Nov 28, 2011

Author Interview: S.R. Johannes - Untraceable

Welcome to a new week here on I'm A Book Shark! Mondays, gotta love 'em, right? Hopefully this makes your Monday shine a little brighter - I have an author interview to share with you! Check it out below. Then take a look at S.R. Johannes's new novel, Untraceable, which releases tomorrow! Hopefully you all enjoy it!! Leave some love ;o)

S.R. Johannes - Untraceable

• Pub Date: November 29, 2011
• Publisher: Coleman & Stott
• Format: Paperback / ebook 315 pp
• Age Range: Young Adult

16 year old Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival.

When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he’s dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him.

One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father.

Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves.

Mickey: Hello, Shelli! Welcome to the blog! Please introduce yourself.
S.R. Johannes: HI I'm Shelli, the author of Untraceable. Avid skydiver, mud wrestler, and race car drive. Okay fine I'm a mom and marketing person during the day. writer by night. I admit I'm boring. Though I did go skydiving once - I screamed the whole way down.

Mickey: Your novel, Untraceable, is a "YA wilderness thriller." Where did the idea come from?
S.R. Johannes: My husband came back from camping one day and said "I was so deep in the wilderness, crazy people could do anything they want and get away with it." That small seed grew into Untraceable.

Mickey: Getting a five-star rating from author Kimberly Derting would be a dream come true for me. What was your reaction to that?
S.R. Johannes: It sounds great until you know it's out of 10 stars. Just kidding. I met Kimberly at a conference. We started talking and she offered to read Untraceable. She loved it so much - she offered to blurb it. I love her books so I am so stoked and grateful for her support.

Mickey: You haven't always been a writer. How do you use your previous marketing job skills in your new writing career?
S.R. Johannes: Oh gosh. I use them everyday. I create all my own marketing materials. Ive worked hard over the last few years to build a platform and help other authors market their books. I still do freelance copy-writing when I can - if my PTA, kids, family, allow it.

Mickey: Family life sounds busy enough! With a husband (with a British accent.. yum), kids, and pets, when do you find time to write? Do you have a favorite place to write?
S.R. Johannes: I write while my kids are in school. My daughter is in 2nd grade and my son is in Prek. So I get a couple hours in a day. While I would love to say something like: a Parisian coffee shop or a private book nook that serves unlimited cupcakes. Again, I am boring. I write at my desk in a small office I share with my hubby, the bills, and all the books that come to me to get reviewed. I have ADHD so I can't write at a bookstore because I find myself browsing the bookshelves. I can't write at a coffee shop because I find myself getting jacked up on coffee and eavesdropping on other patrons. You would not believe the stuff that goes on in my neighborhood! :) I need peace and quiet.

Mickey: Authors need inspiration, so where do you get your characters from? What motivates you and inspires you to write?
S.R. Johannes: Um my characters come from my head. Scary right? Maybe I am crazy and I just pretend the "voices" are characters so I don't get committed? I write because I love the feeling I get when I write. I love creating worlds and people that feel real to me. I want to make a difference with my words and since no one listens to my rants - I have to put words on paper to be heard.

Mickey: Are any of your characters a reflection of yourself?
S.R. Johannes: I think there is a piece of myself or someone I know in every one of my characters - well except for the bad and ugly ones :) I'm snarky like Grace (I know that shocks you but really I am) but I don't like
bugs or bears.

Mickey: I see you like yoga. What else do you do in what spare time you may have?
S.R. Johannes: Laundry, cooking, cleaning, yelling (I mean talking) to my kids. See again, you don't want to know about me. But I swear my books are much more exciting. I guess that's why I write them.

Mickey: Which book do you wish you'd written or come up with first?
S.R. Johannes: Oh gosh. What's the bestselling book this week? I wish I could say something profound like the Bible or Kahil Gibran's Prophet. But I'll say Pippy Longstocking b/c I simply love that little book.

Mickey: I'm a huge fan of audio books. Any plan for one for Untraceable? If you could pick anyone to read the audio book of your novel, who would it be?
S.R. Johannes: Me. (laughs) for all the voices. I do a mean English accent (though my hubby disagrees). Wow- I have no clue. So when I don't know the answer, I make up bad jokes that only I laugh at. Sorry.

Mickey: Do you have a dream cast for your characters? Any actors in particular make you think of your characters (looks, voice, etc)?
S.R. Johannes: I have people that remind me of my characters. For example - Shia Lebeouf reminds me of Wyn - esp Sam Witwickey in Transformers. Zooey Deschanel reminds me of Grace - her awkwardness and her eyes.

Mickey: What movie could you recite every line for right now?
S.R. Johannes: Blazing Saddles, Star Wars, and The Christmas Story. (Oh wait, let me change my answer so I don't come across as too old). How about Breaking Dawn? :)

Mickey: Tell us your favorite guilty pleasure.
S.R. Johannes: Mexican cheese dip, chips and salsa. Or maybe Magnum chocolate bars, or maybe peppermint ice cream. I'll stop there (...spicy Cheetos... ) as you can see I have many.

Mickey: Thanks so much, S.R. Johannes, for being on the blog today! Any parting words?
S.R. Johannes: May your day be filled with minutes? No wait - may your life be filled with days? Okay seriously, the purpose of my book is around leaving traces. So "make your mark on this world. No matter how big or small."

S.R. Johannes traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing. In addition to juggling nap schedules and client meetings, she focuses on her writing. She is a frequent speaker on marketing and book publicity at SCBWI conferences across the U.S, and runs a popular book marketing blog, Market My Words.

In her spare time (yeah right!) and if the kids allow (yeah right!), she obsesses over movies, reads children’s books (over and over), and still dreams of sleeping in on the weekends. But most importantly, she is finally getting back to her roots by running her own Girl Scout Troop in Atlanta, helping girls get back to nature.

She currently lives in Atlanta with her dog (Charley), British-accented husband, and two children.
Find S.R. Johannes


  1. This book seems so awesome. And I love the cover.
    Thanks for the interview, ladies!!!

  2. Awesome interview! I loved Untraceable - couldn't put it down :)

    I think I could do Star Wars too :)


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