Saturday, April 02, 2011

Guest Post: Elana Johnson

As part of the A Cornucopia of Dystopia event held by Casey from The Bookish Type and Danya from A Tapestry of Words, Elana Johnson, the author of Possession, is here today to do answer some of my questions.

A bit about Elana (as quoted from her website): She wishes she could experience her first kiss again, tell the mean girl where to shove it, and have cool superpowers like reading minds and controlling fire. To fulfill her desires, she writes young adult science fiction and fantasy. Elana is the author of From the Query to the Call, an ebook that every writer needs to read before they query. Her debut novel, POSSESSION, will be published by Simon & Schuster on June 7, 2011.

Why do you think dystopians are becoming popular again?
Ahh, dystopian. Why is it so popular, especially among the YA crowd? I think it’s because it puts the reader in a position of power to do something in a society they think is wrong/bad/falling apart. We basically live in a society like that, where there are people who are dissatisfied with the way things are. I think dystopian has huge crossover potential for that reason. Young adults - who are generally not in a position of power - and adults who maybe feel powerless in how their government is run can find heroes and heroines in dystopian novels. We can examine what we believe is right/wrong, good/bad, and then watch someone DO something about it.  

What are some of your favourite dystopian fiction books and why?
I’ve been reading a lot of dystopian lately. I loved Birthmaked by Caragh M. O’Brien. The vocabulary and use of language in that book is beautiful. And it’s different from others I’ve read.
I enjoyed Ship Breaker by Pablo Bacigalupi as well. Lots of violence, but in a world where it was necessary for survival. I’m down with bad things, as long as there’s a reason. And in this novel, there was.
I loved the emotional power in Matched by Ally Condie. The depth of what happens there is not in the plot, but in the character. And I liked that.
Across the Universe by Beth Revis is also on my radar for amazing dystopian reads. I like the dual point-of-view characters, and I like that it’s in space. Both those things make it truly unique.
I’ve just started Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky and I’m enjoying it so far. 
Most anticipated? Divergent by Veronica Roth. Can’t wait to get my hands on that one!

Why did you choose to write a dystopian and what makes Possession different from other dystopians that are on the YA market right now?
I read Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, and thought, “I want to write a book like that.” So I did. That was the first dystopian novel I’d read (gasps, I know), and as my first introduction into the “What if?” futuristic scenario, I just ran with it. Of course, I’m biased about Possession, but I think the reason it’s different from other dystopians on the market right now are two-fold. One: I believe it has a really strong, sarcastic, changing, competent main character. Her voice is really strong, and I think that’ll make it stand out from the crowd. Two: I also think it has more than dystopian. Possession is a mix of dystopian world-building, science fiction gadgets, and paranormal abilities. It combines all three, and I think that will help differentiate it from the others on the market as well. 

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Elana!


  1. Great interview. I'm looking forward to reading Possession.

  2. Love the interview! I agree with what Elana said about why dystopia novels becoming popular :)

  3. I absolutely adore Elana, I love when an author's personality shows through in an interview/guest post, it makes them into real people and not just names on a book cover. I have to say Divergent is one I'm really excited about as well, and Matched was one of my favorite reads last year. I loved the world of Possession and Jag is definitely on my book boyfriend list, I hope we get more of his and Vi's story!

  4. Thank you for having me on your blog! :)

  5. Love Uglies and it was the first YA book I read that got me into reading YA.

  6. I haven't got the chance to read Possesion yet but I hope to soon! Great interview :)

  7. How cool is it to hear an author say that they can't wait to get their hands on a certain book?! That's my life in a nutshell. LOL

    Like Possession. I can't wait to get my hands on it!

    Not bad picking up inspiration from Westerfeld. ;)


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