Before I get to my awesome interview, I have a few winners to announce.
The winner of HANDBOOK FOR DRAGONSLAYERS is Neurotic Workaholic!
The winner of THE TOWN THAT DISAPPEARED is Kristin Lenz!
Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can have your book sent to you. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.
Today I’m thrilled to have Elana Johnson back to talk about her new book, ABANDON, which was released June 4, 2013. Elana is an amazing writer and she blew me away again in this final book in her series. I was worried she couldn’t top SURRENDER, where she told the story from Raine’s and Gunner’s point of view. I just assumed that ABANDON would be from Vi’s point of view. But no, Elana makes the amazing decision of telling the story from Jag’s and Zenn’s views. And it was brilliant! I loved the fast paced story telling of what the resistance is doing to resist the Thinkers and free their world and Jag’s and Zenn’s place in it. And all my favorite characters—Vi, Raine, and Gunner are there too. I can’t recommend this enough.
If you want to read about Elana’s debut as an author, you can read my interview HERE.
And if you want to read my interview with her last year SURRENDER came out, you can find it HERE.
Here’s a blurb of ABANDON from Goodreads:
seduced by power,
broken by control,
and consumed by love...
Vi has made her choice between Jag and Zenn, and the Resistance may have suffered for it. But with the Thinkers as strong as ever, the rebels still have a job to do. Vi knows better than anyone that there's more at stake than a few broken hearts.
But there is a traitor among them...and the choices he makes could lead to the total destruction of everything Vi has fought for.
Vi, Jag, and Zenn must set their problems aside for the Resistance to have any hope of ending the Thinkers' reign. Their success means everything...and their failure means death.
Hi Elana. Thanks so much for joining us.
1. For those who haven’t started your series, tell us about it.
Possession kicks off the series in the Goodgrounds, where Vi is sick of the Thinkers telling her what to do. That book basically explores free choice, and who—if anyone—should be making our choices for us.
The series continues to explore the idea of free choice, and the role of government, and basically the whole series comes down to one question, which Zenn asks himself repeatedly in ABANDON: Free of functioning?
2. I so love where you’ve taken this series. What made you make the brilliant decision to tell the story from Jag’s and Zenn’s point of view in ABANDON?
Well, I always appreciate a novel told by the character that has the most to lose. In this case, there’s no
one who has more to lose than Jag—except maybe Zenn. So I used them both!
you switched POV characters again. I know you don’t like outlining from reading your blog. And you’ve said that you didn’t outline this series. In retrospect, what do you wish you would have done differently and what advice do you have for the rest of us who don’t outline (like me) but want to write a trilogy and set it up right?
You know this is a really hard question, because I didn’t know any different from what I did. I have some planned trilogies in the works, and honestly they’re all just as vague in my head as the Possession series was. I do think it’s a good idea to have a starting and ending point for your series, and other than that, the best thing I’ve done is read trilogies. I’ve figured out what goes in the first book, the second, and the third, and I try to do that.
4. Phew! I’m glad I don’t have to outline. Those are great ideas, especially to know the end of the story. You’ve described your road as a published author as a rollercoaster. What have been some of the highs as a published author?
Selling books, launch events, and seeing your covers for the first time are definitely the peaks!
5. And what have been some of the lows and how did you handle them?
There’s no end to the lows, because you can literally take every single thing that happens and look at it negatively. There’s something unique about the publishing industry that makes you feel like a failure when there is only success. It’s very strange.
I deal with lows like this by getting off the Internet. It truly is a source of great things, but it can also bring on some severe anxiety and depression if I let it. So I don’t let it. I focus on my writing, and my family, and I ignore everything else. It’s how I’ve survived.
6. I think you’re right that for most of us the doubts and pressures don’t go away because we get a publishing contract. Your whole approach to marketing your books has changed when each book has come out. When POSSESSION came out, you were everywhere on the Internet. You did a quieter blog tour last year and this year you’re doing a big scavenger hunt. Share a bit about why your approach to online marketing has changed over the years. What would you do differently in marketing book 1 and 2 if you could do it again?
