Interview with author Jana Grissom

Hello and happy Friday everyone! Today, it is my pleasure to introduce you to my guest for this author interview, Jana Grissom, creator of One Prince Two Kingdoms. There are so many amazing aspects about this book that I just had to interview Jana even before her book was released. I think what really touched me was that the main character is a foster child. I don’t want to take the wind out of Jana’s sails so let’s get started and I will let her share her story with you.

Jana, thank you so much for being here with us on The Writing Piazza!

Jana Grissom author interview (2)

Jana:
Thank you so much for interviewing me!

The Writing Piazza:
If you could start by telling my readers a little bit about yourself.

Jana:
I am Jana Grissom from Fort Worth, Texas. I began writing poetry in middle school. Then, college forced me to write LONG thesis papers. Suddenly, I found it easy to write for fun. Especially since no one was telling me what to write. It was all me.

The Writing Piazza:
Ah the long college papers. I don’t miss those at all. But I’m glad it opened you up to writing a full length book! Let’s talk about that for a bit. You are about to have your book One Prince Two Kingdoms released, can you tell us a little about it?

Jana: One Prince, Two Kingdoms #1P2K Cover Pic
One Prince, Two Kingdoms is not your average read. Most novels take you on a journey  through exciting twists and turns, ending with the author’s choice of resolution. Not this time! 1P2K takes you on a journey with Johnny, a teen stuck in foster care, as he learns that he is the prince of the spirit world. Catch is, he has a choice to make, rule over the Kingdom of Light or Kingdom of Darkness?

The Writing Piazza:
I love the aspect of the foster teen being your protagonist. And your premise sounds really interesting! Please, tell us more.

Jana:
I did not want to force readers to follow Johnny on one path because in real life everyone chooses their unique way. So, why not allow them that same choice for Johnny? Readers actually get to choose the ending! How is this possible? One Prince, Two Kingdoms leads the reader to the point where Johnny must make a choice. Then, the reader takes a Citizen Quiz to find out which kingdom they belong to. Finally, the quiz sends the prince and all citizens to their kingdom.

Two sequels will be released for readers to continue following Johnny as The Prince of Light or The Prince of Darkness. #1P2K is a YA paranormal, urban fantasy with 324 pages.

So, come join Johnny on the ride of a lifetime where you are the one in the driver’s seat! #1P2K

The Writing Piazza:
Ooo, that sounds fun! And that’s a cool idea to let the reader make the choices that lead to the ultimate destination of where Johnny ends up. Such a great idea! Is 1P2K your first published novel?

Jana:
Yes, and it’s so scary! Who would of thought publishing is scary? Imagine standing in front of the world as everyone walks by, choosing whether to smile and chat or completely ignore you. That’s kind of how it feels. I am not just releasing words on pages. It is part of me and I hope the world will like me enough to stop and chat.

The Writing Piazza:
Yes I think that’s something people who don’t write may not realize. There’s so much of the author is poured into pieces they write. So when you reject the writing, to the author, it feels personal. It can be very scary to put yourself out there. Kudos to you for being brave and having your book published!

Who did you go with for publisher?

Jana:
Tate Publishing LLC

The Writing Piazza:
Tell us about your journey to get your book published.

Jana:
Actually, I’m still in shock that I’m being published. This book was written for my foster kids. They were so afraid that gangsters were going to kill them in their sleep for telling their secrets, that I had to do something. So, I started making up stories about Johnny, a foster kid just like them, and his foster parents who were powerful celestials. After my foster kids left my home, I missed them so much. I started writing. Fast forward five years… I was teaching my middle school students about the writing process and shared my story. They loved it! The teacher in me used their momentum to educate them about publishing. As a class, we submitted the manuscript to a publisher. I was satisfied that I had taught them to chase their dreams and let writing be fun. Three days later, I received a shocking email. They wanted to publish my manuscript! First thing I did, call to tell my husband what I had done. LOL

The Writing Piazza:
Wow! And what a great outcome for your teaching tool! I think that’s a great example for the kids too, following your dreams can be a tough road to travel. It’s these success stories that help keep us going when we feel like giving up.

There is so much to learn in this industry besides the obvious ‘knowing how to write a novel.’ What’s something you know now that you wish you’d known before you started this journey?

