Take Five With...Jeanne Bannon

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I’m delighted to have Jeanne Bannon here at the Character Depot. Jeanne is the author of Invisible, a YA Paranormal novel. She’s a great writer and a treasured critique partner. I feel a speech coming on, so before I get carried away, let me cut to the chase.    

If you could convey only three facts, what would you like readers to know about Jeanne Bannon, Author?

What a wonderful question, but a hard one! Okay, here’s something; when I was a teenager, I almost died. I was very ill and the doctors thought that was it for me. This brush with death changed me and this was when my interest in the paranormal really blossomed.

The second thing; I’ve been an editor for over twenty years and I have degrees in journalism and psychology.

Third, I don’t want to die without achieving some level of success with my writing, but I feel I really don’t have much control over the amount of success I do end up having. I don’t think greatness is meant for everyone and I may not be one of the chosen, lol.

Invisible was recently released and there’s another paranormal book in the works. What first got you interested in writing paranormal novels and do you see yourself branching out in any other genre?

The paranormal has been a part of my life for as far back as I can remember. I’ve seen ghosts and had several prophetic dreams. And I’m obsessed with the idea of where we go after our time here on the Earth is over. I think about this everyday. It’s as if I live with one foot already on the other side of this reality. So, writing about the paranormal comes naturally to me. As far as branching out into other genres, I’ve tried, but ultimately, the paranormal sneaks in one way or the other. I won’t rule it out, but we’ll see if I’m even able to break free, lol.

Books with paranormal elements are all the rage right now, do you think their popularity will wane any time soon?

No, I don’t think the interest in the paranormal will ever wane. After all, it really is an exploration of the possibility of alternate realities and I think, our hope in their existence. It’s escapism just as a good romance book is. The paranormal takes readers away from the ordinariness of life which is a required element of a good book, at least in my opinion.

Your other novel, Dark Angel is like nothing I’ve ever read before (not that I read a lot of paranormal). What plans do you have for Dark Angel?

I started Dark Angel which I describe as a paranormal thriller, before I wrote Invisible, about two-and-a-half years ago and it’s taken me forever to finish. But right now I’m in the final stages of editing it (hopefully for the last time). I think I may query agents and see what happens. But I won’t query widely, just to the ones at the top of my list. I took too much time querying agents for Invisible before approaching publishers. It’s much easier to find a publisher than an agent and I won’t waste a lot of time on trying to find an agent this time.

How long did it take you to create Invisible?

Invisible was like a gift. I wrote it in four months. And not too long afterwards, I found a home for it with Solstice Publishing. It felt like Invisible was meant to be; all the story elements and characters came together so well. It was a dream to write.

Some writers like to test their work on an appropriate audience. Did your children read Invisible?

I would have loved for my 17-year-old daughter to read Invisible and I asked her, but she never did. So, no, I didn’t get to test it on my target audience. I did test it on my writing group as you know. And that was all I needed.

Invisible deals with bullying, which has been in the news for some time, did you write the novel with the thought of a special niche market in mind?

No, I didn’t write Invisible thinking it was timely or even that it would fit into a special niche market. Invisible is partly autobiographic and writing it was cathartic. I was bullied when I was 13 because we moved and I had to change schools. Some of the kids at my new school made my life a living hell for two years, until finally I went to high school and then everything changed. Lola, my main character is a little older than I was when I was bullied and she and I do not share the body image issues or weirdo parents, but what we do/did share is the desire to vanish and just simply blend into the woodwork. Lola, however, was able to manifest that desire. It took me many years to want to be seen and to feel valid enough to even deserve to be seen. This is Lola’s struggle too.

Being based in Canada, what challenges, if any, did you face while trying to find an agent or publisher?

Funny enough, I didn’t face any challenges in finding a publisher. Solstice was the second publisher I approached and thankfully they accepted my story and I had to look no further. As for an agent, like I mentioned above, I did query for a while and had several requests for full manuscripts that went nowhere. I came close to landing an agent after a rewrite and resubmit request. I may approach the same agency once Dark Angel is ready as they’ve extended an invitation to me to submit any future manuscripts. 

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned on your journey to publication.

Not to have expectations. I just let it be. Whatever is meant for me and my writing career will come. You can’t force destiny. Perhaps you can add that to the first question; I do believe in destiny.

What’s next for Jeanne Bannon?

Right now the only thing on my radar is finishing Dark Angel. After that, I may finish another YA project I started titled The Barely Boy. I was having fun with that story but got stuck in the plot. I have to know where I’m heading and how the story will end before continuing with it. As well, I’d love to write a YA series.
Bio and links

JeanneBannon has worked in the publishing industry for over twenty years. She started her career as a freelance journalist, then worked as an in-house editor for LexisNexis Canada and currently works as a freelance editor and writer.

She has had several short stories published and won first place in the Writers of Caledon Short Story Contest. Her novels, The Barely Boy and Dark Angel were finalists in the 2010 and 2011 Strongest Start Contests. One of her short stories “Thom’s Journey” is part of an Anthology entitled A Visitor to Sandahl and is available at Amazon.com.

Invisible, her debut novel, is about a teenage girl who isn’t happy with herself and wishes she could disappear. And one day she does. Invisible is available on Amazon, Smashwords, and the Solstice Publishing website.

When not reading or writing, Jeanne enjoys being with her daughters, Nina and Sara and her husband, David. She’s also the proud mother of two fur babies, a sweet Miniature Schnauzer named Emily and Spencer, a rambunctious tabby, who can be a very bad boy.


Blog: Beyond Words
Twitter: @JeanneBannon

Feel free to leave any comments and/or questions you may have for Jeanne. Two lucky followers (U.S./Canada & International) who comment will win an e-copy of Invisible.    The winner will be announced on Friday, September 23, 2011.