Saturday, June 25, 2011

Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit Tour - Elana Johnson - Now with Giveaway!

[EDITED TO ADD: Simon Pulse has generously offered to donate a signed copy of POSSESSION! See details below.}

Happy weekend again! Unlike last weekend, when I went to a wedding and did a booksigning, this Saturday finds me at home working hard on SHINE revisions. Right now I'm rereading SHADE and SHIFT. This helps in three ways:

1. I find loose ends that must be tied up in the final book.
2. Small details introduced in earlier books can turn out to be a plot or character key in later installments.
3. I avoid embarrassing continuity errors.

Most authors hate reading their old books because they find things they wish they could change, but I enjoy it. Once a book is published, it's final, so what's the point in wanting to change it? And the way I let my perfectionist-freak flag fly during page proofs, the novel is truly the best I could make it.

Besides, if you can't enjoy your own books, which are written about the subjects you love and in the style you love, what books CAN you enjoy?

Enough about me. This week's guest on the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit is one of my fellow Simon Pulse authors, Elana Johnson! Her debut novel, Possession, just came out this week.

Vi knows the Rule: Girls don’t walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn…and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi’s future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.

But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they’re set on convincing Vi to become one of them….starting by brainwashed Zenn. Vi can’t leave Zenn in the Thinkers’ hands, but she’s wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous: everything Zenn’s not. Vi can’t quite trust Jag and can’t quite resist him, but she also can’t give up on Zenn.

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

Reviewers are loving this latest addition to the YA dystopian genre!

"Possession held me completely captivated from beginning to end. And what an end! I fell in love with the characters and had countless moments of 'Wow.'"
--James Dashner, bestselling author of The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials

"Who Should Read This: Anyone who wants a challenge: This plot is so twisty, I had to read the last chapter twice before I could believe what happened. There's also a very nice balance between badass action and romantic tension for readers who like a good mix of the two."

“Most [readers] will be drawn in by the love triangle, revelations about Vi and her family, and a dark twist ending that maintains the faintest glimmer of hope.”
--Publishers Weekly

"This debut dystopian succeeds at suspense and tension.... Revelations come hard and fast." --Kirkus

“Emotion pumps through every scene of this thriller. Given all the urgency and action, the novel’s ending may surprise readers as the heroic adventure turns into a tragic love story.” –School Library Journal

“An intriguing dystopia…A good choice for fans of Pam Bachorz and Ally Condie.” --Booklist

Read the first two chapters at the Possession website.

And now, my interview with the fascinating Elana Johnson!

Which moment(s) during the writing/rewriting/editing of this book made you tear your hair out?

There’s this one scene in POSSESSION that I had to write like, 50 times. It’s the part that deals with the simulators. I seriously could not figure it out. At one point, I deleted something like 30 pages and started completely over from blankness.

Which moment(s) made you think, "ah, THIS is what carries me through the hair-tearing bits"?

There is a point in the book where my heart cracks a little every time I read it. That’s the moment when the baldness is worth it.

Turn to page 99 of POSSESSION. Which word on that page best evokes your story or main character?


Which book/movie/TV show have you recently discovered that made you want to kick yourself for not reading/watching sooner?

Modern Family. It’s hilarious!

If your house was on fire, what object (not including living creatures, human or non-human) would you grab on the way out?

My 72-hour-kit. That thing has all the essentials in it! Food, important papers, fuel, money, everything.

Is there anything most people are able to do (such as drive a car, swim, ride a bike) that you can't?

I can’t whistle. Like, at all.

Is there anything YOU can do that most people can't?

I’m double-jointed, so I can bend the first knuckle on all my fingers without bending any of the others. It’s creepy.

Have you ever been starstruck when meeting another writer? If so, by who?

Absolutely! I was a little star-struck when I met Sara Zarr, and definitely when I met Scott Westerfeld!

Do you have any recurring dreams or nightmares?

I exhaust myself so completely that I can’t remember my dreams. Back when I used to get a decent amount of sleep, I used to consistently dream about being chased through an airport.


Possession sounds amazing, doesn't it? I've been hearing so much about it, but I think the time has come to read it myself. And so should you.

