The Book Riot Live Interview: Joni Rodgers

Joni Rodgers is a novelist, memoirist, and ghostwriter. Read more about her here.

Q: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Plotter. I plan EVERYTHING OUT before I ever start writing.

Q: Got a favorite superhero?

There’s a huge vintage Incredible Hulk panel hanging over my bed and a 6×6 ft Jean Grey a la Dark Phoenix in my office. Extrapolate what you will.

Q: What’s one thing you want people to know about your book?

The price. No, seriously. The price—the currency being emotional energy, family time, sleep, sweat, throbbing wrists, and a chunk of one’s soul. I think it changes the reading experience when you can feel that it cost the writer something to tell that story.

Q: Do you know your Hogwarts house?

I’m a little bit Ravenclaw and a little bit rock’n’roll.

Q: You can take one (and only one) book with you on a 4-day trip where there are NO BOOKSTORES. What book do you take?

A fresh notebook.

Q: Favorite album or band to listen to while writing?

I created a “No Lyrics Allowed” channel: zen ambient stuff, cello, classical guitar, and Native American flute music.

Q: What’s the story you wish someone else would write, so you could read it?

The Bible from the devil’s POV. (Actually, I could write the hell out of that. No pun intended.)

Q: Chunky or smooth?

I love ALL peanut butters!

Q: What are you reading right now?

Catching up on Bitch Planet after revisiting William Goldman’s Adventures in the Screen Trade.

Q: What book do you wish more people had read?

Strunk & White’s Elements of Style.

Q: Which comes first in your process: plot or character?

Whatever punches me in the head.

Q: What genre have you never written in but want to?

I want to do a children’s book. Doesn’t everyone?

Q: What’s the most surprising thing you learned in the course of writing your most recent book?

If I told you, I’d have to kill you. As a ghostwriter, I learn some downtown sh*t about some uptown people, but confidentiality is sacred in this line of work. I’ll take it all to my grave.

Q: What’s your least favorite question to get as a writer?

Anything that starts with, “Since you don’t really have a job, could you… ?”

Q: What was the worst job you ever had? The best?

Worst: janitor in a porn movie theater. Best: writing, of course. If you love anything more than writing, you’re crazy to put up with the writing life.

Q: What question do you wish you could ask your readers?

“What difference does it make?”

Q: What do you know now about publishing that you wished you knew when you were first starting out?

Not a thing. If I’d known how unlikely I was to succeed, I might not have allowed myself to fall in love with the idea that I could make a living as a writer. I came into this with no expectations, so it’s been like a cosmic surprise party—with mostly good surprises—and the biggest blunders provided the best education.