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Saturday, February 28, 2009

An Interview with Janette Rallison

Alysa here! I got an advance copy of Just One Wish in the mail not too long ago, and was very excited to read it. You see, I quite enjoy the work of one Janette Rallison. I met her at a Shannon Hale signing (see photo on the left for proof) and have been picking up her books ever since (Exhibit B: mini-review of her Revenge of the Cheerleaders here).

Ashley just discovered her books and has already read four of them and reviewed Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To-Do List. So since Just One Wish is coming out in March, I thought we ought to interview Janette. Review of Just One Wish coming soon!

1. You're not in high school anymore, though your novels are often set there. Where do you (dun dun dun) get your ideas?
I took copious notes in high school so I'd never run out of material. Okay, not really. But I do have five children and it's amazing how they provide you with plot ideas. I got the idea for having a drama class put on a doomed, but politically correct version of West Side Story in Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To Do List because my daughter's drama club did just that.

Wow. That was Ashley's favorite scene. Okay,
2. You've written about characters in sports groups, cheerleaders, drama club, and student government -- what was your own high school niche?
I was a cheerleader for my freshman year, but alas, my hyper-extended elbows did not mix well with that sport. Plus the other girls in the squad insisted that since I was the skinniest I had to be the top of the pyramid. It can be a little scary to be on the top of a breathing, moving structure.
I was also in drama, which I loved. In a lot of ways drama did a great job of preparing me to be a writer because you had to become another character. As a writer, I have to become all the characters.

Ooh, I like that. I've had some experience with acting myself.
3. What is your theme song? You know that song that plays when you walk in the room?
Hmm. I have never been asked that question, so I went to my ipod and flipped through my play lists trying to find something appropriate. It turns out I have a lot of drinking songs on my ipod, which is a little odd since I don't drink. I notice I don't have any songs about eating chocolate, which is obviously an oversight in the music industry since I'm sure a lot of people would choose that one as their theme song.
I guess that as a writer--as someone who has triumphed over the slush pile and continues to write books while the stock market plunges and libraries and individuals cut back on buying books--I'm going to go with ELO's Hold On Tight To Your Dreams. It works.

Yes! I love asking a question that you haven't answered time and again!
4. What is your favorite part of the writing process? (*I've asked this question of several other authors. For their answers, click here.)
My favorite part is getting the book sent to me in the mail, but I also love the moments where you have a creative rush and things come together while you write. In those moments the characters say and do things that were even better than you had planned. It's like being part of a magic that is bigger than you.

5. If you had to pick any other job in the publishing industry (besides author), which would you pick and why?
I'd like to be an editor. I'm not a hypercritical person about anything in the world except for books, and I admit--with a little embarrassment--that when I read books I analyze their faults and even have the desire to email other authors and say things like, "Your tag lines would read a lot better if you didn't use so many adverbs in them." I don't actually do that, by the way, as I doubt other authors would take kindly to that sort of advice, but when you're an editor it's your job to say those sorts of things to authors.

Me too! Editing would be tons of fun. Though the other day I was thinking being a publicist would be cool. Ashley, my fellow blogger, actually is an editor.
6. I remember hearing you say that you lifted actual text messages that your daughter had received (with her permission) for use in one of your books -- which book was that again?
It's a Mall World After All. In the scene where Brianna confronts Bryant--those were the actual things my daughter and her ex-boyfriend said to each other. See, it so pays to have a teenager when you're a writer.

Awesome. That'll be the next one of yours that I read, definitely. Unless I find My Fair Godmother first because that one sounds really fun too.
7. What question have you not been asked in an interview, but think you should be asked (both question and answer, if you like)?

No one has ever asked me if all the hassle you go through to write, get an agent, get an editor, and go through the publishing process is worth it. Which I guess just goes to show you that aspiring authors are an optimistic bunch. Everyone is sure it will be worth it. Sometimes I wonder if the conference attendees at the writing workshops really knew what they were trying to get themselves into, if they wouldn't all throw down their manuscripts and seek another profession.
But for me, it has been worth it. It hasn't been as glamorous, lucrative, supportive, or as gratifying as I thought it would be back when I was a conference attendee, but it's been worth it.

Last but not least, let's have a mad-lib of the biography you can find on Janette's blog:

Janette is purple. Don't ask how purple, because it isn't polite. Let’s just say she's purpler than she’d like to be and leave it at that. Janette gives in Chandler, Arizona with her husband, 17 children and enough cows to classify her as "an eccentric cat lady." She did not do this on purpose. (The cows, that is; she had the children on purpose.) Every single one of the felines showed up on its shoe and refuses to leave. Not even the family's cold little Westie dog can drive them off. Since Janette has 17 children and deadlines to write books, she doesn't have much bread left over for donuts. But since this is the internet and you can’t actually check up to see if anything on this site is true, let's just say she enjoys staring, scuba diving, horse back running and long talks with Stephen King. (Well, I never said he answers back.)


Well, that should do it! We here at Everead love your books (well, all those that we've read so far -- you've got 14 and one on the way for Pete's Sake) and are excited for Just One Wish!

1 comment:

Ransom said...

That picture doesn't prove anything! Anyone could have taken it!

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