Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Interview: S.R. Johannes + Untraceable

Today I have author S.R. Johannes joining me on the blog to answer a few questions about her young adult novel Untraceable. Untraceable released yesterday and is now available for purchase, so be sure and check the bottom of the post for the links!

What are the 5 things Grace would say are must-haves for surviving in the wilderness? Is there anything you personally would add to that list?

Grace would take only the essentials. A flint and steel to start a fire, a tarp to keep dry, a purifier water, food (moon pies), and a really sharp knife.

I would take books and my computer :-) And Grace would be so annoyed with me!

Mo, our resident hottie in Untraceable, has a delicious accent. What accent do you find the most alluring?

My husband is from the UK so everytime I write for Mo – I hear my husband’s voice in my head. Pretty much everything Mo says, my husband has said at one point or another. Sometimes, my friends make me put him on speakerphone so they can all swoon when he speaks (that is so high school right?). So his accent is my favorite. :-)

My fav phrases he says:
Hello blossom (yes my hubby says that :-)
On your bike (go away)
Bloody hell (Geez!)
Oh my giddy aunt (holy crap)
Taking the mickey (just kidding)
That’s Poppycock (that's a lie)

Grace is clearly an outdoorsy girl; would you consider yourself to be one as well? I have to say I most thoroughly am not as I may or may not run screaming like a little girl from any and all insects.

Not to the extent she is, but I do love nature and animals. Being outside grounds me, it recenters me. When I get frustrated, I go in my back yard and sit in the swing and just listen to the world around me. Now that is not wilderness like Grace.

I used to camp all the time when I was growing up but got away from it as soon as I started working. My husband loves the wilderness and when we had kids we naturally started doing things like hiking and fishing so nature has grown on me again. Though I’m not stoked about spiders or snakes, nor do I like to be isolated in the deep dark woods.

Is there one single trait Graces possesses that you wish you did?

Survival. She rarely panics if lost or scared. She keeps her wits about her. I freak out if something goes wrong. I am not great in a crisis. If the world was destroyed, Grace would be able to take care of herself. She could get her own food, know what plants to eat, and easily survive. I would perish within one day.

If I can pick another I would say that I love how Grace appreciates the simple things. Unlike teens today, she doesn’t need computers or TV or cell phones. She is happy in nature enjoying life. Enjoying the moments that kids forget to enjoy. So in a sense, even though Grace can be very impulsive and even annoyingly reckless, she is much more grounded than I am at times.

What has been the most exciting moment for you to date with the writing of and promotional work for Untraceable?

When I found out Untraceable was accepted by Kirkus and getting a review. That made me feel more credible as an author.

You come from a marketing background; how has that affected the way you’ve been promoting your own book?

I’m not going to lie - it helps me in many ways.
1) I love marketing. Not as much as writing but I think its fun so I have fun doing it
2) I know what needs to be done and can do it myself.
3) I am not afraid of it nor am I afraid of contacting people and pitching them.

I will say it has been slightly awkward because I am usually marketing FOR other people. I am not used to promoting myself and it feels odd. But I’m trying to do it in a genuine way so hopefully that comes across.

What’s the one piece of marketing advice you find yourself giving to fellow authors most often?

Yes, you need an online presence/platform. Yes you need a web site.

I’m surprised when I still get that question in this day and age.

Name one 2012 release you’re most looking forward to getting your hands on.

You mean besides my Grace book 2 Uncontrollable – coming in summer :-)??

I would say: Body Finder 3 (The Last Echo) by Kimberly Derting and Fracture by Megan Miranda

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions Shelli! More information on her and her books can be found here:



16 year old Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival.

When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he’s dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him.

One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father.

Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves.


  1. You mean some people wouldn't consider a computer and books essential? I'd add an iPod to that. Any desert island that I go to better have an electrical outlet or I'll get on my raft and row to some place better.

  2. Oh, I've always wanted a hubby with a sexy accent. Love the "Hello blossom." If anyone called me that, I'd be theirs. *blushes*

    Annnnd, I'm a big panic-er! So getting lost freaks me out. Sounds like Graces is one I'd need around to help me out.

  3. I am WICKED thrilled about this book dude!!! I only just heard about it for the first time today!! I think it sounds awesome!

  4. I get a serious Hunger Games vibe from this one.

    Great interview and point on online presence.

