Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Featuring the Amazing JOY PREBLE and ANASTASIA FOREVER

Hi! P. J. Hoover here, and I'm thrilled to be interviewing one of my very dear friends for The Enchanted Inkpot today...

Joy has a brand new book coming out, the third in her ANASTASIA trilogy,

ANASTASIA FOREVER by Joy Preble (Sourcebooks, August 7, 2012)

Happy Book Birthday, Joy!

I was so fortunate to read an ARC of this third book. I adored it from start to finish! And just in case you are worried because the book looks so awesome and you haven't read the first and second in the series, no worries! ANASTASIA FOREVER totally holds its own as a stand-alone read.

A few quick things...

1) If you want to know more about ANASTASIA FOREVER, please head to my personal blog and read my review!

2) I am giving away an ARC of this amazing book over on my personal blog, so please head over and enter to win!

3) If you live in Texas, Joy is having a book release party! It's in Houston at the Blue Willow Bookshop on August 11th at 2pm. I'll see you there!

And now let's talk with Joy!


PJH: You’ve just run into an old classmate from high school and you tell them your latest book just came out. They ask what it’s about. What do you say?

JP: The DREAMING ANASTASIA series is the saga of Anne Michaelson, a sixteen year old Chicago girl who discovers that she is connected through both line of descent and destiny to a complex mystery of love, betrayal and revenge. Her own family in turmoil from the recent death of her brother David to cancer, Anne finds herself dreaming repeatedly of a girl trapped in a room, who in turn is dreaming of her family’s murder. When Anne collides at school with handsome, mysterious Ethan, everything sets in motion. Dark powers of elemental control rise in Anne. Ethan tells her that she’s been dreaming of Anastasia Romanov, kept captive all these years by the Russian witch Baba Yaga. Anne is somehow the one who can free her. And Ethan – well, he’s a member of a secret Brotherhood and he’s been immortal since Anastasia’s capture. Free one. Free the other. But Anne discovers that there’s a lot more at stake. Russian fairy tale figures come to life: rusalki and witches and Koschei the Deathless. People who will stop at nothing to keep their power and eternal lives. And a blood line connection to everyone and everything. As Anne works first to free Anastasia and then solve the mystery that has held part of her family captive for decades, she finds herself falling for Ethan, who may or may not be someone she can trust. The series travels backward and forward in time and place, in the real world and in Baba Yaga’s forest as Anne and Ethan race to uncover long hidden secrets and darkest of magicks before it’s too late. In this thrilling tale of secrets within secrets and truths within lies, the reader quickly realizes that history never tells you everything.

PJH: I love hearing happy publication stories. Can you tell us the path to publication for your ANASTASIA series?

JP: I love to tell this story because the ANASTASIA series sold one book at a time. This is good for people to hear because so often debut authors look at those two and three book deals and feel inadequate if it's not happening for them. Don't!

In the late fall of 2005, I finished writing what would eventually be titled DREAMING ANASTASIA. I'd started going to SCBWI meetings and conferences by then, taking writing seriously. At some point that year I'd brought ten pages of DA to a conference for an editor critique and she had been encouraging. So I began that process of subbing to agents... and promptly began getting rejections. But in February of 2006, after some revision and query letter tweaking, I sent a query to four agents. One rejected me within the hour. (ouch!) One never replied. But two asked for partials and then fulls. And one of those was Laura Rennert of Andrea Brown Literary, who said that she was passing my manuscript on to Michelle Andelman, their new agent at that time. Michelle connected with me and my work. But she did ask for revisions. And ultimately in July 2006, I signed with her. We worked on my novel together for a number of months. And ultimately in late summer of 2007, it sold to Sourcebooks. Initially, Sourcebooks planned on launching their YA imprint in 2008. That ended up being 2010, but DREAMING hit the shelves in September 2009 as their first official YA of the Fire imprint, even before the imprint officially launched.

And that's when things got wild and crazy. DA had sold as a one book deal. I think they had very modest expectations for it. And then suddenly, for this sort of perfect storm of reasons, it hit the ground running and sold far beyond what anyone had anticipated. Suddenly, the wanted the sequel and they wanted it fast. Of course lots of other things occurred too: My original agent left and I became a client of the delightful Jen Rofe. My acquiring editor left, before DA was out and I began working with a new editor... who also left before book 2, Haunted, was finished... and when Haunted came out in February 2011, my publicist left...

