Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Johanna Garth

This week's interview is with up-and-coming author Johana Garth.  Johanna's great debut novel, Losing Beauty is just out in paperback and available at Amazon .  You can also get if for  Kindle or buy a signed copy from  Fantasy Island Book Publishing .  Please also check out her blog here .

Losing Beauty is the first book in the Persephone Campbell series and has been getting some great press.  You can read reviews:  here, here, and here.

TAS: Let's get the plug out of the way.  Tell us a little bit about Losing Beauty - who will be interested and why? 

JG: Losing Beauty is a modern retelling of the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades.  The people who are the most gaga over it seem to be smart women, thirty and over.   I think part of the book’s appeal for this demographic is that it’s a fun, quick read that still feels substantive.

TAS: What aspects of being an author do you most enjoy? 

JG: Uhh, the writing!  Just kidding!  On second thought…I’m serious.  I really do love the writing the best.

TAS: What aspects of being an author do you least enjoy?

JG: The writing.  Oops, that was my answer to the last question.  There’s only a thin line between love and hate and that’s precisely how I feel about writing.  On any given day I can be on either side of the fence. 

TAS: What moment as an author have you experienced that you are likely to remember 20 years from now (good or bad)?

JG: The first time I saw the cover.  All of a sudden Losing Beauty went from a bunch of sentences that I’d written down, to a real live book.  The cover kind of took my breath away, and I want to give props to the extremely talented cover designer and writer, Ceri Clark, who designed it.

TAS: What bad habits do you have when it comes to writing/promoting your books and/or what do you wish you could do better?

JG: Really, Gary?  You want me to share my bad habits??  Okay, they’re numerous but here goes.  Easily distracted/snacks while writing/spends too much time on Twitter/quits writing when I’ve hit my word goal instead of when I’ve followed an idea to its logical conclusion/spends too much time on Facebook and Google+/answers the phone when my friends call.

If I could pick just one thing to change, it would be the first one.  Sometimes I feel like a kitten chasing any piece of string that happens to pass in my line of vision.

TAS: Do you have any authors that you try to emulate?  Why or why not?

JG: When I first started writing I wanted to be a modern-day Colette (without the husband locking me in the attic until I finished my book business).  That goal hasn’t changed.  She was, and is, an accessible writer who explores the human condition in a way that entertains and amuses.  She’s totally my heroine and the Claudine Stories are some of my favorite books of all time.

TAS: How important do you think a cover is to a book?

JG: Ridiculously important!  I tell my kids they should always try to look clean and neat but a book cover has to do even more.  It has to make you want to pick it up.  Once a potential reader picks it up or clicks on it to read the book blurb you’ve already achieved a certain measure of success.

TAS: Would you paint your web-site on your chest and streak the Superbowl if you KNEW it would make your book a smash hit?

JG: Oh my goodness!  You’re asking me a Superbowl question?  I have trouble differentiating between basketball and baseball and you give me a sports question? J   I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t streak but I might be open to a preconceived ‘wardrobe malfunction’.

TAS: Have you ever changed the way you worded something you were writing because you weren't sure the grammatically correct way to say it as originally imagined?

JG: All the time.  I think that’s what people mean when they say one of the biggest challenges of writing is technical.

TAS: Tell us about the most interesting person you’ve ever met.

JG: My French ex-boyfriend’s mother, she taught me about subtlety and how to make a kick-ass vinaigrette. 

TAS: What city that you've visited has the most interesting food?  Tell us more. 

JG: I lived in New York City for a long time and it’s hard to beat for interesting food.  You can go to Queens and get amazing Greek, Chinese or Italian.  In Manhattan you have everything from world class restaurants to little holes in wall where the cooking and serving are done by someone’s Russian grandmother.   My favorite thing about eating in NYC is there’s always that great feeling of conquest when you find a place that is undiscovered.

TAS: Tell us about a guilty pleasure.

JG: Cheetos.  I hadn’t had them in fifteen years.  I tried one the other day and now they’re all I can think about.

TAS: If you were, literally, the last person on earth, what would you do?  Would you go on?

JG: That’s such a sad question and it makes me think of Cormac McCarthy’s book, The Road.   That book ruined my life for at least three weeks.  Hopefully, my last person on earth situation would be more like a Disney film, and I would find a bunch of happy bunnies and tweeting birds to keep me company.


Connie J Jasperson said...

I loved Losing Beauty! What a wonderful concept. This is a great interview!

jenny milchman said...

You can hear every decibel or pitch of Johanna's voice in this fantastic interview. The honesty over the bad habits--kitten with string! ha!--the thin line between love and hate when you are writing--and the dense sorrow of THE ROAD and a planet without those we love, not to mention people to read out books. I just have one quibble--you could totally streak at the Superbowl--I know how you rock a bikini ;)

Can't wait for my copy of LOSING BEAUTY to arrive--I bet the sight will make me tear up a little, too.

Lisa Zhang Wharton said...

My brother-in-law loves cheetos, too. He has been living in Europe for 30 years. Everytime he comes here, he would eat and bring back home many bags of it. Amazing. It is the MSG :(. I agree with Johanna about "The Road". What a good interview, Gary.

Claire Chilton said...

Losing Beauty is a fantastic book and I love this interivew! Great work Gary and Johanna.

P.S. I'll be hounding you for the vingarette recipe later :)

Johanna Garth said...

Connie, thanks so much!

Jenny, you are too kind! The sight totally made me get teary.

Thanks Lisa, it's totally the MSG, which I discovered when I read the packaging. Yikes!

Claire, thanks so much and it's not so much in the recipe as in the technique...I guess that means you'll have to make your way out to Oregon so I can show you :)

Hart Johnson said...

I'm over 30. I'm female. I'm smart. I am TOTALLY your target market! Then your book was already on my list of books I need to get to. great interveiw!

naida said...

Great interview! I enjoyed reading Losing Beauty very much.
I agree, NYC has some great food. And lol about the cheetos. Now I want some.

Johanna Garth said...

Thanks Hart! Let me know when you're ready because now it's out in print!! I can sign copies.

Thanks for stopping by Naida. I know...the cheetos! Good thing we call them 'summer food' in our house and summer's over or else I might have felt obligated to go buy another bag.