I'm proud of all of them for different reasons: DREAMING ANASTASIA because it was the first book I ever wrote and also the first book that I sold. HAUNTED because being asked to write it meant that book 1 had done very well. ANASTASIA FOREVER because I am so proud of how I brought Anne and Ethan's story to a fitting and romantic conclusion. And THE SWEET DEAD LIFE (forthcoming next year) because I think everyone is going to love Casey and Jenna as much as I do.
Q: Patty Campbell talks about the germ for a piece of writing being like the sand in the oyster. What is your grain of sand? Do you begin with character or setting or something else?
It varies, more often than not, I start with a character. Because once I know who the story is about - at least in a general sense-- it's easier to figure out where the story needs to do. Mostly it's sort of a combination: This is going to be a story about ______ who______ and then_______. So I guess for me, character and plot are tightly interwoven.
Q: What do you hear from your readers?
They like that Anne doesn't fall for Ethan right away. They love her loyal and funny best friend Tess. They appreciate that my witch, Baba Yaga, has layers and back story and that they find themselves sometimes sympathizing with her. They like that Ethan isn't perfect but that he is devoted to Anne.
Q: Why do you write for Young Adults or Children or Adult (whichever is pertinent)?
The best stories exist in the teen years. Everything is heightened then -- everything feels like life and death. All those wonderful firsts -- from love to loss-- so many of them hit us in those years. The emotional essence of my story telling always takes me to characters who are in that age group.
Possibly it also has to do with the fact that I spent a huge chunk of years teaching high school, so the drama is my norm. Every day someone was breaking up or being broken up with, someone was hurting or deliriously happy or angry at their parents -- often for good reason-- or getting kicked out onto the street or running into the room to show me a new tattoo or nipple piercing. And that's just the surface stuff. The adult world is nowhere near as interesting.
Q: Who is your favorite character you have written or read about?
We bookworms have so many answers for questions like this that it's hard to pick just one. Recently, though, I've fallen in huge love with DJ Schwenk in Catherine Gilbert Murdock's Dairy Queen. I adore this girl and her voice is so pitch perfect. If anyone hasn't read this book you must promise to do so immediately.
Q: What is one thing you would like your readers to know about you?
I love guacamole and avocados in general. So if you want to get on my good side, some killer guac and chips will do it. Yes, I can be bribed.
Q: In high school, where did you fall? (Prom Queen/King, Gamer Geek, Brainy/Book Nerd, Jock, Shy/Quiet Scholar, Skate Rat, Stoner, Class Clown, etc.)
Quiet/Bookish/Star Trek fan-fiction writing/viola playing in orchestra type who hated following the rules.
Q: Do you have a pet (pets)? Tell us about it (them) and how they help/hinder your writing.
A basset/boxer mix, otherwise known as a 45 pound log of doom. She helps when she sleeps quietly, snoring while I work. She hinders when she leaps up while I'm on deadline and slams her paw through a pane in our leaded glass window because she wanted the squirrel who was walking by. I think that covers it.
Q: What is the hardest part of waiting for a book from the end of your writing to when it is released?
Waiting to see if it will sell through to the stores and waiting to see if it will be reviewed by the 'big' reviewers and what they will say.
Q: How often do you dream about the writing you are working on?
Thanks for your time, Joy. We look forward to seeing you at the Festival!
For more information about Joy, please visit her website.