Today I have author of The Right & The Real Joëlle Anthony on the blog for my first every author interview! I read this novel back in March and I absolutely loved it! So it's a pleasure to have her here today.
Alluring Reads: What was your inspiration for writing The Right & The Real? Why did you choose the cult like subject matter?
Joëlle Anthony: It started out less about cults and more about a girl on her own. Then I had to come up with a reason a young teen would be kicked out, so I dug around, and that’s what I came up with.
AR: Did you have to do much research on the subject matter? What findings helped you in writing this novel?
JA:There’s always some research, even on the things you know. For example, I was a theatre major at University, but I didn’t do musical theatre, so the writer/singer/actress, Joelle Charbonneau acted as my musical theatre expert. And for the cult stuff, I watched a lot of shows like 20/20 on Youtube. My cousin is an Oregon State Trooper, and he read all the scenes to make sure I portrayed the police accurately, and followed the law. Although, you do have to have some creative license and while I think he would’ve preferred all my officers to be polite, it didn’t really seem realistic to me in certain situations.
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JA: Jamie comes across as level headed, but I think sometimes, she simply making choices out of fear. I tried to imagine what it might be like for me to be in her situation, and I would be so scared of living on the street that finding a skanky motel is probably something I would do. Whereas other teens might just live in their car.
AR: There was a strong message in this book to teens about the value of critical thinking, what motivated you to convey that message?
JA: I don’t ever set out to convey a message, but sometimes they come about on their own. The thing I hope teens will get from this book is that sometimes secrets are more harmful than the consequences of keeping them. Jamie might appear to act strong, but actually, her biggest weakness is her inability to ask for help and to trust the people who love her.
AR: What character in The Right & The Real do you identify with most?
JA: Well, I am a bit of a blabbering fool like Trent! I mean, I hope I’m not now, but some of the stuff he says are things I probably would’ve said in high school because I was nervous around the opposite sex.
AR: What does your writing room look like?
JA: I am the proud owner of a fabulous little writing cabin. We just had it built last fall, and you can take a tour of it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENS-vFPcmL4
AR: Who are some of your favorite authors?
JA: John Rowe Townsend (British, loads of YA, has been a mentor to me for twenty years), Nevil Shute (possibly the best storyteller ever), Maud Hart Lovelace (Betsy-Tacy series…one of my biggest influences), and Paula Danziger (met her, she had purple sparkly Doc Marten boots!). More contemporary writers I like are Eileen Cook, Kerry Madden, Lisa Lutz, Sara Zarr, A.S. King, Jerry Spinelli, and J.K. Rowling.
JA: It’s really very simple. YA is what I love to read. I also like teens because they have so much optimism. When writing for adults about serious subjects, the writing is often so glum. Teens have this great outlook and so do I, so I identify with them more than I do adults.
AR: I read in your bio that you, at one time, gave acting a shot. What is the most memorable moment for you from that part of your life?
JA: I worked as a professional actor in the play Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding for ten months, doing two hundred performances. I was cast in various roles, but mostly I played the dorky bridesmaid. TTW is a mix of scripted parts and improvisation, and I have to say all the improvising with the audience was my favourite thing ever. I could do that show two hundred more times and never get tired of it.
AR: If you were stranded on a desert island and you could only have one book with you for the rest of time, what would that book be?
JA: How to Survive on a Desert Island for Dummies.
AR: What are some of your early influences that shaped your writing style? (music, books, movies etc.)
JA: The theatre in general influences the way I build characters and also write scenes. My husband’s music (www.victoranthony.ca) inspires me all the time and I’m constantly trying to work music into my books. In Restoring Harmony, it was the fiddle and piano. In R&R, it’s musical theatre. In the new book I’m writing now, my character plays piano and sings, but only for herself (her dad is an ageing rock star). And I do think I see things cinematically, which comes from all the movies I watched when I was younger. When I’m writing, I know exactly what everything looks like – from my characters’ clothes to the world around them – in minute detail, even if I can’t put it in the book.
Thanks for having me!
A writing cabin? Awesome, right?! You can read my glowing review of The Right & The Real here.