Thursday, August 8, 2013

Interview with Jan Krause Greene














Q:  Welcome Jan Krause Greene, how are you today?
A:  I am great today. So happy to have this "chat" with you, Megan.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A:  Well, let's see. I am sort of a late-bloomer when it comes to writing fiction. I used to have a weekly newspaper column called HOMEFRONT. It was about raising 5 sons...mostly humorous, sometimes serious. My sons are all grown up now. I also did lots of writing for work, but in the last few years I decided to try some poetry. I really like spoken word poetry, and now I am hooked on writing fiction. I live in a Boston suburb with my husband my mother. I love music and dancing, but I have no talent in either. Also really love my perennial garden and my veggie garden. My pale green thumb is getting a little greener lately. :-)

Q: What genre would you say that your book is in?
A: That has been the hardest question to answer. Publishers want you to fit into a specific genre, but my novel is more of a hybrid, I think. So the general category is contemporary fiction. But it has some supernatural elements and raises some questions about reincarnation and time travel. There is definitely a spiritual aspect to it. I have been interviewed on a radio show devoted to paranormal happenings, but it is not a  typical paranormal story. 

A: Tell us a little about I Call Myself Earth Girl.
Q: This is from the book's back cover and I think it does a good job of describing it.
 All Gloria ever wanted was a normal life. Instead she is having recurring dreams about Earth Girl, who recounts the story of her abduction and rape. When Gloria discovers that she is pregnant, despite her husband's long absence, she begins to question her sanity. Could she really be carrying Earth Girl's baby? Can she save her marriage while unraveling the mystery that ties her to the past and future and to a love that endures beyond time? 

Q: Where did you get the idea for I Call Myself Earth Girl?
A:  This is sort of a complicated answer. Earth Girl is the character in the dreams that Gloria has, but Earth Girl's story came to me years before the rest of the book. Back in 2006, I decided to try writing fiction. I sat down at the computer and the story of Earth Girl just started pouring out of me. It sounds like such a cliche', but I feel like she came to me and told me her story. I had no idea where the narrative was going. It was like Earth Girl was just telling me what happened to her. When I finished writing her story, I really didn't know what to do with it. So I just let it sit....for years. But I never forgot about her.
Then, in 2010, I finally took an entire week to devote completely to writing. That is when I realized that Earth Girl's story could be someone's dream and that I could use that dream to propel the whole plot.

Q: Is this going to be a stand-alone book or part of a series?
A:  Originally I thought it would be stand alone, but by the time I was writing the ending, I had already started to think about a sequel. I hope to begin it this November.
Q: How long did it take you to write I Call Myself Earth Girl?
A: Three weeks, or 6 years! It depends on how you count it. I wrote the Earth Girl part in one day in 2006. I wrote the first half of the actual book in one week in November of 2010. I didn't get back to it until November of 2011 when I took another week to do nothing but write. I finished the first draft that week. After I found a publisher in November of 2012, I spent about a week doing revisions.
Q: Do you have any certain method to your writing? Some like to outline, some write the ending first, others just let it flow.
A: I am a just-let-it-flow type of writer, but I don't think that means all the ideas come when I sit down to write. I really think my subconscious is working on the book without me even realizing it. But,I have to be actively writing word for word to be able to release the ideas. I can not write an outline ahead of time. I have never been able to do that. When I was in school, if the teacher required an outline before the paper was written, I would have to actually write the whole paper, then create an outline from what I wrote. I would hand if the outline first, but the process was backwards from what the teacher wanted.
When I was an English teacher myself, I told my students that there were many different ways to approach research papers, personal narrative, etc. I told them it was important for them to find the process that worked for them, and that I would help them figure out how to do that. Of course, a research paper needs research so they could not skip the research aspect, although a few tried to do just that. ;-)

Q: Is there any particular music that you would say goes with your book or that you listen to when writing or do you need it quite?
A: I don't have a certain type of music that I listen to while writing, although sometimes a song I hear at another time can inspire me. I definitely do not have to have quiet while writing. My husband thinks this is pretty weird, but I sometimes put the TV or radio on in the background because having voices in the background helps me concentrate. On the other hand, if I have to respond to someone who is talking to me, that breaks my concentration. As for music that goes with the book, I didn't really think about that. But I had a video trailer made and I like the music the producer chose.
Q: Is this the first book you’ve written?
A: Yes.
Q: Did you find it hard to find a publishing company that was right for you?
A: Yes and no. I spent some time trying to figure out how to write the perfect query letter in order to get an agent. I researched agents trying to figure who would want to represent my book, but I never really found someone that I thought would want to take a chance on it. So I never even sent out a query letter to an agent. I had pretty much decided to self publish, when a friend told me about a publisher in the UK who had just started a new imprint called Soul Rocks. I loved the fact that you don't need an agent to query this publisher. The whole thing is done online. It is all very transparent too. You can see everything that the editors say about your book during the decision-making process and if you care to do it, you can see everything they say about the other books they publish. 
They are a very different type of publishing company. They have 4 standard contract levels. If you get offered a level 1 or 2 contract, they take care of all production, distribution, some promotion, etc. Pretty much like a more conventional publisher, but there are no agents and no advances. They have the rights to your book and you get royalties. If you get a level 3 or 4 contract, they ask you to pay some of the costs - based on the number of words in the book. I had decided if I got a level 1 or 2 (I did!), I would go with them. If they offered a 3 or 4, I would self-publish. So far, I have been quite satisfied.

Q: Is there anything you would like to talk to your readers about?
A: Well, let me see. First of all, thanks for reading my book!  I would love to hear from readers who have questions, comments, etc.  I do have a question for them too. Do they think this book is appropriate for high school age kids?
 I guess I would also like them to know that I purposely made the conclusion of the story open to interpretation...also open to a sequel. ;-)  But part of the reason it is open-ended is because I believe what I say when I speak about the book: "What happens next is up to all of us...we are all connected."

Q: Thank you so much for joining us today! How can your readers reach you?
A: Readers can reach me by leaving a comment on my Facebook page: I Call Myself Earth Girl 
and through my website:  www.icallmyselfearthgirl.com  (that doesn't look like it turned into a link, does it?)
There is a contact us section on the website.
Also, I have a blog, but I haven't been very active with it lately. I hope to write a blog later today, however.
I am on Goodreads, of course, and I have an author page on Amazon.com
Here is a link to the video trailer. I hope you enjoy it. http://youtu.be/-AEW7f7n5a0