Thursday, 18 December 2014

Interview with Barry Jonsberg, author of Pandora Jones

Pandora Jones: Admission (Pandora Jones #1)
Behind 312 Pages
Released: 1 May 2014
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian
Publisher: Allen & Unwin Australia
Buy Me: Angus & Robertson  |  Booktopia  |  Bookworld  |  Fishpond
At the Other End:
Pandora Jones wakes in an infirmary - her body weak, her memory providing only flashes of horrific scenes of death. She soon discovers that her family has succumbed to a plague pandemic which almost wiped out humanity. Pan is one of the survivors who have been admitted to The School - a quarantined, heavily guarded survival-skills facility - to recover their strength, hone their skills and prepare for whatever comes next. Pandora's skill is intuition, but how useful will it be outside the secure walls of The School? And what if it leads her to question where the truth lies...

Plague. Pandemic. Intuition. Secrets. Truth. Courage. Action. Survival.

Pandora Jones: Deception (Pandora Jones #2)
Behind 288 Pages
Released: 1 October 2014
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian
Publisher:  Allen & Unwin Australia
Buy Me: Angus & Robertson  |  Booktopia  |  Bookworld  |  Fishpond
At the Other End:
Pandora and her team are already two members down. The survival of humanity in the post-plague world depends on them. But who can she trust? 

It was difficult to know when nightmares ended and the waking world began.

Pan is still struggling to distinguish between her dreams and reality. When she wakes in the Infirmary her mind replays the sight of Nate running along the shoreline and the way his body froze and then flopped after he was shot. But her memories hold more questions than answers and she doesn't know who to trust.

When she forms an unlikely alliance with Jen to try to make sense of everyone's haunting similar memories and the conflicting information about The School, she finds herself with unexpected enemies.

Pan and Jen are determined to seek the truth - no matter what rules they must break or how terrible the danger they face. But can they even trust each other?

Intuition. Secrets. Truth. Courage. Action. Survival.
Barry Jonsberg's young adult novels, The Whole Business with Kiffo and the Pitbull and It's Not All About YOU, Calma! were short-listed for the CBCA Book of the Year, Older Readers, awards. It's Not All About YOU, Calma! also won the Adelaide Festival Award for Children's Literature, Dreamrider was short-listed in the NSW Premier's Awards for the Ethel Turner prize and Cassie (Girlfriend Fiction) was short-listed for the Children's Peace Literature Award. Being Here won the QLD Premier's Young Adult Book Award 2011 and was shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Award 2012. My Life as an Alphabet won the 2013 Gold Inky, the Children's Peace Literature Award and was short-listed in the 2014 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards and the 2014 Adelaide Festival Awards.

Barry lives in Darwin with his wife, children and two dogs. His books have been published in the US, the UK, France, Poland, Germany and China. 

Find Barry:
Website  |  Facebook  

1. Where have we seen you before? (previous projects/works)
Everywhere! I have just completed my seventeenth novel, been shortlisted for numerous awards both nationally and internationally, won a good number of them, been published in fourteen countries and translated into eight languages. So if you haven’t seen me before [which is possible] you obviously haven’t been paying attention. So there!

2. What goes through your mind after your novel has been on sale for the first week?
Not a lot, really. Once my book is out in the world I try to forget about it as much as possible, though this can sometimes be hard. It’s a matter of principle with me that when a book is done, I start to write the next one. This means that my head is full of the new story and I don’t have time to worry about how the last book is doing. This is just as well, since you rarely find out for a long time. The exception to this was my first book, The Whole Business With Kiffo and the Pitbull – I haunted my local bookstore for weeks until it appeared on the shelves and then frightened the customers by brandishing it and yelling, “I wrote this!”. I try not to do this anymore. It isn’t dignified.

3. What inspired you to write this novel?
Which one? The second book in my Pandora Jones trilogy has just been released [Pandora Jones: Deception] and I have just finished the third [Pandora Jones: Reckoning], so I guess you mean these… I am not fond of the word “inspired” since it gives a wrong impression of the writing process which has nothing to do with beams of celestial light and heavenly voices ]unfortunately]. Rather it is all to do with hard work and plenty of frustration. The Pandora Jones trilogy came about because of a television series in the 1960s called “The Prisoner” which became a weird cult classic. It involved a main character who wakes up in a place called The Village where everyone is given a number and no names are used. No 6 [our hero] rebels against the Village and all it stands for and determines to escape. But escape is difficult … I loved the series and my trilogy came about when I asked myself: what if a girl wakes up in a place called The School, can remember little of her previous life but begins to suspect that the stories she is told are complete lies? Cue spooky music…

4. What do you think about when getting/seeing negative reviews?
Violence involving baseball bats. Actually, they don’t worry me too much [and, honestly, I don’t get that many]. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, even those complete idiots who have no idea about good literature who sometimes say negative things about my writing. I pity them, frankly.

5. How long was the writing/planning process?
This differs from book to book. Pandora Jones took about six years, from first idea to final book, but it never normally takes me that long [I actually wrote two other books while I was thinking things through with Pandora]. My last book, My Life As An Alphabet, took about three months to write and another three to re-write. I have written a book in six hours. It was a small one, mind you.

6. What was your reaction to the cover art when you saw it for the first time? Did you have any ideas from the days of writing/inspiration?
I LOVE the cover art. It is so exciting when your editor sends you through the cover roughs and you can start to imagine the finished product. I generally fall in love with the cover art my publisher never uses. In the end, though, the cover chosen is nearly always the right one for the book. I have no idea about the cover when I’m writing – no visions, no idea. Words are hard enough and I’m happy to leave image design to the experts. And please stop using the word “inspiration”. I’ve told you about this before.

7. Any plans for future writing projects? Any being worked on now?
Of course. There are always three or four books on the back burner. Mostly, they just simmer in my head while I’m finishing the latest project. But I do have a complete book, Game Theory, that I wrote before the first Pandora Jones book. My editor hasn’t even read it yet [though others in my publishing house have and REALLY like it] on the grounds she has to get her head around the trilogy first. So while I’m waiting for her I’d better get another one going.

8. Top 5 books

  •  Happy As Larry by Scot Gardner [it’s great]
  •  Hunger Games [I care about the characters]
  •  Mervyn Peake’s Ghormenghast trilogy [OMG]
  •  Anything by Robin Hobb
  •  Anything by Shakespeare [you might have heard of him – he’s not bad]

9. What book/s from other authors do you wish you had written?
I wish I’d written My Life As An Alphabet because it’s brilliant. Oh, wait a moment, I did write that. Sorry. Just a Dog, by Michael Gerard Bauer is an absolute cracker. So is Happy As Larry by Scot Gardner [see above]. Deadly Unna by Phil Gwynne. I wish I’d written the Twilight series. I hate it, but I’d be filthy rich by now. I could afford to buy up every copy in the world and burn them.

10. Why read your novel?

Arrogant answer: because it’s brilliant and will change your life forever.
Desperate answer: because it took me a very long time to write it, so please …
Disturbing answer: I know where you live and I have friends with baseball bats [that’s an exaggeration. I don’t have friends].

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