Friday, May 28, 2010
Interview with the amazing Janette Rallison and her new book, "My Double Life." ENTER TO WIN A COPY OF HER NEW BOOK!
I'm so excited to have the awesome, talented and very wonderful author (and person) Janette Rallison featured on my blog today. She was gracious enough to agree to being interviewed and share a little about herself and her books.
I've been a fan of Janette's for many years and have read almost all of her books. Each and every one of them are remarkably unique, fresh, fun and memorable. When you read one of Janette's books you feel like you are curling up with an old friend and you are guaranteed to be entertained, to laugh, and sometimes even to tear up.
If you haven't met her yet, here is a little background on today's guest:
Janette Rallison is the award winning author of 10 teen novels, including Playing the Field, Walker; All’s Fair in Love, War, and High School; Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Free Throws; Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To Do List Which was put on IRA’s Young Adults' Choices List 2007 and It's a Mall World After All Which was put on IRA’s Young Adults' Choices List 2008. How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend Which was put on IRA’s Young Adults' Choices List 2009 Revenge of the Cheerleaders; Just One Wish; and My Fair Godmother which was just optioned for a movie. Her latest, My Double Life came out May 13th.
Most of her books are romantic comedies because hey, there is enough angst in real life, but there’s a drastic shortage on both humor and romance. She lives in Arizona with her husband, five kids, and enough cats to classify her as eccentric.
This is what My Double Life is all about:
Her whole life, Alexia Garcia has been told that she looks just like pop star Kari Kingsley, and one day when Alexia’s photo filters through the Internet, she’s offered a job to be Kari’s double. This would seem like the opportunity of a lifetime, but Alexia’s mother has always warned her against celebrities.
Rebelliously, Alexia flies off to L.A. and gets immersed in a celebrity life. Not only does she have to get used to getting anything she wants, she romances the hottest lead singer on the charts, and finds out that her own father is a singing legend. Through it all, Alexia must stay true to herself, which is hard to do when you are pretending to be somebody else!
Let's get to know Janette:
M.B.: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
Janette: I’ve wanted to be an author since I was a little girl—but then, I wanted to be a ballerina and an astronaut too. Somehow those other things never panned out. About a year ago I did a school visit in my hometown of Pullman, Washington, and the Junior High librarian looked up the yearbook from my eighth grade year. Under future profession I had written: Writer. The librarian thought that was neat. But I think about that and shake my head. I had no idea what a hard goal I was setting for myself.
M.B.: As much as I would love to see you in a tu-tu, I'm glad you became a writer! Tell me Janette, what is your writing and educational background?
Janette: I went to BYU and majored in English. Which means I read lots of books that were popular a hundred years ago but would have never been published today. I learned how to write from going to conferences and reading books on writing. Thank goodness other writers are willing to share their secrets!
M.B.: What makes you passionate about writing?
Janette: The creation process. I’ve always loved to make up stories. If I don’t write them down, they disappear because my memory can’t hold them.
M.B.: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
Janette: I wrote an LDS book first because I thought it would be easier to get published in that market (probably not true, by the way) and that it would be a stepping stone to the national market (also not true). I’ve really loved the six LDS books I’ve written (Four under my name and my pen name, Sierra St. James) It’s fun to write about your own culture, but I’ve also enjoyed writing for the national market. Good books are needed everywhere!
M.B.: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
Janette: Along the way? Hey, I get discouraged now after publishing 16 books and selling over 900,000 copies. It’s a tough business because you always have a quantitative measure of how you’re doing—your latest book sales. There are also a lot of catch 22’s in this business. Your publisher doesn’t want to put a lot of time, effort, and money into promoting your book unless they think it will be really successful, but it won’t be really successful unless your publisher puts a lot of time, effort, and money into promoting your book.
I deal with discouragement by trying to keep myself centered as to what is really important in life. In the long run, it doesn’t matter how successful any of my books are because I’m not writing for fame or money, I’m writing because I love to write. I’m writing because God expects us to use our talents to bless others. I don’t think it will ever matter to him whether or not I hit the New York Times bestseller list.
M.B.: What is your writing schedule like?
