Monday, August 27, 2012

Joy Preble Author Interview

Photo Content from Joy Preble

Joy Preble is a Texas girl who was born and raised in Chicago and a former high school teacher who now writes full time, which means she gets paid for making up stuff. She earned an English degree from Northwestern University and speaks and teaches widely on writing and literacy at libraries and schools, as well as SCBWI, NCTE, AWP, and other conferences.

Joy is the author of THE SWEET DEAD LIFE and its sequel, THE A WORD(May 2014), both from Soho Press. Kirkus hailed THE SWEET DEAD LIFE with "Hallelujah! A paranormal tale of angels…that breaks the mold."

She is also the author of the DREAMING ANASTASIA series (Sourcebooks) that combines paranormal romance with Russian folklore. DREAMING ANASTASIA was nominated for a Cybil Award in the Teen Sci-Fi/Fantasy Category in 2009. It was named an ABC Best Book for Children, Teen Category in 2009, and was featured in Justine Magazine.

Joy also has a contemporary mystery/romance on the way: FINDING PARISwill be out April 21, 2015 from Balzer and Bray/Harper Collins. Another paranormal mystery/romance, IT WASN'T ALWAYS LIKE THIS, pitched as Tuck Everlasting meets Veronica Mars, arrives from Soho Press in Spring 2016.

In no particular order, Joy loves guacamole, pizza, banana bread, red wine, books, boots of all shapes and sizes, TV, movies, and crazy road trips so she can see the world. She is also fond her family and her dog, in case you were wondering.

What was your first introduction to YA literature, the one that made you choose that genre to write?
The book that first made me think that I might possibly want to write YA was Forever by Judy Blume. People have various opinions about this book, but I believe that it was a ground-breaker in so many ways. I will always admire Judy Blume for creating a story about a girl who falls in love with her boyfriend, chooses to have planned, protected sex with him, does so, enjoys it and doesn’t die or succumb to any other shaming event. Even after they break up. Good for you, Judy Blume!

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
That I coached the JV girl’s volleyball at the first high school I taught at. That’s probably not something readers expect.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I began my first novel when I was 19. Basically it was a thinly fictionalized version of me and my boyfriend and our ‘cute meet,’ relationship, and break up. Then—because it didn’t really have a plot—I put it in a drawer and traveled and finished college and worked at some weird crappy jobs including one where I was supposed to be a marketing intern but it turned out that I was folding scarves, packaging them and sending them out to the stores and the only other employees were the three Polish ladies who sewed the scarves. No one spoke English but me. Eight hours a day! Also I taught and got married and had a kid and taught some more and had more life’s adventures and took a bunch of grad classes and worked at other jobs and moved a few times… and then finally got serious about writing. Which means that I was over 40 when my first book came out! Maybe it just took me that long to live enough adventures to write about.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
That failure and fear of failure are my biggest motivators! It’s still true today.

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Funny. Cynical. Loyal.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
A laptop. A writer’s thesaurus. An understanding that learning your craft is a slow process that involves revision, revision, revision. And a vice of choice: chocolate, coffee, red wine, twizzlers…. Okay – I enjoy all of those. And not always in moderation.

Did you learn anything from writing Dreaming Anastasia and what was it?
I learned that real writing occurs during revision. That if you want to be published, you need to be willing to work collaboratively and never, ever give up! And that I was a huge believer in second chances – which I give to lots of characters in the book, especially Ethan!

What was your inspiration for the series?
You know, I think it was a combination of a few things: My fascination since junior high about the Romanovs and their tragic story. My love of kick-butt girl heroes. My love of genre fiction and fairy tales and mysteries. And a healthy does of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes that made me believe that I could blend genres and it would be okay!

Which character have you enjoyed getting to know the most over the course of writing Dreaming Anastasia?
I love them each in different ways. And had you asked me that when I first started writing, I would probably have said Ethan. But I think now that I’ve finished the series, it’s honestly Baba Yaga the witch. The more I used her in the series, the more her backstory developed. And I do think that her own transformation into this all- powerful witch informs so much of what happens in the story, particularly for Anne.

For those who are unfamiliar with Anne, how would you introduce her?
Anne is a girl who begins the series believing that she is ordinary. Her family is still struggling with the death of her brother David to cancer a couple years before. She loves ballet and she has a best friend named Tess and she hasn’t found the right guy yet. And then her entire world turns inside out when she collides with handsome, mysterious blue-eyed Ethan, who tells her that Anastasia Romanov isn’t dead and that only does she need saving from a Russian fairy tale witch named Baba Yaga, but Anne’s destiny and line of descent somehow make her the girl who can do it. When it turns out that this crazy story is actually true, Anne finds herself with increasingly powerful magic, a mission she never asked for, and feeling for this boy/man who has changed everything. The deeper she falls into this world of magic and hidden history she didn’t even know existed, the more she uncovers connections to her own family, and ultimately a terrible and tragic curse that only she can right. Can she do it? Are she and Ethan fated to be together? You have to read to find out!

If you could introduce Ethan to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Interesting question! I would introduce Ethan to Etienne St. Clair from Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss so they could talk about being with girl who each almost lost because of his own idiocy!

