Monday, April 30, 2012

When It Comes To YA Writing, S.R.Johannes Means Business


Many business writers secretly write fiction in the wee hours of the night. Perhaps they’ve always written fiction, having slinked into the more straight-and-narrow world of corporate composition along the way. Several young adult writers have been down this road, and S.R. Johannes in one of them.

Fiction writing has always been a major underpinning for Johannes, who traveled the corporate route for 18 years as a marketing executive in suits, heels, and with benefits-driven copy. However, while Johannes was flexing her writing skills for the betterment of clients, she was developing the stories in her heart that would eventually come to light. The birth of her daughter in 2004 was the catalyst.

“I’ve always written for pleasure – poems, short stories. When I was in 4th grade, I won a state contest for a nutrition essay. But I didn’t start writing seriously until I had my daughter in 2004. I had 5 months off from my executive job and started writing a middle grade book. I have never looked back.”

Released from monkey suits and the 9-to-5, Johannes started her own freelance marketing and communications company, www.bilaninc.com, serving several large companies as well as nonprofits. Part of this startup was her nearly-infamous marketing writing blog, marketmywords.com. At this site, Johannes reveled visitors with her knowledge and in turn gained a loyal following.

But it wasn’t all about the marketing. When Johannes started writing her first book, she thought it would be a MG picture book.

“But I am too long-winded for short stuff. Though I do have some short stories coming out this summer.”

It turned out that Johannes was well-suited for writing in the young adult genre. She describes that her analogies in life always tend to be about a boy, or when she was in high school.

“I guess my brain stopped developing at 16. I’m kinda immature and silly so I don’t think adults would ever take me seriously anyway.”

It took a mere 6 months for Johannes to write her first book. She says that she can write fast if she focuses.

“Focusing is the problem,” said Johannes.

Focused or not, Johannes’ effort led to her book going to the acquisition meeting stage at two houses – before she had an agent. When she had written her second book, Untraceable, she queried for six months, received positive feedback that required her to change her entire, and snagged an agent six months later.

“I was on submission with two books over two years. Both went to acquisition meetings and one went through three non-contractual revisions. Only not to make it. My agent and I parted last summer when I decided I would be a thriller writer and I decided to put my own books out since they had already been edited and seen tons of publishing houses. I knew those two books were good enough.”

Indeed, Untraceable has become a bestseller on Amazon. The story is a wilderness thriller wherein Grace, the daughter of a forest ranger father, knows the intracacies of wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival. When her father turns up missing, Grace refuses to accept he’s dead and fights with the authorities and nature to locate him. When hot guy Mo rescues her from danger during a tracking mission, Grace travels deeper into the wilderness to escape her feelings for him and discovers terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. The web of conspiracy, deception, and murder that Grace finds herself in will take much more than a compass and a motorcycle named Lucifer to help her save everything she loves.

In addition to Untraceable, Johannes is the author of tween paranormal, On The Bright Side and part of a teen romance anthology with 16 other authors titled In His Eyes. Being nominated in the YA category as Georgia Author of the Year doesn’t hurt much either for this extraordinary writer who is on her way to writing YA fiction full-time.

“It is my dream,” said Johannes.

You can find S.R. Johannes across the Internet at the following sites:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/srjohannes








1 comment:

  1. wow you made me sound awesome :) even i am impressed....ha! Thanks for this!

    ReplyDelete