Friday, June 26, 2015

Author Interview: Josh Anderson

Tell us a bit of our journey to becoming an author.
I’ve always loved writing and dreaming up stories. I’ve been lucky to have worked in various capacities within the publishing industry throughout my career, so I’ve never felt like taking the leap to becoming an author was unattainable. But, I also know first-hand how many people out there are producing great work, and how difficult it is to have your work noticed. From there, it’s been a matter of working hard at it, and dedicating myself to getting better all the time. The Time of Death series is the first YA I’ve written, but I’ve published six children’s books as well.

How did you get the inspiration for your novel?

Great question! I remember sitting in between my parents, sometime in the mid-1980s, watching Back to the Future on their ancient VCR and just being spellbound. Then, reading novels like Time and Again and Replay, I’ve just always been so fascinated by the idea of a person moving through time.

I’d been kicking around an idea in my head, which I called my “time-travel, prison story,” for a long time. That’s usually how my writing projects start – a little kernel, with a few specific images. The piece of the original concept that really pulled me in was the idea of a time traveler having to ultimately choose when to live and being pulled in two different directions. A big chunk of that made it into Time of Death, and I’m so happy with where the books wound up. I think I’ve set readers up for a wild, exciting ride.

Tell us something surprising about yourself.

Even though I’ve been writing for publication for many years, in one form or another, I still send nearly anything I write to my dad for a read before it goes anywhere else.

When writing a novel, do you outline extensively or just sit down and write and see what happens?

I’m a pretty thorough outliner, but I don’t get so attached that I won’t leave the door open for a better idea that comes to me while writing. But, honestly, when my process works best, I really get down the main beats with lots of little notes (a line of dialogue, a sequence of action, etc.) and more or less follow through on the original plan.

Before almost every project, time permitting, I try to read a new book about writing, just to get myself excited about the process, and see if I can’t glean another way of thinking about the craft of it all.

How does it feel to be a part of the newly launching EPIC Press?

I’m honored. I know quite a bit now about some of the other launch titles, and I’m honestly really excited to read them! I was fortunate to be able to write what I wanted to, without much direction from the publisher, but the one mandate was to not hold back. Part of the idea of putting out these six-book series all at once was, I think, to help these books compete with the kinds of TV shows that young adults ‘binge watch.’ So, you’ll see some pretty edgy stuff in Time of Death, as well as some of the other series in the launch. That kind of direction from the publisher made the books very fun to write!

What other projects are you working on?

I’ve got a really fun contemporary young adult book I’m just starting to put some notes down about. It’s very different from anything I’ve worked on before, but I’m excited. And, I’m actually co-writing an adult thriller with my dad, which we’ll hopefully have ready for submission to publishers later this year.

What is the best piece of writing advice you have ever gotten?

Tough question, and I’m honestly not sure. I’ve tried to swallow up so much advice over the years that it’s all melded together in my head. The piece of advice I tend to repeat the most, though, is pretty crass. It’s just this: Ass in the seat.

It just means that you don’t get anything done, and you don’t get better as a writer, without actually writing (putting your ass in the seat). There’s so many other things to fill your time. And, I think a lot of writers would agree that the actual time you’re physically writing is the least fun part of being a writer. Personally, it’s that afterglow of having written that I find most satisfying. But, without the hours and hours (and hours and hours and hours) just sitting at my computer, I’d never get there.

Thank you so so much for having me here, Larissa! What a fun interview!

About Time of Death:
What if you could go back and change the past? Kyle Cash made the biggest mistake of his life on March 13, 2014, when he crashed his friend's Audi into a school bus full of children. The accident haunts him every day, until the sister of one of the kids killed in the crash comes to visit Kyle at Stevenson Youth Correctional Facility and offers him the opportunity to travel back in time. Kyle learns, though, that time weaving is more complicated-- and more dangerous - than he ever could have imagined. 

Time of Death is a six-book series from EPIC Press.
My Twitter: @WritingCraftJRA

1 comment:

  1. I scored a review copy of the first book in the TIME OF DEATH collection, and read it this week. I could NOT put it down. (And I read a lot!) Engaging concept, characters you care about and crisp writing. I'm eager to get my hands on book two . . . Does anyone have access to it yet?


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