Thursday, June 26, 2014

Blog Tour: Johnny Worthen


I recently had the privilege of interviewing the fabulous Johnny Worthen about his new novel: Eleanor, book one of The Unseen. Johnny is a publisher-mate, and his story releases July1st. I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC, and it's a great read!

On to the interview!

*  *  *

B: Welcome to my blog, Johnny and congratulations on your release of ELEANOR!

J: Thank you Brenda. I’m pretty excited to have Eleanor coming out. She means a lot to me.

B: So, questions. When did you start writing Eleanor?

J: The idea for Eleanor the character came to me on a vacation to Taos New Mexico with my family. Driving along a lonely high desert road, I first saw my young vulnerable girl in a small western town hiding in plain sight. The idea stayed with me and grew. After months pondering and planning,  I dropped my pen on February 20, 2012 and had a rough draft on March 28. It just flowed out my fingers.

B: Describe the process from start to finish. Are you an outliner or a pantser?

J: I know some people who’ll write a forty-thousand word outline for a sixty-thousand word novel. I’m not like that, but neither do I start out without a map. My prewriting stages are all about characters, setting, scenes and theme.  Theme is the most important. I’m not talking about morals or lessens, I’m talking about central questions. In Eleanor’s case it was change the ideal metaphor for adolescence and the contradictions I foresaw in her. Using the theme as a beacon to navigate the characters through the scenes I planned, I wrote. The scenes are the way points, the theme a guiding light, my daily writing the progress.

B: Where did you get your inspiration for the character of Eleanor?

J: I envisioned an ultimate outsider, someone special but unnoticed, deliberately ordinary but truly extraordinary. I saw a powerless being with great power, but having to keep it quiet. I saw someone who’s lost much and about to lose more, struggling with the very notion of survival while trying to form a family. The inspiration for all this came from many places. My niece in particular was an inspiration. She was shy and yet had a noble strength. Native American legends played a big role, as did my grandmother who showed strength when she was weakest.

B: What is your favorite part about being an author?

J: The feelings of completion. There’s the completion of my daily word goal, the thrill of having completed a book – that’s a huge one. Then there’s completing a sale of a book, contacts and all that, and finally and ultimately the excitement of holding it in my hands and knowing other people will read it too.

B: Least favorite part?

J: Rejection. It’s part of the job, a big part – bigger than anyone outside this world can imagine. You never really get used to it and it happens. All. The. Time.

B: Totally agree. It's a very 'NO' world in publishing. Glad you could turn that into a 'YES' for Eleanor. In an ideal world, what would happen next for you in your writing career?

J: A movie deal for Eleanor, The Unseen, after it achieves best-seller status. Or before. I can go either way.

B: Wouldn't we all love that. Ah, a movie deal!  Sigh. So...Dogs or cats?

J: Cats. My writing buddy is Junior. The kids named her. Her. She’s a she and she stays up with me when I need to the quiet of the small hours of the morning to work.

B: And lastly, the most important question of all…Coffee or Tea?

J: Coffee. My muse talks to me in hot cups of espresso.  I’ve considered naming coffee on my dedication page before
Johnny in his signature tie dye shirt!

B: Yes! I knew you were a coffee person. Yay Coffee! Thank you so much for coming over to visit! And best of luck making that ideal world become reality.

J: Thanks!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Military Monday: Posting Phase Seven


Last week my husband and I flew across the country (without kids) to search for our new home. 

Anyone who has ever had to find a new home in five days knows how stressful a House Hunting Trip (HHT) can be. It's not just about finding a house. It's about finding a home. A place where your kids will be happy and the schools will be good schools and there will be friends nearby and grocery stores and extracurricular activities and maybe even a decent place to lay your head. It's about taking the dollars you have available and maximizing their effect. And not only do you have to find this wondrous place, you have to buy it (or rent it), fill out reams of paperwork, set up postal services and register your kids (if you have any) for schools while suffering from mild jet-lag and hearing that clock tick off your limited time. 
What's not to love about a place like this?
Vancouver Island

It's a very delicate balance. And usually it's a very, very stressful five days. 

Only this wasn't.

Oh my goodness I'm in love with our new place! Seriously. And it's not about the house we decided

on (although it was a nice one). It's about the community and the setting. The people were friendly, the scenery was GORGEOUS and it just completely blew my mind that in a few short weeks we will be living there.

That, plus I got to spend a week together with my handsome husband in this little slice of paradise. When does that ever happen? No kids, nice restaurants and views to die for. Yes there were a few stressful moments. Yes we looked at 18 houses in two days, and toured three schools, and by the end my eyes were starting to cross. But the overall effect was more of a house hunting adventure. 
The view from our hotel room.
So lovely...

There are lots of HHT horror stories out there. If you've ever done this, I bet you've got a few nice ones to tell (feel free to share in the comments below) I've had a few doozies of my own. But a beautiful place and a positive outlook can make the world of difference.


More Posting phases here: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six.