Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Interview with Elana Johnson

Today we're here with Elena Johnson, the author of the upcoming book Possession. You can read my review on it here.

Image of "Elana Johnson"

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I love reality TV and watching movies with my family. I teach elementary school computers, and I write angry teen girl novels set in the future. I like all things with salted, cured meats, and I never get enough sleep. If I could, I’d sell my house and live in a different city every week. There’s nothing better than staying in a hotel and eating out. No dishes. No cooking.

Who is your favorite character from a book?
Professor Snape. That man is evil, right? He hates Harry Potter. He’s working with the Dark Lord. We all hate him, but in the end, he’s none of those things. Professor Dumbledore trusts him. Should we?

That kind of complex character is brilliant.

When did you come up with the idea for Possession and where did it come from?
I had just read my first dystopian novel, and I didn’t even know the term for the genre. But I knew I wanted to write a book like that. I also knew I needed a society, so I started thinking. I finally landed on a question that spurred the creation of my world: “What if people couldn’t make their own choices?”

Everything was downhill from there.

Was Possession the original name of the book?
No, the book was originally titled CONTROL ISSUES. My editor and I thought it sounded a little young and a little on the “punny” side. My book is neither young nor full of puns. So we changed it.

How did you come up with the characters? Or did they come to you first?
My characters always come to me first. Sometimes violently and loud. Sometimes slowly and in whispers. I just do my best to capture them while they’re inside my head.

Which one is your favorite character, Jag or Zenn?
I love them both for different reasons. I love Jag for his black-and-white attitude, his approach with handling Vi without care (sometimes), and his ability to say exactly what needs to be said when it needs to be said. He’s loud and brash and “bad.”

But Zenn is loveable too. He’s quieter. More gray. But he loves Vi just as much as Jag—probably more—and there’s something to be said for the softer, quieter guy.

So I love them both.

You classified your world into two:  Baddies and Goodies. What is the meaning of them?
And that’s the million-dollar question. I’m hoping readers will be able to determine that for themselves, so I respectfully take the 5th here. *grins*

If you had Vi’s or Jag’s powers to control people what would you do with it?
Oh, I wouldn’t want it. I don’t want to have to decide, though it would be nice to be able to control people to drive faster on the freeway. Or at least move over so I can pass, you know?

How did you come up with all the tech and what is your favorite piece of tech?
The tech in POSSESSION just appeared on the page when I needed it. I didn’t set out to write technological gadgets into the book. It just happened. I think the first scene I wrote with tech was the tag. That was, and still is, one of my favorite scenes in the novel.

Why did you pair two people who could control each other together? Was it intentional or were you in the dark about Jag’s powers like Vi?
Jag has always been much more vibrant in my head. I knew all about him, because he won’t shut up. And he and Vi get along so well, because they’re so alike, yet so different. That’s sort of a match made in heaven for me, so it felt natural for them to be together.

Can you tell us a little bit about what the sequel will be about? Or if there will be one? (I'm hoping there will be one because of THE CLIFFHANGER!) 
Ah, that cliffhanger is actually called something else. I’m not sure I should say, or it will give away the ending. But POSSESSION was written with the intention of being a stand-alone novel. It just doesn’t fit the mold of what people think a stand-alone novel should be, but not every book is the first of a trilogy. And some books just end the way they do and the reader has to draw their own conclusions about what might have happened next. 

How did you come up with all the elements and problems in Possession? There are some pretty heavy stuff there.
I do not outline at all, so I discover the story as I’m writing. Whatever pours onto the page, pours onto the page. I have to decide which veins to keep, and which ones I can’t sew up at the end. So the problems and elements of POSSESSION came organically as I was writing, and I kept the ones that were A) the worst, and/or B) I could use to advance the plot toward the end I had in mind.

Who do you think is right, The Thinkers or the Baddies? Do you have a side?
I think they’re both right, depending on the issue at hand. Isn’t that how life is? We can see both sides to a situation, and we’re not sure which is best? I think it’s important to examine ourselves, really think about what we believe, and move forward in our lives from there. I think the society and government in POSSESSION reflects real life.

Thanks to Elana Johnson for giving me the chance to review her awesome book. You rock Elana Johnson. 


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