I am truly excited to start this new series of blogs: Someday Famous YA Authors! Can I get a woot, woot? "Woot, woot." Thank you very much.
Today we meet the one and only JOANN BUCHANAN. It has been my pleasure to correspond with her over the past few weeks. Even though I haven't met her personally, I know that she's a smiler. Oh yes, I said smiler. Her smile beams through cyber space and splatters itself all over her emails. I love it!
Without further ado, I present to you (dun du du duh) Joann Buchanan, a someday famous YA author, Q&A style.
Q: How long have you been writing?
A: I have been writing my entire life. When I was a kid, I would be grounded, like all other kids today. However, my dad would say all I could do was read or write. When I would finish (reading) a novel, I would write. I wrote about everything. I made up a story one time about a girl who lived during the time child labor laws weren't in effect. It was so good that my dad asked me if something was wrong at work. I laugh about this now.
Q: Is "I AM WOLF" your first novel?
A: I have actually written a total of three novels. The other two collect dust on a disk. They were practice. I AM WOLF is one I felt really encompassed all I have learned about writing up to this point. Writing is a never ending learning process that dives into the human psyche and makes you really explore different things about yourself and others around you.
Q: How long did it take you to write it?
A: First draft, 3 months. The bones of the story are what are important in the first draft. Making sure the plot and characters flow right are what matters. If that doesn't work, then it doesn't matter how many details you add.
Q: What can you tell us about your novel, I AM WOLF?
A: I can tell you that the characters took on a life of their own. They felt like individuals when I started writing them. Each of them have a certain way about them. They are a loyal group of kids. Friends like that only happen a few times in life. I think I wanted to honor that when I wrote about them.
Q: What prompted you to write this novel?
A: I read about some of the Native American Mythology when it came to werewolves. Then I wrote the following line:
"I am part of Tibolt's clan. A creature of the night. I wash myself in the shining sun and dance with joy in the glittering moonlight. I am loyal to a fault and sing in the midnight hours. I AM WOLF."
It just went from there. I could already picture all the characters in it. I don't know how to explain it. I just knew the story.
Q: Why for YA?
A: The story fit YA. It just came out that way.
Q: Have you always written YA?
A: No, I write a lot of different things. I write horror and fantasy and science fiction. Just depends on the story.
Q: How did you find your agent and how long did it take?
A: I'm going to answer both of these at the same time. A few months back, I met a fellow writer named James Weil. He has a novel called "SWISS CHOCOLATE" coming out in September. I read the first chapter in his notes section on FB and was blown away by it. I left him a comment about it. Around the same time, he left a comment about a short story I wrote. I started talking to him about "I AM WOLF," and the premise for the story. He said to get it done. Somewhere along the line, he started talking about his agent, Chamein. He said he told her about me. I was once again blown away by this. Here was this writer who was farther along in the process than I ever thought I would be, and he believed in me enough to tell his agent. In my mind, it's fate, kismet. It happens when you least expect it. In this way it's like love. I will never be able to repay James for his kindness to me. Every day I'm humbled by all that he has done for me and accomplished for himself.
Q: How did you feel once you found your agent and she wanted to represent you?
A: Humbled. Excited. Most of it was and is still surreal. It isn't something that I take for granted because I know how long I have been on this journey. Chamein is amazing as a person and an agent. She is always willing to answer my questions and never makes me feel like I'm bothering her in any way. To me, that is important when you work close with someone. At the end of the day, it's more about the people to me. I hope that makes sense.
Q: What is SLAVES TO THE MUSE?
A: SLAVES TO THE MUSE is a blog a friend of mine, Tami Snow, and I put together for writers. It's a community of writers from all genres. We feature writers of all kinds in our "Torture Chamber." We seek out writers for this and focus on them for a week. To top it off, we have 10 writers who are regular contributors. All of them are wonderful talents.
Q: What is your writing routine?
A: I write every day, no matter what. My best time is 10 pm - 1 am every night. I play with short stories during the day and at night I concentrate on novels.
Q: Are you working on any other projects at the moment?
A: Yes, I'm working on a sequel to "I AM WOLF" (no title yet), and a novel called "DEATH: THE BEGINNING." Both of them are different styles and a different take on life.
Q: Is there anything you would like to add or discuss?
A: I couldn't do all of this without my family and friend's love and support. My fiance, John, is the best about this. So are my sister, Chantell, and my parents. There are also James, Chamein, Jeanne, and all the writers on "SLAVES TO THE MUSE." I'm really fortunate to have so many people who believe in me. It's a blessing and I hope that I don't disappoint them.
Q: Since this blog is based on teen struggles, do you have any advice for teenagers or a story you would like to share of how you may have struggled during your teen years?
A: For struggling teens, my answer is simple. Life is what you make it. If you dream about something, set a goal and see what happens. There will be times when you will think, "I don't know if I can do this." This is what makes you stronger and what makes it worth it when you reach your goal. It's something no one can ever take from you, no matter what.
If you aren't sure about something, don't be afraid to ask. If you want to be a writer, don't be afraid to put it out there. If you're having trouble with parents, talk to someone you trust. You will always be searching and growing as a person, even when you don't know it. So embrace who you are and celebrate the things that make you different from everyone else.
That last part is the best piece of advice that I can give a teen. Celebrate your differences.
Q: What are you currently reading?
A: Terry Brooks
Q: What is your all time favorite YA novel and why?
A: "ARE YOU THERE GOD, IT'S ME MARGARET" and "SUPERFUDGE." Judy Blume knows kids. As a child, I related to her novels the most. Until I reached 8th grade and read Frank Herbert, Stephen King and Nathaniel Hawthorne. I know, odd mix, but their worlds were an escape for me.
Q: What is your all time favorite movie?
A: "Dune," "Lord of the Rings, Return of the King" and "Casablanca" (sorry, I can't choose just one here either).
Q: If you could be an object or another species, what would you be and why?
A: Object, video camera, because you can record the best moments forever.
Species, I would be a dolphin. they are such friendly creatures who love life and love to play.
Q: What is your favorite food?
Thank you, Joann, for spending some time with us and spilling your guts all over the place. You're an uber rad gal and I personally hope your book gets published quick because I'm looking forward to reading it.
And there you have it. You now know everything important to know about Joann Buchanan. If you'd like to check her out for yourself, http://joannhamann.blogspot.com/
Thanks for stopping by and tune in on September 1st for my first ever blog in the Teen Series.