Monday, February 14, 2011

Interview with Antony John

About a week ago I emailed Antony John and asked him for an interview.  He said yes,  I know I was shocked too, clearly he had no idea who I am.

I reviewed his book a few days ago and I LOVED IT.   

The interview will be in two parts-- today will talk about writing and Thursday will talk about publishing and his life. 

 On Writing Five Flavors of Dumb

What was the inspiration for making Piper deaf?

First off, thanks for inviting me along to your blog! It's a pleasure to be here.

Given my background in music, and my fascination with rock music, I knew I wanted to write a book

about a rock band. But let's be honest -- there are a TON of rock music novels out there, and a lot of
them are very very good. So I knew I needed to offer readers something new.

Well, I was talking to my wife one evening, and she said "Wouldn't it be cool for you to think about

music from the perspective of a deaf person?" And honestly, that was my lightbulb moment. Right
then, I had this image of Piper, and I even had a sense of who she was, and her "voice" in prose. And
my wife was right: it really WAS cool to think about music from Piper's perspective.

 2) The book felt very realistic and well researched, about how much time did you spend researching?
About 4-6 months, but not continuously. To be honest, I was paranoid about tackling a topic like
deafness, and then screwing it up. So I did a LOT of research. As well as reading books and watching
documentaries, I enlisted the help of deaf readers (who read early drafts), talked to audiologists, and
sat in on an American Sign Language course. I still don't consider myself an expert on deafness, by
any means, but I learned enough to realize just how complicated it is.

3) Was there a fun fact you learned through your research that you'd like to share?

I'm not sure it's a "fun" fact, but deaf people don't like to be referred to as "hearing-impaired," which
is what most hearing people assume is the PC term. They much prefer "hard-of-hearing" or "deaf."

 4) What is your writing process like, do you outline, do you write  in order of the story, do you write by the seat of your pants?

My first novel, BUSTED, was written by the seat of my pants. As any such ride ought to be, it was
exhilarating, hair-raising, but not something I could see myself doing again.

With DUMB, I took an entirely different approach. I planned the novel in detail (about 30,000 words)
before I even began. It meant that some of the issues with the story were played out before I'd written
the first draft, and also enabled me to write the novel out of order without worrying whether it would
all come together at the end. I liked the result, and it made editing MUCH easier. So that's how I
approach all my novels now.

By the way, I'm not suggesting this approach will work for everyone. I truly believe that the writing
process is a purely personal thing, and everyone needs to find what works best for them.

5) How many drafts and revisions did Five Flavors of Dumb go through?

My editor, Liz Waniewski, and I generally have three rounds of revisions, with the comments getting
more specific each time. She knows exactly how to frame her comments to me, and knows how I
work best, so the process is absolutely seamless. (At least, it seems that way to me!) It's a sign of
how well-matched we are that I usually end up agreeing with about 99.9 percent of her suggested

 6) What is your favorite scene, wither it was fun to write or your simply proud of the way it turned out.

The obvious answer would be the final (climactic) scene, or the scene in the salon (which were,
indeed, a TON of fun to write). But just as gratifying were some of the smaller scenes, like the one
where the three girls have coffee together and we suddenly realize that they're not quite who we
thought they were. To peel back the layers was really exciting for me, and reminded me why I felt so
connected to these characters.

7) How many WIPs do you have sitting on your hard drive?

Ha! I have notes for maybe 20 projects. But right now, I'm just focused on the four novels that I'm
contracted to write for Dial. Okay, and maybe one other, because you can never have too many WIPs!

WOW- How awesome is Antony?  I saw pretty awesome.  The rest of the interview will on Thursday. 

Enter to win your own copy of the book.  
Leave a comment below saying you would like to win the book.  You get an extra entry if you become a fan of Antony John on his Facebook page.    Contest ends 2-21-11

Please check out his webpage


  1. Awesome interview! Never heard of this book before, but it sounds great. :) I'd definitely like to win a copy!

  2. Wonderful interview~ thanks Antony (and Erinn)! I've heard so much buzz about this book and can't wait to get my hands on it!

  3. Great interview. This book is on my TBR, so I'd like to win a copy.

  4. The book sounds amazing and I love hearing how other authors go through the writing process. THanks Antony and Erinn!

  5. Oh my gosh YES I would like to win this book! Great job with the interview, Erinn.

  6. That is a fabulous title and cover! Terrific interview - lots of great information :)

  7. Thanks again for having me along, Erinn. And thanks to everyone for commenting!

    (Yes, the cover really does rock. Although I had nothing to do with it, of course!)

  8. Oh, I'd love to win this book! I 'liked' Antony on FB!

    +2 - 1 for commenting, 1 for FB

  9. Great inteview. I definitely want to read this book so count me in!

  10. This book sounds great, and I enjoyed the interview. It's always great hearing how other writers get started. And yes, I'd love to win a copy!