Interview with Johanna Parkhurst
What genre do you write and why?
At this point, I’m so firmly ensconced in reading and writing in the YA genre that I think my husband’s starting to wonder if he’s living in a middle school library. I definitely live this genre everyday—I teach reading and writing to middle schoolers. But to be honest, I’ve been writing stories about teenaged characters since I was college. It would seem my obsession with YA lit was just meant to be.
Here’s to You, Zeb Pike was very much a labor of love for me. It started as a book about a teenager trying to raise his brother and sister alone because his parents are useless. And somehow it ended up also being about sexual identity, a semi-famous mountain climber, love, and skateboarding. Oh, and hockey. Because what YA book doesn’t need a cute hockey player?
What marketing methods are you using to promote your book?
Marketing and I are still getting to know one another. I’d never really used Twitter before this first publishing adventure, so social media has been a bit of a learning curve for me. Mostly I’m just trying to get the book’s name out there. I’ve been on blogs and tried a Facebook chat. If nothing else, it’s all been really great for getting me out of my introverted shell. I’m having a blast getting to know readers. They’ve been incredibly kind and supportive.
Who are your favourite authors?
Wow, why not ask me to choose a favourite child?!? How does one pick? In YA, I’ve always loved Breaking Boxes by A.M. Jenkins, who was way ahead of her time with her writing, particularly where LGBT lit is concerned. I’m also a big fan of Brian Katcher and Alex Sanchez, who have done amazing things for pushing LGBT lit further into the mainstream. I greatly enjoy Jordan Sonnenblick’s humor, and I could die happy reading almost any book by Gordan Korman, who was my favourite author when I was a teen. And of course, let’s not forget the queen of YA, S.E. Hinton. If I ever meet that woman, I’ll probably pass out.
What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” –Cyril Connolly
I can frequently be found repeating that one over and over to myself whenever my Amazon sales rating pops up somewhere.
What's the best thing about being a writer?
It’s the world’s best excuse for incessant daydreaming. And oh, the power! The things I get to do to characters! Heheheh.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
I can be found attempting to figure out Twitter at https://twitter.com/johannawriteson. If you’re up for it, join my five-or-so followers! It makes me feel like one of the cool kids. J You can also like my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/johannaparkhurstwriteson.
Who designed the cover?
It was designed by the fabulous Anne Cain, who designs a lot of covers for Harmony Ink Press. She’s PHENOMENAL. This cover so perfectly captures the big themes of the book.
Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?
I learned a lot of strange things about Zebulon Pike, that’s for sure. And a few fun facts about skateboarding. Extra thanks go out to the students who taught me the difference between regular and goofy position.
Where can a reader purchase your book?