Jana:
There is so much I didn’t know! First, write because you love it and then be prepared for the hard work, editing! Second, you need an agent if you ever want to be published by a big house publisher. Third, authors are your friends. It’s wonderful how the community of authors pull together to support one another online and in person.

The Writing Piazza:
Yes, I’ve noticed there are many authors out there willing to help each other out. I really love that. It’s such a hard business to break in to. So it’s nice to have so many supportive people. In fact you are one of those great writers! We “met” on Twitter where you agreed to help me out by doing this interview. I appreciate your help!

I was also hoping to pick your brain a bit on the social media aspect of writing. More and more authors are being encouraged to build their author platform even before they publish their first book. Do you have any tips for authors looking to grow their presence on social media?

Jana:
Be real. Talk to people and treat them with the same respect you want. Social media is meant to be social. If you expect people to follow you just because you’re an author, then you are sadly mistaken. They follow you because they like YOU. With Twitter, I always follow back because I feel everyone who follows me is awesome and deserves the same respect. Too many authors only follow people they think will help them along their journey. Personally, I’m not on Twitter to find people to step on. I’m there to find real people who make me smile and hopefully I’m doing the same for them.

The Writing Piazza:
That’s great advice and a good perspective to have. People can tell when you aren’t being real and they don’t like being used. It’s important to think about what you have to offer to others, not just what they can do for you.

Speaking of what we have to offer others, I was excited to interview you because I love what you are doing in regards to helping children in foster programs and your work with anti-bullying. What are your goals for the future of your book?

Jana:
My dream is to get a free copy into the hands of every teenage foster kid, kids in detention centers, and at-risk teens in secondary schools. 1P2K brings a message about choices and power. Teenagers in a place of transition did not choose to be there and rightfully feel that life is not fair. The easy choice is to act out or sit down and refuse to move, but where will that take you tomorrow? Think long term and take your emotions out of the equation. In 1P2K, Johnny’s life is not fun or fair, but he learns to control his anger and make choices that he’s willing to accept the consequences. Every teen has a choice to make every day. Always remember, you’re choices today determine your life tomorrow.

The Writing Piazza:
Those are really great goals. I always like to see authors using their talents to help others and make the world a better place. Books often have such great influence over the reader. I love that you’re taking advantage of that to put out a very positive and productive message!

And since you’ve been giving us such great guidance today, if I could ask you for one more piece of advice? What would you tell writers who are writing and/or attempting to publish their work?

Jana:
Don’t rush. Take your time to produce a well-written, refined work of art. Then you will be confident and proud of the part of your soul that you are displaying for the world to read. Next, research publishing options and choose the one that is best for you. Finally, most authors are friendly and more than willing to give advice. Don’t hesitate to ask.

The Writing Piazza:
Fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing with us today. Of course I have to ask, are you currently working on another book?

Jana:
Yes! Call me crazy, but I am working on TWO sequels to release at the same time next year. The sequels will coincide with the alternate endings to One Prince, Two Kingdoms. For all the citizens of dark, they will read Prince of Darkness where Johnny will take human souls and seek complete domination. For all the citizens of light, they will read Prince of Light where Johnny will fight for human souls and try to save the world.

The Writing Piazza:
Such exciting stuff! And that’s very ambitious to work on two sequels. I wish you the best of luck! Thank you again for being with us today. This has been such a great experience for me. I hope you enjoyed it as well.

Jana:
It was a blast! Thank you so much for inviting me, Kara!

The Writing Piazza:
The pleasure was all mine! I also can’t let you get away without asking where we can purchase a copy of your book.

Jana:
One Prince, Two Kingdoms officially releases May 12 but you can preorder an autographed first copy from my website www.janagrissom.com. Also, you can register your email to receive a free gift with your purchase here.

The Writing Piazza:
Who doesn’t love free stuff! Yay! That sounds great. How about if my readers would like to connect with you? Is there a way they could do that?

Jana:
I always love to meet new friends! Come follow me at:
Twitter 
FaceBook
anovelreality.blogspot.com

The Writing Piazza:
Fabulous! Thanks so much for being here Jana. And thank you everyone who joined us, you’re all my favorites! Come back next week for another author interview. We have one each Friday here on The Writing Piazza.

Until we meet again!

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