Johanna (pronounced "Joe" + "Hannah") is a grad student by day and a writer also by day. At night she's sleeping. She hails from the lovely state of Virginia and enjoys many things--wine, cats, traveling, knitting, true crime television, running and anything that involves chocolate and peanut butter. She has a B.A. in French and English Creative Writing from Hollins University and is a former Peace Corps Volunteer. If you ask, she'll go into great detail about the benefits of using a long drop toilet (as opposed to a western toilet).
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in and around the lovely state of Virginia, but I think I did most of my actual "growing up" when I began traveling abroad. I studied in Tours and Paris France, as well as London, and spent two years in the Peace Corps in Morocco.
Many of my ideas are influenced by the places I've been and the things I've seen and experienced. I think it's definitely true that traveling is the only experience you pay for that makes you richer, and--if I had my way--I'd spend the rest of my life traveling the world.
When did you first start writing?
I've been writing for as long as I could hold a pencil. Or a crayon. When I broke my arm at age 8, I wrote a story (complete with illustrations) about my trip to the hospital. When I was 12, I completed my first novel: a murder mystery involving a high school detective. Then a story about a mermaid marriage contest and so on and so forth...
My stories continued like that until I hit high school and watched my first anime. Whew boy... for the next three years, I lived and breathed fanfiction, and actually got quite popular too. I believe that writing fanfiction really helped me grow. It's there that I learned to hone my craft and figure out how best to say what I wanted to say.
Then I got to college and rediscovered the joys of writing my own stories. I studied Creative Writing for four years and focused on expanding my knowledge of writing from fanfiction to fiction, nonfiction, poetry and more.
But it was during my Peace Corps service that I really blossomed. While there, I used writing as a way to cope with cultural differences as well as a relief from boredom. During my Peace Corps career, I wrote six novels and left two half finished.
I've been writing ever since and honestly, it's not something I think I'll ever be able to stop. Not that I would want to, of course. ;)
Looking for a book that's mixes Nancy Drew style mysteries with a modern paranormal love story?
Beatrice Betwixt is the tale of Bea, a ghostly girl who gets a second chance at life. Stepping into the modern era is hard, but no matter the differences in decades, Bea is set on solving the mystery of her 1957 murder. But Bea's being hunted, will she be able to get her answers before dying again?