Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Interview With Janet Sumner Johnson!

Today in A Week of Debuts I'm happy to present an interview with Middle Grade author Janet Sumner Johnson! Ms. Johnson's debut book, The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Society releases in April and looks like a good book! :)

Here's the summary for the book:
Some things are better together. Like peanut butter and jelly. Or Annie and Jason. So when her best friend's house is threatened with foreclosure, Annie Jenkins is bursting with ideas to save Jason's home. She could sell her appendix on eBay. (Why not?) Win the lottery. (It's worth a shot!). Face the evil bankers herself. (She's one tough cookie, after all.) Or hunt down an elusive (and questionably real) pirate treasure. Whatever the plan, it has to work, or this is undoubtedly THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB&J SOCIETY.

And now here's the interview! :)

The bold font is the questions I asked, the regular font is her responses, and the bold italic font is my comments on her answers.

1. The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Society looks like a fun book! Would you please describe it in five words?

Oh wow. This is a challenge! Hmmm . . .

Girl refuses to let friend move.

Girl saves the world with PLANS.

Pirate Treasure would fix everything.

PB&J sandwiches bringing people together.

Best friends fight against foreclosure.

This is starting to get addictive!! Perhaps I better stop there. ☺

Haha, I love these! :)

2. What's your favorite part of writing Middle Grade books?

Middle grade is the best! There's so much I love about writing it. I love that as an author I can be a little silly. Though my body says I'm an adult, my brain tells me I'm still a kid, so I feel right at home writing Middle grade. Also, I can address hard topics, but there is such resilience in middle graders, that hope always fills the pages. Adults give up too easily sometimes, so writing Middle Grade inspires me to keep trying, even when it's hard.

3. Random question time! Favorite quote? :)

After Thomas Edison produced 10,000 failed prototypes for an electric candle, he famously said: "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

What an inspiration! When I'm struggling with my writing (or with anything, really), I remind myself of Edison's doggedness and perseverance when others would have given up. Thank heavens he didn't!

I like this quote! :)

4. If you're able to talk about it, what are you working on now?

I'm currently revising a derivative fairy tale. It's about a princess who is sent off to another kingdom as a goodwill ambassador in the face of brewing turmoil between the two nations. It's got magic, and princes, and picnics, and scavenger hunts! Not to mention mysterious illnesses, and betrayals, and poison. It's been challenging to write, but I'm really in love with the story and especially my princess heroine. Hopefully you will all love it, too!

Ooh, this sounds good! :)

5. What books (debut and non-debut) are you looking forward to in 2016?

So many that I couldn't possibly list them all!

For non-debuts, I'm excited about Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics by Chris Grabenstein (released in January). I loved the first book! Another is Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff (out in April).

As for debuts, I've been super lucky to read several ARCs for many of Sweet Sixteen debuts. I haven't met a book I haven't liked yet! A couple I'm really excited about are:

The Rat Prince by Bridget Hodder (Aug.)
Sticks and Stones by Abby Cooper (July)
BFF Bucket List by Dee Romito (May)
The Hour of the Bees by Lindsey Eagar (Mar.)
The Distance to Home by Jenn Bishop (June)
The Last Boy at St. Edith's by Lee Gjertsen-Malone (Feb.)
Bounders by Monica Tesler (Jan.)
The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price by Jennifer Maschari (Feb.)

Okay, that was more than a couple, but I could really go on for a while. So many wonderful books that are coming out this year!

A bunch of the books you listed are books I want to read! Yay! :)

 Thank you again to Ms. Johnson for letting me interview her! That was fun! :)

Janet Sumner Johnson lives in Oregon with her husband and three kids. She bakes a mean cinnamon twist and eats way more cookies than are good for her, which explains her running habit. Though her full-time occupation as evil tyrant/benevolent dictator (aka mom) takes most of her time, she sneaks in writing at night when her inner funny bone is fully unleashed.

Here Are a Few Links:


  1. Thanks so much for having me, Jessica! :) [And still laughing that some of my "5-word" descriptions have 6 words . . . but hey, I'm a writer not a mathmetician!] ;)

  2. Fun interview! Can't wait for the book :)


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