Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Nightmare at Emerald High

 I absolutely love featuring author friends in my blog! I learn from their experiences and advice, and truly enjoy passing these conversations along to you.

Author Joana James is an AMAZING 28 year old, living on the island of Saint Lucia in the Caribbean. Her writing efforts began with a two-part short story series entitled Alana & Alyssa's Secret: Rise from the Ashes, which told about the lives of two young girls who were dealing with extremely difficult circumstances.

One of the reasons that I chose to describe Joana as being AMAZING is because she has boundless energy and enthusiasm for all things related to writing, as well as for helping other authors promote their books. In spite of a busy schedule as an I. T. professional, she has carved out time to write another book, Nightmare at Emerald High, and is working on a third novel.

I asked Joana how she manages to squeeze writing new material, in addition to marketing and promoting her current book and the works of other authors, into her already busy day. Joana explained, "Time management is the most difficult thing for me right now, and I still don't have the balance quite right just yet. But I try to focus on the thing that is the most important at the time. When I have a new story brewing, I give it most of my attention and stop only to come up for air. Because of my day job, I write only on evenings and the weekends. However, the high stress job is a strange benefit--when I get home, I use writing as a way to unwind and relax."

How are her friends and family reacting to being in such a close relationship with an author? "My friends are pretty excited, and my family is extremely proud. My mother goes around telling all her friends about her daughter the author. They're all pretty comfortable with the idea, maybe more comfortable than I am..."

Nightmare at Emerald High is about Malcolm Drake, a young man who is one year away from his high school graduation. Discovering a golden scholarship opportunity, Malcolm and other classmates enroll in a program called Alternative Science, which could pave the way to receiving that coveted scholarship. What they don't realize is that they are actually stepping into the evil world of the occult and must learn through grueling developments that there is no easy way out.

I was curious about what influenced Joana to write a novel that features high school kids. She displays a real heart for teens, having been a youth leader at her church for several years. Joana said, "I spent most of my time working with high school kids so I have several stories about them and the situations they face floating around in my head. To write about teens seems almost second nature to me. As a matter of fact, I find it difficult writing about people who are older."

When asked what message she wanted to convey in Nightmare at Emerald High, she succinctly stated, "Nightmare at Emerald High may seem a bit controversial with its subject matter being secret societies and organizations, but in the society that I live, it's an everyday thing. Our children get tangled up in so many things that warp their thinking and confuse them and their perception of good and evil and right and wrong. My hope is that Nightmare at Emerald High will be an eye opener for both parents and teens."

Will her future books be geared to teens? "I will never stop writing for teens or young adults. They hold a special place in my heart because of the work I've done with them. However, I do hope to branch out into other genres."

Always interested in invading the thoughts and extracting the wisdom of other writers, I asked what advice Joana would give others who are thinking about writing a book. "It's a long and difficult process, but it's not impossible. If you have a passion for writing, then go after it. There will be critics along the way and maybe even the occasional horrible review. But perseverance brings success. Also, find out all you can about the writing process, and don't stop learning about the craft after you've published a few books."

As we authors have a way of abruptly discovering, the hard work is just beginning when the book is published! Because marketing and promotion are critical for driving sales, what advice would Joana offer on this topic? "I'm still learning the book marketing field, as I'm pretty new to all this. But, I can say that it is a job that will never really end. Look for groups of authors who write similar material to you and learn from them. Social networking is one of the most powerful tools available to us, so use it to your advantage. Remember to be friendly and don't accost every person you meet with a sales pitch."

I'd like to offer a huge thank you to Joana James for sharing her thoughts on her own writing experiences and for allowing us to gain insight into the life of another author. Joana, we wish you every possible success with Nightmare at Emerald High and all future endeavors!

Visit Joana at http://joanajames.blogspot.com and locate Nightmare at Emerald High at
My next blog post will update everyone about the recent release of 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!  Never Say Perfect will also be released within the next two weeks, God willing!! Busy, busy, busy.

See you next time...

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