[Edited to add: And now you can! Just comment on the interview (a comment on the questions and/or answers, not just "Great interview!") by Friday, July 1 at 11:59pm eastern. I'll draw a winner using a random number generator and post it in the comment thread. So PLEASE subscribe to the thread or check back here on Saturday to see if you won. US addresses only. Copy will be signed but not personalized, since it's coming from the publisher, not Elana herself.]

Congrats to Elana on her fabulous debut! See the rest of you next week...maybe with some more Ireland pictures? Maybe? No pressure, though. Can't take the pressure.

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What is this 72 hour kit? You've got me very interested. I don't think I've ever heard of such a thing before. I haven't read Possession yet, but it sounds like this kit might've been useful in Vi's world?

Thanks for the interview & giveaway!

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 6/28/2011 10:08 AM

Thanks for the Interview and review. I have found that I just love Dystopia books...It must be hard to rewrite something over again and delete so many pages, but I guess it can give you a fresh start....and I LOVE MODERN FAMILY!! Its such a funny of my family favorites..

jmluker at winco dot net

Posted by: Blogger Michele at 6/28/2011 10:20 AM

Oh, I know exactly how Elana felt...up until last year, I couldn't whistle to save my life! Now my whistles sound airy and pathetic, but I can do it!

Posted by: Blogger Tabby Williams at 6/28/2011 1:06 PM

I definitely need a 72 hour kit!! GAH! I can completely see the need to start fresh if a scene is just not working. It would kill me to get rid of 30 pages though...yikes. Thanks again!

deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Posted by: Blogger Vivien at 6/28/2011 1:15 PM

Wow a 72 hour kit. Well, this chica is prepared isn't she? Awesome!

Posted by: Blogger Julie S at 6/28/2011 3:01 PM

I loved the question about the dreams. I had a dream similar, but actually I was chasing my favorite celeb. through an airport haha

Posted by: Blogger hernameisavril at 6/28/2011 3:03 PM

An interesting interview which introduced me to this amazing book. Thanks for the review. A 72 hour kit would be a great help. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Posted by: Blogger traveler at 6/28/2011 3:30 PM

I can't whistle, either!! I'm so happy to know I'm not the only one. :) She's also reminded me that I need to replenish my 72 hr kit... hmm...

Thanks for the interview and giveaway! :)

Posted by: Blogger Litza at 6/28/2011 5:32 PM

I definitely agree, I wish I had started watching Modern Family sooner too:)

Posted by: Blogger Noelli Spanelli at 6/28/2011 5:36 PM

Omg! Yay another wonderful soundong Dystopian read! Haha I love the comment about the 72 hour kit. We have about 8 72 hour kits in our basement. You can never be too careful or prepared right? After reading so many Dystopian novels I'd have to say having those kits around seemex like a pretty good idea! I can't wait to read Possession! I hope many more great Dystopian authors are found!

Posted by: Blogger Jewel Davidson at 6/28/2011 7:24 PM

You basically have a ready bag! My sister works for the Office of Emergency Management and they're always doing Ready New York events and give away bags with essentials in case of an emergency (unfortunately, there's no money in them).

I have yet to read a dystopian novel, I worry they'll be too depressing, but I've seen this one around a lot and will have to check it out if I don't win.

Thanks for the giveaway!

Posted by: Blogger Kristin at 6/28/2011 7:50 PM

And I thought I was one of the only people in the world who couldn't whistle! Yay! I'm not alone! Now if only I can find someone who can't snap or blow a bubble with bubblegum....

Posted by: Anonymous Jenni V at 6/28/2011 11:16 PM

I don't want to admit it but my boyfriend and I both have kits in case to EOTW (End of the world) happens.

Thanks for the wonderful interview and giveaway!

