Thursday, May 16, 2013

Queen and Commander: Interview!!!

Queen and Commander by Janine A. Southard
Hive Queen Saga Book 1
Published March 10, 2013
Queen & Commander (Hive Queen Saga #1)

Janine A. SouthardJanine A. Southard writes and edits speculative fiction in between working on videogame projects. She's attended more than the average number of universities, which she claims is a FEATURE not a bug. ("Oxford educated, but Californian at heart;" she's also lived and traveled in Europe, the United States, and Japan.)

Currently, she lives in Seattle with a husband and a cat. The cat pretends to care about this.

If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future? 
Can I get back home? Because that makes a difference! My first instinct is “FUTURE!” But, then, what if I get stopped by the authorities for not having my papers? So, then, “PAST!” But how far should I go? I mean, the 1800s might be interesting, but dentistry is terrible then. And anything further than that, and you’re courting disaster unless you prep to look and act like someone of the upper classes. And speak the language.

So, ah, short answer: Future. Long answer: Fallacy of choice.

If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
To know immediately if a person will be a friend, acquaintance, or enemy. That way, I’d always know who to trust and whose opinions to take with a fistful of salt. Plus, I’d never have to worry about going to things alone or which group of strangers I should chat with at a party.

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Starbucks used to make a mocha almond fudge flavor. It was their mocha ice cream with fudge ribbons and chocolate-covered almonds in it.

Dear Starbucks, Please bring this back! Love, Janine.

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
Let’s go with my 11-13 year-old self for this, because otherwise I’ll list too many books! I tended to trade off “favorite” among The Hero and the Crown (McKinley), Alanna (Pierce), and Son of Interflux (Korman). There was also this time travel novel with a group of people who traveled to the 1920s from further in our future, but I’ve never been able to find it again. (I took it out of my local library dozens of times in those years, but now I have no clue what it was.)

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book?
I feature the song Men of Harlech a lot in the novel. There are a number of versions of it (because it’s a traditional). It’s a nationalistic Welsh piece that’s (usually) about overcoming whatever the world throws at you (with military might, because it’s an older song, but still).
Here’s a YouTube link to the Hong Kong Welsh Male Voice Choir performing it.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Write things and submit them! You’ll only be “aspiring” until you’re published.
What is your favorite Quote?
I’m torn between “We are only immortal for a limited time” (Rush, from the song Dreamline) and “Two nations separated by a common language” (G.B. Shaw, referring to England and America).

How do you react to a bad review?
I freak out. I have internal crises over every line of it. I worry that I’m a terrible writer. I wonder if the reviewer isn’t 5000% right and that whatever aspect s/he disliked really makes my novel the Worst Thing Ever Written Of All Time.

After freaking out freaking out freaking out, I dwell on it some more. I don’t get over it for hours.

Having learned this about myself, I now have two rules:
1) I am not allowed to read my own reviews. Instead, I make my S.O. read them for me, and then pester him to tell me what they say. Somehow, this level of distance makes it easier to take.
2) If I foolishly ignore rule #1 and do read a review, I’m not allowed to do it before bed because that way lies madness.
3) If I ignore rules #1 and #2, I’m a complete wreck. This isn’t a rule so much as a fact of nature.

What do you do in your free time?
I read fanfiction. I am a fanfic ADDICT. Currently (as in, since December 2012), I’m working my way through giant swathes of Teen Wolf fic. It is brilliant, and I love it. (Note: My writing critique group members make fun of me for this, but I own my addiction... and sometimes try to convert them.)

Something your readers would never guess about you?
I’m so addicted to Teen Wolf fanfic right now?

What do you find inspiration in?
I read articles with overviews or snippets of something historical. Instead of going super-in-depth for idea-generation, I get a few details about a person’s life or a time period. Then I try to make up what could have happened based on that jumping off point. And then I stick that story in a different time period that makes sense for what I’m thinking.

Are any of your characters a portrayal of you?
All of my characters are me, to one extent or another. In Queen & Commander, my characters are teens who each want to do something but are too scared (or legal repercussions, or making their friends mad) to go ahead and do it.

’Cuz really, I was a lot like that in high school. (Heck, I’m a lot like that now. It took a lot of circumstances for me to even think about freelancing—writing novels, writing articles, booking myself as a solo act at various bars and restaurants—because I was freaked out about doing the taxes wrong for self-employment. I had nightmarish visions of the IRS coming down on me. Since I started, though, and got a rock-star accountant, it’s all been fine.)

What drew you to writing YA?
Joke answer: The books are shorter.
Real answer: What I just wrote in the last question, about writing characters who are scared, but do things anyway, and their worst fears don’t come true? That would have been so inspirational for me when I was a young adult. I want to give back to the girl I used to be.

About how long did it take to write your book?
Hah! Okay, so I started the first version of this book in 2006.

In 2012, I started it over (again!), this time with a copy of K.M. Weiland’s Outlining Your Novel in hand. Outlining took me a few months of lunch breaks. (I was writing full-time for a videogame publisher during that period.)

Then the draft of the published version only took me about 4 weeks to actually write. But I could never have written at that speed without the detailed outline. And I could never have finished the outline without the years of percolating ideas.

So, ah. 4 weeks or 6 years. Take your pick.

What is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process?
My favorite part of the writing process, without question, is when I write something in a scene and have an “OMG! That is so brilliant!” moment. Like, yeah, I wrote it. But as I was writing it, I realized that it tied into something from two chapters ago and also did some truly epic world building (and that I should mention something on its topic again in a few more chapters to keep a whole new thread of underlying awesome in the novel).

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