Today I’m doing interview with J.S. Wood, author of Elena Ransom and the Firebird Unit. Read my review on this book here.
My name is J.S. Wood and I am a first time author. I’ve been writing stories my whole life because I love the process of creating with a pen, piece of paper, and my imagination. With my writing, I hope to inspire a new generation of avid adventure readers.
Q. When and why did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author?
A. I wrote my first book in 3rd grade for a class assignment. I wrote and illustrated the story, and then our teacher taught us how to bind the books. I loved the process of that!
When I was 11, I thought I was ready to write a real book, but nothing ever happened with that story. So, I worked on poetry, short stories, and in my diary.
I never intended to become an author, but once Elena Ransom entered my head I just couldn’t get her out. So, I put her on paper and now I’ve written almost 5 books about her.
Q. Tell us more about your book.
A. Elena Ransom and the rest of the book characters are exaggerations of people that I know and/or were friends with growing up. Even though this story is set about 300 years in the future, walking through our life’s journey with other people is something that we can all relate to, which is why this story should seem fun and familiar.
Q. How did you come up with the idea for your book?
A. I’ve always been a fan of mystery and YA/children’s books. My first thought for this book happened when I was on a ferry to the Statue of Liberty. I thought, “I wonder what the harbor would look like without water. And, I wonder how far in the future one would have to go to see that.” Years later, Elena Ransom came to life based on that one idea.
Q. What sort of research did you do to write this book?
A. I did a lot of research about world history. But, since Elena’s story is set about 300 years from now, I had to do a lot of imagining about the future.
Q. What book(s) have most influenced your life?
A. These books have influenced, maybe not my life, but my writing for sure: Hunger Games series, Narnia series, Hardy Boys series, Nancy Drew series, Harry Potter series. I love series books because I enjoy investing my time with the same characters.
Q. What have you written? (Books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.)
A. So far, just “Elena Ransom and the Firebird Unit”
Q. Where can we see/buy them? (Include relevant link(s)
A. “Elena Ransom and the Firebird Unit” is my first in what will be a 6 book adventure series. Learn more at www.jswood.me.
Q. What draws you to this particular genre? Do you think writing will stay in a specific genre?
A. The season of life when you’re a teenager is influential on the whole rest of your life. YA novels show us the transformation of teen to adult and that’s one of the reasons I enjoy them so much.
Also, I like fantasy because the writing can literally be anything from your imagination.
Yes, I will stay in this genre. I already have an idea for my next YA book series, although that’s still years away.
Q. What was your favorite chapter (or part) of writing this book and why?
A. My favorite chapter is the last chapter. It was so thrilling to imagine the Statue of Liberty sinking underneath the sand. And then, the true adventure of the rest of the Elena Ransom stories begins when Elena and Austin find their very first artifact.
Q. What was the hardest part of writing the book? Was there anything that you deleted or altered?
A. The hardest part of writing for me is the dialogue because I want to make sure that it’s funny, engaging, and true to each character. I use my dialogue to help the reader get to know my characters more fully.
I absolutely deleted and altered huge sections of this book! I was building a brand new world so it took a lot of adjustment. But now that my characters are set and the world they live in is set, the other books have been a lot easier, and have a lot less dramatic changes.
Q. Is there a message in your book that you hope readers will grasp?
A. I want the readers to see themselves in the characters I’ve created. These are living, breathing expressions of my real life story. They are exaggerations, of course, but this is fiction based on real people.
Q. Do you read book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
A. Yes, I do read book reviews and I find them so helpful. It’s always good for me to hear how people are responding to my work. Thinking about how others receive the info I’m putting out there helps to shape my writing and make me a better author.
Q. What are your future project(s)? What’s it about? (*if relevant)
A. “Elena Ransom and the Catalan Atlas” – to be released November 2017
More “Elena Ransom” novels to follow after.
Q. If your novel made into movie which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead characters?
A. Currently, there aren’t any young actors that I’ve seen that could bring these characters to life. I’d almost want to start with an unknown cast.
Q. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
A. Don’t stop writing, even if a person in your life discourages you. My English professor discouraged me in college so I put my writing down for years. I wish I hadn’t done that.
Q. What is your favorite motivational phrase?
A. “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” C.S. Lewis
“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.” Mark Twain
“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” Mark Twain
Q. Currently reading
A. I’m re-reading the Hunger Games because I find it fascinating.
Q. Favorite Book/ Foods / Colors/ Music/ TV show/ Film
A. I don’t have one list favorite things, but I gravitate toward shows, movies, books, etc. that are character driven.
Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
A. I know what it’s like to feel awkward and alone. If you’re a writer and/or reader because it’s the place where you can be your true self, embrace it!
Q. Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
A. Nope, except thank you for giving me a venue for talking about my writing!
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Many thanks to author for agreeing to this interview and taking the time out of busy schedule to take part in this interview.
Happy Reading! 🙂