Saturday, June 9, 2012

Interview with Author J.J. Bonds




Deirdra: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
J.J.: Believe it or not, I actually wrote my first book in 7th grade. It was a children’s book inspired by Earth Day and a very ambitious teacher who wanted each of her students to craft an environmentally driven tale. Mine was about sea turtles, which I’ve always loved, and while my teacher raved about it and researched publication, the book is safely tucked away in storage now. It was her encouragement that actually got me thinking about writing as a career. I was already an avid reader (some might say bookworm), but I hadn’t considered yet that I might actually someday write my own young adult novels. So, although the sea turtles didn’t catch the eye of the publishing world, they definitely sparked my love of writing. As I got older the stories I wrote fell more in line with the works of R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike and L.J. Smith as they were my authors of choice throughout high school. Their books opened up a whole new world for me and I knew that I wanted to be able to offer the same experience to other readers.

Deirdra: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
J.J.: The path to publication was a rollercoaster ride for me with amazing highs and disappointing lows. When I finished Crossroads I solicited about twenty agents and spent the next several weeks checking my email obsessively. A few of the agents did request more material, but ultimately, it didn’t work out. Most indicated that with the success of Twilight and some of the other popular vampire series on the market that it would be a tough sell. That’s when I decided to take charge of my own destiny and self-publish. I realized that I could do a lot of the publishing work and the marketing and that I could hire professionals for design and editing. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made



Deirdra: What books have most influenced your life?
J.J.:  I’m going to have to say Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. I’ve read a lot of wonderful books – books that are more intellectually stimulating and even those that have better writing – but it was finding Twilight on my little sisters’ bookshelf that brought me back to the YA genre (which I’d so happily left behind when I got to college, instead electing to read what I thought were more age appropriate books) and reignited my love for all things paranormal. Twilight reminded me how much I loved YA literature and how heavily it influenced me growing up. It was also a welcome reminder that YA books weren’t just for teens! Once I jumped back into the world of YA, I also returned to my dream of writing.


Deirdra:  Can you tell us a little about your book, Crossroads?
J.J.: Crossroads is the story of Katia, an adolescent vampire trying to navigate her way through the prestigious and unfamiliar world of Crossroads Academy. While Katia does her best to remain isolated from her classmates, she quickly discovers that with a first class pedigree and a mysterious past, anonymity will prove impossible. As Katia struggles with a dark past she’s desperate to keep hidden, she finds herself pulled deeper into mystery she can’t explain and is forced to face her greatest fears or risk losing everything she holds dear. Crossroads is the first book in the Crossroads Academy series. I am currently working on book two, which is currently untitled. I hope to release book two later this summer.





Deirdra: What is your process of brainstorming a story? Do you just sit down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do you outline first?
J.J.: There’s a lot of outlining, note taking, and editing, but I don’t exactly have an established step by step process. I never start writing until I have the bones of the story solidified. Once I feel comfortable that the plot is complete, I begin writing. Every day is a little different when I write so I just sit down and start where it feels right. So if that means writing new material or editing the same chapter for the sixth time, that’s what I do. By the time Crossroads went to print, I’d probably read it more than a dozen times. It was time consuming, but some of my best ideas came during the editing and rewriting phases.

Deirdra:  What is the most difficult thing about being an author?
J.J.: For me, the most difficult thing is balancing my work-life balance. I have a very demanding full time career in addition to my writing so time management is crucial. Between work and my family, there’s never a dull moment!


Deirdra:  What is the best thing about being an author?
J.J.: The best thing about being an author has to be sharing my stories with others and hopefully perpetuating a love of the written word. It’s extremely rewarding to hear readers say that they enjoyed reading my work and seeing how excited they are about the characters futures and what comes next. With the proliferation of social media, I’m able to connect quickly and frequently with readers which is amazing!

Deirdra: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?
J.J: Don’t ever give up on your dreams! The road to publication can be bumpy and discouraging, but there are so many new outlets available to writers that with a little hard work and patience, you can take control and make your dreams reality. 


Deirdra:  What is the best complement you could receive from a reader?
J.J.: When I finish a really amazing book, I always think that the best compliment I can give the author would be to say that I felt connected to the characters, whether that means they made me laugh out loud in public or cry like a baby. That’s the experience I want to give my readers and it’s the best compliment they could pay me in return.


Deirdra: Where can readers go to find your books and order them?
J.J.: Crossroads is available in multiple formats (paperback and virtually all e-readers) and can be found on Amazon, iBooks, B&N, Kobo, and Smashwords. Readers can also stop by my website (http://www.jjbonds.com)for more information about the Crossroads Academy series! Readers can also find me on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/jjbondsfanpage) and Twitter (@JJBondsAuthor).



Deirdra: Any final words you would like to share?
J.J.: Thank you so much for inviting me to stop by A Storybook World! I really appreciate the opportunity to share a little about myself and Crossroads with your readers!








2 comments:

  1. Amazing blog, you're doing so good! :) happy summer!

    xoxo
    Susanna
    http://susanna-behindmyeyes.blogspot.com

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  2. I agree that one should never give up on their dream. It seems that most people relish in the misery of their nightmares rather than focusing on what they want to accomplish. Sad that.

    Nice interview...all except for the "Twilight" mention. lol I enjoy YA a lot but that series (and not to take anything at all from Ms. Meyer) just lost me when it became too damned sappy with that silly no brains protagonist, Bella. lol

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