Idea questions are really tough to answer. Because - of course - when I come up with a book I have that one specific moment when I’m dusting the shelves or cooking pasta or staring at an email and I think “Hey! It would be really cool if there were a book about a girl who found out she was a werewolf! I should write that!” But in reality, the ideas come from the all-encompassing total of my experiences. Which is to say that whether I know it or not, everything I’ve ever read or heard or seen is rattling around in my brain like loose jigsaw puzzle pieces, and occasionally they join up in an interesting way and become an idea all their own. The other thing about getting an idea for a book is that (at least for me - I won’t be so foolish as to try and speak for all writers) they don’t come in a fully outlined and nuanced rush. Bits and pieces get added on, and they either stick or they don’t, and the idea gets transformed as I work on the book. I’m not really sure that answers the question, but it’s as close as I think I can get.
2. Did you ever, in a million years, think that you would be writing a book about werewolves?
Yes and no. I’ve always loved stories that were rooted in myth and legend, and werewolves certainly fit into that category. And I spent ages wanting to write books and dreaming of getting them published. But I hadn’t dreamt of writing a werewolf novel specifically. If I had, I would have written it sooner! This sort of goes back to the idea question. When I look at what I’ve written (and what I’m writing) it seems sort of familiar - like I kind of knew it was in my head all along but it just hadn’t formulated itself into a “tellable” story yet.
3. What, or who (if anything) inspired you to become a writer?
I think that the writers I love to read have inspired me to write. As a child, I *always* had my nose buried in a book. I needed books like other children need security blankets or teddy bears. Reading was such an integral part of who I was that the idea of creating something that could be read - adding to the shelves of books I so adored - was an inspiring thought. I was also encouraged to write by several of my High School literature teachers, which had at least as much to do with my writing as the inspiration did.
4. If werewolves went up against vampires, in your opinion, which do you think would prevail and why?
I so love this question! And I had to think about it for a long time. It makes sense that it’s a hard question to answer - vampires and werewolves are pitted against one another fairly frequently in the fantasy canon, which says that in many ways, they’re pretty evenly matched. And they both have variations in their legends/myths that could swing the balance one way or another, depending on how they were matched up. . . but I have to say werewolves. Because in most of the legends, vampires, though savage, are inhibited by the human form they maintain (putting aside the variants where they can shape shift, of course.)
Werewolves, on the other hand, are all about instinct and animal nature. They give themselves over so completely to it that they *actually* transform. I think there’s more raw, unbridled passion and violence in the werewolf world, and in the end, I think it would give them the edge they would need to prevail.
5. How long did it take you to write Claire de Lune?
The first draft took me quite awhile - maybe six months? I wasn’t on a deadline, and I kept tweaking and editing and taking my time with it. The edits took a few more months, and then there was copy editing and proof reading. The time from when Simon Pulse acquired the book to the publication date will be about eighteen months, all told.
6. Are you planning/writing a sequel to Claire de Lune?
Yes! The sequel is being drafted as we speak (well, not *exactly* as we speak, since I’m answering these questions instead of drafting,) and is slated for publication during the summer of 2011.
7. If you could only read one genre of book for the rest of your life, what would you choose and why?
Easy. Young Adult - and not just because I write them. Unlike “adult” books, which are segregated into literature and romance and horror and so on, YA is just . . . YA. So it’s all there. Everything from stories about the nature of life and the universe to romantic comedy to werewolf novels. No other genre would give me that much choice - and I can’t imagine being stuck with anything else forever!
8. Do you have a favourite character in Claire de Lune? If so, who and why?
Other than the obvious answer (Claire,) I really love Emily. She’s so genuine and funny. I hear her voice very clearly in my head, and I always love writing her scenes.
9. If you had to describe Claire de Lune in three words, what would those words would be?
Exciting. Twisty. Unexpected. (This is also a very hard question.)
10. Anything else you want to tell all your excited readers?
I’m as excited as they are - probably more! I’m so thrilled that there are people out there who want to read something I’ve written, and I hope they enjoy it just as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. I also love hearing from people who’ve read Claire, and emails through my website (www.christinejohnsonbooks.com) or Twitter messages (@cjohnsonbooks) really make my day - knowing that I’ve actually connected with someone like that is amazing, and it makes all the long hours at the computer so worth it!
Thanks so much for having me “over” to your blog for a chat. I’ve had a really great time!
Stay tuned for my review of Claire de Lune coming soon!