Author Interview: Joelle Anthony

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 |

Joelle Anthony

  • Restoring Harmony (Putnam 2010)

Joëlle currently lives on a tiny island in British Columbia with her musician husband, Victor Anthony. As for the future, their only plan is to avoid real jobs, write and play guitar in front of the wood stove, and live happily ever after. Look for her debut novel, Restoring Harmony, in May 2010 from Putnam.

How does it feel being a debut author?
It’s exciting but also kind of surreal. I mean, it’s really odd to think that there’s something I’ve written out there that other people can read. Until recently, I’ve had complete control over who read my writing and now it’s out there for anyone who’s interested. That’s a very strange feeling. But exciting too.

I love the cover for Restoring Harmony! Did you have anything to do with it? What do you think about it?
I did not have anything to do with it. Putnam got a wonderful artist named Hugh Syme to create the cover. I don’t think it could’ve been more perfect as far as matching the feel of the story. I am completely in love with it, and I do know how lucky I am because not everyone gets a cover they love.

How are you and Molly alike? How are you different?
Well, I would say that Molly can do a lot of things I wish I could do, so in a way she’s more what I’d like to be than actually me. I’d like to be able to sew, be strong and fit, and I really wish I could play the fiddle. My husband is a musician and we have a fiddle, and every once in a while I get it out and kind of mess around with it – years of violin lessons make me think maybe it could happen – but then I remember all the practice it takes and I decide to read instead. Molly and I are alike in that we’re both resourceful and when we set our mind on something, we can stay focused until we accomplish it (except the part where I want to play the fiddle!). We’re not alike in that she’s stubborn. I’m pretty easy going.

If you could pick a theme song for Restoring Harmony, what would it be and why?

Restoring Harmony actually has a theme song. It’s called Brianna’s Reel and it was written by the wonderful teen fiddle player Sarah Tradewell. In the book, all of the tunes I mention are real tunes except Brianna’s Reel which I made up. But thanks to Sarah, it’s now a real tune. By the time this interview posts, it should be available for readers to listen to on my website because Sarah and my husband went into the recording studio recently and recorded it.

Did you base any of your characters on real people?
I did not base any characters on anyone real and that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. If any of them remind you of anyone you know or yourself, well, it’s just a coincidence. I did steal a few of my husband’s best lines, although I’m not telling you which ones.

Do you have any must-have's while writing?

I do need it quiet. And warm is good. I have trouble concentrating if I’m cold. I also drink a lot of vanilla black tea with milk and eat a lot of snacks (but good for you things like cheese, nuts, dried fruit, pickles, and crackers).

What is the best piece of advice for young writers?
Read. Then read some more. I have said this in every interview, but I do not think I can say it enough. The thing is, so many people don’t read because they think it’s taking away from their writing time. I honestly believe that you’d be better reading for a whole year before writing anything than to cheat yourself of reading time so you can write. You can’t write unless you read too.

Lastly, is there anything else you'd like to add?
Well, I definitely want to add a big THANK YOU for having me here! It’s been great fun and I love your site. You’re doing great things for writers and readers everywhere. Also, I’d like to say that publishing takes a long time and the best thing anyone who wants to write professionally can do (besides reading!) is to have lots of other interests. Always respect your writing, but make a great life around it so it’s not the be-all and end-all. It’s a lot more fun that way too.

Thank you, Joelle for the fantastic interview! Be sure to check out the links posted above.


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