Tag Archives | Possession

Surrender and Elana’s Johnson’s truth. (As always.)

Give a shout for Elana Johnson and SURRENDER!










Forbidden Love, intoxicating power, and the terror of control.


1. I’d love to know more about the how and the why behind your ending of POSSESSION, especially without a sequel. I happened to notice some disgruntled readers on reviews that weren’t happy with the ending. Personally, I think that endings like this are the spark of great conversations. And if anything, the fact that readers were upset about it shows how much they care. What was your decision process like behind writing the ending of POSSESSION? And do you think those reviews affected sales?

Ah, the ending of POSSESSION. I’ll tell you this: I did not realize people would hate the ending so strongly. Honestly, I didn’t. Because to me, it was perfection. I don’t outline or plan too far ahead, and when I wrote the end, I remember sitting back and going, “Is that how this just ended?” and feeling like it couldn’t be any other way, because it was exactly right.

But yeah. There are some who want their fiction to end up in a neat bow, and that’s definitely not POSSESSION. So yes, I think negative reviews about a book that doesn’t end happily affect sales for people who think that’s important.

Honestly, my sales aren’t in the best-seller status. My publisher has yet to commit to publish the third book in the series. I’ve blogged about being midlist before, so this isn’t a huge surprise to people, and I don’t feel like I’m throwing anyone under the bus. The truth is, I wrote a book my publisher expected to be a “commercial success” because of the upward swing in the dystopian trend, and it’s just turned out to be, well, midlist.

Because of the ending? Because of the reviews? Because the market is too saturated with dystopian? Because of a white cover that got dirty easily? Because of [insert whatever you want]? I don’t know.

I just keep trying to write better books.

2. I want to talk about marketing and social media a bit. You host a fantastic blog with tons of great followers all drawn to your honesty and vulnerability. In the long run, how much do you think social media helped in sales? I’ve seen you pulled back a little from blogging – as have a lot of people. Sometimes I think how well a book does comes down to what people are looking for and what clicks with them; and blogging just keeps us visible. What do you think?

Okay, going for transparency here again. Like anyone expects anything less, right? Ha! Anyway, I think social media helps. Some. There’s only so much an author can do with his or her own network. Then they have to rely on people in their network to spread the word to their networks. (I realize that sentence made no sense.) Maybe there’s someone in Laura’s network who isn’t in mine—yet. You know?

My personal opinion is that an individual author with a blog, twitter, and Facebook, who has a reasonably large family and a pretty wide group of real-life friends can influence about 200 sales.

No lie.

And here comes the truth: My publisher did very little for SURRENDER. It’s already on their “Oh, crap, should we continue this series?” list, and they certainly aren’t going to sink any more money into something like that. So it’s my personal opinion that a vast majority of the sales I’ve seen for SURRENDER so far have come from my marketing efforts.

And it’s higher than 200, but it’s not best-seller status, and it’s not even as much as POSSESSION—because the fact is, the buy-this-book!-influencing hoop from a big publisher is going to kick the trash out of anything I do. It just is.

3. If you could pull the heart/theme out of all your writing/novels: what would it be? If we pulled away the dystopian, the cool sci-fi gadgets, the romance – what is Surrender really about?

SURRENDER is really about two people finding the strength to do what they believe to be right. It’s a fight I think a lot of us fight every single day.

4. Through publishing two novels now, what is the biggest lesson/advice you’d pass on to other writers just publishing their first?

You get more than one chance at this. I think a lot of times we think that if our first book tanks, that’s it for us. That’s not true. Write another book. Make it better.


Wow, thanks Elana. Such hard, truthful answers. Another reason why everyone feels connected to and loves you. All I can say is that I absolutely loved SURRENDER. I loved the writing and turns of phrases and I completely fell in love with both Raine and Gunner.

If you haven’t read these books and you enjoy getting to the heart of a character’s struggle, then you’ll enjoy these books. Thanks Elana for opening a vein and sharing your soul.

If you haven’t read either of these books, now’s your chance! POSSESSION and SURRENDER

Ways to keep up with Elana!

Elana’s work including POSSESSION, REGRET, and SURRENDER is available from Simon & Schuster wherever books are sold. She is the author of From the Query to the Call, an ebook that every writer needs to read before they query, which can be downloaded for free on her website. She runs a personal blog on publishing and is a founding author of the QueryTracker blog. She blogs regularly at The League of Extraordinary Writers, co-organizes WriteOnCon, and is a member of SCBWI, ANWA and LDStorymakers.

She wishes she could experience her first kiss again, tell the mean girl where to shove it, and have cool superpowers like reading minds and controlling fire. To fulfill her desires, she writes young adult science fiction and fantasy.

I couldn’t get the Rafflecopter link to work but here’s a link to win an ebook of your choice!

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Never Surrender – the man who never gave up.

There is a man who lives somewhere in my neighborhood. I don’t know his name and I don’t know his complete story. But I’ve been watching him for years; and each year, as a little piece of my heart breaks, my admiration grows exponentially. Especially when I saw him a few weeks ago.

At first, I was amazed at how much this guy ran. I’d pass him every afternoon during my daily run, but then I’d pass him on the roads in the morning too – when I was in my car. And then, sometimes I’d see him out a third time. Or did he stop running? Maybe he’d been running the whole time?

