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01 March 2011

Welcome Special Guest: author Johanna Riley

Please welcome author, Johanna Riley!
Johanna Riley, who also has three stories under Johanna Melaragno, started writing in middle school, bizarre stories to entertain her friends.  When she realized she could get paid for listening to the voices in her head—and wouldn't get arrested or committed for it—she knew she'd found her calling.
And we’re glad she found her calling since she provides us with great heart warming stories!

Johanna, what inspired you to become a writer?
Even in elementary school I loved creative writing. I remember writing a story in 4th grade about how Paul Bunyon created the Hoover Dam with the help of his big blue ox. My teacher loved it, and encouraged me to keep writing.  I hated public speaking even from a young age, and writing allowed me to say what I needed to say, even if it was done in a fictional story, without worrying about tripping over my tongue.
When did you attempt your first story? What length was it? What's become of it?
Other than the short stories I wrote in 7th and 8th grade—which to this day are in the original notebook I wrote them in—I wrote a YA story about a boyband that was approximately 60k. I thought this story was going to send me straight to New York and onto the NYT Best Sellers list.  Of course after it was finished I learned more about the craft and knew this story should NEVER see the light of day. (Did you know it’s possible to fit four points of view into one paragraph?) So it is tucked away for now to maybe be majorly revised in the future.
How many stories did you complete before you sold your first?
Two. The full length mentioned above and then the story that I actually sold.
What genre(s) do you write in? What drew you to write in it/them? What's your favorite genre of all to write in?
Right now I write sweet and semi-sweet romance.  Sweet because I knew my family was going to read the stories and I didn't want to send my wonderful grandmother into an early grave.  Though I actually enjoyed reading the sweet boy-meets-girl story.  I would say my favorite genre to write is suspense/horror. It's a great (and legal!) outlet to getting my frustrations out.
What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you ever received?
The best piece of writing advice I received was write for yourself. If you write for yourself you know you'll love the book. And if you love the book, it shows in your writing.
The worst piece of advice…
The worst advice I received was from someone who thought I should change my writing voice to match what she wanted to read. Didn't matter if I liked the style or not, she wanted everyone to write like her and her favorite author.
How do you celebrate/deal with acceptance/rejection letters?
With every acceptance letter I do a giddy little dance. Doesn't matter how many I receive, it is still a thrill to know someone likes what I wrote.  For rejection letters, I keep them in a folder and go back every so often and read those that gave feedback to make sure I have learned and not repeated the mistakes they thought I made.
Which actor and actress do you envision playing the roles of your hero and heroine? If there's a villain or other characters who are pertinent to the story, who would play those parts?
In 'Made to Order', my newest release, I see Orlando Bloom as Todd, Anne Hathaway as Shelby, and Victor Webster as Kevin.
Is 'Made to Order' a stand-alone story or part of a series? What sparked the idea for the story/series?
This story is part of a series called the Flower Basket, which was created by The Wild Rose Press Sweetheart line.  My story is a standalone.

Now for some fun stuff…
What's your favorite color?
What's your favorite ice cream flavor?
Chocolate marshmallow.
Are you a cat, dog or both kind of person?
I love both dogs and cats, though my cat will not allow us to bring other furry children home to stay.
Would you/have you own(ed) a snake or some other exotic pet?
Nope, unless hamsters are considered exotic. :)
Which do you prefer: rain or sun & warm weather or cold weather?
Ooh, I love rain and thunderstorms.
Are you a morning person or night owl?
A mix. My best amount of energy is from 11am to 6:30pm and then I get my second wind around 9:00pm if I'm not in bed already.
What's your favorite day of the week?
Saturday, first day of the weekend and I still have one more day off work.
What's your favorite number?
Don't have one.
If you could live anywhere in the universe, where would it be and why?
A remote island with the hubby and an Internet connection. That way I can have human contact if needed but I can also be allowed to indulge in my antisocial tendencies.
If you were stranded on a desert island and were only allowed to have five modern conveniences with you, what would they be?
Laptop with a never-die battery, endless supply of toilet paper, iPod, contacts, and antibacterial gel.

About Johanna's latest release & where to find her online: 'Made to Order' ~ Between running a diner, refereeing her employees, and pretending she's not in love with best friend Todd Chambers, Shelby Winters has enough on her plate. But when she receives flowers from an anonymous admirer and dinner invitations from her other best friend, Kevin Grady, she can't pass up the tempting opportunity to infuse her life with a little fun. Unfortunately, her new life is alienating Todd. Is Shelby's new joie de vie enough to give her the courage to confess her true feelings? Or will her inherent shyness leave her at a table for one?

'Made to Order' and her other titles can be purchased through The Wild Rose Press: &
Readers can learn about Johanna Riley by checking out her website at and on Facebook: Johanna Riley author

Thank you so much Johanna for taking the time to do the interview and sharing your stories and writing life with us!


Kaylea Cross said...

Hey, CR and Johanna! Loved the interview, especially the part about it being possible to fit 4 POVs into a single paragraph. Now that is talent, my friends. Pure, gripping talent :)

Shannan Albright said...

Great Blog! I could really relate to Johanna and her antisocial tendencies. So nice to know a little more about such a wonderful talent and looking forward to a lot more great reads from her.

Donna L Bolk said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't have a favorite number. Great interview.

Johanna said...

Thanks, Kari.

Shannon, I think all writers Ned to be a bit antisocial. We have too many voices in our heads to deal with real people. :)

Donna, I have always been puzzled by that question. I guess I could say my number is one long as it's dollars and in my bank account. LOL

Skhye said...

I'm with Kaylea on the POVs, my friend. And I'm so agree about the toilet paper. :) Fun answers. Will have to check out your Hanging Basket tale!

P.L. Parker said...

Very interesting interview. I love your reason for "sweet." Have to say my mama skips over my "less sweet" passages! LOL

Ann Yost said...

Hi Johanna - great interview - I can't believe you wouldn't like a pet snake. What's wrong with you? Got to get this story - it sounds fabulous and I know what a good writer (and editor) you are!

Tami Cowen said...

Great interview! And it is nice to know there is still a market for sweet stories out there.

C.R. Moss said...

Thanks for stopping by everyone and supporting Johanna!
We appreciate your readership!

Teresa K. said...

What a great interview Johanna. I too love the rain. Especially when it's coming down on my Tin Roof.
I also love Spring and Fall.

Teresa K.
tcwrlup41@ yahoo dot com