Publication date: October 16th 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
After her father’s death in a plane crash, Miranda Woodward’s life begins to unravel. On her sixteenth birthday, Miranda receives a mysterious gift: a small wooden box containing a needle and spool of gossamer golden thread, left behind by her father, which begins a chain of events that soon leave her life in chaos. Her pet cat is replaced with another, her teachers don’t have her on their roll call at school, even her closest friends forget who she is. When her mother vanishes into thin air, Miranda becomes desperate for answers. She follows clues to a meet a man known only as the Tailor. With his help, she must find a way to fix her life before it’s too late.
1. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else?
When I was five, I wanted to be a piano-playing astronaut paleontologist (so a musician who went looking for space dinosaurs) and I still think this is the best possible career path in the world. Unfortunately, NASA hasn’t gotten back to me about it, and also I stopped piano lessons when I was about ten.
2. How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
This entirely depends on the book and which time I’m writing it. For a first draft, it can be as short as a couple of months, or even more than a year if I’m having a hard time with, say, the middle. It took me about two years to write Threadwalkers, and then another year or so to edit it.
3. How do you come up with themes for your stories?
I tend to begin with characters and then figure out what’s “wrong” in their lives. What’s the conflict, what are they dealing with, what bothers them? Themes come out of exploring those aspects. If I try to begin with a theme then I find the story is too conceptual and is missing the meat of a plot! I’m definitely a plotter.
4. Do you have a schedule of when you write?
I would really like to say yet, but the answer is no. I write a lot and then I write nothing.
5. How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?
Time blocking is my friend. I set aside big chunks of time to do certain things, and then don’t let myself off of that schedule (within reason) and try to get things done. Sometimes designating specific days of the week (or months of the year) is the only way to get it all done.
6. What elements do you think make a great story line?
Internal logic and consistency. You can write about anything under the sun, but your story has to follow its own rules or the reader will either not be able to follow it, or feel betrayed and abandon the story, or it just won’t make sense. Internal logic in everything is key.
7. What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
Editing a book.
8. How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite?
I have written 7 or 8 books so far, though only the one has been published (yet)! It’s hard to choose a favorite, though I suppose I am partial to the one I’m working on now. ;)
9. Do you have a favorite character?
Can you have a favorite child?
10. Where do you write?
I have an office in my house. It is full of bookshelves and very, very nerdy collectibles.
11. When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took?
I queried for nearly two years and explored a lot of options before going with a small press publisher. I liked what they had to say about the industry and finding a good home for my book.
12. Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?
They like it.
13. What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?
I love to travel and am very passionate about conservation and environmental issues. I’m even working on my masters in biology.
14. What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing?
Just start writing. You’re not going to be good at first, but that’s okay. Nobody becomes a concert cellist after a couple of weeks with a bow, and you aren’t going to become a great writer without lots of practice. The more you write, the stronger your writing gets. (Mine is still getting better the more I do it, too.)
15. What is your favorite book? favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write?
My favorite book changes frequently, but I loved Lord of the Rings when I was in middle and high school. I also loved the Harry Potter series, but who didn’t? I like books with good worldbuilding, but that also don’t exist solely for the purpose of building said world. I want a plot and conflict and interesting characters and maybe a little humor, too. Terry Pratchett is a great example of this—Discworld is rich and fascinating but it is the characters and stories that make that series shine.
16. Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such?
This changes depending on the specific book. I had a fabulous group of writers during the process for Threadwalkers as well as several really good beta readers. And I’m developing a list of beta readers for my next project once it gets to that point. I always want to find someone who will help me make the story as strong as it can be and someone who knows the genre and is familiar with similar stories.
17. Are you working on anything now?
I am! It’s something of a pet project and nothing may come of it, but I’m experimenting with genre and a different writing style.
18. Tell us 5 things that make you smile
Kittens, daisies, plane tickets, movies in theaters, lactose-free ice cream
19. Tell us 5 things that make you sad
Cancelled shows, when books end, when people are awful to one another for no reason, traffic, lack of lactose-free ice cream
20. If you could travel anywhere in the world to visit a place so you could use it as a background for a book, where would it be?
I want to travel to so many places around the world, but right now I think the most beneficial place would be a little cabin in the mountains. Preferably haunted.
Joanna Volavka is the author of the young adult science fiction novel Threadwalkers. She currently lives in Chicago with her husband, two cats, and extensive book collection. A writer for Geek Girl Pen Pals, Joanna spends her time alternately between creative artistic pursuits and has a passion for conservation and wildlife while working on whatever story she’s got brewing in her overly active imagination. She still hasn’t decided what she’s going to be when she grows up, though she suspects it will probably be herself. Read more about Joanna and her adventures on her website www.joannavolavka.com
You can connect with Joanna on Twitter: @joannavolavka and on Instagram: @joannavolavka and @geekyjo
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