Somehow, it all worked out! My current Sourcebooks editor, Leah Hultenschmidt, arrived. She acquired book 3, which as I type this is about to arrive on 8/7/2012! And the little book that I wrote mostly during conference periods and late at night and that I might not have finished had I not been having the worst school year ever back in 2005, ended up a trilogy. My life changed in many huge and many small ways. And editor two ended up back in my life as the editor of THE SWEET DEAD LIFE, which will be coming out with Soho Press in May 2013.

So never, never give up. Even the winding journeys let you arrive where you need to be.

Joy (in the purple) dressed up like an evil Russian mermaid for Austin Comic Con.
P. J. (me) is in red to her right.

PJH: I can tell from reading the books that you’ve done tons of research on Russian folklore. What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned or the thing that surprised you the most?

JP: I don't know if it's the most interesting, but my favorite Russian folklore factoid is that most Russian fairy tales don't end with "And they lived happily ever after." Instead, they often end with "And they lived as happily as they could." Probably it tells a lot about me that I adore this!

PJH: When it comes to marketing, what do you think makes the biggest difference in whether a book is successful?

JP: You know, if people really knew the answer to this question, then every book would sell a million copies. And of course that's not the case. In fact, some absolutely brilliant books don't sell many copies and this always makes me sad. That said, I do think that an author's efforts make a difference, and if enough networking combines with good shelf placement through the publisher, then books will sell. But both things have to occur and in that magical right combination. Of course, this doesn't refer to the 'big' books. If a publisher has paid a lot of money for a title, they're going to do a lot for it to sell. End of story.

THE SWEET DEAD LIFE by Joy Preble (Soho Press, May 2013)

PJH: What is next? WIPs? Future publications? Please tell all!

JP: Well obviously I'm wrapping up the DA trilogy this fall. But in May 2013, my set in Texas YA, THE SWEET DEAD LIFE comes out from Soho Press and their new Soho Teen Imprint. I am sooo excited! It's about a girl whose stoner brother comes back from a fatal car accident as her somewhat inept guardian angel and together they solve this vast family mystery. It's funny and bittersweet and there's lots of guacamole and breakfast tacos and cowboy boots and I hope to have more news about all this soon! I'm also in a mystery anthology, WHO DONE IT, also from Soho, that arrives in February of 2013. I am not joking when I say that I am the least famous author in this thing and I am thrilled to rub page elbows with the rest of them!

Just for fun:

PJH: There are tons of books out there. Tons! What are five awesome reasons why your book has to be the one for them to read?

1. The Anne/Ethan romance.
2. A witch named Baba Yaga who has iron teeth and lives in a house on chicken legs.
3. I destroy a lot of cool Chicago landmarks.
4. Creepy Russian mermaids called rusalki.
5. A sexy time travel/body shift scene in book 3!

PJH: If the apocalypse came, would you still find a way to write? If yes, then how and why?

JP: Of course. Although I'm slow so I'd probably get eaten by a zombie pretty early on. But I'm a good hider, so maybe not. So if you write a book after the apocalypse and no one reads it, is it like clapping with one hand?

PJH: Mummy vs. Bigfoot... Who would win and why?
JP: Definitely Bigfoot. He would step on Mummy's bandages and unwind him. (personal anecdote: When my son Jake was 5, I dressed him as The Mummy for Halloween. About half a block from our house, a happy little Yorkie grabbed the bottom of all that white sheeting I'd cut into strips and pulled. Jake pulled the other way. The d--- Yorkie unwound the entire costume! So yeah. Bigfoot! or a tea cup Yorkie.)

PJH: Please share your favorite inspirational thought with my readers!

JP: Stay calm and carry on.
Really, it's all about this. Trust me.

PJH: Thank you so much for being here!


P. J. Hoover is the author of the upcoming dystopia/mythology YA book, SOLSTICE (Tor Teen, June 2013), the upcoming Egyptian mythology MG book, TUT (Tor Children's, Winter 2014), and the middle-grade SFF series, THE FORGOTTEN WORLDS BOOKS (CBAY, 2008-2010). You can read more about her and her books on P. J.'s website or blog.


  1. Can't wait to read this one! Lovely to hear how everything unfolded for Joy, too!

  2. Thanks so much for stopping by to visit, guys! I adore Joy and her books and wish her huge amounts of success!

  3. Fantastic interview! Excellent advice from Joy (and I totally agree about Bigfoot!).

  4. Great interview.. I loved hearing about Joy's road to publication. It was very inspiring, especially since it had bumps she overcame. Good luck with your book.

  5. I read an ARC of this too! Isn't it the best one yet??? I couldn't possibly ask for a better ending, everyone gets just what they deserve! ;) Love. This. Book.


Have your say...