How They Got Here: 2009 Debut Author Danielle Joseph

This post is part of a year-long series of blog interviews I’ll be hosting with my fellow 2009 Debut Authors, called "How They Got Here."  

It should be an especially helpful series for teens who write, teachers, and anyone who wants to write for kids.  2009 debut authors will be dropping by to talk about how their writing in school shaped the authors they are today, what teachers can do to make a difference, how they revise, and how they found their agents and editors.  (You’ll even be able to read some successful query letters!)  If you know a teacher or two who might be interested, please share the link!

Today… Danielle Joseph
, author of SHRINKING VIOLET!

So I’m extra pleased that I’m Danielle’s blog tour stop today, since I just finished reading SHRINKING VIOLET yesterday and loved every minute. This is the kind of book teens love for its authentic voice and realistic portrayal of what it’s like to be graduating from high school.

Tere Adams is a super-shy senior who loves music and has dreams of being a radio DJ. Her inner strength is tested when her mom’s boyfriend provides an "in" to the local hit station at the same time a dreaded group presentation at school forces her out of her shell there. As someone who worked in radio right after college, I laughed like crazy at Joseph’s dead-on characterizations of the personalities that inhabit popular radio stations, from the shirt-open prime time DJ, to the music-loving cool guy, to the front desk receptionist. This novel will especially appeal to teens who are constantly attached to their iPods and those who love popular music, and it has a mysterious love interest to satisfy romance fans, too. A fun, fantastic summer read!

Welcome, Danielle! Tell us about the first thing you ever wrote that made you think maybe you were a writer.

"Mommy, Can I Go to the Zoo?" Written and illustrated by me in first grade and laminated by my teacher.

What books did you love when you were a kid?

Pippi Longstockings, all Judy Blume books and I was a big fan of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.

Is there a particular teacher or librarian who was a mentor for you in your reading and writing life?

I was lucky to have many inspiring and supportive teachers but I will always thank my mom for reading to me every night.

Moving on to the here and now, most writers admit that making time to write can sometimes be a challenge.  When and where do you write?   Do you have any special rituals?  

I sometimes write in my office and other times I head off to Starbucks with my laptop. Sometimes I sit down with a cup of coffee, other times it’s all about the chocolate. If I’m editing I like quiet. If I’m writing something new, I often turn up the music.

Your favorite strategy for revision?

I like to break things up into segments and I often jump around.

Best advice for young writers?

Be true to yourself. Write what you want!

What’s special about your debut novel?

That I wrote about real people and their fears.

What were the best and worst parts of writing it?

The best was just getting my thoughts down on paper. There really was no worst because I had so much fun writing this book!

How did you find your agent and/or editor?

I read a book that I really enjoyed and then decided to query the agent. She liked my sample and requested the full manuscript and soon after we began working together!

Thanks for sharing your journey, Danielle!

You can read more about Danielle at her website, and of course, you can ask for SHRINKING VIOLET at your local independent bookseller.  You can also order it through one of my favorite indies, Flying Pig Bookstore (they ship!), or find an indie near you by checking out IndieBound!

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