Let's welcome back fellow Ambassador International author Joanna White and see what she's been up to.
Hi, Joanna! You have a new story being released soon. Tell us about it. Is it completely new or is it related to Hunter in any way?
I’m glad you asked! Shifter is new but it is a part of the same series as Hunter. It’s Book Two of the Valiant Series. But Shifter is new because it takes place in a completely different world from Hunter with brand new characters. In the overall arc of the Valiant Books, darkness is taking over the galaxy and Radon is searching fo the Chosen to help defeat it. Shifter is the second world Corrupted by darkness, so we’ll have to see what happens with it.
That's an interesting premise! I was wondering, do you have any core methods/practices when you craft your tales?
Firstly, I always talk to my husband because he helps me with ideas. Even if I have an idea to start, he’s really good at combining it with other ideas to make it better. That, and God. If He doesn’t inspire me to write a story, then the story will not get written. I like writing after my mom and sister are sleeping, while my husband is still at work. So, I’ll sit in the living room at the table with my computer. I'll write usually between 7:00 pm and 11:30 pm (when my husband gets off work) and then later after he and I have our dinner and split up for a few hours, around 1:00 am to 3:00 am.
So you're a night owl. I used to be one of those, actually for most of my life. But now, I get up early to do my writing. Speaking of differences, how do you approach writing supporting characters and antagonists, as opposed to the main protagonist(s)?
With all my characters, I try to let them have some freedom. I’ll usually have an outline. I see where they’re starting and where I want them to go, along with a few core ideas I love about them or what they'll go through. I’ll stick with those. But in-between, I try to let the characters come alive as I “feel” what they’re going to do.
That happened a lot with the Valiant Series when I wrote it – moreso than my works today. So, the Valiant characters -- both main, side, and especially the antagonists constantly “ran away from me” (did things that were not planned)!
That sounds like a lot to keep up with. A lot of writing, even before you get to writing the story itself. What’s the most words you’ve written in one sitting? What were the circumstances?
Haha! Oh, man this is such a good question! In the Valiant Series, I wrote one of the prequel books called Paladin, after I had it outlined (all 200 pages of it) in a 24-hour period. Then I sat and wrote for a long time one day, went to sleep and wrote a long time the next day and finished it. It was 27,000 words.
Just recently, I wrote a 50,000 word novel in a six day period. The second to last day, I wrote 12,000 words between 7:00 pm and 11:00 pm. Then, from 1:00 am to 4:00 am. The next night, when I finished it, I wrote the last 15,000 words – again from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm and then from 1:00 am till sometime after 5:00 am.
That’s definitely the most I’ve written in one setting. My back hurt from sitting in a hard desk chair and my wrist was killing me from typing for so long, Haha!
I can only imagine! I've done some long writing stints but I think I made myself get up and walk around from time to time. You mentioned your husband before. He seems very supportive of you being an author. Can you tell us about him and the role he has in your writing?
I want to say that I wouldn’t be a writer without him -- even though I wrote way before I met him, ever since I was ten. I only wrote what I call modern Christian dramas. That is, until I wanted to write an epic franchise like Star Wars and make it more fantasy style. But I didn’t know how to write fantasy.
While he and I dated, he helped me so much with ideas. He was the first to edit Hunter and without him, all of the fight scenes would have made one of the main antagonists seem pathetic!
I’ve learned so much with him. I can’t say that the Valiant Series is mine alone. First, it’s God's because He worked with my husband and I on it but it’s also partially Michael’s – my husband’s. Every time I needed ideas, he was there and we basically worked on all the ideas and concepts together. Some of the characters are also ones he came up with, so I can’t take all the credit.
He’s also the most supportive I’ve ever seen. He works so I can stay at home and be a full time author, doing what I love and what I’m passionate about. Michael is absolutely fantastic and so good to me.
Having such a supportive spouse is super-important. My wife and I have that kind of relationship, too. I believe having your life partner be your creative partner is a natural extension of the husband-wife relationship. Not everyone gets to experience that but it's wonderful when it happens. So, what are some projects you have in mind for the future?
Funny you ask! As I mentioned before, I just finished writing a novel in about six days. It was my first time writing a romance and a Biblical fiction, so I basically combined two genres I had never written before.
I have a ton of story ideas and other short stories I want to flush out and add more to them. One is called Beside Still Waters and it’s only 30,000 words.
I had beta readers who helped me think of more ideas and things that need to be addressed with it, so whenever God inspires me, I’ll be working on it.
I also have two other stories I’ve started that are unfinished until inspiration hits. One is a modern Christian romance called The Plans I Have For You about a man in a rock band who falls in love with a Christian teacher and he has to overcome his abusive past to move on with his life. The second is a modern fantasy called The Book Whisperer about a girl who can talk to book characters. That’s one I’m really trying to work on. I am interested in writing in new genres to gain experience and challenge myself – to see how many different types of books I can write.
Other than that, because I just finished a novel, I’m at that post-book stage where you get that weird I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-my-life feeling until you find another book to write. Or maybe it’s just me who gets it because I write so much.
Until then, I’m focused on Shifter’s launch and hopefully publishing the other Valiant Books. I do have a lot of family who have encouraged me to edit and submit Born of Sand – the Biblical romance I just finished – for publishing. So basically, I’m waiting for God to tell me what He wants me to do, write, work on, publish, finish, etc.
That's quite a lot on your figurative plate, but I know from experience, that also keeps one's life interesting. I'm delighted you've been able to join us today. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you, your books or in general?
I am so passionate about writing. I don’t read much anymore, but I can live these stories as I’m writing them, which is why I do it so much. I want to use these stories, worlds, and characters I’ve created with God’s help and Michael’s to inspire and encourage others, to give them good, clean books to read made and created with God and His Word in mind so that they can read a book without worrying about something bad being in it.
Here is the Shifter synopsis:
Beroan is a shapeshifter, part of the dragon clan. His clan’s Alpha, Sirath, wants to watch the world burn.
For ten long years Sirath has attacked villages, killing thousands of humans and burning towns to the ground. Beroan has had enough, but his resistance will only end in suffering.
Nsi is a human living in a small village with her grandmother and cousin. Her ignorance about the existence of shifters won’t protect her for long. Her family was killed in a dragon attack when she was younger, and now dragons have come again. Now she will stop at nothing until the dragon shifters are stopped, to save humans from suffering the same fate as her family.
Together, Nsi and Beroan will risk everything to save humanity from Sirath.
Darkness is spreading through the galaxy, Corrupting one world after another, and now it has come for theirs. Sirath already belongs to the Corruption of darkness.
He will not stop until he burns down the world and leaves it covered in fire and ash.
Shifter pre-order link
Shifter giveaway link
Joanna White's website
About the author
Allen Steadham is a nondenominational Christian, happily interracially married since 1995. Father of two sons and a daughter. He and his wife have been in the same Christian band since 1997. He plays electric bass, she plays strings, they both sing. It's all good.
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