Honestly, I’m not sure the online stuff translates to sales at all. I do most of what I do because I like it. I wanted a map for my series, and in order to justify asking someone to draw me a map, I needed to have a way to use it. Thus, the scavenger hunt idea was born for this year.
I do think things change online at an alarming rate. Back when Possession came out, live chats and twitter giveaways and such were new. It was a good way to get your name out there. Now, though, I think those things are overdone, and only create noise.
So for me, it’s about doing things I like, and also trying to find something that not everyone and their dog has already done. Neither of which may happen, but you know.
I just don’t have the same drive, honestly. It takes an extraordinary amount of time to visit blogs and leave comments, and I find that while I used to have a lot to say, I don’t really anymore. So it’s a natural progression, I think, for my blog activity to be slower than it once was.
My focus on social networking now is to take it in manageable chunks – and make sure I enjoy it. I’ve given up on going things I don’t like. (See a theme here? Ha!)
8. Good advice to stick what you like. And yeah, the visiting blogs does take a lot of time, though I really like all the blog friends I’ve made. What’s your advice to aspiring authors looking at having their first book being released as to developing their social networking platform and what they should do to market their book online?
This is not as easy to answer as it once was. Like I said, the blogosphere and the online promotions didn’t used to be as loud as they are now. There are literally hundreds of thousands of books coming out each year, and I think the key to marketing is doing something that not very many other people are doing.
The problem? No one quite knows what that thing is until it’s been done. I think my best advice to aspiring authors with their first book coming out is to focus on the writing. Social media and promotions can become a full-time job if you let it. And really, it should be about producing another high-quality novel.
9. Yes, I need to focus on the writing more and social networking less. Thanks for saying that’s okay. I know you’re starting a new service to help people with their queries and to organize their blog tours. Tell us a bit about it and how you’ve connected with book review bloggers for this new venture. Do you have any book review blogs that you recommend we follow?
Building a relationship with someone online takes a very long time. I spent years and years actively blogging, building relationships with other authors. Once my book came out, I did the same thing with book bloggers. I read their posts, commented, followed them on twitter, and conversed with them.
Some blogs you should be following? Every one of the amazing book bloggers hosting me on my scavenger hunt! (link to: http://elanajohnson.blogspot.com/p/scavenger-hunt.html) That’s 60 of the BEST right there!
10. What are you working on now?
I am currently working on a young adult fantasy that I hope to be submitting soon. I absolutely love it, so I hope someone will pick it up and readers will get the chance to love it too!
Ooh, I’m so excited you’re writing a fantasy. It’s my favorite genre. Thanks for coming by a third time and sharing all your advice. You can find Elana at:
her blog: http://elanajohnson.blogspot.com/
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/possessionthebook
Elana’s publisher Simon Pulse has offered a fabulous giveaway—a copy of POSSESSION, SURRENDER, and ABANDON for a giveaway. So I’ll pick three winners. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on July 6th. Please let me know where you are in the series and I’ll try to match the winner to the book, but no guarantees. I’ll announce the winner on July 8th.
If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. International entries are welcome, but I’ll pick no more than one international winner due to postage costs.
Here’s what’s coming up:
Tomorrow I have a Tuesday tip from Rosanne Perry and giveaway of her new book, WRITTEN IN STONE, a story about the Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest in the 1920’s. She’ll be sharing tips on how to write a multicultural story.
Then I’m on a vacation and blog break until July 2nd. I’m excited to go to my nephew’s wedding. I’ve known him since he was a baby. I’ll be blogging a little bit less over the summer. I know it gets quieter in the blog world during the summer as people spend more time with their families and go on vacations. I’m looking forward to slowing down a bit too and hopefully writing more.
But I have a lot of good things planned for the summer, starting with:
Freedom to Read Blog Hop on July 2nd
Interview on July 8th with debut author Melanie Crowder and ARC giveaway of PARCHED, a middle grade apocalyptic novel about a world with hardly any water with a touch of magical realism. I found the whole idea of such a world fascinating.
And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.
Hope to see you tomorrow!