Friday, March 25, 2011

Interview: Elana Johnson + Possession

Today I'm enormously excited to welcome Elana Johnson to the blog! She's absolutely hilarious and has been fully embracing my snarky comments to her on Twitter, something that has completely endeared her to me. She also happens to be the author of Possession, a fascinating young adult dystopian novel releasing June 7th from Simon and Schuster. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC courtesy of the Cornucopia of Dsytopia Blog Tour (you can read my review HERE) and Elana was nice enough to answer some questions for me. Hope you all enjoy the interview!

Vi has the unique ability to think something and have it happen in reality. If you possessed this talent, what might be the first thing you would think into happening?

Oh, going straight for the hard questions, I see. Uh… how about getting rid of the laundry? Not necessarily that there wouldn’t be laundry, just that someone else would wash, dry, fold, and put it away. And dishes! And mopping. Okay, pretty much every household chore. Which I now realize this is what maids do. #jeez #Iobviouslyneedamaid

features a lot of new and interesting technologies, what one technological creation of yours do you most wish we had now? Personally, I would want the device that produces any food I ask it to–endless supply of chocolate!

Seriously. That’s a great one. For me, there’s nothing I hate more than driving. Time wasted, every single day. So I’d love to have a teleporter in my living room. “Quick kids! It’s time for dance!” Right into the teleporter; no interrupted writing time. That would be bliss.

Jag is a pretty swoon-worthy guy who will no doubt have readers scanning the pages for a mention of his name, what one young adult male hero has recently made you swoon?

Dude, there’s so many! I really like Liam in Lisa & Laura Roecker’s THE LIAR SOCIETY. I enjoy Will in Sophie Jordan’s FIRELIGHT. I love me some Ky in Ally Condie’s MATCHED. I adore Catcher in Carrie Ryan’s THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES. And Peeta from THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy is brilliant. I was Team Gale for a while, but that third book really helped me switch camps.

*PEETA! Sorry, got a little enthusiastic at the mention of his name and felt the need to interrupt the interview and express my enthusiasm in the form of all caps:)

Your characters have some interesting names: Jag, Zenn, Thane. Did you have names floating around in your head first, or did you have the character description and personality worked out before you thought of a name to fit?

I always have a name first. And my names are just sort of what they are. I’ve had people tell me to change some in the past. I hardly ever do. And, uh, I usually don’t have a character description and/or personality worked out until the entire first draft is written. No lie. So names come first.

The end of this story is left fairly open, do you tend to gravitate toward books where your mind can fill in the blanks however you choose, or do you sometimes like things to be wrapped up neatly?

I’m a huge (read: HUGE) fan of endings like The Giver, where the reader can decide for themselves how things ended up. Where they can fill in the blanks. It makes reading a much more interactive experience for me.

If Jag was asked what he found most appealing or impressive about Vi, what might he say? Vi about Jag?

Holy delving deep, Batman! Okay, Jag would say that he was, and continues to be, instantly drawn to Vi’s strength. When she walks into that courtroom the first time with her head held high and talking back to the Greenies? Yeah, that’s a real turn-on for Jag.

As for Vi, well, we get to see and hear all the stuff that she likes about Jag. But maybe the most appealing thing about him is his gentleness, whether she recognizes it or not. The way he handles her like she’s precious, that she could break and there’s no way he’s going to be the one to do it.

Is there any one part of the writing/publishing/marketing process you found to be more difficult than you expected? Easier?

Can you say “emotional rollercoaster”? That, by far, is the hardest part of publishing. The highs are higher than anything you’ve experienced. The lows are so low you can’t see the bottom of them. And you can experience a high at 3:01:06 and a low at 3:01:06:05, getting jerked up and down and sideways. At the end of every day, I feel wrung out emotionally. It happens when I write. During querying. During editing. During submission. During promotion. During every aspect of the publishing process. That’s why I have to unplug from twitter, blogs, and Facebook one day out of every seven. I just can’t take the emotional intensity. Aaaand, now you all know my freakish lameness. I swear I’m in therapy. It’s called email. Ha!

Thank you so much for being here today Elana! If you are interested in learning more about Elana and Possession, you can find more information below, and don't forget to add June 7th to your calendar so you can pick this one up on release day!

Elana's Website
Elana's Blog
Elana on Twitter
Possession Official Website
Possession on Facebook


  1. haha, Peeta definitely deserves enthusiasm and all caps :) The writing/publishing process Elana describes sounds intense!

  2. That's a really great interview. I loved all the questions and answers. I was particularly fascinated with the first-- I hate laundry too-- and the one about the thing the characters like most about each other. Thanks for the great interview!

  3. I really love that she mentioned the ending for The Giver because I, too, loved it for the fact that it's so open ended. Plus, woot, Peeta love!

    I'm definitely looking forward to Possession. Fantastic interview!

  4. Doood! It's like you are reading my mind. I have always wished for the ability to teleport because I hate to drive.

    And are we discussing swoon-worthy boys in books, because that is my favorite topic! I'm totally loving your picks.

    No doubt the road to publication is an emotional one, but look at you now! You're YOU! Thanks for sharing that with us.

