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Authorial Intrusion - Varian Johnson

Welcome to the last Authorial Intrusion before summer hiatus. I’ve conducted more than thirty intrusions since last August, and it’s time for a break. I’m going on vacation in less than two weeks – yay! And when I get back, I'll be immersing myself in revisions again, so it would be hard to find time to intrude on people, anyway.

To read any of the previous interviews, just click on the tag “authorial intrusion” on the left side of the page.

For those just tuning in, here’s the history behind these posts:

I love reading about the Publishing Journeys of my favorite writers.

I love the long, soul-searching interviews that reveal every obstacle and triumph: the author whose agent made her do three revisions before signing her … the author who gets up at 4:30 a.m. to write, because it’s the only time she has to herself … the critically acclaimed author who spent nine years trying to get published … I never tire of this stuff!

Long, luxurious interviews aside, don’t you sometimes find yourself wondering: “But do you like Thai or Chinese food better?”

Reader, I asked them.

I assembled a grab-bag full of random questions and emailed them to some of my favorite writers.

They answered!

And now, without further ado, please welcome Varian Johnson!



Varian Johnson - varianjohnson - is the author of My Life as a Rhombus, a young adult novel about Rhonda, who buries herself in her studies and her volunteer tutoring during the day, and food and TV at night. When Rhonda learns that she must tutor rich and popular Sarah Gamble, she expects to hate her – after all, Sarah has everything. But when Rhonda discovers that Sarah is pregnant, it turns out they may have more in common that she thought.

Rhonda’s rules for success in life are scattered throughout the novel in the form of amusing theorems, postulates, graphs, and formulae. Postulate #1 – Boys are not to be trusted – is her strictest rule. Will she ever meet someone who disproves her belief?

I’m especially fond of this book because the author (a man) writes in the voice of a teen girl. Since I am a woman whose book is written in the voice of a teen boy, I sense a kindred spirit in Varian.

Recently, Varian sold another YA novel, this one tentatively titled The Path of the Righteous about a preacher's son, a wild girl, a nursing home, a secret garden, and blackberries. It’s scheduled to come out in Fall 2009, and I will be first in line to buy it!

Thai food or Chinese?
Chinese – General Tso's Chicken.

First car?
A red, 1987 Mercury Topaz, named "Jenny, the MIGHTY Topaz." My brother and I bought her from a car auction for $1100, and ended up putting about 150,000 miles on her. By the time we finally had to put her out to pasture, we had replaced just about every working part of the car.

Snorkeling or skiing?
Snorkeling. I've never been skiing.

Ever wish you'd studied a different subject in college?
No, I'm glad I majored in civil engineering in college—I've never liked the idea of being a "starving" writer. However, I wish I had taken more English classes in college (all I took was Technical Writing). That's one of the main reasons I decided to go back to school to get my MFA (from the Vermont College of Fine Arts).

Pick three words to go on your tombstone.
A good guy.

Five things you would do with $100,000.
1) Give 10% to charity.
2) Pay off my school loans.
3) Take my wife to Italy for two weeks.
4) Buy my parents a new car.
5) Put the rest in savings.


Your five favorite movies.
Okay, so some of these are a little geeky, so be warned…
1) Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
2) The Beastmaster (a TBS mainstay from back in the day)
3) Batman (1989)
4) The Natural
5) Silverado


Furthest you've ever been from home.
My wife and I traveled around India for 10 days in 2005. Goa was beautiful, but all of the poverty was really saddening.

Favorite state (not counting the one you live in)?
South Carolina.

Early bird or night owl?
Both. I'm not picky…I take whatever writing time I can get.

Advice for writers in 5 words or less.
Enjoy successes—even small ones.

Rollercoasters: love em or hate em?
Love em, but only for the short term. After about four rides, I get massive headaches.

Any phobias?
I'm afraid of disappointing other people.

Tattoos?
One on my shoulder—a fraternity tattoo.

What's your favorite childhood Halloween costume?
My brother and I dressed up as Siamese twins one year.

Beach or mountains?
Beaches—specifically Myrtle Beach, SC. I grew up in a town only an hour away from the beach.

Best present anyone ever gave you?
A writing contract!

Thanks for indulging our curiosity, Varian!



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Comments

( 12 inscriptions — Inscribe a note )
varianjohnson
Jun. 9th, 2008 03:19 am (UTC)
Thanks for hosting me. I love Authorial Intrusion!
lkmadigan
Jun. 9th, 2008 03:33 am (UTC)
Thank YOU!
seaheidi
Jun. 9th, 2008 04:39 am (UTC)
Yay, Varian...

Have a good summer break, LK. I'll catch you at chat. =D
sarahmaclean
Jun. 9th, 2008 12:01 pm (UTC)
two thoughts after reading this...
1) GREAT advice for writers. Something that we all need to remember!
and
2) I honestly never thought I'd know of someone who had a fraternity tattoo AND was a ya writer. word.

enjoy your summer hiatus, LK!
lkmadigan
Jun. 9th, 2008 07:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Sarah!
anywherebeyond
Jun. 9th, 2008 01:12 pm (UTC)
Dude, I just love reading these. Thought I would say so!
olugbemisola
Jun. 9th, 2008 03:54 pm (UTC)
I love "enjoy successes -- even small ones". Great intrusion, as usual!
lkmadigan
Jun. 9th, 2008 07:24 pm (UTC)
I know - isn't that great advice?

Thanks, Gbemi.
arya_darcy
Jun. 9th, 2008 04:59 pm (UTC)
Another great intrustion! :)
lkmadigan
Jun. 9th, 2008 07:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I love that icon.
arya_darcy
Jun. 9th, 2008 07:38 pm (UTC)
You're welcome. :) And thanks! I love it too.
as_king
Jun. 19th, 2008 07:28 pm (UTC)
Great interview! I am so pleased to hear Varian has a new book coming soon!
I Loved Rhombus.
( 12 inscriptions — Inscribe a note )