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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Summer Teen Reading Party Moves Into June with Guest Author, Anne E. Johnson!

Whooo Hooo!! Summer Teen Reading Party is still in full swing with guest author Anne E. Johnson visiting my blog today!! She has written an MG novel, Ebenezer's Locker, published by MuseItUp Publishing's, MuseItYoung.

Here is more about Anne E. Johnson:

Anne E. Johnson's Bio:

Drawing on an eclectic background that includes degrees in classical languages and musicology, Anne E. Johnson has published in a wide variety of topics and genres. She's written feature articles about music in serials such as The New York Times and Stagebill Magazine, and seven non-fiction books for kids with the Rosen Group.  Her short stories, in various genres and for both children and adults, can be found in Underneath the Juniper Tree, Spaceports & Spidersilk , Shelter of Daylightand elsewhere, and she has upcoming works in and several magazines and anthologies.

Ebenezer’s Locker is her first published novel, but she has two more due out this summer:  a humorous, noir-inspired science fiction novel, Green Light Delivery (Candlemark & Gleam, June 19), and a tween medieval mystery, Trouble at the Scriptorium (Royal Fireworks Press, August).

Anne lives in Brooklyn with her husband, playwright Ken Munch.

Anne, you live in the place where I was born!! And you live with another writer!


1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I've only known I've wanted to write fiction for a few years, but I've been writing non-fiction for about twenty years.

2. Did anyone influence you in your writing? Who was it and how did they influence you?
First, my father influenced me. He is a journalist, so the ideas of writing for a living, writing every day, and writing fast were all normal for me. And then there are my favorite authors of fiction. There are many, but among the top few are Anthony Burgess (for his language and humor), Ursula K. LeGuin (for her characters' complex psychology), and Frank Cottrell Boyce (for his quirky imagination and his sensitivity to a child's point of view).

3. What made you decide to write a tween paranormal mystery?
Mainly, I liked how different it was from anything else I'd written. When I started working on Ebenezer's Locker, I'd just finished writing a medieval mystery, Trouble at the Scriptorium (coming out in August), which had no magic in it. I wanted to do something contemporary and fantastical for a change.

4. How did you first become published?
My first publications were books-for-hire I wrote for the Rosen Group in the 1990s. They were non-fiction works for tweens, on a wide range of topics. Rosen hired me because I had solid research skills. I spent a couple of years buried in the New York Public Research Library system to do those books, which was a great experience.
My first fiction publication was a short story called "Airsick Over Planet Ekka," in Spaceports & Spidersilk a few years ago. You can now see that story reprinted in my series Aliens & Weird Stuff, available at Kindle and Smashwords.
Ebenezer's Locker will be my first full-length published fiction.

5. Please take us through a typical writing day for you.
Unless I'm in the middle of a major round of editing, or if I'm working on a special deadline, my day is typically divided into two families of tasks. In the morning, I do promotional work. This is a broad term which for me means any kind of positive Web presence. It might be doing an interview like this one, scheduling guests on my own blog, updating my website, posting on FB or Twitter, or researching other opportunities for new or published works.

6. Are you a “plotter” or a “pantser”?
Being obsessively organized about all things in life, I tend toward being a plotter. That said, I'm willing to change my plan as I go, if I find it's not working out.

7. When you are not writing, what do you like to do?
I love going to the theater with my husband. It's a great reason to live in New York City! I also love to cook and bake, and I play music as often as possible. I'm a pretty good singer and a really terrible pianist. And, of course, I read as much fiction as possible.

8. What is your favorite color and why?
Green has always been my favorite color. My favorite green is what I call "Robin Hood green," or "fern green," an intense color slightly tinged with yellow. The only explanation I have is that my eyes are green. It would be interesting to see if there's any scientific research to back that up!

9. Are you working on another book? If so, would you please tell us about it.
In terms of my writing, 2012 is turning into the year of the sequel. I've completed a sequel to Trouble at the Scriptorium. I'm halfway done with the sequel to my adult noir sci fi, Green Light Delivery. And I now have plans for a sequel to Ebenezer's Locker. Of course, I have a stack of other novel plots to work on, but they'll have to wait until 2013, I guess.

10. What have you done to market your books?
I do everything I can handle to market my books! I use Twitter, a Facebook author page, and Google +, I try to be a presence on several writers' forums, I hand out bookmarks, I do live readings whenever possible. And on and on.

Oh, and I do blog tours! Thanks for the opportunity to be here, Barbara.

