Sunday, August 29, 2010

Someday Famous YA Author -- JOANN BUCHANAN

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.

FIVE ESSENTIALS:

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?

A: Chinese.

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.

Peace out.

Friday, August 20, 2010

My Experience at the 2010 WILLAMETTE WRITERS CONFERENCE

Nerves. Everybody has them. They're the fat covered strings that run through our bodies telling our parts what to do. Nerves are divided into specific categories, just like everything else in the universe. We categorize them into systems: Central Nervous System (CNS) and the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS).

The CNS is the brain, spinal cord and retina. The PNS is pretty much everything else.

The PNS is then broken into two more divisions: Sensory and Motor. It is the motor division that I'd like to talk about today. But first, to be precise, let's split this division even further into the Autonomic Nervous System and the Somatic Nervous System. I'll leave it at that. I'm sure you really don't care to know the exacts about these two. If you do, send me a message.

Autonomic Nervous System played the antagonist at the Willamette Writers Conference. Let's call this system ANS--even though ANS behaved like an AS*, I'll be nice and call him by his true name.

Fifteen pitches in three days. Can you imagine? ANS had a ball at my expense. He led me to the restroom before and after every pitch. He stomped on my guts, vibrated my heart, screamed in my ears, and stuffed cotton in my mouth and sand covered rocks down my throat. I pretty much hated him.

But, to be honest, I stroked ANS very well the first day. Six pitches for my novel and six requests for pages equates to a blissfully happy Angela.

Day two, not so good. ANS isn't the one to blame, though. He did his job, kept me on my toes, pushed me beyond my comfort zone. I had no business pitching a screenplay. I'm a novelist and will stick with pitching novels for now. Screenplays aren't my thing--yet. So, day two wasn't a loss; it was a learning experience.

Day three, ANS must have slept in. I pitched my novel twice and received two requests for pages.

Willamette Writers Conference gave me the opportunity to meet as many agents and editors as I could and to get my words in front of them. Several of the agents I met fall into the My-Dream-Forever-Agent list. I PRAY that at least one of them feels the same way.

The 2010 Willamette Writers Conference rocked.

Peace out.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

HEAR YE, HEAR YE!

While rubbing bodies at my day job the other day, the idea fairy and I had a conversation. We do that on a regular basis. Sometimes our chats are pretty ridiculous and others are ultra-fabulous, like this one.

The ultra-fabulous idea will take form in reality on September 1st. At that time, this blog will become somewhat of an awesome place to be. Not only because Yours Truly will be posting on it more often, but because there will be teenagers here, too. Not just one or two, but a new teen every single week! Talk about teen-spirit!

This blog will be dedicated to the ordinary yet extraordinary teen voices of this generation. They will talk candidly with me about the issues they deal with on a daily basis and about books and about drugs and about school and about growing up and about fantasy and about life in general. Heck, they may even decide to burst out with something totally random--which would be rad.

Although the goal is to be teen oriented, we will also have an occasional interview featuring an upcoming, unpublished YA or middle grade author. Because, after all, we love books! We may also feature a famous author or two. **gasp**

But, don't hold your breath because interviews with famous authors can be found everywhere else. What can't be found elsewhere are the interviews of the unknown. And that's exactly what you will find here.

Our first guest will be Bree--I think she's awesome, and so will you!

So follow the blog, learn about some really cool unknown people, and enjoy life.

Peace out, yo.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"MY SOUL TO LOSE" by Rachel Vincent

My Soul to Lose. Great title, don’t you think? Too great. In fact, I totally boycotted the Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent just because of the rad titles—most likely out of jealousy (shhh, did I say that?).


The boycott ended recently when I read My Soul to Lose. Now I’m not so much jealous as a I am a fan of Rachel Vincent. I might become a groupie. Do authors have groupies? Well, maybe not a groupie because that would be gross, but I'll definitely join a fan club.


I only stumbled upon these books when I decided to call my next book My Soul to Steal a while back. After I Googled it, as I do every little idea that pops into my brain to make sure that my idea is the only one like it, up flashed the Soul Screamers series. Google’s smart like that.


None of Rachel Vincent’s books have this title (My Soul to Steal), but still, it would be silly for me to call my book this when she already has My Soul to Take, My Soul to Save, My Soul to Keep, and now the prequel novella My Soul to Lose.


They are just too enticing and pretty to ignore any longer. Plus, My Soul to Lose is FREE! That’s right peeps, I said FREE! What the…??? With no more excuses outside of the fact that the author totally stole the title from my brain several years before I thought of it, I downloaded the FREE (did I mention Free?) novella My Soul to Lose.


Summary from RachelVincent.com:

Publisher: Harlequin

“SOUL SCREAMERS PREQUEL NOVELLA

Kaylee Cavanaugh's trip to the mall ends with a brutal panic attack and a brainscrambling shriek she can't stop. Her secret fear is exposed. It's the worst day of her life.

Until she wakes up in the psychiatric unit.

But the hospital isn't a safe place for Kaylee, and getting out won't be easy because everyone thinks she's crazy. Everyone except Lydia, who has a secret of her own...”

Doesn’t that sound awesome with a capital A? It is! To be honest, I didn’t know it was a novella when I downloaded it onto my Kindle. I just thought I was a super-fast reader because it only took me about two hours to read it (if that). Truly, I didn’t want to put it down.

Then, just when I’m freaking out about how cool this story is, it ends. What the…??? Not cool. Now I’m going to have to download My Soul to Take.

RATING: Check It Out.” You’ll enjoy it if you do.

Peace



****Note: The Kindle version is no longer free, but as of today you may still download a free version from the author website.



Saturday, August 7, 2010

To Blog

Blogging is not my forte. Professionals say that writers should have blogs and internet presence, which I have, but don't update often. This is about to change.

There are people in the world who enjoy reading blogs. And since you are reading this, you must be one of them. Once a month, or maybe twice, a new blog will be posted. I hope to make it worth your while, or maybe just worth my own while. Isn't that an odd saying? "Worth your while." Why don't people just say "Worth your time"? Whatever.

My experiences at the Willamette Writers Conference will be posted next week. Other posts may consist of short stories or pieces from my novels. Maybe an article or two will be tossed in the mix. Better yet, a few book reviews. How exciting!

Until then, hold your breath.

Peace out, yo.

Ang