An interview with Joelle Anthony, Enviro Avenger

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Joëlle currently lives on a tiny island in British Columbia with her musician husband, Victor Anthony, and two cats, Miss Sophie & Grinder. As for the future, their only plan is to avoid real jobs, write and play guitar in front of the woodstove, and live happily ever after. Look for her debut novel, Restoring Harmony, in fall 2010 from Putnam.

Joelle Anthony is an American YA author, whose debut novel Restoring Harmony, is to be released next year by Putnam. She has a great blog on her website. This is her first interview as an author! Thank you, Joelle! Make sure you check out her website!

1. List the books you've written. Which one are you most proud of? Which was the hardest to write?

My very first book, Restoring Harmony, is scheduled to come out in the Fall of 2010 from Putnam. When I say “first” book, I mean the first one that my agent has sold. I’ve written others, and while I love them all, it’s hard to say if they will make it through the publishing gates or not! I’m also working on a middle grade series.

2. What three words would you use to describe yourself? (Don’t use the words ‘nice’, ‘pretty’ or ‘good’ because your Grade Six teacher will read this and be very disappointed)




3. Complete this sentence: My teenage years were...

Fantastic. I absolutely loved being a teenager, aside from the usual angst, I spent all four years in the theatre and had a great time.

4. Have you always wanted to write for young people? Or did you set out to become a brain surgeon and wind up stumbling down this path? Was the road to publication rocky for you?

I set out to be an actress. My university degree is in theatre. After a year abroad I came home and when faced with the idea of setting off on an acting career, I realized that I wasn’t so much into acting anymore. I started writing because before I discovered theatre, that’s what I’d always thought I’d do. In the end, I did some of each. Eventually, I went back to acting, studied improvisation in Chicago, and did some professional theatre, as well as bit parts in movies. I played a bridesmaid in the movie What the $%#^ Do We Know? and I am very glad I did because that’s how I met my husband! Now I mostly write, doing just an occasional bit of theatre here on the remote island that I live on in British Columbia, Canada.

5. Who were your biggest inspirations and idols growing up and today?

I would say that growing up, I looked to actresses like Susan Sarandon and Dame Judi Dench. Now I look more to people in my life. My husband in particular. I am much more observant of people’s actions than I was when I was younger and when I see something I like, I try to emulate it. For example, I have friends that are just so kind and I make a note of that and try to apply it to my life. Or my husband, he never complains about anything. I’m not so good at that yet, but I hope to be. I even learn from my cats. They just want sunshine, and sleep, and love. What more do you really need in life?

6.. Who are your favourite authors and what novels do you love best?

Maud Hart Lovelace (The Betsy-Tacy series), Nevil Shute, and John Rowe Townsend. These are writers that stand the test of time for me. I also love Jane Austen. Contemporary YA authors that I really like are J.K. Rowling, Cathy Cassidy, Rachel Vail, Sarah Dessen, Meg Cabot, Louise Rennison, Jerry Spinelli, and a zillion more I can’t think of off the top of my head. Check out my Need To Read blog for more things I love.

As far as novels, Betsy and the Great World, Pride and Prejudice, Round the Bend, The Summer People…and on and on!

7.. If you were in a novel (any one you’ve read), who would you be?

Definitely Betsy in Betsy and the Great World. She travels by steamship to Europe for a year, circa 1913. It’s so fantastic.

8. Did you have an imaginary friend as a child? (Or today? Don’t worry; we won’t call the men in white coats on you)

Nope. I had books!

9. Complete this sentence: My life outside of writing is...

full of laughter, food, music, and love.

10. If you were a superhero, what would be your name, power and costume?

Oh, gosh. I’ve never thought of being a superhero. Ummm… Enviro Avenger! I would wear green tights and have flowery plants in strategic places. And wings like a fairy. And I would fly all over the world, restoring tranquility where environmental disaster had struck. Of course, I’d be very, very busy these days.

11. Xena Warrior Princess or Sabrina the Teenage Witch?

Pass. I don’t have a TV so…but I do like witchcraft in books. I’d especially like the ability to disapperate a la Harry Potter so that I could pop down to see my parents regularly…just for lunch if I felt like it!

12. Have you read Twilight? Did you enjoy it? Do you secretly believe your own books are better? (I know you do, don’t try to lie…)

Never read it. Never tempted to. I’m glad that so many people enjoy it, and I think that ANY time a YA book hits it big it’s good for all writers. Some writers fall into a mentality that I can’t understand at all. They think that if someone else hits it big, it somehow makes it harder for them to get published because “everyone is reading Stephanie Meyers”. I feel the total opposite. Any time you get a particular market excited about something, it creates demand. I truly believe that J.K. Rowling single handedly created this current boom in YA reading/book sales. When I started writing fifteen years ago, picture books were popular and you couldn’t sell a YA to save your life. As the PB readers grew and Harry Potter arrived on the scene, they grew up readers. Readers who are excited by books and have created a market for YA writers. It’s silly to think she’s cornering the market with SEVEN books. If you like to read, you want to read more than seven books!

Thank you, Joelle!

Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground