Author Interview with Johanna Craven
Creative people tend to pursue more than one creative outlet. This can be especially helpful for authors who are knowledgeable in a specific topic and can write about this topic. Readers have always used books to gain a better understanding of the world and learn new things. When an author can introduce readers to a new topic in a creative way, it inspires the best kind of learning. Johanna Craven is a musician/writer who has just published her first book, Music From Standing Waves, blending music and writing into a well-received YA novel available on Amazon. Check out her responses to my questions below, and visit the link to buy her book on Amazon where she has dozens of positive reviews.
1. How many books have you written and where can you buy them?
I have just released my debut novel, Music From Standing Waves, currently available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
2. What famous books can you compare to your own?
I grew up reading Australian author Melina Marchetta's great YA books including Looking for Alibrandi and Saving Francesca, and these have definitely been an influence on my work.
As a musician, I also love reading fiction with a strong musical theme. My favourites are Peter Goldsworthy's Maestro and An Equal Music by Vikram Seth. These books inspired me to write about the power music has to determine the course of a life, something I hope I have been successful with in Music From Standing Waves.
3. Why do you write for this particular age group?
I wrote the short story that would become Music From Standing Waves when I was a young adult myself, so writing the novel for a YA audience seemed like a natural thing to do. The transition from childhood to becoming an adult is always a tumultuous time, and this is certainly the case for the characters in my book!
4. How autobiographical are your books?
Music From Standing Waves began life as a very autobiographical short story I wrote in my second year at university to help me deal with the pressures of being a music student at the Melbourne Conservatorium. Although the characters and story line are completely fictitious, I have drawn from plenty of my own experiences to create the book's world.
Like Abby, I grew up in Australia in the 1990s and remember my childhood as simple, innocent and full of Nintendo and make-believe. I also went on to study at the Melbourne Con, as a pianist and composer. Although I have some great memories of my time at uni, there were certainly times when I felt some of Abby's frustration at stressful music lessons, rivalries between friends and lonely hours in the basement practice rooms!
5. What’s the best compliment that you’ve ever received about your writing?
I love hearing people discuss the characters in my books.
"I hope this person does that..."
"I hope this happens..."
The fact that readers become engaged enough in my stories to become emotionally involved in the outcome is a huge compliment!
6. What has been your greatest moment as a writer so far?
As a newly-published author, it is thrilling to know that my book is out there in the world. The morning after publication, I woke up completely anxious at the thought of this, despite wanting it to happen for so many years! I felt I was putting myself out there to be scrutinised by the world and it was terrifying! I really had to push myself to get out there and market it. So far, the response to Music From Standing Waves has been very positive, and now it is a great feeling to know anyone in the world could be reading my work!
7. Where do you get your covers?
I was lucky enough to stumble across this cover picture online, as it was exactly what I wanted. I purchased the image from the artist and completed the text myself. I will definitely do the same for my covers in the future as I'm very happy with how this turned out.
8. What is a subject/character/setting you would like to tackle? What is next for you?
I'm very interested in conservation issues, so I'm currently working on a YA book with an underlying environmental message. I also write historical fiction and am tackling a dark and fascinating true story involving runaway convicts in colonial Australia. A definite change of pace from contemporary YA!
9. End with a favorite quote.
One of my favourite quotes come from the 19th century author Henry David Thoreau. It's often quoted in part, but I love the whole thing:
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler."