates reading a lot.

    Reading is important and it shapes and molds us. I'd much rather see someone with a book in their hand than a cell phone! (since my teen is the texting queen!)

  4. I understand finding balance and the pressure! I didn't think I'd survive book number two.

  5. Great interview. And I LOVE the covers.

    I never thought about librarians not reading MG or YA books. I just thought it was a given that they do. It's part of the job. That's sad if they don't. How are they going to recommend books?

  6. wow! thanks so much for this interview Sheri! It's great to discover Joy and her books (and the coverart for her books is AMAZING). Thanks for sharing with us Joy!

  7. This was amazing!!! I adore Joy. I've had the pleasure of meeting her at the local indie bookstore we both attend, Blue Willow Bookshop. She's a real gem and it's always a pleasure to see her sharing tidbits with writers! She's amazing, as are her books!!

  8. Great interview! I really enjoyed Dreaming Anastasia and I'm looking forward to reading Haunted.

  9. great interview! I enjoyed both of Joy's novels. And what she says it so true - this is a job with high expectations!

  10. OMG! I absolutely LOVE this post! Thank you for having her, Shari, and thank you for your wisdom, Joy!! I have Dreaming Anastasia on my Kindle and would LOVE book 2. :-)

  11. I'm in the middle of Haunted! So great! =D

  12. Great interview. I think that advice to parents and teachers is excellent advice. Here in the UK I felt we lost the way in that respect some ten or so years ago when, as a teacher I was told that there was no time to read to kids. I left the profession shortly after that.

  13. Oh yes, I hear that on the balance thing! It is so hard to have books out in the world and live a balanced life! Great post!

  14. What a great interview. So insightful, especially about the writing being a job part. Thanks you two!

  15. Hi there!!! *waves* this was GREAT!! My favorite piece of advice: "Good writing comes from a place of personal honesty. Always."

  16. So glad you all are enjoying and reading! You can't see me smiling, but I am! Please join us tomorrow for part two! ;)

  17. Joy, it's our pleasure to have you here! Thank you.

  18. Loved this! I do wish parents read every day to their children. My mom read to me and I think it made a world of difference. Great interview!

  19. Oh yay!! Joy is awesome and so are her books! Great interview. Good insights. Thanks!

  20. ooo, great stuff. And these books look awesome! I tell ya, that whole faster deadlines thing is what scares me. Just b/c I know my brain, and I get better ideas for stuff after like a few days of sitting on things. Ugh! Must. Get. Over. That.

    can't wait for Pt. 2. Thanks, Sher, Thanks Joy! :o)

  21. Great interview so far! Great thoughts on what happens with your second book...

    Wow, beautiful covers. :)

  22. Very insightful interview. I truly enjoyed reading it. Faster deadlines, huh? Yikes.

  23. I couldn't agree more about how to cultivate reading among children, Joy. And whenever someone asks me my FAVORITE book I freeze up and can't remember a single book I've read. I love so many.

    Thanks Sheri and Joy. Love my visit today.


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