AN EXCERPT FROM THE INTERVIEW:
For writers who are dealing with grief in their own WIPs and are overwhelmed with figuring out where to start, what to touch on and what not to touch on, how to get it out… what is your advice on tackling this topic?
Whoo, doggy! What a question! With anything that’s so big and abstract, you just need to pick a place and get going. The important thing is to start. General writing advice: start on a day that is different from any other day. My specific advice: keep every thought, every reaction honest. Don’t try to be clever. Readers—especially teen readers—detect insincerity or condescension immediately, and they will throw your book across the room. And well they should. Teen’s minds are too important for bullshit.
CLICK HERE to jump to HOLLYWOOD THE WRITE WAY and read the entire interview, along with a review of The Theory of Everything.
So I opened up my soul and poured it into a letter to my teenage self and wrote this for the Dear Teen Me website.
And now that it's out there, I kind of can't believe I put it out there on the interwho.
Which is a good indicator of just how honest it is.
Click this link to go to the letter.
_ Writing novels is a team sport. I am super lucky to be part of a critique group with three fantastic writers: John Claude Bemis, Jennifer Harrod, and Stephen Messer. We have a great respect and love for each other, and we agree on just about everything, except plot points, spoilers, use of -ly adverbs, characterization, book recommendations, or a name for our group. Anyhoo... did I mention how close we are? We've been meeting regularly since before any of us were published. Now, six years later, our group has more than 9 books published or under contract.
But don't take my word for it. Get the scoop from John on Smack Dab in the Middle.
_Excerpt: What initially inspired this story?
Obama was campaigning and I was thinking about change and the system, and speaking your mind and free speech. I was thinking, 'What if you grew up outside the system? What if you viewed high school through different eyes?'
And I wanted to look at how free speech can cross the line into bullying, because Evie, our heroine, is very much about free speech and all her rights, but that part of her revolution gets out of control, not in her hands, but in other people’s hands. It’s about the responsibility that comes with free speech, both to your community and to yourself...
See the complete interview here.
_From the interview: I really didn’t have a sense of what the cover might look like, and I didn’t give any concept input to Peachtree. The only thing I knew for certain was that I did NOT want what I call a “headless girl body” cover: those YA covers with a photo of a skinny teenager, wearing trendy clothes, whose head is either cropped out of the picture or hidden behind some object. I assume those covers are trying to encourage readers to picture themselves as the heroine (“insert your face here”), but I think they’re very objectifying. Our culture already tells girls to think their bodies and clothes are the most significant part of their identity, and “headless girl body” covers reinforce that idea. What does it say when the heroine of a novel doesn’t have a head worth including on the cover? It’s a subtle message, but it’s unhealthy. Readers need to see whole people, with strong minds and smart brains attached to their healthy bodies....
read the full interview: http://thatcovergirl.com/2011/03/17/authorthoughts-jj-johnson-this-girl-is-different/
j.j. johnson, author