You are entirely welcome! I love learning more about any writer I meet.

Let's learn more about your new book, Ebenezer's Locker.

A hundred years ago, Corbin Elementary School's building housed Dr. Ebenezer Corbin's School for Psychical Research. It seems that a couple of old spirits are still wandering the halls. It's up to Rhonda Zymler to find out what they want.

Ebenezer's Locker follows the adventures of Rhonda, a sassy sixth-grader who's having trouble finding her place and identity. Getting to know these spirits becomes Rhonda's quest. The more she digs, the more perilous her task becomes, and to complete it she must take two trips back in time. This story blends the realities of an economically-challenged modern American town with supernatural elements. What Rhonda finds not only gives her life a sense of purpose, but changes the fortunes of her entire town. 

Last period on Fridays we had gym class. I didn’t mind it much for most of the year. But when the weather turned hot in May, I couldn’t stand all the running around. All I wanted was to cool down. It would have been different if we could have gone swimming after school. Sadly, there weren’t any public pools in Marklebury. We had to go all the way to Lancington just for a swim. So we got hot and stayed hot.
As usual, we changed into T-shirts and shorts in the girls’ bathroom. The high school had gym locker rooms, but we didn’t. Once we changed, we all tromped out onto the school’s back lot to jog in a big circle in the 90-degree outdoor oven. I was actually relieved when our gym teacher, Mr. Turner, sent me back inside to fetch the kick balls from the supply closet.
Breathing in the wonderful air conditioning, I opened the door of the little room and clicked on the light. Right away, I spotted the net bag with the kick balls. But as I reached for it, the door slammed shut behind me. And suddenly it was cold, so cold all my blood turned to jelly. Just as suddenly, I burned. Every bit of me sizzled. And then a strong wind started blowing from one side of the closet to the other, knocking me against a wall.
The light bulb swung sideways and lit up a row of boxes on a shelf. In huge red capital letters, words had been scrawled across the cardboard:
The wind swirled into a hurricane. Baseball gloves, gym uniforms, and lacrosse sticks  blew upward from the floor and downward from the shelves. Balls of all sizes, golf clubs, and bowling pins circled and crashed into each other. I covered my face partly with my arms, but I couldn’t stop staring at this magical storm. Over and over I screamed, batting bats and gloves out of my face.
A case of gallon jugs of cleaning fluid teetered on the brink of a shelf next to a box of bowling balls. Suddenly CRACK! The shelf came loose. Cleaning fluid bottles slid toward me. Bowling balls came hurtling down at me. I rolled up like an armadillo and hoped for a quick death.
And then total silence.
I wasn’t dead. I wasn’t even hurt. Just to be safe, I stayed balled up for a couple of minutes in case the tornado started up again or something else broke loose. But there was no motion besides my shaking body and no sound besides my gasping for air. Peeking out of my invisible armor, I looked for a pool of spilled cleaning fluid and chunks of cracked bowling balls on the floor around me. Nothing but soccer balls and baseballs. I glanced above me at the broken shelf. It was propped up with a golf club, and the heavy boxes had been pushed back to a safe position. Somebody had saved me from the angry ghost!
But who would save me from the angry gym teacher? The door of the supply room flew open, and Mr. Turner braced himself with both hands on the door frame. His mouth fell open so wide I could have fit a softball in it. There were several to choose from near my left knee.
From my position on the floor, Mr. Turner looked like King Kong. It didn’t help when he roared at me. “What is going on? I gave you a simple task. The kick balls are right in front of you. Why did you have to go messing the whole place up?”
King Kong must have noticed I was about to cry so he turned back into Turner. “Okay, okay,” he said in a softer voice. “You grab the kick balls and take them out onto the field. I’ll call Mr. Besserman to work on this disaster.”
I got up without meeting Mr. Turner’s gaze. My knees shaking, I dragged the heavy mesh bag of balls over all the loose debris and past him.
“I hate ghosts,” I kept saying as I struggled with my load.

Anne, I got totally lost in that excerpt! I can't wait to see who the ghosts are and why they are causing trouble in the school.I'm putting it on my TBR list.:)

Anne's Links:

You can visit Anne E. Johnson at her website:
For updates on her publications and appearances, like her Facebook Author page:

You can purchase Ebenezer's Locker at The Muse Bookstore
and at Amazon

Thank you so much Anne for being my guest author. It's always great to meet someone from Brooklyn.:) 

Until the next time, my last guest author in June will be Wendy Lahrnar next week.


