Name: Joy Preble
Debut Group: Class of 2k9
Debut novel: DREAMING ANASTASIA
PJH: Okay, so it’s been 3 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?
JP: I think the better question would be, what haven't I been up to? It's been a wild ride since '09. I think it has for many of us. Since Dreaming Anastasia came out, I've also been lucky to write and publish the other two books in the trilogy: HAUNTED released in February 2011; ANASTASIA FOREVER is coming on August 7th 2012. I like to remind newbies that this series sold to Sourcebooks one book at a time. So don't give up! It happens in different ways. During this time, I've been through 4 editors and 3 publicists, which has made the journey a bit rocky at times. But miraculously, editor two, Dan Ehrenhaft, is now my editor again, this time at Soho Press, where I am incredibly fortunate to be publishing my fourth YA novel, THE SWEET DEAD LIFE, which arrives in May 2013, as part of the inaugural list of their new Soho Teen imprint. In addition to that, I have a short story in a mystery anthology for Soho, called WHO DONE IT, which comes out February 2013, and edited by the very brilliant Jon Scieszka!
But the book stuff is only half of it: Just as DREAMING started to take off in early winter of 2010, I was suddenly diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Basically, in the same week in February, 2010, I was offered a contract for book two and received the cancer diagnosis. It was not an easy time. It was such a set of extremes that my agent and I actually ended up doing this sort of dark humor joking that went like this: Should we tell them I have cancer? What will happen to the sub rights negotiation? And stupid stuff like that. The good news? Surgery, followed by radioactive iodine treatment and so far, two years later, I am still cancer free!
At the end of the 2011, though, I decided to give up full time teaching and try out full time writing. So far so good. I don't know if I'm more productive, but I'm not grading 175 Julius Caesar essay while trying to finish copy edits, so that is a good thing, I do believe! I'll keep you posted on whether I can stay away from the classroom.
Beyond that, my son got married; we rescued a 40 pound basset boxer mix who is sweet but crazy, and because I wasn't teaching, I actually traveled to Wyoming and Montana last October - the first time since kindergarten that I wasn't in school.
ANASTASIA FOREVER by Joy Preble (Sourcebooks, August 1, 2012)
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?
JP: You don't have to go into the abyss of first time publication alone. You have this amazing group of men and women accompanying you and bolstering you on the journey. And I think it really is a case of 20 + brains being so much better than 1. Collectively, we figured it out: marketing and editing and developing a platform and balancing writing with being a public figure and the inevitable ups and downs and losses and rewards of this brand new career. In the process, you will develop life long friends -- deep, deep friendships with these people you never knew but now can't imagine ever being without.
THE SWEET DEAD LIFE (SoHo, May 2013)
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?
JP: As that British WWII poster says: Stay Calm and Carry On.
Really, I think that's the best advice. Keep writing. Believe in yourself. Network, network, network. But don't try to do it all. You can't. If you hate blogging, embrace a form of social media that you enjoy. Learn the industry. Read. Read. Read. Be your own best advocate; don't be afraid to ask. The worst that can happen is someone will say no. That said, don't be whiny and greedy and awful. No one enjoys bad author behavior. Ever. Say thank you. Say it a lot. Thank your editor, your copy editor, your publicists. Thank everyone. Starbucks cards are everyone's friends. And no more than two glasses of wine in public. You'll thank me for that last one.
HAUNTED by Joy Preble (Sourcebooks, February 1, 2011)
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.
JP: As my stories above probably demonstrate, you really just never know. Five years is a long time. But if I had my way about it, I would sell and publish at least one new book or project of some sort each year. After I go to Ireland this fall, I would add five more places to my places I've traveled list: specifically Italy, France, Israel, Spain, Australia. I would also finally sign up for and regularly attend yoga class and perfect standing on one foot for at least a minute! And since this is my dream status, I would also sell multiple foreign rights, a movie deal, and oh yeah, finally get my bathroom remodeled and my bedroom flooring redone. Which would make me very happy.
DREAMING ANASTASIA (Sourcebooks, 2009)
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!
5 Reasons to read the DREAMING ANASTASIA series:
- The Anne/Ethan romance.
- Baba Yaga the witch
- Crazy Russian mermaids
- I destroy a lot of cool Chicago landmarks. Gleefully.
- Ethan's sexy tattoo.
PJH: Thank you so much for being here! And good luck with everything in the future!
Joy Preble is the author of the DREAMING ANASTASIA series (Sourcebooks), which blends paranormal romance with historical fiction. The second book, HAUNTED, is out now, and ANASTASIA FOREVER is coming in August 2012. Another paranormal – about a sixteen-year-old stoner who returns from a fatal car accident as his sister’s guardian angel – THE SWEET DEAD LIFE – is set in Houston and slated for May 2013, from Soho Press. Joy grew up in Chicago, where she dreamed of being a back up singer but settled for becoming a writer so she could get paid for making up stuff. She now lives with her family and a crazy half-basset/half- boxer in Texas, where she frequently gets into wild rumpuses and other mischief. When she’s not writing, you can find her eating guacamole, fighting her Bravo Channel addiction and insisting that Twizzlers are a food group.
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!