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Hands down, it’s Austin-based Cynthia Leitich Smith, who actually is one of my writing and career mentors. Cynthia is a person I can turn to for writing advice, publishing advice and just as a shoulder to whine on. She is so sharp about this industry and so incredibly generous to newbies just coming up in the ranks. I am so very grateful to her.

How many books have you written?
I have written 6 books. DREAMING ANASTASIA and HAUNTED are both out now. ANASTASIA FOREVER will be out August 7th from Sourcebooks. THE SWEET DEAD LIFE will be out May 2013 from Soho Press. And I’ve written two other books that I hope find their way into the world eventually. Of course there’s some revision ahead of me before that happens. But maybe I can tell you about one of them soon.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Live your life fully. Be present. Dream big and work hard to achieve those dreams. It can happen. It will.

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
My weight! So silly, isn’t it? I weigh exactly what I should. But I’m always hoping for 5 pounds less.

Who was your first boyfriend?
Ha! My first ‘serious’ boyfriend played bassoon in our high school marching band. I think this explains volumes about my high school self. Volumes.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Well, the past few months I’ve spent a lot of time rehabilitating our rescue boxer/bassett, Lyla. She had been ‘on the road’ for a long time and had been picked up by a local kill shelter. It has taken a lot to get her trusting and happy and it’s so fun that we are her people now! Beyond that, I love to travel and I’m so excited to be going to Ireland in October. I also love hanging with my family, reading ( no surprise there), swimming at the local pool, cooking and having friends over… I’m a theater nerd – love going to plays. And I adore movies and still love going to the movie theater. Something about that communal experience. Plus trash tv… I’m a Bravo addict. “Hi! I’m Joy. I’ve watched too many Housewives episodes.” And Vampire Diaries! That doesn’t count as trash TV! Did you see the season finale? Holy blood bank, Elana! And anything by Joss Whedon. He is my pop culture hero. Yeah – I watch a lot of TV/movies. Get over it.

What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
Not a lot because I need to go shopping! But typically: avocados, eggs/egg whites, English muffins, milk, bottled water, white wine, peanut butter, pineapple salsa, fruit, salad stuff.

Stories within stories. Secrets within secrets. In accepting powers from the legendary witch Baba Yaga, Anne must tackle a complex set of missions: Discover the secret of their enemy's newfound immortality; decide whether she can kill him to free her family from a vicious curse; come to terms with the magic that now resides inside her; and finally find true love with Ethan. The riveting conclusion to the trilogy that began with Dreaming Anastasia. 

You can purchase Anastasia Forever at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you JOY PREBLE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a copy of Anastasia Forever by Joy Preble.


  1. We're best friends :)
    Thank you for this giveaway!

  2. He's my best friend, and my boyfriend.

    thanks for the giveaway! Hope I win!

  3. He's my husband!

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

  4. She's my best friend :D.
    The GFC name I follow with is Roxana Zuziac. That one is the facebook name. I'm sorry for the mistake!

  5. He's my dad! :)
    When I go out the only thing my parents want is that I text them when I arrive to my destination, for his/her sake I always do. (Ileana-rafflecopter)

  6. People may be surprised, but I don't own a cell phone!!

  7. sister.
    Thanks for the chance to win this book. I love the cover!

  8. She's a friend of mine from high school who goes to the same university now.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

  9. I don't text. I know, I'm odd, every does it, but I would rather talk to someone.

  10. I am so a shame to say this but my step-mother...(I am 34 years old and use of the cells has ended voice communications and introduced typed words)
    Thanks :)

  11. Friends since middle school :D (we're in college now)

    -Enna P.

  12. The last person i texted is my fiance :-)

  13. Friends through facebook we both love books

  14. He's my boyfriend. Today's 3 years since we're together. <3

  15. last person I texted was my manager who called me by mistake. thanks for the chance!

  16. My best friend of 17 years & i'm only 22 :)

  17. I think I am the only person left in the world who doesn't text. But if I did, it would be my hubby :)

  18. Ok, this will be a weird one for you. The last person I texted was my husband's ex mother-in-law.

  19. my boyfriend is a beautiful relationship

  20. My sister telling me she's bored LOL!

  21. My mother just going back and forth on what i need at the store lol

  22. The last person with I texted was my father. Or with my good friend and classmate in one person :)

  23. My sister texted me just this morning.

  24. I don't have a phone so no text.

  25. She's one of my close friends. I met her in junior year of high school. She's had a very positive influence on my life. She made me a stronger and braver person.

  26. She is my daycare provider. Thanks for the chance.

  27. Dealer and Customer.
    I bought my eReader from them.

  28. One of my best friends and a fellow book worm :)

  29. My hubby, to find out what time he would be home for tea, as we all like to eat together and wanted tea ready for when he got in, Thankyou for a wonderful giveaway x x

  30. We're best friends :)

    (Carla C. on the raffle)

  31. My husband!
    PS, i would love to win this and check out this new series featuring my name! ;)

  32. My very close friend. I love this series!! Thank you

  33. One of my best friend for the last 21 years.

  34. LOL... I'm really not into texting that's why I can't really remember but I think it's my very close friend... Thank you for this!!!

  35. The last person i texted was my best friend!

  36. Friends! Tank's for this giveaway :)