I thought he ran a little funny, his body jerking back and forth, but we all have our own running style and I didn’t think too much about it. After a year or so, something changed. He was running just as much if not more but now he was carrying a stick about the size of a baseball with him when he ran as if it helped him to stay balanced.

That was the first time when it occurred to me that he must have some sort of debilitative illness. The thought of that made me extremely sad.

Years passed and he’d still run, day in and day out, seemingly as much as he could, every chance. Then I noticed he ran with a partner and tears pricked my eyes at the dedication and the support his family was showing him.

During this time my kids have grown and passed milestones, healthy and happy. A couple years ago, he wasn’t running anymore. He was walking. And now it wasn’t just his family but some of our neighbors walked with him. Every day. For miles. All year. Still I’d pass him every day. A couple times I’ve stopped to chat because my next-door neighbor was with him.

Then a couple weeks ago, I sobbed. In my car. He was walking; but this time, someone walked with him and he had a strap around his waist that the other person held onto.

I couldn’t believe his dedication, his fight, and the fact that he never surrendered even though he was only going to get worse.

I scan the roadsides for him every day, wondering if I’ll see him again. Even if he’s now homebound, I know he’s still fighting in every way he can.

When I think of never surrendering, I think of him. Yeah, sure, writing and publishing is hard but with the right perspective all I can be is thankful.

This blogfest is to celebrate Elana’s Johnson’s release of Surrender. I loved this story and the characters, Raine and Gunner. In their own ways, they never surrender. An excellent book and I highly recommend.

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Never Surrender and Elana Johnson

Yay! Surrender by Elena Johnson releases June 5th!

Description: The thrilling and seductive sequel to Possession puts love on the line in a dystopian struggle for independent thought.

Forbidden love, intoxicating power, and the terror of control… 


Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi. 

Thank you to Simon Pulse for the advanced copy!

I could talk about Surrender and how much I loved this book, the writing. I fell in love with the characters: Raine and Gunner. Both of them have been the most enjoyable YA characters I’ve read in a while. Elana does an incredible job in drawing us into the story: we live, breathe and cry with them.

Of course, it’s nice to see Jag and Vi too.

I enjoyed Possession but Surrender blows the first book out of the water. Can I say that? Well, I did. I didn’t want the story to end. Some of the passages took my breath away.

I could talk about all that but I’m not going to.

I want to talk about Elana. She’s always been so giving on her blog. She’s down to earth and never pretended to be someone she’s not. She got published and still acted like a normal human being. She’s one of the organizers of WriteOnCon, which takes a huge amount of time – I can imagine. Basically, we’ve seen her everywhere.

So if you want a breathless read with incredible characters and writing then buy Surrender. It releases Tuesday!

And don’t you want to find out what happened to Jag and Vi….?

But wait you didn’t read Possession?

That’s okay. Surrender is a companion novel and you can read it without having read Possession. It helps but not necessary!

Elana organized a cool blogfest next week. Sign up on her blog to post about a time you never Surrendered. And you have to read her blog post about Fear. Elana at her best – open and honest.

Purchase Surrender at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Who are some of your favorite YA couples?


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World building and believability. (Another look at POSSESSION.)

I hear it all the time. World building. Details. But not just any details. Ones that are important to the story and reveal the world and play an important role in the story.

In any world, not just fantasy or dystopian, we want to make it believable.

Elana Johnson in her novel, POSSESSION, added some cool gadgets to Vi’s world that reflected the futuristic society and played an important role in the story.

Ecomms, robots, implanted tags that track people, hovercopters, tech-cuffs that leave your wrists red and inflamed, cell phones that do everything even taser people from across the room, cubes that make meals appear, healing lotion, sticker rings, walls that can listen and talk…the list goes on.

I loved these gadgets in POSSESSION. And they made Vi’s world extremely believable.

What details can you add to your character’s world, even if it’s contemporary fiction, that reflect your character and tie in with her external and internal conflict?

Tall order, I know.

What books have you read with great world building? Examples?

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Add layers to your first chapter. (A look at POSSESSION)

We all know that first chapters are deal makers or deal breakers. And I’m assuming that you want yours to be a deal maker. As I do mine.

Let’s look at Elana’s first chapter to see what we can learn.

“Good girls don’t walk with boys. Even if they’re good boys – and Zenn was the best. He strolled next to me, all military with his hands clasped behind his back, wearing the black uniform of a Forces recruit. The green stripes on his shirtsleeves flashed with silver tech lights, probably recording everything. Probably? Who am I kidding? Those damn stripes were definitely recording everything.”

In the rest of the chapter we learn how Vi, the main character, has been breaking rules in this dystopian society where the Thinkers control just about everything. Zenn is her match. They are in love. And he’s about to give her a gift. But a hovercopter interrupts the moment, picks her up, and brings her to the institute for a formal hearing.

First layer:

  • We are introduced to an awesome voice.
  • Immediate conflict.
  • Love interest.
  • Introduction to the dystopian world.

And at the end of the chapter I want to know what happens to Vi.

Successful first chapter. Hooks an agent, an editor and readers.

Second layer:

  • Nothing in the first chapter is as it seems.
  • Later in the book, more is revealed, and the first chapter takes on a whole new dimension and meaning. Wow!

Sorry, no spoilers, you’ll have to read the book.

Here’s Elana’s book on Amazon – give it a try.

How can you add layers to your first chapter? How about the whole first half of your story?

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