Janette: I get the kids off to school, tell myself I’ll check email for half an hour, two hours later I get off and start writing. I write until the kids come home from school, or until I need to run errands, take someone to the dentist, etc.
M.B.: We have so much in common. I operate the same way. Somehow though you make it look easier. So, where do your ideas come from? How do you know the idea is
good enough to write a book about it?
Janette: Ideas come from everywhere. The trick is writing them down before I forget them. I know an idea is good enough if it has enough conflict and tension and if it’s something I’m going to want to write about for the next six months. I’ve had some good action/horror ideas but I just don’t like writing scary things.
M.B.: When did the idea for this book first come to you?
Janette: My Double Life was different in that I threw out a one line premise to my editor and he wanted me to write a book on it: A girl doubles for someone famous. I had to brainstorm to come up with a plot I liked. I wouldn’t ever want to do it that way again, but maybe I should, because the book turned out really well.
M.B.: What do you hope readers will get from this book?
Janette: On the surface the book seems to be all about teen girl wish fulfillment. A girl gets to live the celebrity life—but really the book is all about the importance of family. It’s Alexia’s search for her father.
M.B.: What is your process of brainstorming a story? Do you just sit
down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do you outline
Janette: I do a little bit of both. I need to have some basic things outlined—what the story problem is, what the main character’s goal is, what will happen at the climax and a few obstacles the character has to overcome. But beyond that, I just write. A lot of times the story goes in places I hadn’t anticipated.
M.B.: Do you ever experience a snag in a story, a form of writer's block? If so, how do you deal with it?
Janette: Usually once or twice during any given book, I’ll run into some sort of snag. Then I sit down and brainstorm possible solutions. I’ll also ask friends and family for their ideas.
M.B.: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when
you are writing?
Janette: I need absolute quiet now. Back when my kids were smaller, I was better at tuning out noise.
M.B.: What kinds of inspiration do you use during your story creation periods?
Janette: Chocolate works well . . .
M.B.: Yes, we have a lot in common. Chocolate works wonders! So, who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?
Janette: My parents and husband have always been really supportive and proud of my writing. They always encouraged me instead of acting like it was a waste of my time. Writing is a profession where you have to put in a lot of practice before you see any results so it’s important to have people around who see your potential.
M.B.: What’s your secret to making the characters in your books come to life?
Janette: Point of view is an author’s biggest tool as far as getting the reader to connect to the main character. Get us in that main character’s mind and let us see what the character is thinking and feeling.
M.B.: Do you use a critique group during the writing process? Why or why not?
Janette: I’ve had a critique group since before I got published 14 years ago. They not only give great feedback, they come to my signings. I highly suggest critique groups.
M.B.: Which of your books is your favorite, and why?
Janette: That’s hard to say—It’s like picking a favorite child. My Fair Godmother was the most fun to write. I had a kick adding dragons and ogres to the storyline.
M.B.: If I had to pick a favorite, My Fair Godmother would be my choice. I loved that book. What is something about yourself people don’t know?
Janette: Hmm, if they read my blog, not much. Oh, here’s something. I have a story I’m working on (meaning that I pick it up on and off over the years) which I have no intention of ever publishing. It’s a story I’ve told myself since I was little and I just want to get it recorded so I’ll always have it.
M.B.: What is your favorite snack to have while you are writing?
Janette: Chocolate—I wish it were something healthier.
M.B.: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?
Janette: Put in the time learning the craft of writing. There are a lot of great books out there about writing. They’ll save you a ton of time in revisions.
M.B.: What are you working on now?
Janette: The sequel to My Fair Godmother—and three other books. (Yes, I am insane and waaay busy.)
M.B.: Any final words you would like to share?
Janette: Read a lot—it’s one of the perks of this business, you can count reading as work.
M.B.: Where can our readers go to find your books and order them?
Janette: Any good bookstore should carry them. If your local bookstore doesn’t have them, inform them that they are lacking in the “good” department and insist that they order several. You can also find them online at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Deseret Book.
Also, make sure you check out Janette's darling blog. Go HERE and watch her book trailer.
If you are interested in winning a copy of Janette's book . . .
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GOOD LUCK. Winners will be announced in two weeks!