Thursday, August 8, 2013

Utah Book Month Author Spotlight: J.R. Johansson

Today I'm welcoming Utah author J.R. Johansson to my blog for a Utah Book Month Author spotlight! Her debut book, Insomnia, came out earlier this summer and it's good one! (My review here.)

My spotlight comes to you in two parts. In the first part, I've asked her to participate in my regular author feature I call Authors Pick Five. As you know, that's where I ask just this one question:

What five books are most important or influential to you?

This is what she had to say about that:

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - I'm inspired by the way this book pushed the envelope and widened expectations and eyes about where YA books could go.

I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells - I'm inspired by the way this book took a main character that was in many ways an anti-hero and made him a relatable person that an audience could root for.

Intensity by Dean Koontz - The way he builds tension in this book is definitely something to learn from.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin - There is a reason her books are timeless. It comes down to character development and relationship dynamics. She's a genius.

The Stand by Stephen King - He's the king of scare, but it's the world-building in this book that captivated me. It helped me take dreams to a whole new level.

Awesome books, yes? Yes! I love learning what books have inspired authors! I'm getting quite the list. Check out some of the past lists if you are new to the blog and have missed them.

Part two of the spotlight includes what I'm calling the "normal" interview. Hopefully I've come up with a few fun questions

Did you have insomnia while writing Insomnia? (Sorry I had to!) But seriously, did you creep yourself out sometimes with what was going on? (I totally enjoyed that spooky creepy factor by the way. Awesome.)

I have sleeping issues on a normal basis, but I wouldn't say I had extra insomnia while writing INSOMNIA. ;-) I did on occasion freak myself out though. I've gotten better at embracing the dark and creepy, but it still gives me chills on occasion. 

Will there be a sequel? Is this a series? If so, how about a little teaser.

Yes! There will be a sequel coming summer of 2014 and it is a series. In book #2 we get answers to a lot of questions that are raised in book #1 There is more Parker, more Finn & Addie...and more darkness. *cough cough*

Tell us the most interesting thing you learned about dreams while writing/researching/pondering this book?

Hmm...good question! I think the most interesting thing is just learning about brain wave patterns and the real life effects of sleep deprivation. It's a truly terrifying thing.

What food do you most associate with your book? (Something your characters ate, something you ate while writing it... etc.)

Haha, um I think the food I most associate with my book is red vines (because I ate them occasionally while writing) and tater tots (because Parker not eating them is one of the first signs of his downhill slide).

What's the best book you've read so far this year?

Oh, seriously? That's such a hard question! I guess I'll stick with the first one to pop in my head. That would be Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Tucholke. Love the classic gothic horror feel of it. :)

What book from you should we be looking for next? And, how do you picture yourself (as an author) five years from now?

The sequel will be next summer, the title was just decided for it and we'll be calling it PARANOIA. Then about 6 months later I'll have a new book coming out with FSG/Macmillan. It's a standalone urban contemporary thriller set in Philadelphia. Five years from now I'd like to still be writing and selling and have a nice solid fan base. Starting next summer I have a schedule of a book every 6 months and I'd like to stick with that. I'd also like to continue to grow and improve at my craft. I'd love for every book to be better than the last. 

A quick list of your favorites:
Food - halibut
Singer/Band - Maroon 5
TV Show - Supernatural
Movie - Pitch Perfect
Color - blue-green
Candy bar - Milk Duds
Animal - koala bear
Place to visit - Aruba

Thanks so much for the support and for spotlighting me! This was really fun! Happy Utah Book Month!

No, thank YOU Jenn! We look forward to all your future books!

Now for a little more about her, here is her official bio:

J.R. JOHANSSON is a young adult thriller author published with Flux & FSG/Macmillan. Her debut, INSOMNIA came out in June 2013, with the sequel, PARANOIA coming in June 2014. She has a B.S. degree in public relations and a background in marketing. She credits her abnormal psychology minor with inspiring many of her characters. When she's not writing, she loves reading, playing board games, and sitting in her hot tub. Her dream is that someday she can do all three at the same time. She has two young sons and a wonderful husband. In fact, other than her cat, Cleo, she's nearly drowning in testosterone.

You can connect with Jenn at these places:


P.S. If you want a chance to win Insomnia, head on over to her blog FAST and enter the giveaway. It ends soon!


  1. Wow! I really enjoyed both of the parts of this spotlight. I'm met this author before at our Utah bashes, and I can't wait to read INSOMNIA.

  2. I have seen a lot of reviews about this book... all good! Oh and the Stand is an amazing book!! Authors pick 5 is one of my favorite features!!

  3. Fun interview! I'm hoping to get to her book this month. It looks incredibly creepy! I love her Pick Five, too. P

  4. I adore Jenn and Insomnia! Wonderful interview!



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