I'm so excited to have YA author
Elana Johnson as a guest today!
If you all haven't checked out her blog yet,
you must. Elana has a ton of awesome info for writers among other fun stuff. I'm always linking her to something helpful.
is also the author of From the Query to the Call, an ebook that
every writer needs to read before they query. It can be downloaded for free on
her website. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!See her bio at the end of the interview
for the link.
Welcome, Elana! Congrats on your new
For those who haven't already heard,
SURRENDER is the second book in the POSSESSION series. Click HERE to see my review on POSSESSION. Awesome
read! Great world building!
Okay, so here we go…
How long did it take you to hook an
agent when you first started out querying (BTW if you don't know by now, Elana
is Queen of Queries!)?
Ah, querying. I queried my first novel for 8 months. Result: Fail. No
So I prepared another novel and began querying it. 8 months later
(seriously), I’d talked on the phone 5 times and done a few rounds of
revisions. Result: An offer!
I sent 189 queries for POSSESSION. Over 50 fulls and partials.
Wow! 50 fulls. That's amazing!
How did you come up with the concept
of SURRENDER? And how long did it take you to write the novel?
SURRENDER was unique, because I’d never anticipated writing a series. I
knew the novel needed to take place in Freedom (the capital of the
Association), but I didn’t know much else. When I finally figured out who the
narrating characters were, everything flew from there.
Like most second novels, the middle book in a trilogy is the “Now that we
know what’s wrong with our world, this is what we’re going to do about it”
book. That’s what SURRENDER is.
It took me 25 days to draft. Over 3 months to outline before that,
What is the first thing you like to
do when planning a new project?
I don’t really plan, let’s be honest.
Do you work with critique partners
and/or beta readers?
Yep. I have an in-person group that meets every other week. We read
slowly, so I use betas when I’m in a pinch.
Any advice for aspiring writers?
more. And then read. And then write some more.
Thank you so much for being a guest!
Wishing you much success, Elana!
Bio: Elana's work including POSSESSION, REGRET, and SURRENDER
is available from Simon & Schuster wherever books are sold. She is
the author of From the Query to the Call, an ebook that every
writer needs to read before they query, which can be downloaded for free on her website. She runs a personal blog on publishing and is a
founding author of the QueryTracker blog. She blogs regularly at The League of
Extraordinary Writers, co-organizes WriteOnCon, and is a member of SCBWI, ANWA
She wishes she could experience her first kiss again, tell the
mean girl where to shove it, and have cool superpowers like reading minds and
controlling fire. To fulfill her desires, she writes young adult science
fiction and fantasy.
About SURRENDER: Raine has always been a good girl. She lives
by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the
Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power
so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate,
All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every
reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when
she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn.
Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s
father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning
to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what
might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s
secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque….
In addition to writing, Martha is a 2012 Genesis Semi-Finalist and a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). Her articles have appeared in various places including For Her Information (FHI) magazine. In 2012, her blog was nominated website of the week by Writer's Digest. She looks forward to expanding her career and is hard at work on her next young adult novel. She currently resides in Northern California where she enjoys gardening and kickboxing (not simultaneously).
Visit her website at: www.MartzBookz.com.