Sunday, June 12, 2011

PJ Hoover on SOLSTICE: An Alternate Route to Publishing

"P. J. Hoover first fell in love with Greek mythology in sixth grade thanks to the book Mythology by Edith Hamilton. After a fifteen year bout as an electrical engineer designing computer chips for a living, P. J. decided to take her own stab at mythology and started writing books for kids and teens. P. J. is also a member of THE TEXAS SWEETHEARTS & SCOUNDRELS. When not writing, P. J. spends time with her husband and two kids and enjoys practicing Kung Fu, solving Rubik's cubes, and watching Star Trek.
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."

She doesn't know this, but as I read P.J.'s bio I realized we had several "likes" in common. Mythology and Star Trek are two of those, and until I moved away last year we were both Texans. Now I see P.J. when I go back to Texas occasionally, and I was intrigued to hear about her new project and debut YA, SOLSTICE. P.J. graciously agreed to explain both the novel and its unique inception.

I just downloaded your new YA novel SOLSTICE, and am very excited to read. Before we talk about the publishing angle, please give readers a brief synopsis.

Hi Janet! Thanks for asking! SOLSTICE is set is a future where global warming is destroying the earth. Summer never ends, and governments are trying all sorts of crazy things to survive. Amid this mess, a girl named Piper opens a box on her birthday, and her world shifts. She finds out that, parallel to her global warming earth, there is a world of mythology, and somehow she’s linked to it. So she meets gods, tries to save her best friend from death, and falls into a bizarre love triangle. And, of course, things become complicated beyond all possible reason, and Piper has to find a way to survive.

I know that you've taken an "alternate" route to publishing. How did arrive at this plan? What was the editorial process like?

My agent was the one to suggest the independent publishing route. We talked about the pros and cons, and after thinking on it, I decided to give it a go. My agent was very clear that she would support me whatever decision I made.
As for the editorial process, the word that comes to mind is intense. I’ve revised SOLSTICE more times than I can count, but now I have a story I’m super proud to share with the world.

Your cover is gorgeous - did you have much input?

Thank you! I offered up thoughts on the cover but then didn’t see it until it was complete. My agency picked the stock photo and sent it to a cover designer who did the work. I’m pretty sure no matter what input I might have had, the final result would have blown it away. There was never any thought of asking for any changes.

Do you think this route is less risky for you because you already have a reader following? Would you recommend it to beginning writers?

I absolutely adore SOLSTICE and am thrilled it is already in the hands of readers (as opposed to having to wait a year and a half). For SOLSTICE, it just felt like the right route. And for beginning writers, I think the world of publishing is changing, and anything can be placed on the table for consideration, whether there is a reader following or not. My biggest recommendation no matter what route is taken is to have your book edited. 

What about schools and libraries? Do you have a marketing plan for those markets?

SOLSTICE should be coming out in print form at some point, and would then be available to schools and libraries in that form. Also, I think there are some programs in place for ebooks to be lent out at libraries, though each library varies in what is possible. I’m a huge believer in libraries, and as the publishing world shifts, libraries and the models they use will shift along with it.

What is your take on the "e-book/actual book" controversy (or do you think there is a controversy?)

Like e-book vs. print? I don’t think there is a controversy per se. You have some readers who swear they just love the feel of a real book in their hands, and I used to be one. And then I tried a Nook, and seriously, I love it (as does the rest of my family). I kind of view paper books and LPs in a similar fashion. They are nostalgic and awesome, but buying and reading on an e-reader is so easy to do, just like listening to music on iTunes is simple.

Please give readers some way to find out more about you and your books. Thanks, Tricia!

Everything anyone would ever want to know is on my website (, and if it’s not, then there are lots of ways to contact me. I’m on twitter, facebook, and my email is also available. I love answering questions and interacting with readers, so please get in touch!


PJ Hoover said...

Thank you so much for featuring me, Janet!

Janet Fox said...

It's my pleasure!! Live long and prosper. :)

I Read Banned Books said...

Reading this now! It's awesome!