  1. Looks like a really interesting story. I love spirit stories.
    Suzanne de Montigny

  2. Jumping over the excerpt since I (yay!) just got a copy of the book.

    Anne, I think your grounding in writing the work-for-hire non-fiction set you on a good path. You already have the grammar, spelling, etc., so you're free to let your imagination run wild and be confident your writing is already solid.

    I'm only saying that because I spent a zillion years tech writing. That's my excuse for starting fiction late in life, and I'm sticking to it.

    See you on my blog in a couple of days!

  3. Great interview, ladies! Green is my favourite colour too, Anne. Look forward to seeing you on my blog on Tuesday.

  4. How lucky you in NYC and going to the theater. Such a different life than my small town middle America. Can I come and live with you for awhile??? LOL...Your writing background is impressive. What a fun change to play with your imagination and create a whole new world in your latest book. Best wishes for success with your new release!

  5. Good luck, Anne with your book, Marian

  6. Sounds like a cute book for kids. Yes, both you and Marva have an impressive backround. My punctuation sucks. I love the theme of your story and will have to purchase for my grandkids. Lots of birthdays coming up.

    Thanks for the great post.
    Good luck with the sales.

  7. It looks like a great story. Best wishes for your new release.

  8. Anne,

    I envy you living in NYC; so many wonderful things to do. My aunt lived there for 15 years and we went "there" for Thanksgiving. We loved going out to dinner and the musicals. Went last summer to RWA and managed to take my daughter to How to Succeed in Business and The Lion King. Favorite thing was tea at the Plaza.

    I'm sure Ebenezer's Locker will be a hit for summer time reading.

    Best of luck!

  9. Great interview, ladies! I'd love to visit New York and I'd love to see some live Broadway. I love live plays in general, even Little Theatre productions. Don't think I'd transplant well permanently. Those "y'alls" and "darlin's' would get me in trouble. My favorite color's red, Anne, so I doubt eye color's real influential in making a color our favorite. My eyes are only red when I'm possessed. Which folks tell me happens now and again when I get real riled up.

  10. Nice interview! My favorite color's green, too!

  11. Suzanne: Thank you for visiting! Anne's book is already on my TBR list.

    Marva: So true about needing some grounding in writing. I guess mine was the years I spent as a teacher correcting papers.:) I think a lot of us come to fiction writing later in life, because you need to have confidence in your own writing and somehow I think that only comes with experience.

    Rosemary: Wish I could say that was mine. My favorite color is red, but green is its complement. So they are related.:) Thank you for visiting.

    JQ: I imagine if you did live in New York the shine would eventually wear off. I have never lived in Manhattan, but I've lived so close to it for so much of my life that I really don't know how someone who has never been here would feel. I love all that NY has to offer, but there are so many other parts that are not so great about living here. There is an energy and an excitement, especially in the theater district and midtown. Parts of the city simply are bursting with people. Have you ever gone down to Chinatown? It's crazy down there!

    Marian: Thank you for visiting.I hope Anne will be able to see all the people who came over here!

    Lorrie: Thank you for visiting and commenting. I am interested in seeing how this story goes.

    Marie: It does look like a good story. Thanks for visiting.

    Christy: I would have to say that the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the best time to come to NY. Everything is lit up and the shop windows are all decorated. We try never to miss going to Manhattan at that time. Thank you for visiting.

    Cheryl: Thank you and thank you for visiting. I think green is one of the most popular colors.

  12. Gail honey. New Yorkers love those y'alls and darlin's! At least come up here for a visit. I'll show you around and keep you away from the tourist traps.:) Now here is another thing we have in common. Thank you for visiting.:)

    By the way, Rosemary, I saw How to Succeed in Business with my daughters when Darin Criss was the star. We love to go to the theater and hope to be able to see "Newsies" as our next play.

    1. I ever do make it to New York, you gotta take me to one of the real New York delis! I can almost taste the Reuben now!

  13. Gail, my sweet friend, if you ever do make it to a NY deli I would hope you would order a corned beef sandwich or even better corned beef and pastrami. Kosher delis don't serve Reubens.:) Though you can get it with the sauerkraut, they wouldn't put on the cheese. But you wouldn't even miss it with a real one from say The Carnegie Deli or The Second Avenue Deli. Or even the deli in Queens where we always used to eat, Ben's Best. Now you have me craving deli:)


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