Jun 4, 2011


Elana Johnson is the debut author of the novel POSSESSION. It comes out in book stores everywhere June 7th! And Elana was so kind to do an author interview for me. I hope you enjoy this and be sure to visit her website: www.elanajohnson.com/

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
I think the best advice for aspiring authors is to write a really good book you’d want to read. Don’t write to a trend, or what you think someone else would like to read. Write a book you’d want to read, that you enjoy writing, and make sure you do it well.

What's your favorite thing/least favorite thing about writing?
My favorite thing about writing is the freedom of emotion I experience while drafting. I’m able to pour all my feelings—both positive and negative—into my words, and that leaves me free to sleep at night. (Ha!)

My least favorite thing about writing is how much work it takes. (Yeah, I am just that lazy.) A reader can sit down and read your book in a few hours. It takes an author a heckuva lot longer than that to write the book. It really is a LOT of work.

Now that you're published, how has that changed you as a writer?
Well, for one thing I don’t get to write whatever I want anymore. Writing for publication is different than just writing. Now I have to write books that will possibly (hopefully) sell.

I also put too much pressure on myself to write a perfect first draft now that I’m published. It’s hard to remember that POSSESSION didn’t come out perfect the first time I wrote it, and that I spent many, many months working to improve it.

What books inspired you/helped you most along the way?
I don’t read a lot of trade books, but I do love SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder and STEIN ON WRITING by Sol Stein. Both those books helped me in different ways. Save the Cat helped me with structure, and Stein on Writing opened my eyes about pacing.

Otherwise, I read as many novels in the genre I write as I possibly can. I want to see what’s out there, what’s getting published, so I can make sure I’m doing new and exciting things, as well as discovering what I love about the stories and writing I read.

Can you describe your writing process?
It’s very, very messy. I draft quickly, so I can usually write an entire book in less than a month. After that, it’s layer upon layer of problems. I have to do individual passes for setting, character, emotion, plot, use of senses, style, voice, more character, more plot, and consistency.

I print the entire MS and work with pen and paper. I send to betas and get their feedback. I am ruthless with my own words. In the end, I hope I have a product I can show my agent with pride.


Jenny said...

Fun interview! I'm so excited for this book. It's one I'll have to go buy ASAP. Thanks for sharing.

Shalena @ Writer Quirk said...

Great interview! It is awesome getting to hear about the process from someone who has been through it and is as candid about it as Elana.

Thanks to both of you!