Name: Janet Fox
Debut Group: Class of 2k10
Debut novel: FAITHFUL
PJH: Okay, so it’s been 2 years since you graduated from your debut class. Personally, I miss the heck out of knowing what my classmates are up to. So give us the low-down. What have you been up to in the last few years? New books? New degrees? New pets? What has been going on, and what do we have to look forward to from you in the future?
JF: Thanks, Tricia. I miss my class, too, although most of us do still keep in touch.
It has been an eventful couple of years, for certain. About a month after the launch of FAITHFUL, I graduated from Vermont College of Fine Arts with my MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. A month after that, my family moved to Montana as my husband retired and our son began college there. Four months later, my publisher offered me a new contract to write another YA historical (with an option for a fourth novel). And finally in June 2011, my second novel, FORGIVEN, came out – it’s a companion novel to FAITHFUL.
So now I’m working on book three for Penguin (SIRENS, set in 1925 New York; I’m calling it a “noire romance” and it’s due out in late spring 2013.) And I have other stuff in the pipeline: a YA science fiction novel (I know you’ll like that!), a middle grade fantasy, book four for Penguin (which will include characters from the first three historical YAs), and a couple of smaller projects.
FORGIVEN by Janet Fox (Speak, June 2, 2011)
PJH: If you could summarize to a debut novelist the best part of being a member of an author group like the “Class of” groups, what would you say?
JF: No question – the companionship. Writing is inherently a lonely business, and the Classes of 2k are superb for bringing together a group of misfit introverts who want to, of all things, write! Not to mention the fabulous support we gave one another that I’m convinced helped boost our books out of the pack.
To any debut authors reading this – don’t hesitate. Join or form a group. You’ll grow a second family, and you won’t regret it.
PJH: Though I absolutely loved being a debut author, I’m really thrilled with all the experience I’ve gained since. What advice would you give to those who are debuting now? What do you wish you had known when you started out?
JF: Other than the above, I’d say, get out there. Be involved in the kidlit community. Get to know other authors in this marvelous collective. The main reason I love writing for children and young adults is that I LOVE the other authors I meet. For whatever reason, kidlit authors are the kindest, most generous, most welcoming people on the planet. So join in!
And we’re not in competition – there will, always and forever, be room for another book.
FAITHFUL by Janet Fox (Speak, May 13, 2010)
PJH: In addition to writing the next mega-million bestselling novel, what do you want to accomplish in the next five years? Do you want to write five more books? Get your black belt in Kung Fu? Walk the Great Wall of China? Let’s hear it.
JF: Great question.
Other than writing all the novels that I’m carrying around in my head – and there are a bunch of them, maybe six in all – I’d love to have some of the balls hanging in the air above me and our family finally come down. I’d like to see my son get his feet firmly planted and become a happy and settled young man (and I thought high school was bad!) I’d like to build our new house in Bozeman, which we can’t do until we sell our house in Texas, so I’d like that latter business to happen right now. Please.
My husband is planning some travel in the next couple of years – a trip to New Zealand, and a trip to Bhutan. The latter trip would be a meditative “walk” of about a month. I’m thinking this trip could be life-changing. I’m excited about it. Even if the entire thing will be done in the most primitive way, no five-star hotels, just the basics. I’m ready for something really spiritual and fundamental.
I’d also like to teach again, maybe at the college level this time, a course in creative writing.
And I’d like another dog.
I love wish lists!
PJH: Anything else you want to add? Five reasons to read your book? A picture of your writing space? How you celebrated when you signed your contract? Your choice!
JF: I just want to add that I recently wrote something that came out of the pen faster than anything I’ve ever done, and feels right. Feels like me. Feels like it came from a deep place. I’m hopeful that it will find its wings and soar.
PJH: Thank you so much for being here! And good luck with everything in the future!
JF: Tricia, it’s a true pleasure. You are an inspiration.
Bio: Janet Fox is the author of books for children and young adults. Faithful (Speak/Penguin, 2010), set in Yellowstone National Park in 1904, was a YALSA Best Fiction for YA nominee and an Amelia Bloomer List pick, 2011. Forgiven (2011, Speak), set in 1906 San Francisco during the great earthquake, is a Junior Library Guild selection, 2011. Janet has numerous MG and YA projects underway including another YA novel, set in 1925, due out 2013. She is a former high school English teacher and received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults in 2010 (Vermont College of Fine Arts). Janet lives in Bozeman, Montana.
Thanks for helping me celebrate former debuts! And if you are a former debut and are interested in being featured, check out this post here!