Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Enchanting Interview: P.J. Hoover

How long have you been writing?

Since the birth of my second child, which seems kind of counterintuitive, I know! My son came first, woke up a couple times a night, every night, for over a year. So when my daughter was born and started sleeping through the night at two months old, I was in heaven. I found all this extra time on my hands in the evenings I never had before. I started writing in 2004 and have only missed a handful of nights since.

What do you like best about being a writer?

The amazing feeling that kids are reading my stories and loving them. That’s just so cool!

What's your writing schedule like?

I’m super fortunate that my hobby is now also my job. I used to work as an electrical engineer, but in April 2008 I quit to focus on writing full time. I write in the evenings, every evening, from about 9:00-11:00. During the days, I work in clumps. If there is a bunch of publicity stuff to get done, I’ll spend the day knocking it out. If the publicity isn’t as front focus, I’ll spend the day writing. I have until I pick my kids up from school each day to work which is wonderful!

What's your writing process like?

I’m playing around with various techniques to help improve my craft. On some books I’ve spent months plotting and planning before even writing the first word. On other books, I’ve spent a couple days and then jumped in. It’s a matter of experimenting to see what works well for what kind of book, and what time spent improves the piece the most.

Do you have any writing rituals?

Hmmm…let’s see. Putting my hair up in a ponytail? Drinking a cup of coffee before attempting the first word? Emptying my inbox?
No, really, let’s see. I always write on a computer, never on paper. I always finish a first draft before attempting any revisions. I keep a digital voice recorder in my purse for when inspiration hits. I read the genre I’m working on. I read books on craft. I talk writing whenever I can.

What inspired this book?

A youth of sci-fi and fantasy TV watching inspired THE EMERALD TABLET. It all started with an 80s TV show called The Powers of Matthew Star. Matthew Star was an alien with telekinetic and telepathic powers who had to fit in with teenagers in a normal high school. He got to do cool things like save the world on a regular basis. So although the characters in THE EMERALD TABLET aren’t aliens, I’m happy to say Matthew Star was the original inspiration for the story.
Also, I’m a Trekkie. And one of my favorite episodes was Who Mourns for Adonis where they found out the Greek gods were actually just super humans on earth. I loved this idea, and incorporated it into THE EMERALD TABLET.

Favorite character in the book?

I’d have to go with Heidi. She’s a spunky girl whose hair spontaneously changes color when her emotions flare up. She’s fun, doesn’t mind breaking the rules, and can read minds like nobody’s business.

Which character is most like you or most unlike you?

I’ll start with the simple one: Iva is the most unlike me. She’s gorgeous, serious, and a vegetarian. I definitely eat meat.
I’d say I’m a combination of Gary and Heidi. I have the nerd qualities of Gary, but like to have fun like Heidi (not to mention I’m a girl).

Which character gave you the toughest time to write in the book?

No one character gave me a hard time. Hard for me was making sure the five kids all had distinct voices. It took many, many revisions to make sure lines of dialog were actually true to the characters saying them. And what’s nice about writing a trilogy is that with each book this can be improved upon even more!

Who would your ideal cast be if a movie was made?

My kids and their friends J
Seriously, no idea. I’m not a pop culture kind of gal and don’t follow who’s popular at all!

What's next for you?

Next for me is hopefully a lifetime of writing!
The second book in The Forgotten Worlds Trilogy, THE NAVEL OF THE WORLD, comes out in Fall 2009.
The third book, THE NECROPOLIS is due out in Fall 2010.
I’m also working on a MG urban fantasy series and a YA urban fantasy.

Interview by Kim
December 2008

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