June 13, 2014

Paranoia Blog Tour: Interview (J.R. Johansson)

In the aftermath of the events that nearly killed him, Parker Chipp is trying to learn to cope better with life as a Watcher. And it seems to be working...until he wakes up in jail with a hangover and 12 hours of missing time. Darkness has somehow taken control and Parker doesn't have a clue how to stop him. He finds an unlikely ally in Jack, the mysterious guy in the motorcycle jacket who offers to help Parker master his abilities as a Watcher. But even as they practice, the darkness inside Parker is getting more and more powerful, taking over Parker’s body and doing everything he can to destroy Parker's life.
When Jack reveals that there is another kind of Night Walker, known as a Taker, Parker starts to wonder if the strange things happening in Oakville are more than just a coincidence. After all, people are more than just sleepwalking. They're emptying their savings accounts with no memory of doing so, wandering into strange parts of town and disappearing, they're even killing other people--all in their sleep. If Parker wants to find out what's happening or have any hope of seeing his father again, he’ll have to defy Jack and put his own life in danger...because the more he learns about these other Night Walkers, the more certain he becomes that his life isn't the only one that could be lost.


1. In 5 words how would you describe Paranoia?
Hmm, that's hard. I'd say: Tense, Dividing, Family, Friendship, Identity, Fear

2. What was the hardest thing about writing a sequel book?
It's very different from writing a first book or a standalone. You have to be able to build upon what you've already made, but you can't end up repeating yourself or doing the same thing you've already done. I think that's one of the parts many authors struggle with.

3. What is one weird event that happened while you were writing Paranoia?
I didn't expect to like Jack as much as I did. PARANOIA was originally going to be the last book in the series, but Jack was so fascinating that I'm writing another book from his point of view. It will be released next summer. 

4. Would you want Insomnia and Paranoia to ever be a TV show or movie? If so, who would be your dream cast?
I would love that! Actually, during the Insomnia blog tour, I did a dream cast with Kim on the Divergent Gryffindor blog. I think my picks are all pretty much the same although I did recently add a picture of a guy to pinterest who reminds me of Jack. I think that completes most of the cast through Book #2. I'd have to add a few more for Book #3 though.

5. What is one piece of advice you think aspiring writers NEED to know?
Don't believe that everything is solved by publication. This is a tough industry and if you want to succeed in it then you need to be tough. It isn't easy and it doesn't get easier just because you find some success. It is always hard, but if it is really what you want to do then it WILL be worth it. Just never expect easy because nothing about being an author fits that description. Now go eat a cookie.

6. Who was your biggest supporter while writing your books?
I'd have to say my writer friends. We met when we were all new to writing and have seen each other through it all. Now many of us are published and we've struggled and found success together. It's so amazing to have people who can understand what you've been through/are going through like that. Also, they are hilarious and way more fun than should be allowed by law.

7. Did you have any say in the cover design for Paranoia? Is there anything you would change about it?

They asked me what I thought about it and I pretty much just told them it was awesome. I've learned that I know nothing about art and cover design and they know what they're doing. If I had something that I thought they should change, I would've mentioned it and I think they would've taken my opinion into consideration. I've just learned that this isn't one of my strengths. 

8. How many drafts/revisions did you go through while writing Paranoia?

I did a few rounds of revisions before I gave it to my editor, then I did one round after, then a couple with line edits and such. I'd say altogether about five.

9. If you weren't a writer what job would you want to have?

It's very hard to imagine doing anything else now. I guess maybe I'd like being a librarian now. I have a very difficult time imagining NOT working with books.

10. One day I want to ______ (what?)

Travel through the world with my family and stop in all the countries where INSOMNIA is being published. It won't happen soon...but I'm hoping someday.

Thank you so much for the fun interview! These were some great questions! :)

J.R. JOHANSSON is a young adult thriller author. Her books INSOMNIA, PARANOIA (June 2014), and a third untitled book (June 2015) are with Flux Books. CUT ME FREE (Winter 2015) and another untitled book (Winter 2016) will be coming out with FSG/Macmillan.  She has a B.S. degree in public relations and a background in marketing. She credits her abnormal psychology minor with inspiring many of her characters. When she's not writing, she loves reading, playing board games, and sitting in her hot tub. Her dream is that someday she can do all three at the same time. She has two young sons and a wonderful husband. In fact, other than her cat, Cleo, she's nearly drowning in testosterone.

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