Today I’m fortunate to present J.M. Sullivan, author of ALICE: THE WANDERLAND CHRONICLES.
Question 1) What part of the world do you come from?
J.M. – Well, I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and spent most of my life there. But just recently my family has embarked on a rather grand adventure and we are living in the United Arab Emirates so I can teach science in Abu Dhabi! The crazy thing is that even though we moved halfway around the world, it seems a lot like home—I guess that’s what happens when you move from one desert to another! 😉
Question 2) What do you think makes a good story?
J.M. – I think there are lots of elements than can go into books that can make them very good, but for me personally it lies in the characters. Even if the plot is rocking, if the characters fall flat for me, it’s not likely to get on the vote. On the flip side I’ve read books where I wasn’t completely sold on the premise, but the characters bought me in. And while other elements are definitely important, my thought is- if I’m going to invest 300+ pages of my life to these characters, I need to enjoy being around them.
Question 3) What inspired you to write your first book?
J.M. – I’ve always loved writing and wanted to be a writer, but up until recently I let life and schedules and uncertainty keep me away from ever finishing a WIP. I’ve started several stories, but just never reached the point where they made a full ‘book.’ But when I got the idea for Alice last year, I don’t know, something just clicked. I knew that I HAD to write this story and finish it. I read once that a story won’t be written until it’s ready. I guess Alice was finally ready.
Question 4) Speaking of inspiration, you created the twitter hashtag game #authorconfession. Can you tell my readers who may not be familiar with it a bit more about it?
J.M. – Sure! #AuthorConfession is a writing game on Twitter where other writers answer questions about their writing, their WIPs, and themselves using the Author Confession Hashtag. Each month, I make up a different set of questions that we go through together, answering one prompt per day. I love it because it’s a great chance to meet other writers and see what they are working on and find more great books to read!
Question 5) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
J.M. – Well, since I am a Teacher and a mom writing is my ‘side job,’ so I don’t really have a set schedule. Really, I just try and work it in whenever I can. Sometimes that’s in the mornings while everyone is asleep, or if I can stay up late writing I’ll do that too. Weekends are great for giving me some extra writing time, but my favorite days are when I can sneak off to the coffee shop and write, but that realistically only happens about once a week. For me it’s not so much having a set schedule, but rather making sure I actually sit down and get words in.
Question 6) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
J.M. – Oh gosh. Well I guess one of them would be I absolutely cannot work if I’m not comfortable. You will probably never find me working on my creative writing while sitting at a desk in the library. I much prefer curling up in a comfy chair, snuggling up under my laptop and typing away. If I can’t get situated and settled in, I can’t focus. Weird, right?
Question 7) Give us the title and genre of your latest book.
J.M. – My debut novel, ALICE: THE WANDERLAND CHRONICLES Is a YA Dark Fantasy retelling of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.
Question 8) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
J.M. – That I actually COULD finish a book! Before I finished the final words on my draft for Alice, I wasn’t fully confident that I was going to be able to do it (not having a great track record before didn’t help anything). Finishing Alice was the final piece that made me believe that I could do the writing thing, and since then it’s just taken off. It’s been so surreal, but at the same time, incredibly awesome.
Question 9) Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?
“Don’t come out ’til morning,” he growled, piercing her with his golden gaze. Another animalistic screech sounded through the streets. The momerath were close. The boy glanced over his shoulder anxiously and grabbed the door handle. He tensed his arm to swing it shut.
“Wait!” Alice cried, realizing her voice sounded more than a little frantic. A million thoughts ran through her mind—Whose car is this? Why did you bring me here? Where are you going? Why are you leaving me here? These questions and more clashed into each other, demanding an answer. The winning query spilled out before she could stop it. “Who are you?”
The boy flashed her a sly grin and tightened his grip on the door. “I’m Chess,” he said. “Welcome to Wanderland.”
Question 10) What can we expect from you in the future?
J.M. – More retellings! Currently I am also working on two more novels – a YA Sci-Fi retelling of Peter Pan that is in the editing stages, and a draft of the sequel to ALICE! (I’m so excited!)
Question 11) What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
J.M. – Without a doubt, the best investment I’ve ever made was on the writing program Scrivener. I absolutely love how it helps me to keep my work organized and all in one place. It’s also super customizable so I can make my workbooks look however I want. So even though to other people it may look completely strange, I have a method to my madness, and Scrivener makes it possible.
Question 12) How can we contact you or find out more about your books?
J.M. – Find me on Social Media! I love Twitter and that’s probably my most active platform (@_JM_Sullivan), and where the monthly #AuthorConfession game take place. If you’re more of a photo person, I also have an Instagram account with the same handle that has lots of pictures of my kids, my cats, and my work. For an overall collection of my work, thoughts, and musings, you can check out my blog JMSullivanauthor.wordpress.com. Whichever you prefer, send me a message, I’d love to connect!