Thursday, January 27, 2011

Joann I. Martin Sowles, author of Laney: The Brookehaven Vampires, Interview

Me: How long have you wanted to be an author/writer?

Joann: Being an author wasn’t something I really ever wanted to do. It just sort of happened. Laney’s story sort of sprouted in my head and I need to get it written down and then I needed to get it told to others. That’s pretty much how it happened :)

Me: What is Laney: The Brookehaven Vampires, your novel, about and how long did it take to write?

Joann: The first draft of Laney took about 9 months to complete and then it took about 3 months after that to get it finished.
Laney is about a college sophomore who falls for a boy that turns out to be anything but normal. Laney’s life soon gets turned upside down and her new love’s, Oliver, true identity is revealed. The story continues with the focus on Laney and Oliver’s relationship and the challenges they will face together including Oliver’s vengeful twin.

Me: Will Laney: The Brookehaven Vampires be a standalone novel or the first in a series?

Joann: Laney is the first novel in the series to tell her story. I do not know exactly how many books it will take to tell her story. As f now it’s looking like at least 4 to 5. Once I finish telling Laney’s story I will begin the second series in The Brookehaven Vampires series – Nikki.

Me: What was it like when you first saw Laney: The Brookehaven Vampires lined up against bestsellers such as The Twilight Saga, The Vampire Academy Series, The House of Night Series, etc.?

Joann: I haven’t seen that yet. But I imagine it will be a pretty exciting day. :)

Me: Are you managing any other careers along with writing? If so, how do you find time to both write novels and juggle another career(s)?

Joann: Nope, I do not have another career outside of my home.

Me: Would you like to see Laney: The Brookehaven Vampires be made into a movie/TV series?

Joann: I think that would be really exciting!

Me: If Laney: The Brookehaven Vampires was ever picked up by a movie or TV company and they let you cast the characters, whom would you pick and why?

Joann: Wow, that would be a lot of pressure ;) I only have three people in mind as characters. I would probably choose Hayden Christensen as Oliver – It’s the hair and that smile. ;) Bradley James as Carter and Jaime Ray Newman as Professor Amber. I would have to put a lot of thought and research into the rest. If that day ever comes, that’s what I would do.

Me: What's the hardest thing about writing?

Joann: Finding the time to get any writing done.

Me: What's the easiest thing about writing?

Joann: Once I find spare time to write, the story comes to me easily.

Me: Did your story ideas and plotline flow naturally or did you have a few bumps in the road?

Joann: Thankfully Laney’s story has flowed naturally. My biggest hurdle, other than my lack of time, is that my brain goes faster than my fingers can type.

Me: Are you currently working on another novel/book series?

Joann: Yes. I am currently working on the second book in Laney’s story, Darkness. Darkness picks up right where Laney left off.

Me: What made you write a book based on vampires?

Joann: To curb my vampire obsession and turn it into something creative and productive. :)

Me: Do you have a literary agent? If so, what is his/her name?

Joann: I do not have one at this time.

Me: If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring authors, what would it be?

Joann: Don’t give up and don’t worry about what will happen when you’ve finished your story. Don’t worry about what others will think of your work. Write for you and write what you want to read. Worry about the how’s and why’s once you’ve finished, otherwise you’ll never get it done. Just know you can do and you will.

Me: Along with being a writer, you are a stay-at-home/home schooling mother/wife. How do you efficiently manage your time so you can write?

Joann: It’s actually very difficult to manage my time to find time to write. I try to schedule our entire week out in advance to see where writing will fit in.

Me: Did your parents, relatives, friends, co-workers, etc. support your writing? And, without their support, do you think Laney: The Brookehaven Vampires would ever have been possible?

Joann: No one, except my husband and my kids, knew I was writing a book until I was done. Once I started to share the news, my family and friends were pretty surprised when I told them. They have all been so very supportive.

Me: Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

Joann: OMG! My kids will be adults and I don’t even want to think about it…

Me: If you could work with any author, who would it be and why?

Joann: A very good question…a tough one too. I think writing with Charlaine Harris or Rachel Caine would be a lot of fun. Or maybe even JK Rowling or Christopher Paolini. They have all written such great stories. The possibilities are endless.

Me: Who is your favorite author and if your writing style similar to theirs?

Joann: I don’t have just one favorite author. I have several that I admire. A few of those are; Rachel Caine, Christopher Paolini, Charlaine Harris, JK Rowling and Jonathan Stroud. I don’t know if I write similar to any of them. I think I write like me. ;)

Me: When naming your characters, do you give any thought to the actual meaning?

Joann: Depends on the character. Some are easy to name and some are rather complex with a significant meaning to their name.

Me: What do you think makes a novel great?

Joann: Feeling and emotions. I love being able to become the character I’m reading about. To be able to feel all the emotions they feel and see all that they see.

Me: Did you ever think you’d become an author?

Joann: Not at all. This was something that just sort of happened. Reading was never something I was really into until my late 20’s. I always loved the idea of reading but I didn’t enjoy it until I came across Christopher Paolini’s Eragon. I couldn’t put that book down and after that I would read just about any fantasy novel I could get my hands on. Now obviously things are very different. Once I discovered my love for reading my love for writing soon surfaced. I just needed to find the right stories for me to read and the rest is history.

Me: How do you conceive your plot ideas?

Joann: They usually just come to me. I can be listening to a song and an entire scene will unfold. Or sometimes even a specific word will trigger something.

Me: Have you ever written a book that you have not been able to publish?

Joann: No. Laney is my first completed novel.

Me: How long did it take you to publish your first book after you started writing?

Joann: It took me about a year and a half. I self-published Laney so I had control over when it would be released. Laney was completed about six months prior to her release date. I don’t think I’ll wait that long with the next one. Live and learn…

Me: How have your personal experiences affected your writing?

Joann: I believe that my life experiences have made me who I am which in turn affects how I write. I would think that would be true with anyone though.

Me: What genre of books do you like to read? Do you limit yourself to only the genre that you write yourself?

Joann: Anything with vampires or dragons in them. A do favor stories involving male vampires over female. Just a personal preference I suppose. But I am always open to other genres. I do favor stories with a mythical aspect to them.

Me: What advice would you give to aspiring authors who encounter…*gasp* writer’s block?

Joann: Take a break and read a book. I get so many ideas from books I read.

Me: Thank you for spending time with me to answer these interview questions.

Joann: Thank you Casey. This has been a fun interview. Thank you to all who have taken the time to read it and I’d like to invite you to my website to read the first 3 chapters of Laney. Enjoy!
~Joann I. Martin Sowles

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #2) by Maggie Stiefvater, Book Review

Rating: 4/5

In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabel, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

I thought Linger by Maggie Stiefvater was okay. Not good, not bad...just okay. Linger seemed sort of slow paced to me and I didn't like how Maggie included a new character's point of view. When I read, I like to read from one PoV and one PoV only. The main protagonist, Grace Brisbane, was hardly featured throughout the novel (or so I thought.) Grace, being my favorite character, was dearly missed.

I also think that Linger could've been WAY better, if only Maggie had made an adjustment here, an adjustment there. It was all subjective, but the best way to put it is like this: Linger is okay. If you want to buy it go ahead. If I'd known what the content was going to be like, I would've just borrowed from a friend.

On the other hand, I LOVED Shiver, the prequel, but I guess I set my hopes WAY too high for Linger. I'm expecting the third and final installment, Forever, to focus more on Grace because a litte thing that happened in Linger practically wrote the plotline of Forever.

P.S. I liked the green font. :)