SUPER-AUTHOR, ELANA JOHNSON!
*Elana flies into the studio, cape flapping behind her, and lands gracefully despite her skin-tight super-suit*
GL: Wow! I can’t tell you how excited I am that you’ve taken time out of your busy novice-aiding schedule to be with us today at Passions on Paper. I am a HUGE fan. Love the suit, by the way.
EJ: Well, I look my best in capes.
GL: I can’t disagree with that. Considering where you are now, it’s hard to believe you never set out to be a writer. Instead, you discovered your authorial love and talent through chronicling your life’s story. How did you make the transition from personal memoir to fiction and what made you desire publication?
EJ: The transition was pretty easy. I was basically an emotional mess, and writing helped get those things out. And when I was done, the angst in my real life had translated into a teenage girl (and what creature is more angsty than that? Uh…no one).
As for the quest for publication, let’s just say that I’m like a pitbull. Once I get a grip on something, I don’t let go—ever. So publication came naturally after finishing a novel.
GL: Well, that vice-like super jaw of yours definitely paid off in the end. How long did you query before you signed with your Super-Agent, Michelle Andelman?
EJ: 8 (very long) months.
GL: I’m sure that period of time wasn’t the most fun for you, but the rest of us get to benefit from it. You have an ebook called From the Query to the Call available on your Query Ninja blog, which has garnered excellent reviews as an inexpensive and invaluable tool for writers – not to mention each purchase comes with a FREE QUERY CRITIQUE from the one and only Query Ninja…YOU! When did you decide to moonlight as a ninja and how did that book come about?
EJ: Well, if you have to moonlight as something, a ninja is the way to go. When I decided to query my first novel for the second time, I needed a new query. And that’s when my quest for “the perfect query” began. About six months later, I started writing for the QueryTracker blog, and I shared what I’d learned about query letters. And that snowballed into the whole ebook, which discusses how to write a query letter, how to research agents, how to submit to them (electronically and snail mail), how to handle The Call, all of it. The ebook is based on my own experience and the experience of authors who’ve been through it all.
GL: What is the most common mistake you see when new writers create their queries?
EJ: Including too much information and forgetting to state the consequence.
GL: Hmm…too much information? I haven’t started writing any queries yet, but I’m pretty sure I won’t have a hard time with that particular issue. As you can tell, I’m not long-winded in the least. (Crap crap crap!!!)
Simon & Schuster is publishing your debut novel Control Issues in the summer of 2011! What did you do when you heard the news?
EJ: Well, I was still on the phone with my agent when my husband came home (he knew she was calling that day) and I wrote on one of my beloved sticky notes “Simon Pulse offered!” and held it up to him. Chaos ensued, silently, until we went to dinner that night. Guess what I ordered with my pot roast? A side of bacon. Yum.
GL: Mmmm, bacon – the food with which you gain all of your Super Strength, I’m told. If I had to guess, I’d say bran muffins would probably be your equivalent to kryptonite. I know they’re mine! Now that I’m on the whole yummy food kick, can you give us a tasty blurb about Control Issues and your super delicious main character, Jag Barque?
EJ: Control Issues is set in a world where Thinkers control the population and Rules aren’t meant to be broken. But one fifteen-year-old girl decides to shatter them all.
And to get a taste of Jag you can read his character interview from my blog. It starts with me being flustered and ends with him using mind control to stop me from talking any more!
GL: That interview totally rocked! (Mental Note: bribe Super Villain to extract Jag Barque from Elana’s mind and keep him as mine…ALL MINE! Muuuaahahahahaaa!...)
*notices the weird look Elana’s giving me, clears throat*
Control Issues sounds amazing (and so does Jag) and I can’t wait to (read about Jag) snag a copy next summer (so Jag can live in MY head)!
Along with your Super-Author blog and the Query Ninja blog, you also contribute to The League of Extraordinary Writers, What Writers Read, the Query Tracker Blog AND maintain Facebook, MySpace and Twitter accounts! All of that is ON TOP of writing, critiquing queries and keeping up appearances with your alter ego as a regular human with a regular life. (Did I leave anything out, like saving stranded kittens in trees?) How on EARTH do you do it?!? Give us the rundown of a typical day in the super life of Elana Johnson, Super-Author.
EJ: Ha! Well, here’s my 24-hour schedule. We’ll start with sleep, since I enjoy sleeping more than anything.
11 PM – 7:00 (okay, 7:30) AM: sleep
7:30 – 8:30: get ready for work, kids for school
8:30 – 9:00: travel to work
9:00 – 2:15: work. Sometimes this means actual typing instruction. This is where I read most of my blogs. I hardly do any blog reading at home, so if it doesn’t get done at work, it doesn’t get done.
3:00: home with kidlet. Reading hour.
4:00: Boy kidlet home from school. I write/read/make dinner/get on forums, facebook, twitter, etc.
5:00 – 9:00: Family time. TV. Some more writing-related activities, usually answering emails or writing blog posts or doing a quick query crit. That kind of stuff.
9:00: Kids in bed, husband asleep on the couch – me, writing. Or chatting. Or whatever.
That’s a weekday. Saturday – Monday, I don’t work, and that’s when I write all my blog posts, keep up with housecleaning, and get my Super-Suit repaired.
And I only saved that kitten that one time…
GL: That’s an unbelievable schedule! Mine is just like that…with the exception of the organization and the times and the fact that yours apparently works. Otherwise, totally identical. *sheepish grin*
Last, but not least, if you could choose any pre-published Paranormal Romance author to be your sidekick-in-training – based purely on writing talent and blogging charisma (and whether or not you want to leave this interview with a new nemesis) – who would it be?
EJ: Well, duh, Gina. You have the coolest cape on the planet. And I’ve heard rumor of some sweet shock spit, so yeah. The choice is pretty easy – you!
GL: Woo Hoo! My grandma will be so happy to hear you like the cape she crocheted for me! And I do have some pretty wicked shock spit. It puts a damper on kissing my husband, but comes in really handy when smiting one’s enemies.
Thanks so much for being here today, Elana. Your drive and success are beacons of hope against the gloomy clouds of doubt for all of us here in Pre-Published Metropolis.
EJ: Well, Batman has a cape too, so it’s pretty cool to be a beacon—right? Right.
GL: That’s all the time we have for today, but I’d like to remind everyone of where our blogosphere Super-Author can be found:
• Her Super-Hideout where you can find “all things Elana” http://www.elanajohnson.com/
• A forum where she mingles with her followers http://www.elanajohnson.blogspot.com/
• Her Ninja School of Queries where she helps karate chop your query into top ninja shape http://www.queryninja.blogspot.com/
• The location which she helps track the queries http://www.querytracker.blogspot.com/
• Her Super-Space www.myspace.com/elanajohnson
• The book her face is on www.facebook.com/elanajohnson
• The place from which she perches and tweets to the masses www.twitter.com/ElanaJ
• Where she posts her literary treasures http://www.what-writers-read.blogspot.com/
• The Super-Headquarters of the literary faction she belongs to, The League of Extraordinary Writers http://www.leaguewriters.blogspot.com/
If you haven’t already, head on over to her sites and click as many follow buttons as you can find! And if you’re new to Passions on Paper, make sure you click MY Follow button over in the sidebar! (don’t make me beg people, just click on the button already, okay?)
Tune in next week – same PoP time, same PoP channel – for another episode of FAN-tastic Friday when I interview the lovely, agented Shannon Whitney Messenger!
We’ll return to your regularly scheduled blog-hopping after your brief messages in the comments section...