  5. Oh my gosh!!!!!!!! Can I meet your husband?? LOL I don't want to steal him or anything (I'm only 15 haha!!) but I LOOOOVE hearing accents and I always wished the boys I dated would somehow have an English accent! x)

    "That's poppycock!" <-- Cutest. Expression. EVER!

    Awesome interview! I just can't wait to read this book now -- it sounds so amazing! :)

  6. Alison - Right? I would definitely need my Kindle and internet access on that list:)

    Missie - Me too! *shakes fist at hubs* I would be a waste of space in a survival situation, I think we all should get a Grace to have with us at all times just in case:)

    Ashley - Yay! Glad you're excited about it:)

    Juju - I can see how you would get that vibe! The girl on the cover has that strong, Katniss-like feel to her:)

    Mimi - I would like to meet him too if we're putting that on the table. Or maybe just listen to the speakerphone conversations? :)

  7. Untraceable looks really interesting and yes, I'm a sucker for any guy with an accent. ;) I find myself saying "Bloody Hell" after watching many episodes of Buffy (I heart Spike) or any English movie.

  8. I have been seeing this book around and the eye is what always draws me to the book!

  9. Lovely interview! It's been awhile since I read any YA without a paranormal/dystopia focus, but Untraceable looks like the kind of story I enjoy - strong, independent heroines are my fav, and mysteries are always good. The survival element appeals, too - I'm a strictly indoor or beach girl, so all my campin adventures must come from my reading! Lol

  10. hey guys - popped in to say hi! *waves*

    yes its nice having hubby speak with accent - though its sometimes hard to stay mad or to take him seriously. Then it cant be a bit irritating when I have NO CLUE what he is saying! For example he calls a sweater a "jumper" - and lets be honest it is not sexy when I guys says "hold on, let me grab a jumper." not sexy at all :)

    Im glad you guys are excited and I hope you like the book. You can always email me to tell me (good or bad ) - I love hearing readers perspective and I will answer

    Good luck! :)

  11. Haha, I love those UK phrases! I hadn't heard of a few of them. *sigh* I want a cute British boy... :P

  12. Rummanah - I love accents. I wish I had one:) And Spike is my favorite! *swoon*

    Savy - I can't stop staring at the eye, it wants me to buy the book:)

    BJ - Thanks, glad you enjoyed it! It's been a while since I've read any sort of contemporary YA too, so I'm looking forward to this one:)

    Shelli - Thanks for stopping by! And no, the word "jumper" is not so sexy, but everything else kinda is so it all works out:)

    Lauren - Me too. I love hubs, but those accents get me every time:)

  13. I love English accents. Then again, I love Irish and South African ones as well. Let's really be of the things I loved about my husband was his accent. Something about foreigners I highly enjoy. *eye waggle*

    Mo sounds absolutely fabulous and I can't wait to meet Grace. I like a girl who isn't scared to do things. Mostly though, I'm excited to read the dialogue from Mo, LOL!

  14. Lol, books and computer is a must in the wilderness, whatever else she says ;)

  15. Im all about covers and I adore that one...:D I love her sparkly eye.

    Fun interview.

  16. Fantastic Interview! I need to remember 'On your bike'! Love that one!

    On my way to amazon to go get this book! Thanks so much for the fab interview!

  17. Interesting. Don't forget to take a solar cell for the comp! I also love "Hello Blossom"! How sweet!

  18. Awesome interview! And LUCKY! A hubby with an accent we can ALL swoon over?! Yes please! Love the cover!

  19. Great interview! I can't wait to read this one!


  20. Jen - As do I:) I could listen to pretty much any accent all day and be a happy camper:)

    Blodeuedd - I agree:)

    Tina - Me too! So pretty.

    Kristi - Thank you! I really liked "on your bike" as well, I might just go around saying that to people and see what happens:)

    Melissa - I like the way you think:)

    Candace - Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it. And I've decided to sign my hubs up for accent lessons. He doesn't know yet, but he's going like them ;-)

    Heather - Yay! Can't wait to see what you think of it:)

  21. Great interview! I actually have not heard of this book before, but it definitely sounds like something I will have to check out!

  22. I adore "Hello blossom." :) Lovely interview, Jenny! This book sounds pretty interesting.

  23. This sounds good. I like your marketing questions!

  24. Thanks guys -

    My 4 year old today yelled "oh my giddy aunt!" totally british :)