I totally love this. It truly makes my day when I can connect with such amazing people all around the world, as well as closer to home, and it is a wonderful opportunity to be able to share their great personal stories and novels with my readers, colleagues, and friends. That said, my guest today is another friend I met online. She is honestly a good sport when it comes to keeping up with everything so many of us have going in the world of writing and it is my pleasure to share her story with you. She is, Janell Rhiannon.
I have lived my life between two states, Hawaii and California. But, I call California’s Central Valley my home. I went to a local community college where I realized I loved history and literature, and I could actually do math (something that eluded me in high school). I went on to CSU Fresno and continued studying history. I was very lucky to have two excellent and influential professors, Dr. Hanson (VDH) and Dr. Cline. They both encouraged the pursuit of academic writing, and gave me the tools to research like a gladiator. Because of them, I earned a masters degree in history with an emphasis in the ancient world. However, it was my freshman English teacher who I remember encouraging me to write fiction. And, so I am.
How long have you been writing?
I think I can honestly say I have been writing since I was nine years old. I wrote a play in 1976 for my class based on the Betsy Ross story (OMG, I just realized I was writing historical fiction before I knew that was a genre.) I have always been writing…stories, poems, dreams, ideas, weird ideas, weirder ideas…
What was your life like before becoming an author?
Since I am an “indie” author, I still have a day job. Currently, I teach reading in high school as well as theater and history. I think there was a point a few years ago when I thought it was time to write and publish. It made me nervous to make that decision. As any indie writer will tell you, there is that voice in your head you must push against that says “indie” publishing isn’t really publishing. But, now I proudly say I am a writer (and squint only one eye, not both). And since I am also a teacher, I write usually every night, wee early hours, and wee late hours. I squeeze it in anywhere I can.
Who or what inspired you to write?
Good stories inspired me when I was young, and continue to inspire. I love a good book, film, or television show. When I was young, I wrote about things of teenage angst. As I got older, human relations intrigued me. I am inspired by a piece of music, especially epic soundtracks, and art…like Phatpuppy Artist, Claudia. Her pictures make this greedy side of me want to buy them all up for myself and write a story for each one. And people. Always people.
Do you have a specific writing style or genre?
I use a lot of literary allusion in my writing. In Invisible Wings, I make much allusion to Biblical stories, as well as to myth and romantic poets. My genre niche is historical romance with dashes or paranormal. Although, Invisible Wings is straight YA-14 Paranormal. (I say 14 plus, because there is language best suited for high school).
Tell me about your latest book? What’s it about? (Include purchase link)
Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.com/B006PW42JC
Amazon Paperback: http://amzn.com/0615618790
12 Lives, 12 Twilights, 12 life-altering experiences
Invisible Wings is more than a compilation of short stories. It’s a framed story. In chapter one, you’re introduced to Arabella, who learns on her fifteenth birthday that she is a “reborn” angel. She is the constant character thread in each chapter, as she interacts alongside another teen character. The final chapter ties all previous stories together through Arabella’s own story.
The teen-angel Arabella must help her classmates realize their true destinies, using her angelic abilities, including time travel. The moment the first star pops into the twilight sky, Arabella shimmers into action on invisible wings. Arabella works her angelic magic in the tragically beautiful lives of twelve teens. There is Bryson who dreams of kissing the lips of a girl named Sapphire, before he was paralyzed, Jayla who wishes she was white instead of African-American, Homer who wants his soul-mate to drop from the sky and ease his loneliness, and Ramon who feels destined to be in a gang like his father. Arabella answers their dreams and wishes in unexpected ways, and those of eight others.
What was your favorite part of the book to write?
“The End”…(LOL) that’s a great question. I think there were moments in each character’s story where I felt the writing flow, and that’s always the best. I think I like the twilight moments the best. The crescendo of Arabella doing her thing, yeah, that was my favorite part.
What was the hardest part to write?
There is a story about a young girl, Nalea, whose mother died and she and her family are homeless. That story really made me think about gratefulness and family, and how we often take things for granted. It was bittersweet, and it was hard to write. Can I say editing at this point?
What do you find most rewarding in writing a book?
Bringing characters to life. I love putting words in their mouths. It’s probably the only time you get to “tell someone what to say”.
Do you have any other books complete or in progress?
Yes. Livingstone Saga. The first novel is titled Birth and comes out Valentine’s Day! It’s the first book in a planned trilogy. I will tell you this secret first, I realized the other day, I might have a fourth book in here…maybe stay in medieval Spain one more book.
What are your future plans in regards to writing?
Keep writing. I hope I never stop writing. I love the idea of indie-pubbing, so I guess, as long as I write, I can publish:)
Are you listed on the major social networks like facebook, twitter, goodreads, etc…
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/janellrhiannon
FB Invisible Wings page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Invisible-Wings/288051067876362
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
I think the best advice is just to write. Listen to when people are critical and take what you can from it. And read everything you can.
Outside of writing, what is your most favorite thing to do and why?
If I am not writing, I’m watching a movie or reading a book. My favorite thing to do when not writing? Spend time with my granddaughter.
Anything else you would like to add for future fans and friends?
I have lots of stories swirling around in my head, so keep checking back with me.
Email me, ask me questions…I love communicating with everyone:) Thank you for asking me to do this. It was a grand time:)
Thank you, Janell. It was a great pleasure to interview you on my blog and I look forward to reading more of your wonderful book. The reviews from some of your young readers in the beginning of the book really spiked my interest and I hope you continue forward with much success. Big hugs and best wishes to you, always.