Blog Archive

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Interview with PJ Hoover, author of the MG fantasy, Soltice

Today's interview is with P.J. Hoover who has been an avid fan of Greek mythology since the sixth grade after reading the book Mythology by Edith Hamilton. But she didn't do the immediate jump to writing. Her first career was as an electrical engineer designing computer chips. So let's see how the writing career evolved.

You’ve just released your first YA book after doing a MG Trilogy. Why the change in genre? Will you still be doing MG books? Is the trilogy the end for that set of characters or do they have more stories to tell?
The way I look at it, I’m 41 years old which means I have lots of time for writing ahead. I want to continue to write both YA and MG (and maybe an adult novel here or there). I want to write a spin-off series for my MG trilogy. I want to write a sequel to SOLSTICE. Is it bad that I want to do it all?

As for why the change in genre, SOLSTICE was always a mythology story, and for what I wanted to do with the myth and the romance, the age had to increase. It would have been totally inappropriate otherwise.

What drew you to write MG and YA books? Prior to writing these books what previous writing credits did you have?
As for why the MG and YA market, truly I just wanted to write science fiction and fantasy. But when my first story draft was finished, I learned it was in some category called MG. And I went from there. When it comes to previous writing credits, there were a couple poems I wrote in my youth.

In all seriousness, I never thought of myself as a writer. I was an engineer, and thus very math and science oriented. Writing came in the form of technical documents. But I read like crazy, so once I started writing, it fit my personality perfectly.

When did you decide that you could write full time and leave your job of being an electrical engineer?
It was in April of 2008. By then, my son was in elementary school, and my daughter was in preschool, so being able to spend more time with them after school and cart them around to activities was top priority. My husband was actually the one to suggest staying home to write, and once the idea was planted, I seized the opportunity.

You’re part of a blog group called the YA Indie Blog Carnival which over the summer did a weekly blog train. It says that it is for Independent authors are those who have chosen to publish their written works independently of a traditional publisher or agent. Yet your trilogy was published by a traditional publisher. It is only with this last book, Solstice, that you went to the independent e-book format. Why the change?
I think in today’s publishing world and in the future, authors will publish both traditionally and independently. The trick comes, I think, in weighing each manuscript and deciding what is right for it and making the decisions for the right reasons. With SOLSTICE, timing was the main concern. There were a few key YA mythology stories coming out in Spring 2011, and I wanted to hit that window.

Will the blog train return again next summer? How did it begin? Can others join in for next year if there is one?
It’s on, and it seems to be a continuing thing, and I love being a part of it! I was asked to join by Laura Elliott (author of WINNEMUCCA), and we have new authors joining each week.

Since you have written for both traditional publishers and as an independent publisher could you give me some of the pitfalls or frustrations that you wished you had been aware of in advance?
Honestly, there are a million things authors could do “wrong” at any given moment. I think the best thing is just moving forward, asking questions when you aren’t sure about something, and making mistakes and learning from them. Each author is going to have a different path to publication, and so many paths can be awesome.

Can you give me an example of an Aha moment in your writing when things just seemed to fall into place and you felt this is what you’re supposed to do?
Well, it certainly wasn’t after the first ten pages. I thought it would take forever to finish a novel. But once the pages started accumulating, it dawned on me that, as long as I wrote consistently, I could write books forever.

That's it for today's interview. Here's some final notes on her books. Her first novel for teens, Solstice, takes place in a Global Warming future and explores the parallel world of mythology beside our own. Her middle grade fantasy novels, The Emerald Tablet, The Navel of the World, and The Necropolis, chronicle the adventures of a boy who discovers he’s part of two feuding worlds hidden beneath the sea.

If you would like to learn more about her writing and buy her books go to You can also see her book trailer at

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