Posted by: Blogger Emily @ Falling For YA at 6/29/2011 1:28 AM


Thank you for this really insightful interview. I loved all the answers. I'm very interested to find out precisely what the "72 hour Kit" encompasses. I wish there was more detail on that. I love how absolutely in-tune Elana Johnson seems to be with the "ache" and pain of her characters. It is funny that she cannot whistle, and I can whistle 7 different ways! lol :P

Again, THANK YOU Jeri Smith-Ready for having Elana Johnson on your blog, and thank you to Elana Johnson for taking the time to answer questions for followers/readers! :)

Email: Enamoredsoul(at)gmail(dot)com
Twitter: @inluvwithbookz

Posted by: Blogger ~Enamored Soul~ at 6/29/2011 4:35 AM

Interesting character names! Zenn makes me think of peace and enlightenment; Jag makes me think of sharp edges. Vi is the chemical symbol for virginium, which is a radioactive element.
Intentional or coincidental naming?
Can't wait to read the book and find out!


Posted by: Blogger cegluna at 6/29/2011 9:12 AM

I love hearing that authors still get starstruck when meeting other authors. If someone is jaded it's no good. And a 72-hour kit? I am soooo unprepared!!

Posted by: Blogger Book Sake at 6/29/2011 12:05 PM

Great interview. I can't believe she actually deleted 30 pages at one point! That would have definitely made me give up! But I'm sure glad she didn't ;) Can't wait to read it.

Thanks for the giveaway!

Posted by: Blogger dark_romance_luvr at 6/29/2011 12:47 PM

I totally understand how hoard it is to delete so feels like losing a part of yourself at points.

Thanks so much for the giveaway!

meandmyshelf at gmail dot com

Posted by: Blogger Me My Shelf And I at 6/29/2011 1:05 PM

Hahaha. I love that someone else can't whistle! It always feels like everyone in the entire world can, while I just CAN'T! :)


Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 6/29/2011 9:01 PM

Practice whistling with your thumb and finger in your mouth. Yeah, it sounds gross, but it is LOUD and if you can do it you can get someone's attention really easily.

Also, yea you for having a Go Bag! If you guys want to learn more about them the CDC has a hysterical page on emergency preparedness (No, I don't work for them!) about how to survive a zombie attack.

Posted by: Blogger Cheryl at 6/30/2011 8:07 AM

Can't wait for the pictures! (without the pressure of course LOL!) Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't a dystopia something like an abstract place where the conditions are a bit harsh or bad?

Posted by: Anonymous Jeff Rivera at 7/01/2011 1:47 AM

Fun interview. I love Sara Zarr's books so I'm pretty sure I'd be star struck meeting her or Elana Johnson. :)

Posted by: Blogger kathy at 7/01/2011 12:53 PM

I've never even heard of a 72-hour-kit. I think I need to get one now.
Really interesting facts about Elana! I didn't know she was double jointed, and it helps to know that even she had trouble writing things, but stuck through it and made her book even better.

starcrossedlove01 [at] gmail [dot] com

Posted by: Blogger dashofnutmeg at 7/01/2011 1:00 PM

i didn't initially like Modern Family, but my husband got me into it, it IS so funny :)

the book sounds fab! enter me please!

(p.s rereading SHADE and SHIFT is awesomesauce.)

Posted by: Blogger Jennzah at 7/01/2011 1:35 PM

Haha! Only the author of a dystopian novel would have a 72 hour kit! Love it. I'm sad there were no questions asked about the romance. I was simply thrilled that she had the ability to convey so much raw emotion and tension in simply a hand around the waist or fingers through hair. I would really LOVE to know how exactly she conveyed that SO well.

Posted by: Blogger CuteMcGinn at 7/01/2011 2:14 PM

My heart was sick when she said she dumped thirty pages and started with a blank one. That is devotion to perfection.

Posted by: Blogger Melissa at 7/01/2011 3:02 PM

It took me forever to be able whistle! And blow gum bubbles... But that's beside the point. Also, an airport? That would suck being chased in one. Thanks for the giveaway too!

Posted by: Anonymous Jewel at 7/01/2011 6:56 PM

And the winner of Elana Johnson's POSSESSION is...commenter #5, Julie S.! Thanks to everyone who stopped by and commented. Hope you enjoy POSSESSION if you get a chance to pick it up.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 7/03/2011 1:35 PM

Loved the interview Jeri. another wonderful read.. Loved the characters!

Posted by: Anonymous Laurence Brown at 7/05/2011 11:30 PM

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