As per usual, don't forget to check out the Wolfy Chicks blog for today's research question! You need all 16 correct answers in order to be entered in the grand prize giveaway.
So what�s there to know about me? I�m the kid who loved reading and science and history, and even math, although I was always dreadful at it. I didn�t so much read as I consumed books. Vats of them. Buckets full. Baskets. Well, you get the idea. Although at first I was surprised that my very first published novel has turned out to be a young adult contemporary fantasy with a kick- ass teen girl heroine, a mysterious handsome guy and a famous Russian witch, all inspired by Anastasia Romanov�s disappearance, I suppose I really shouldn�t be surprised at all. After all, I read Madeline L�Engel�s A Wrinkle in Time a zillion times. I wallowed in Edgar Eager�s Half Magic. I stormed my way through all the Nancy Drew�s and the first really big (ooh, an adult size book) history account I sucked in was Nicholas and Alexandra. I liked my tv heroines strong and feisty, and my maternal grandmother really was a crazy Russian lady who had been one of � wait for it� here it comes� twenty children. Yes, that�s twenty as in 20. I doubt highly if anyone noticed when she ran off to America at sixteen with her tales of the Bolsheviks, married badly, raised four children on her own and was the least grandmotherly of grandmothers a girl could ever hope for. Seriously � no warm and fuzzies there, only admonitions to eat my vegetables so I would be strong enough to survive any impending pogroms. So why I was surprised that I wasn�t writing classic romance is only a product of my own personal idiocy.
Connect with Joy:
Can you tell readers one unique thing about yourself?
I once coached the JV volleyball team for a year. I was not particularly good at it, even though I love the game and played on winning intramural teams in college. But I needed a job and this particular teaching position was attached to a coaching assignment as well. Honestly? I hated every single second of it.
Could you give readers--who may be unfamiliar with your work--a quick summary of Haunted and Dreaming Anastasia?
DREAMING ANASTASIA: Sixteen year old Anne thinks her life is pretty ordinary – until she smacks into handsome, mysterious, and okay, annoying Ethan on her way to chemistry class. Now Anne has powers she doesn’t understand, a history altering mission she may not want, and a growing attraction to this blue-eyed stranger. And Ethan- who at eighteen made some choices he’s starting to regret – realizes that Anne is the girl for whom he’s been searching – for a very, very long time. Stir in doomed Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia – who is definitely not quite as dead as the history books say – and Baba Yaga, the legendary witch from Russian folklore, and you’ve got DREAMING ANASTASIA, a contemporary YA fantasy that alternates between the voices of Anne, Ethan, and Anastasia as Anne and Ethan join forces to battle the bad guys and save Anastasia. Only problem is – no one’s quite sure who’s really bad and who’s good. And everyone has some secrets.
HAUNTED : Anne Michaelson’s world turned upside down last year when handsome, blue-eyed and temporarily immortal Russian Ethan Kozninsky showed up. Now six months later, Anne still has powers she doesn’t fully understand. She’s still dreaming about Baba Yaga’s forest. And she’s definitely still got feelings for Ethan, even though she’s got a new boyfriend—the very normal and very sweet lifeguard Ben Logan. But things are about to get even more complicated. There’s a wicked Russian folklore mermaid stalking Anne. With her heart torn between Ben and Ethan, Anne’s search for the rusalka’s identity reveals deep and startling secrets -- including the true source of Anne’s powers. As the romance heats up, so does the danger. Will Anne’s powers be enough to help the rusalka get what she wants? Or will the longings of her own heart get in the way?
The covers for both your books are beautiful. Did you have any say in the creation process?
I love my covers, too! They’re both done by the fabulous Cathleen Elliott, who lives in NYC and is an amazing artist, among other things. As for input – most authors, myself included, aren’t really involved in the process. That said, I was actually shown the HAUNTED cover very early on – we were working on a very fast track and my publisher really did want to make sure that the cover was meshing with what I was writing. Turns out it was absolutely perfect. In fact, Cathleen only did that one cover for this project. Normally she submits a variety of drafts. But after reading the 1st three chapters she got this amazingly accurate sense of both the story and my vision. We all said, yes! This is the HAUNTED cover.
Is there one question you wish bloggers would ask you about but don't? What is it, and how would you answer?
After my Blog Tour that Ate the World last fall – over 70 stops or something wildly crazy like that – I do think I’ve been asked just about everything. But one question I don’t get asked that often is whether or not writing and being a public person has impacted me as a classroom teacher. The answer is yes. I am quite shy by nature, but writing YA and having to be so public about so much has finally pulled me up and out and taken the filter off the funny “real” me more often. I think it’s made me kinder and gentler as well – I’m a better listener these days, I think. And it has had an impact in other ways; I’m proof that if you keep on trying, your dream can come true – even if your life gets hectic, you have to have surgery for thyroid cancer in the middle of things, and finish writing a sequel even before you can fully turn your head to the left… I’m a different, more humble human than I ever was. And profoundly grateful for everything – good and bad - that’s happened to me in the past year. I think it rubs off on my students in a good way.
What's your favorite TV show?
Currently, it’s Friday Night Lights. Absolutely brilliant television!!