Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Featuring J.A. SOUDERS and RENEGADE!

Today I'm so excited to feature fellow Tor Teen author, J. A. Souders (aka Jessica). I initially saw the cover for her debut novel, RENEGADE, almost a year ago and fell in love. I had to read it. And yes, it totally met all my expectations.

RENEGADE by J. A. Souders (Tor Teen, November 13, 2012)

Jessica has agreed to stop by the Inkpot and answer a few questions for us! So here we go!


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

JASouders: Renegade is about a girl—who happens to be the princess of the underwater world named Elysium—who thinks everything about her life is perfect only to find out that her entire world is a lie and her mother is a monster. It’s BioShock meets the Bourne Identity for teens.

PJHoover: I love hearing happy publication stories. Can you tell us the path to publication for RENEGADE?

JASouders: I was already with my agent when I wrote RENEGADE, but I just knew it was “the one.” When I gave it my agent, she fell in love with it and couldn’t wait to try and sell it. We worked on it for a few months to make it perfect and the entire time she talked it up all the time. When we finally went on sub, it only took about 5 weeks to get an offer from Tor.

PJHoover: I love the blend of fantasy and sci-fi in the beautiful underwater world! How did you get the idea for RENEGADE?

JASouders: The idea came from a blend of a lot of things. I’ve always wanted to write a story that takes place in an underwater city, but I couldn’t ever get it right. One day I was watching a documentary on people’s obsession with perfection and listening with half an ear to my son play the BioShock videogame. It hit me like lightning and the story poured out.

PJHoover: There are tons of books out there. What are five awesome reasons why RENEGADE should be the one for them to read?

JASouders: This is a hard question, because there have been so many wonderful books lately. Well, personally I’d say people should read Renegade because

1) it has an awesome setting, it takes place in an underwater utopia (but there isn't mermaids or any mythological creatures.) I’m extremely proud of the world building of Elysium and it's citizens.
2) the romance. It's not the focus of the book, but it's an important part of it. It's just enough to spice things up without being too much. Plus no annoying insta-love! ; )
3) A seriously kick butt heroine who's pretty and feminine, but not afraid to get her hands dirty and protect those she loves.
4) a slightly reluctant hero, who isn’t afraid to take the back seat and let a female take the lead if it ups their chances of survival.
5) It’s a fast-paced thriller, with enough twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat and turning the pages.

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

JASouders: I’d definitely find a way. I’d MAKE paper and pencils if I had to, to keep writing. LOL. I can’t not write, so I can’t imagine even the apocalypse would keep from writing. I live in Florida, so the most practical would probably be to set up a solar array for electricity so I could run my computer.

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

JASouders: Word of mouth, I suppose. It doesn’t really matter how much you do if people don’t like your book, it probably won’t become successful. Because people have a habit of telling everyone and everything they come across they hated something. But they also love to share when they love something.

PJHoover: Finish this sentence, and tell us why. Writing is a lot like…

JASouders: ...pulling teeth from an angry alligator. :P

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

JASouders: Well, I’m working on developmental edits for book 2 and I’m writing book 3. I’m also outlining a mid-grade science fiction book that I’m really excited about.

PJHoover: What has been your favorite experience as an author thus far?

JASouders: The readers. I love when people tweet or email me or and tell me how much they enjoyed Renegade. Some of the reviews are so passionate, even though I wrote it, it makes me want to go back and experience the book as they did. It’s just a totally awe-inducing and awesome feeling.

PJHoover: Please share your favorite inspirational thought!

JASouders: “Keep Moving Forward.” It’s from the Disney movie MEET THE ROBINSONS and it’s my favorite quote, because no matter how hard anything is, if you just keep moving forward, things will get better.

PJHoover: Thank you so much for being here!

JASouders: Thank you so much for having me!



J.A. Souders was born in the heartland with an overactive imagination and an over abundance of curiosity that was always getting her into trouble. She first began writing at the age of 13, when she moved to Florida and not only befriended the monsters under the bed, but created worlds for them to play together.
Because she never grew up, she decided she’d put her imaginary friends to work and started writing. She still lives in the land of sunshine and palm trees with her husband and their two children.

And you can connect with J. A. Souders 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. Fun interview. I loved Jessica's answer about how important word of mouth is in getting the word out about your book. So excited about this book.

  2. Great interview! I was able to read an ARC of this book and really enjoyed it. I loved the way memories played into the story.

  3. Renegade is about a girl—who happens to be the princess of the
    underwater world named Elysium—who thinks everything about her life is
    perfect only to find out that her entire world is a lie and her mother
    is a monster. It’s BioShock meets the Bourne Identity for teens.

    This is the best two-sentence synopsis of a book that I've read in ages! Added it to my list before even reading the rest of the interview :).

  4. Yay, Catherine! You will love it!

  5. Yes, the memories were so cool, weren't they! Loved how that was done!

  6. Yay for word of mouth! It is so key! Thanks, Natalie!


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