Friday, December 2, 2011

Untraceable- Interview with the Author

Hey everyone! Today I am interviewing S.R. Johannes (Shelli), author of the newly released book Untraceable! Let's get started!


Okay, Shelli, tell us a little bit about yourself.

I have am MBA in marketing and worked in corporate America for over 15 years doing marketing, communication, and training. I walked off the job in 2006 and have been doing freelance marketing ever since. I own my own marketing company and have worked with Spanx and Goody Hair. I have a hubby from England, 2 kids and a Goldendoodle. I’m actually very boring, which is probably why I write thrillers :) I love being at home, doing yoga, reading and playing with my kids. That’s my everyday.

So how long have you been writing?

(Author S.R. Johannes)
I started right after I had my daughter in 2004. I always say she sat on something. I think since I had 4 months off maternity leave – I started writing while she was napping and couldn’t stop. I hadn’t written much before that. But when I was little I used to write all the time. IN 2006 I left my corporate job and started freelancing in copywriting and marketing. From there I started my own business where I could take the jobs I wanted while writing. It’s the best of both worlds.

Can you tell us more about your book Untraceable?

It's a wilderness thriller with a missing person, a kick-butt heroine, and of course - two hot boys :) what else do you need? Besides Moon Pies.

 What was your inspiration for this thrilling romp through the wilderness?

My hubby came home from camping and said “I was so deep in the woods, someone could do something bad and get away with it.” That planted the seed until I visited the bear pits in Cherokee. I just put those two things together.

I wanted to create a contemporary thriller. I loved James Patterson growing up and there are very few young adult thrillers out there that aren’t paranormal or dystopic. I wanted to create a “stay up late and read” sort of book with a strong girl character who could take care of herself in the real world with no magic or special powers.

What were the difficulties you had to overcome while writing it?

No one else believed in this book. My agent wanted me to shelf it. A publisher wanted me to make it dystopic. So my agent and I parted and I went off on my own. Something inside me needed this book out there.

Did you get published through a publisher or self publish?

I self-published. But I worked very hard to make sure it was of a high quality so you could not tell by looking or reading. Self-pubbing has a tough stigma so I wanted to set myself apart.

Is this your first book?

This is my first book that is published. But I have three other books that have almost been bought by publishers over the last 5 years. A tween paranormal, a teen nonfiction cyber guide, and a MG fairy book. I think I do better in YA though.

What are your upcoming projects?

A special edition is coming on ebook in Jan/Feb with the original ending. Book 2 should be done by summer 2012. After that, we will see. I have a SEKRIT project I'd love to get an agent for but that wont be until fall of next year.

Are there a certain genera you prefer to write in?

Young adult. My voice seems to come natural at 15 or 16. I prefer contemporary books. I can’t do paranormal or fantasy well. I also prefer suspense and thrillers. For some reason I cant seem to write a book without someone trying to get my MC.

Do you prefer writing on your computer or a notepad?

What is a notebook? :) Computer definitely.

How would you describe your main character, Grace, as a character?

Grace is independent, caring but awkward. She connects with nature more than she does with people. She’s a total introvert and would be happy alone for days at a time.

I will say she is impulsive and annoyingly reckless. Exactly like I was as a teen. I didn’t think about the effects of any cause. I didn’t think of consequences, I just did dumb stuff and got lucky. That is Grace. She acts and then thinks.

But no matter what she does, her heart is always in the right place. 

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?

I see pieces of myself in all my characters.

What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

Don’t give up and go with your gut!

Anything else you want people to know about you or your book?

Give it a try. I know it is not dystopic or fantasy but I think you will not only stay up late reading it but you will walk away forever changed. I hope.

And for a final, random, question. If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?

Besides food and water - books, laptop (with great wireless plan), and picture of family.

And there you have it! Thank you so much for stopping by today, Shelli!
Alright everyone, check out Shelli's blog to congratulate her!

Her book is available on Amazon in paperback and kindle formats, and on Smashwords for other ebook editions! Happy reading + have a great weekend!


16 year old Grace was reared in the wilderness. Her first pet was a bear named Simon. Her first potty, an oak tree. And, her first swing, a forest vine. Grace has lived in the Smokies her whole life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her everything he knew about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival. But when Grace's dad goes missing on a routine patrol, unlike everyone in her sleepy mountain town, she refuses to believe he’s dead. When a Cheetos bag and stolen government file materialize, Grace is convinced she’s one step closer to proving all the non-believers wrong.
Then one day while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from imminent danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent, that’s definitely not from her neck of the woods, and a secret. Grace has never felt a connection like this before, certainly not with her ex-boyfriend, the adoring, but decidedly unrugged Wyn. 
Now with renewed confidence, Grace travels deeper into the wilderness that has always been her refuge only to learn that her father's disappearance is not a mere coincidence. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kickass heroine to emerge from an epidemic that’s spreading like wild fire, threatening everything and everyone she’s ever loved.



fairbetty said...

Hey Jess! Great questions! Makes me want to read the book! :) Who wrote the synopsis at the end?

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

thanks Jessica :)

Michael Offutt, Expert Critic said...

Hot boys are like moon pies. Got it.

prerna pickett said...

great interview!

Reiko said...

Great Q&A, Jessica. Job well done!

By the way, I signed up with Create Space today to publish via Amazon (print on demand) paperback and Kindle as well. If all goes well, it should be ready to publish mid February - around Grandpa and my 40th wedding anniversary. :)

I quickly checked out Shelli's blog site. She is doing everything I'm told I should do as a self publisher. Nearly 1,500 followers - Wow!

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