Thursday, April 14, 2011

Aspiring Author Thursday: Introducing Jenn Johansson

Today's interview is with the fabulous Jenn Johansson! Jenn was one of the first blogs I started following a few years ago. I've loved her blog ever since. Be sure to check it out here!

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

I never imagined myself as a writer, but around 2005, I had this story in my head that wouldn't shut up... so I had to choose. Write it down, or opt for a white room with squishy walls and an uncomfy jacket.

So glad you didn't choose the jacket!

Could you tell us a little about your agent story? I'm still so excited for you!:
I officially signed with Kathleen Rushall of Waterside Agency last week and I'm still a little bit in disbelief. This is my second book I've queried and she loved it in the way I'd always hoped for. I'm getting ready to begin revisions and I can't wait! I also love that she doesn't mind my lack of focus within the YA genre. She actually considers it a strength. Yay! :)

SQUEE!!! So awesome!

Do you have a writing schedule, or do you just sit down whenever you get a spare moment?

I try to write in the afternoons while my son is in kindergarten, but it depends on where I am in the book. For the last 3/4 of any MS, I can't stop... I stay up late, and sneak in any spare writing moment I can.

Could you tell us a little about yourself? Random facts? Hidden talents?

I played the drums in high school for the boy's show choir --there may or may not have been a hidden agenda there, I admit nothing. I love to read and write horror but I can't handle scary movies. And... I can unwrap a Starburst without using my fingers. Random enough?

I always wanted to play the drums. And to play them for the boy's show choir? You are pretty sneaky! :) When I watch scary movies I tend to curl up in the fetal position until it's over. Hate them. Seriously. Hate.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what is one thing you couldn't live without? (Besides your family and a laptop of course.)

Right now, it's my Kindle. I love to read and if I already had my family and my laptop... why not add in a few hundred books? ;)

So jealous. I want a Kindle. I'm asking the hubby for one for my birthday! Hopefully I get it!

What is one book you could read over and over and over?

I love the classics. Jane Austen books or The Count of Monte Cristo. I also love me some Harry Potter. There are quite a few books that I've read more than once.

Love Harry Potter as well. Speaking of, I need to re-read the 7th one...

What book are you dying to read this year?

Possession by Elana Johnson She's an apex of awesome and the book sounds totally fab. I'm very excited! June 7th baby!

So excited for that one! :D

What genre do you write and why?

I dabble a little everywhere. I've done sci-fi, horror, paranormal, and dystopian, but I stay firmly in YA. I love the flexibility that the YA genre affords for a little blending, also I don't think I'm capable of moving past a teenage personality... so why not?

Ditto! The only one I haven't tried is horror. Although I do have some creepy ideas floating around in my head. Maybe I'll be brave enough to write them down someday. Or I'll just scare myself and have nightmares.

Do you have any writing rituals? Music, silence, eating, etc.

I burn candles and sing chants while I dance naked around a fire... don't you? ;-) I make a playlist of music that helps me get in the mood or the head of certain characters, then I play it before I write. I can't listen to music while I write though... I end up singing which is surprisingly distracting.

Have you been stalking me? I swear I was the only one who sang chants around a fire...

Where do you come up with your ideas? Dreams, while driving, etc?

They come from all over, but often it will be in that place between awake and asleep. I'm always scribbling down notes in the middle of the night--unfortunately, they don't make sense when I wake up half the time... nonetheless, I'm sure they are sheer genius.

I love it when the notes are readable at first, and then they start slanting off the page and turn into little random scribbles.

Any advice for aspiring authors?

Keep writing and recognize that everyone's path to publication is different. Celebrate the success of others and know that your own will come in time. Also, brownies--always a good idea.


Random Writing Question: Your MC has been locked in jail for the night. What did he/she do, and how do they get out?

Hmm... the MC from INSOMNIA was put there for stalking a girl from school, and he would enter the dreams of the jailer and convince him that he was innocent and should be released. He's very very sneaky. The MC from my WIP was arrested for being naked in the park, and she would blind the guard with light to escape...... Wow, maybe I need therapy.

Ha ha! Loved your last answer! :D I think all writers need therapy! :D Thanks so much for letting my interview you Jenn!


Unknown said...

Aw, great interview, ladies! And a huge congrats on your agent success, Jenn. I'll hop over to your blog.
And surely there's a secret fire dancing, chanting, writing Ya-YA sisterhood that we're all apart of on the flip side of life. :)

Michelle Merrill said...

Great interview! It was fun getting to know more about Jenn...and of course about you too Chantele. I didn't know about the candle lighting ritual. I'll have to try it sometime ;)

Candice said...

I love the reasons for you MC being arrested. That question definitely played right into you hands, Jenn!

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

I love seeing how it is for different people. Great interview! (And how do I join the fire-dancing club? I missed that memo the first time.)

J.R. Johansson said...

Thanks for the interview, Chantele! It was really fun! :) And I'm more than happy to share my fire-dance-chant secrets. We'll start a club! ;-)

Ruth Josse said...

Fun interview girls! Congrats again on your new adventures, Jenn.

amberargyle said...

Congrats Jenn! I didn't know! So exciting for you. You deserve it.

Renee Collins said...

Yay, it's Jenn! :)

I'm so glad I'm not the only one to dance nude around a fire before writing! I was beginning to think I was weird . . .

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Great interview, Jenn and Chantele! I love THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, too. I read it for the first time my sophomore year of high school, and I remember thinking that it read more like a modern novel. Great pacing and dialogue for a classic. Methinks Monsieur Dumas was ahead of his time. (Is that how you spell "Monsieur"? It's been a while since eighth-grade French...)

Unknown said...

Yay Jenn! So excited for you!

Kasie West said...

I love Jenn. :) Great interview. Your last answer was hilarious. Parker would totally do that.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Great interview. Love Jenn.

Patti said...

Great interview Chantele. I love this feature on your blog.

Kathryn Rose said...

Very cool interview! Fun to read about Jenn. Thanks for the post and congrats to Jenn for signing last week! :D

J.R. Johansson said...

Thanks everyone! I'm glad you guys liked it. I had a good time (as you can probably tell) coming up with the answers. :-)

Anita said...

Great story! And I love Jenn's hair!

Julie Musil said...

Jenn, big congrats on your agent! What wonderful news. And this interview was lots of fun. I mean, a Starburst wrapper with no hands? If you put that trick on youtube, I want to see it.