Due to the differing speed of operations at different publishing houses, her first three novels are all coming out within the first six months of 2012!
Her middle-grade paranormal mystery novel, Ebenezer’s Locker, will be published by MuseItUp in June, 2012.
I’m so excited for you, Anne. Can’t wait to read Ebenezer’s Locker. Can you tell your readers something interesting about yourself AND/OR your favorite character.
Although I do love Rhonda Zymler, the first-person protagonist in Ebenezer’s Locker, the character who was the most fun to write is an octogenarian psychic named Tallulah Radley. She ends up being the kids’ link to the world of spirits that are haunting the school. All her dialog and behavior, and even the things she keeps in her house, are based on thorough research I did into spiritualist practices from over a hundred years ago.
What fascinating research. What was your favorite book as a child? Tell us about it and how it affected you as a person.
The best middle grade novels I’ve read recently are Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book and Adam Rex’s The True Meaning of Smek Day. The two books, although they’re both speculative fiction, are in very different styles. Yet they both combine humor, imagination, and pathos in a way that I really admire, and both to a tremendous job of developing intriguing, lovable characters in an original and surprising plot.
Humor and unpredictability are two of the most important elements to me when I read fiction, and I hope I include them when I write.
I agree. Love a story that twists expectantly. Tell us about the genre you have chosen to write for. Why do write specifically for them?
Although I write many genres and for many audiences, middle-grade fiction is very special to me. I think that’s because my own imagination must have blossomed when I was between eight and twelve years old, and I often feel like I see the world through the eyes of a child, but not a little kid.
The great thing about writing for that age is that tweens still have a wacky sense of humor and a healthy sense of wonder (they haven’t yet been waylaid by the hormonal angst of the teen years), yet they can deal with pretty sophisticated ideas and complex plots.
I love the tweens. I feel this is the best age to challenge, mold and encourage. If you grow their thirst for knowledge and adventure now, no telling where they’ll go as an adult. Tell us about your new book. How did it come about and share your favorite excerpt/scene.
When I was in third grade, I loved a book called Ghosts Who Went to School, by Judith Spearing, about a family of ghosts who move into a new neighborhood and send their two ghost kids to the public school (full of normal, living children).
Ebenezer’s Locker was my attempt to put ghosts into a school, only the ghosts are not kids. They are residents of the building from its past, when it used to be a school for Psychical Research, during the heyday of American Spiritualism. There used to be many such schools.
How has writing affected your life? And what’s your favorite part of being a writer?
I love the solitary, intellectual nature of writing. The Internet has really helped keep this element a positive, since I can work on my own yet feel connected to colleagues at the same time. I also love having control of my days (at least those days when I’m not teaching). Writing must be very difficult for people who can’t schedule their own time well.
And I should not neglect to mention how much I love to tell stories! On a good day, the plot just spins out like thread through my fingers, and that’s a great feeling.
That’s a great feeling to have the story flow. What advice can you give regarding the writing process?
This is such an individual thing. All I can do is say how I work: Perhaps because my dad is a journalist, I write very quickly and confidently. Not everyone can do that. The benefits are obvious: I get lots done. The potential problem is that I’m too confident, which sometimes causes me to resist making major changes that would improve the work. That’s why I have a bunch of terrific beta readers, who advise me on how my story works by considering it with fresh eyes.
A good critique group is worth their weight in gold, isn’t it? Regarding publication and marketing, what advice can you offer aspiring writers?
Writing and marketing are both big jobs, and quite separate from each other. It’s easy to get buried in one to the exclusion of the other. I recommend doing a bit of both each day, but you have to figure out what works for you.
Excellent points. How can your fans find, follow or friend you?
Readers are welcome to follow my Tweets http://twitter.com/#!/AnneEJohnson, subscribe to my Facebook Author page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Anne-E-Johnson-Author/249053641780972, and visit my blog http://anneejohnson.blogspot.com/.
Here’s a bit about Anne’s book, Ebenezer’s Locker. Look for it in June, 2012…
A hundred years ago, Corbin Elementary School's building housed Dr. Ebenezer Corbin's School for Psychical Research. It seems that a couple of old spirits are still wandering the halls. It's up to Rhonda Zymler to find out what they want.
Ebenezer's Locker follows the adventures of Rhonda, a sassy fifth-grader who's having trouble finding her place and identity. Getting to know these spirits becomes Rhonda's quest. The more she digs, the more perilous her task becomes, and to complete it she must take two trips back in time. This story blends the realities of an economically-challenged modern American town with supernatural elements. What Rhonda finds not only gives her life a sense of purpose, but changes the fortunes of her entire town.
Thanks for joining me here today, Anne. It has been such a treat to read about your upcoming work.