Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Blog Tour: Joelle Anthony + Restoring Harmony

Hi guys! As part of the blog tour, I interviewed Joelle Anthony about her upcoming novel and her writing. Read on! (I got this picture from her site.)

What inspired you to write this dystopian novel (Restoring Harmony)?

I am always writing something. I think it’s less inspiration and more a character who won’t leave me alone that gets me started. Even as I’m out going for a walk, a new character or story idea just takes over my brain and then I know that’s the book to write.

What is your purpose in writing Restoring Harmony?

To tell a good story that will take readers out of real life and transport them somewhere else for a while.

What lessons will the readers pick up from your novel?

I don’t write “lessons” into my book, but one early reader did tell me that because Molly is a fearless fiddler and will play her fiddle anywhere for anyone, the book helped build her confidence to play her violin in public. And another reader told me they’re going to start growing some of their own food because of the book. That’s pretty cool!

I heard that you had roles in several movies! Now my question is, how does your acting experience contribute to your writing? Is it easier to feel the character? Is it easier to write dialogs?

Well, calling them roles might be stretching it a bit. I have played really exciting parts like Floozie #2, Girl in Elevator, and Bridesmaid in films. Most of my real professional experience comes in the theatre. Acting contributes to writing in so many ways I could write a book about it (but I won’t). I will say that it helps with character development and dialogue the most. I did a lot of improvisation/comedy and so I’m used to creating characters out of thin air.

I read from a review that your novel focused on oil as one of the contributors of the “Collapse.” Why focus on oil?

A lot of people believe that we are reaching the end of oil, so it seemed like an interesting idea to use in a book. How will the end of oil change our world? A pretty intriguing question, don’t you think?

So, there is a guy named Spill! (The name is cute and so unique!) Why did you name him Spill?

Spill is a nickname and he gives it to himself. It’s a variation on another character from a popular children’s book series, but I won’t give all Spill’s secrets away here! He’ll have to explain it to you himself when he tells Molly why he chose it.

What is Molly and Spill’s relationship like?

They’re both very guarded people and Spill is also secretive. I think Molly would be more open if he were, but because he’s not, she is reluctant to give too much of herself too. It’s a very slow to develop friendship, but that’s what gives it its depth in the end.


Favorite book?

Betsy and the Great World by Maud Hart Lovelace

Favorite author?

Nevil Shute & John Rowe Townsend (hey, cutting it down to two is a major feat!)

Favorite movie?

Bull Durham

Favorite among the characters of your novel and why?

Oh, I love them all. Whichever one I’m working on is my favourite. Would you ask me to choose which of my cats I love more? I think not!

Favorite scene in Restoring Harmony?

Well, it’s kind of a secret since it’s at the end.

Was there a part of the novel that was hard to write?

Umm…was there an easy part? Just kidding. I think what was hardest for me was what made the book better. My editor asked me to cut 75 pages. TWICE! After I’d done it the first time, I was feeling all smug like, “that was hard, but I’m so good….” And then she sent me back an email saying, “Great job. Now cut another 75 pages.” In case you didn’t figure it out, I had a bit of trouble with repetition!

Did you include any personal experiences in the novel? Or was there a part of the novel that was inspired from your personal experience?

Not so much in RH. In other things I’ve written, I had done a lot of that and none of that is published, which makes me realize that while a bit of dialogue, or a tiny scene might work, I personally do better if I stay away from my real life. I think when you take too much from your real life, there’s a tendency to write it “like it happened” instead of writing what the story really needs.

How does your mood affect your writing?

Not too much. I’m generally pretty upbeat when I write. I never really have writer’s block, but I do have days where it seems like a struggle and the next day I see it’s really just writing that needs to be tossed out.

Is it important that you are in an ambience that you like when you write? If yes, why?

It’s not ambience as much as comfort. I have trouble writing if I’m cold. Luckily, I now have a treadmill desk (yes, a desk built over my treadmill) and I walk at 1.5 miles per hour while I’m writing and answering email (and doing interviews like this one!), which keeps me plenty warm, even without the heat on in my office.

I read in your site that your husband is a musician. Do you listen to his songs when you write? Do you have a specific song in mind?

I can’t listen to any music while I write. Well, I probably could listen to classical or something, but I never really do.

If you do listen to your husband’s songs…does it make you write better than if you were listening to other musicians?

Before I met my husband, I was a fan of his for five years (yes, you can have a crush on a musician from 2500 miles away and marry him someday!) and I listened to his music all the time. Every day! But now that we’re together, I hardly ever hear it because he doesn’t sit around the house playing his own music. He plays all the songs and tunes that other people wrote that he loves. I have to go to his gigs to get my hubby-music fix (or listen to my iPod).

Do you write continuously or do you take breaks?

I generally write about three hours a day spread over a six hour period. I take lots of breaks because walking on the treadmill makes me hungry!

What are you working on now?

I just finished my second novel. By finished, I mean the first draft I sent to my editor. We still have the whole editing process to go through.

THE RIGHT AND THE REAL, follows a seventeen-year-old whose father throws her out of the house when she refuses to join the cult he’s gotten involved with, forcing her to survive on her own; but when Dad finds himself in danger, she comes to the rescue armed with her newly acquired street smarts.

What tips can you give to aspiring writers (like me)?

Read. I know that I say that in every interview and most writers say it, but it’s truly the best advice. Allow yourself to read. And then read some more! And just remember that no matter how long it takes you to break into writing (it took me sixteen years!), you’re living your life and growing as a writer and all of that life experience will make you a better writer.

What would you like to say to the people who have read Restoring Harmony or have included your novel in their wishlists and/or to-be-read piles?

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you for dropping by Joelle!

Thanks for having me. And good luck with your great website!

Restoring Harmony is gonna be available in bookstores on May 13th - tomorrow!

Book Description:

The year is 2041, and for sixteen year old Molly McClure, her life now is pretty much the same as it’s always been. She was only six when The Collapse of ’31 happened, ending life as the world’s population had known it. For grown-ups everywhere, the changes in their daily routines since The Collapse are a constant source of anxiety and worry. Not to mention bitterness at what they feel they’ve been cheated out of; abundant food and goods, ease of travel and communication, and financial security.

In Molly’s opinion, adults spend way too much time talking about the good old days. Sporadic electricity, bicycles, horses, solar powered tractors, sewing, cooking and farm work are all Molly’s ever really known, so she doesn’t waste a lot of energy worrying about what things used to be like. Life after The Collapse is just normal for her. At least until she finds herself forced to leave the comfort of her home and small island in British Columbia to travel down to Oregon.

What starts out as a quick trip to the United States to convince her grandfather to come back to Canada and be the island’s doctor, turns into a rescue mission, a test of Molly’s strengths, ingenuity, and sheer determination. She faces an unknown world where people are hungry, desperate, and sometimes even ruthless. But she also meets many helpful people, makes new friends, and is tested in ways she couldn’t have imagined.

Will a farm girl like Molly survive in this upturned world? Will she be able to return with her grandpa in time for him to help her ailing mother? And just how much will she have to compromise to succeed in getting back to British Columbia with her grandparents?

Find out in RESTORING HARMONY by Joëlle Anthony, from Putnam Books for Young Readers.

And I found this book trailer, watch it!

If you want a chance to win Restoring Harmony with a signed bookplate, Not Enough Bookshelves is having an International Contest. Click Here to Enter.

For more information go to Joelle's Website.

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