Friday, June 29, 2012

Interview with YA author Elana Johnson

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.

She 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 release, SURRENDER!

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 agent.

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, though…

What is the first thing you like to do when planning a new project?

Write it! 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?

Write more. And then read. And then write some more.

Where can we find out more about you?

The best place is my blog: where I don’t really hold anything back, or Facebook, where I censor myself a bit better, but not much:


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 and LDStorymakers.

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, Vi.

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…. 

Purchase your copy here


Carol Kilgore said...

Elana, fancy seeing you here :) I recommend your book all the time.

Hi, Mart. Thanks for hosting her.

Happy Weekend!

Daryl Devoré said...

Great post. Will be checking out her blog.

Melissa Limoges said...

Great interview, ladies. The blurb for Surrender sounds awesome. And thanks for From the Query to the Call. Very nice information to have. Wishing you much success in the future!

Brenda said...

Fantastic. I wish I had the guts to query agents but I don't, lol.

Harlie Williams said...

I will admit that I don't read much YA or fantasy/sci-fi but I really must found out the secrets that Vi is hiding.

Checking out your blog, too.

Great interview.


Anonymous said...

Ooh, this book sounds interesting! Can I just add that I really love interviews where authors offer links to helpful articles, and other sites targeted to writers? I'm definitely downloading From the Query to the Call. Thank you for sharing with us today, and I'm certainly glad that I stopped by this particular interview. I look forward to reading Surrender! VERY nicely done interview Mart...I want to see more interviews like this!

D'Ann said...

Super info!

Sheri Fredricks said...

I'm always reading helpful hints for authors, so thank you for introducing me to Elana. I've heard of her books, though I don't read much YA. And congratulations for hanging in there for so many queries. You have admiration!

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Great interview! Now I'm hopping over to Elana's site. :)

Stina said...

My copy of Surrender came in the mail last week. :D

Anonymous said...

Great interview!

Elana Johnson said...

Thank you so much for hosting me!

Julie Wright said...

i love elana and love her books! This was a fun interview

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