Saturday, September 19, 2015


Today I have J. Andersen on the blog to discuss her new novel, THE BREEDING TREE, set to release September 21. But before we get into all the fun, nitty-gritty details about the book, let's rack her brain first about the craft of writing and her personal writing journey.

1.      Tell us a bit about your writing background. When did you first start to write?

Well, I recently found an assignment from third grade where I said I wanted to be famous for writing a book. So, I guess it started then. I wrote a bit in high school. Short stories mostly. Won a few high school level writing contests. But when college came around, creative writing was laid aside in lieu of term papers. Then, when I started teaching, the desire to write resurfaced. I was reading what my students were reading and kept thinking, I could do this. Now I’m doing it full time.

2.      Do you have other genres of interest?

I love YA the best. It’s what I like to read and write. I’ll occasionally pick up women’s fiction, but I always come back to YA. There’s something about it that draws you in like no other type of book can. I think we all think back to our youth, no matter how far away that was, and can relate to the characters trying to figure out who they are. There’s something attractive about that.

3.      I find it interesting to know what environment people write in. Do they use a pen and paper, laptop? Quiet room, music or what? Dog at their feet? Cat on the desk? Just whatever makes it comfortable to be productive. 

My environment changes. For the most part, I write at a huge desk in my kitchen. Right now, it’s covered in papers and books and about 37 pens lying all over the place. In all that, I can never find my reading glasses.  I’ll also do the front or back porch, depending on if The Bug wants me to watch her play or is willing to play on her own.

Cafes are also great places to write. I’ve given up Starbucks for local shops. I’ve decided to try to support the local businesses as much as possible. There are a lot of cool coffee shops and breakfasts cafes around here that I never knew existed. Each place has a slightly different feel and helps me to get into creativity mode. Also, I have a friend who goes with me and keeps me accountable. I always find myself more productive when I can bounce ideas off someone in the process of writing. So, a special thanks goes out to Beth Hadley for keeping my mojo flowing.

I also write on the go. Soccer games, guitar lessons, waiting at the doctor’s office. I try to have a little notebook to get some ideas down as they come.  

Most of the time I write on the computer, but I do find that if I’m stuck or if I can’t bring my laptop where I’m going, a notebook and pen work just as well. I plan out all of my novels using a large paper and a rising/falling action triangular diagram. (You know, the kind your middle school English teachers used to torture you with.—Remember, I was a middle school English teacher.) I don’t always stick to the outline exactly, but at least I know where my major plot points are.

4.      What is best writing advice you can give?

I think the best advice is to write…no matter who tells you you can or can’t. Keep writing. Keep growing. Be willing to take critiques and learn from them. Read everything you can on writing. Test out the styles or advice those books/people give and find what works for you. That’s the key. Not all the advice you get is going to work for you, but you’ll never know if it does or doesn’t unless you give it a try. And lastly, READ!

Back Cover Blurb: 

Is the opportunity to create the next generation of life a dream come true or a deadly nightmare? 

When seventeen year old Katherine Dennard is selected to become a "Creation Specialist" in Sector 4, the opportunity sounds like a dream come true. But Kate soon discovers the darker side of her profession - the disposal of fetal organs and destruction of human life. It makes sense, really. In a society where disease and malformations don't exist, human perfection demands that no genetic "mutants" be allowed to live. For Sector 4, "survival of the fittest" is not just a theory - it's The Institute's main mission. 

When Kate discovers that The Institute is using her DNA to create new life, her work gets personal. In order to save her unviable son, she'll have to trust Micah and his band of underground Natural Born Rebels. The problem is, if The Institute discovers her betrayal, the next body being disposed of could be hers.

Author Bio: 

There’s not much to do growing up in a small town in Western, NY, so J. Andersen wrote stories and won high school writing contests. But in college her writing was limited to term papers. While teaching middle school she began to read young adult books and got serious about writing. She now writes full time, volunteers at the town library, helps to run a School of the Arts at her church, and sings in the church band. She enjoys good coffee—read: home roasted by her husband—crafts, baking, and chasing after her children. You’ll rarely see J. without a book in her hands, and that’s the way she’d like to keep it.

Social Media Links:

Snapchat ID: jvdlandersen

Buy THE BREEDING TREE: Amazon pre-order:

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