I'm excited to share with you this awesome interview with author Jo Ramsey!
I've been writing stories for and about teenagers since I was one. About 30 years now. I sometimes say I never really outgrew my own teen years, and some of my stories are written to give myself a do-over on things that happened when I was in high school.
I've also worked with teenagers as a teacher or teacher's aide, and I've known many who were discouraged, or who were making poor choices because they didn't know any other choices to make. I met a lot of teens who didn't believe in themselves, but encouragement and support went a long way. I write for the teens who wonder if they're "okay", or who think they aren't anything special, or who don't believe they'll ever do anything important. That's why my tagline is "Anyone can be a hero."
What were some of your own favourite stories to read as a teenager?
As a teen, I was really into fantasy. Susan Cooper and Madeleine L'Engle were two of my favorite authors. Pretty much anything that involved a "normal" teen being pulled into a fantastic world where they were able to save people/the universe/whatever, I would read and love.
Where do you find inspiration for the stories you write?
All over the place. My kids are teenagers right now (though the older one disputes that, since she'll be 20 this summer), and they and their friends have inspired a lot of my recent projects. Some of my older, now out-of-print, books were inspired by my own experiences as a teen.
Have you ever related to any of the characters in your books?
Very much so. My Reality Shift series (which is unfortunately among the books that are now out of print) was somewhat autobiographical, in that many of Shanna Bailey's experiences, fears, and other issues were mine, either when I was a teen or when I was an adult. I took some of my adult experiences, including my journey of healing and recovery from abuse, and aged them down to reach teenagers.
What have been the best and worst parts of the writing process for you?
The best part is seeing the finished product available to readers. The worst part is revising my first draft. Though sometimes writing the first draft isn't completely fun...I love having written, but actually writing isn't always the best.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers out there?
Write for yourself above all. If you write a story you aren't really interested in because you think other people will read it, they won't read it, because your lack of interest will show in the writing. Write what calls to YOU.
Which novel are you working on at the moment?
I just submitted the fifth novel in my Deep Secrets and Hope series, so I'm taking a bit of a break before I start writing anything else.
Thanks to Jo for taking the time to answer these questions! Be sure to read more about her stories on her website, and you check out her twitter page here.