  5. Great interview! I want a endless supply of chocolate. But don't let my Dad have it. He'll eat them all! And he's diabetic. The talent of getting rid of laundry is a good one, too.

    PEETA! Woohoo! Elena Johnson sounds hilarious...I like holy delving Batman! That so much funnier than...duh, winning! LOL

  6. Awesome interview. I love Elana's taste in swoon worthy boys (especially PEETA and WILL). Can't wait to read Possession :)

  7. Loved the interview! I love Peeta too! :)
    Driving makes me nervous, so I like Elana's idea for a teleporter....

  8. Great interview!!! I was totally hoping for a picture of the custom Jag t-shirt!! :D

  9. Great interview! I really want to read this book. Jag sounds like an awesome guy!

  10. Fab interview. I loved the ending of The Giver, although I also like it when we find out what the author was thinking (as we did with The Giver - 10 years later). I was sure Jonas had lived, my mother was sure Jonas had died. Even though the pondering is half the fun, I like being let in on the author's secret.

  11. This is one of the best interviews ever. Not only were your questions awesome, Elana's response were amazing and funny too. She seems like someone I would love to be friends with.

    I cannot wait to get my hands on this book!

  12. Great interview. I can't wait to read about all the new technologies Elana created. And I so wish I could have some at my house. I just got an ARC of Possession. I am SO excited.

  13. Dude, you spared me the embarrassing T-shirt! Phew. Dodged a bullet there. Thanks for having me!

  14. Aylee - I agree on both counts:)

    ajmitchell - Thank you, glad you enjoyed! I'm very anti-laundry too, even though there's not much work involved, I always dread it.

    Stephanie - I have yet to read the Giver, but now I'm all curious about this open ending:)

    Missie - After I eat all my chocolate, I'll clearly need a teleporter because I will no longer fit in a vehicle due to my swollen chocolate belly:)

    Julie - I do too, my life is always better when there's copious amounts of chocolate:)

    Nic - She has fantastic taste doesn't she? I say a big YES to all of them:)

    Misha - It's more parking that makes me nervous, I don't like not knowing where I'm going to park, especially in a downtown area where the threat of parallel parking is overwhelming:)

    Two Readers - I was going to post it, then I decided to go with a more professional, photo just in case Elana didn't want me to plaster her sparkly Jag heart t-shirt all over the internet:)

    Savy - He is, I adore him:)

    Alison - I agree, I like being on the secret as well, but the wondering is definitely too.

    Jan - Thank you! I was cracking up when I got her answers back:)

    Natalie - She came up with some good ones, I definitely want almost all of them:) Hope you enjoy Possession!

  15. Elana - I had it all formatted and in place and then I thought maybe you might not want your spectacular creation posted on the internet - it might inspire all sorts of jealousy and resentment of your craftiness. So, alas, I posted you in all your non-Jag glory:)

  16. (not entering) I am so with her, I would totally do away with Dirty Laundry or the doing of laundry:)

  17. Love the interview. :D

    Ooh the technology in the book sounds fun. The food producing device sounds especially good!

    Yay, for Team PEETA!

    This was such a great interview.

  18. I just LOVE her take on open endings! There's something to be said for an ending that makes you think these days, especially with such a penchant for cliffhangers around the YA genre. Fab interview, Jenny!

  19. Awesome interview, Jenny. I love kick-butt heroines and Jag has piqued my interest. Looking forward to reading the book.

  20. Felicia - I hate laundry. Hate. It. Stupid piles. Stupid folding. Stupid missing socks!

    Adriana - I was kinda in love with the food producing device, it would be so convenient:)

    Melissa - Me too, she makes a fabulous point.

    Rummanah - Hope you like it! I was a big fan of Vi and Jag:)

  21. Great interview! I'd love a teleporter. Please!

  22. Her charactes do have interesting names and I was wondering about that too.

  23. Teleporter did you say I'm so there! :DIi love the sound of the book, also the fact that the cover is so alluring despite being quite simple.

  24. Happy Friday Jenny! Thanks so much for swinging by. This was a great interview. When I first heard about Possession, I knew it was the type of novel that I couldn't wait to read! Now, I'm off to read your review!!

    Thanks for sharing!

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  25. Lydia - Me too, it would be so convenient!

    Jenny - I always like knowing how authors come up with character names, especially unusual ones:)

    Blueicegal - I adore the cover, I have a thing for covers that are almost entirely white.

    Carissa - You're welcome. glad you enjoyed!

  26. Love the unique names of all the characters! (I'm tired of every male character being named Will) I would want an endless supply of chocolate, plus I hate cooking all the time. Great interview questions!

  27. Great interview - & the ending is totally awesome! Like the Giver (which is one of my favourite books - I read it with pretty much every group of students!), it leaves you thinking and wondering and hoping!

  28. Okay, I loved this interview. One thing tho... if you ever find out how to possess the ability to have the laundry all done, please... please, let me know! I SO want that ability! :)

  29. Lol, I love Elana's blog. She is so funny! I really want a teleporter too or need to find someone who can help me gain teleportation abilities since I waste so much time traveling.