Author Interview & Book Giveaway: Haunted by Joy Preble

Welcome to Author Joy Preble!


So what’s there to know about me? I’m the kid who loved reading and science and history, and even math, although I was always dreadful at it. I didn’t so much read as I consumed books. Vats of them. Buckets full. Baskets. Well, you get the idea. Although at first I was surprised that my very first published novel has turned out to be a young adult contemporary fantasy with a kick- ass teen girl heroine, a mysterious handsome guy and a famous Russian witch, all inspired by Anastasia Romanov’s disappearance, I suppose I really shouldn’t be surprised at all. After all, I read Madeline L’Engel’s A Wrinkle in Time a zillion times. I wallowed in Edgar Eager’s Half Magic. I stormed my way through all the Nancy Drew’s and the first really big (ooh, an adult size book) history account I sucked in was Nicholas and Alexandra. I liked my tv heroines strong and feisty, and my maternal grandmother really was a crazy Russian lady who had been one of – wait for it… here it comes… twenty children. Yes, that’s twenty as in 20. I doubt highly if anyone noticed when she ran off to America at sixteen with her tales of the Bolsheviks, married badly, raised four children on her own and was the least grandmotherly of grandmothers a girl could ever hope for. Seriously – no warm and fuzzies there, only admonitions to eat my vegetables so I would be strong enough to survive any impending pogroms. So why I was surprised that I wasn’t writing classic romance is only a product of my own personal idiocy.

I like breakfast foods – eggs, waffles, toast, and bunches of bacon, and big ball of twine type travel experiences like going to Mars Cheese Castle in Kenosha, WI and buying cheese curds and a cheese head hat. I’m desperate to travel to Ireland for reasons I can’t quite figure out. I’m the wife of a husband who needed a few years of retraining to get it right but who loves me – most days – with a wholeness of heart that’s probably not fully deserved and the mother of a really funny son whose life I occasionally mine for fictional inspiration. I’m a cat person who feels herself becoming a dog person (yeah, there’s a mutt in my future; I’m sure of it)

I love peanut butter and sushi (although not together), red licorice and those cute little mini orange/tangerine things. Love movie popcorn and movies in general. Hated country music til my latest WIP which is set here in Texas where I live, and now I can’t get enough of it which is an endless source of confusion to me. I didn’t drink much coffee til Starbucks began its world domination of my neighborhood and I morphed into the queen of overpriced caffeination. I prize my good friends fiercely even – okay especially – when they’re as crazy as I am.

I grew up in Chicago. Earned a degree in English at Northwestern in Evanston. Now I’m a Texan who never thought she’d live in the Lone Star State. I slog my way through endless heat the way I used to trudge through mountains of snow and ice – sometimes well into April or sometimes May. And I teach English in a large public high school and live in a suburb that sometimes feels like it has more money than common sense. Okay, more than sometimes. Maybe it’s those bumper stickers. You know the ones. All that “My kid is an honors student at….” I think it leaks into people’s DNA and they get this wacky sense of entitlement the size of their SUV’s…

I’ve been on the ride of my life the past couple of years as I’ve written Dreaming Anastasia (formerly titled Spark) and some other books I hope will be out there someday too. Truly, it’s a dream come true for me, and I am grateful, awed, and honored.


What is one book everyone should read?
Love questions that put me in charge of the world! I think everyone should A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle.

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
I LOVE breakfast, so this is tough, but if I had to pick only one, I’d say waffles and bacon.

Night owl, or early bird?
Definitely night owl, although unfortunately, I still have my day job teaching and have to be at school by 6:45 AM. As a result, I’m a round the clocker lately, which does not make me happy but simply is the way it is for awhile. Sleep is highly overrated.

Skittles or M&Ms?
M & M’s – specifically peanut or almond or the dark chocolate ones. Actually, there’s a dark chocolate peanut M&M now…

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
Because it’s a story about a strong-willed girl named Anne who collides with a handsome hottie named Ethan, discovers she has a destiny, and then gets stalked by any number things that go bump in the night – including a witch named Baba Yaga and a malevolent mermaid called a rusalka.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
Book three of the Dreaming Anastasia series is slated for Spring 2012. After that, I’m hoping to do another paranormal book or two and also branch out in to realistic fiction, hopefully with a book I’m working on that’s set here in Texas where I live.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
At first it was just seeing my books on bookstore shelves. But it’s also the hugely humbling experience of having readers excited to meet me and talk to me and the vast generosity of the children’s lit world – from authors to readers to bloggers. I am happier than I’ve ever been in my life!

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Read, read, read. You probably hear this all the time, but it’s true. Not every reader is a writer, but every good writer is a reader. Study the books you read. How do they start? End? Structure dialogue and internal dialogue? Word choice? Verb use? Tense? Whatever genre you want to write, read 100 books in that genre.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?
I wanted to be a vet for the longest time, most likely because we didn’t have any pets other than turtles until I was about nine and adopted a neurotic kitten.
If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why?

How did you know you should become an author?
I have loved writing my entire life. I used to tell myself stories to help fall asleep. Writing was always my dream job. It just took me a long time to admit that I could be successful at it.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
There’s a bit of me in all of them, even Baba Yaga and Viktor! But the character who’s probably closest to the real me – and interestingly many people’s favorite in the series – is Anne’s bestie Tess. She’s brave and loyal and funny and she has absolutely no filter, so she says what she’s thinking. Writing Tess is always easy for me. And fun.

Hidden talent?
I used to play the viola. And I used to be the JV girl’s volleyball coach my first year teaching. I totally sucked as a coach. It was the worst job review I’ve ever received, but I totally deserved it!

How do you react to a bad review?
Sometimes I pout. Mostly I try to remember that it’s part of the game; some people are going to love my books; others aren’t. Art is to at least some degree a matter of taste. As my friend’s mom says, “That’s what makes horse racing.” I have no idea what she means by this, but I think she means that we all can’t be the same. A glass of chardonnay doesn’t hurt, either.

What do you do in your free time?
Currently, I have no free time: I’m teaching full time, writing and promoting and traveling, and my son decided that May would be a good time to get married. But when I get some back, I love to walk, read, travel, hang with friends. Hopefully they’ll remember what I look like.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Reality television, but mostly the cable shows. The Real Housewives of New York and New Jersey; anything with Bethenny Frankel, who I simply adore; the Kardashians… E biographies… the list is long and colorful. But do you know I’ve never watched American Idol? And the only reality game show I can tolerate is Amazing Race.

What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you’d be embarrassed to admit?
Never embarrassed about the tv (see above).

Write a Haiku about your book.
Look! It’s Ethan, Anne!
Anastasia’s not quite dead.
Into the forest.

In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with?
Libba Bray. Oh yeah. I actually met her last year because she’s in an all YA author band with my former editor, Dan Ehrenhaft. She’s a phenomenal talent!!

Haunted by Joy Preble

Anne is trying her best to live a normal life, but she’s still got some power sparking inside her. She’s hearing and seeing things that she tries her best to ignore-like being haunted by a Russian sea nymph that claims the princess Anastasia is still alive.

That’s when Ethan Kozninsky-he of the stunning blue eyes, thick brown hair, and former immortal status-returns. Anne soon realizes that everything she’s been trying to forget might be impossible to bury.

Giveaway Details:
1 copy of Haunted by Joy Preble
Ends 4/19/11
Open to US & Canada