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S. R. Johannes, Author of Untraceable Chats About Contemporary Thrillers in the Young Adult Genre

I would very much like to welcome S. R. Johannes, author of the new young adult contemporary thriller, Untraceable, due out on November 29th, 2011. Ms. Johannes was nice enough to answer a few questions for me about her book, her reading tastes and the contemporary thriller genre. Thank you so much for stopping by Emeraldfire’s Bookmark, Ms. Johannes, and I wish you all the best with Untraceable

Meet S. R. Johannes: 

When Shelli was younger, she spent all her time outdoors, hiking, camping and living the Girl Scout Way. Somewhere along the way, she got away from nature and earned an MBA in Marketing, kicking off an 18-year marketing career in Corporate America. Eventually, Shelli traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing. She started her own marketing & communications business, http://www.bilaninc.com, where she worked with Spanx, Goody Hair Products, Chick Filet, and the Boys & Girls Club of America.

Synopsis from Goodreads: 16 year old Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival.
When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he’s dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him. 


One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father. 


Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves.


Coming to Amazon on November 29th, 2011!


Emeraldfire’s Bookmark: First of all, I have never really read a “young adult contemporary wilderness thriller”. At least I think not. Could you describe this genre for me if you are able? Is it newly created? 🙂

S. R. Johannes: I don’t think there are a lot of contemporary thrillers. I think Ally Carter is probably the closest. Most of the thrillers occur in a fantastical world or dystopic world. So yes, I guess I’m trying to create a niche. I read James Patterson’s Alex Cross series growing up. I always wanted to be the James Patterson of teens. (Not that he doesn’t already have that market too! J ) But even James Patterson’s books for teens are fantastical. Which always surprised me because he does thrillers really well.

Emeraldfire’s Bookmark: How long have you been writing in general and young adult in particular?

S. R. Johannes: I started writing when I was on maternity leave with my daughter. I had off 5 months and started writing when she was napping. That was 7.5 years ago. I had no idea the journey would be this long or hard or I might not have started it. Now I’m hooked. J

Emeraldfire’s Bookmark: Has this book turned out the way you wanted it to? Not necessarily the way the publisher or readers wanted, but is this book “the vision” you wanted it to be?

S. R. Johannes: Exactly. I did everything exactly how I wanted from story to characters to the cover to the marketing. This book is a piece of my soul and I’m very proud of it.

Emeraldfire’s Bookmark: In your opinion are there any “kick-butt heroines” in today’s books?

S. R. Johannes: I think there are a lot in YA. I just think most of them have special powers, use magic, or exist in an imaginary world – whether fantastical or dystopic. I wanted to create a real character that was tough and independent yet still lovable in today’s world.

Emeraldfire’s Bookmark: Describe a typical writing or reading day for yourself?

S. R. Johannes: There is no typical day. I have 2 kids that are on different schedules. I usually have from about 9:30 – 12:30 to write. I read at night before I go to bed.

Emeraldfire’s Bookmark: What are your favorite authors or genres? 

S. R. Johannes: Contemporary thrillers J. I love that feeling of staying up late and reading. Knowing you should go to sleep but wanting to read just one more chapter.

I love James Patterson and Ally Carter. I also love Carrie Ryan and Kimberly Derting.

Emeraldfire’s Bookmark: Where do you see your writing career in let’s say five years or so?

S. R. JohannesI hope I am successful enough and proud of the books that come out. But to be honest, if I’m writing and loving it – I’ll be happy.

May you read well and often