Friday, September 30, 2011

Welcome Phyllis Johnson (Could be titled: I'm going to get blogger!)

If Phyllis looks familiar, you may have seen in her on television in bit roles on website advertising the has classroom ma


              I want to welcome Phyllis Johnson here today. She is one half of the team who wrote the YA novel, inkBLOT.  It’s great to have you, Phyllis.     

     Why did you decide to write inkBLOT?

One day I was taking an inkblot test online and the images and questions grew stranger and more twisted somehow. I started wondering what it would be like if the person receiving the information used it against me. It was the classic “what if” that gave birth to the book. 

     How long have you known Nancy Naigle? (Nancy is the other half of Johnson Naigle, this awesome writing team.)  
I’ve known Nancy for six years. She's a great friend and an award winning writer. Her debut novel, Sweet Tea and Secrets is getting rave reviews and her next novel, due out soon is titled Out of Focus. Nancy and I met through our romance writing group and went to some writing retreats and conferences together. Our personalities and love for writing meshed and we decided over time that it would be fun to work together.  I started working on inkBLOT and somewhere along the way got distracted by other writing projects. Nancy heard the synopsis of the story and kept asking about it. She didn’t want me to give up on it and decided she’d like to work on it with me. That’s when our co-authorship began. I’m really happy she fell in love with the characters like I did. We plan sequels to the book and have outlined them already. 

    How did you come up with such a fantastic idea for a YA novel? 
    Like I said earlier, it was the inkblot test that triggered the whole book. Different images on the test made me think of various crimes and how someone could carry them out. 

       I must tell you that the first line of the first chapter is one of the best first lines I’ve ever read. Pulled me in. Fast. How long did you work on that first line? 
      Nancy has to take credit for the first line. I had removed the first chapter from the book so it could begin with real action. After all, suspense has to grab you from the beginning. It’s Nancy’s first line that hooks you.  We sent the manuscript back and forth trying come up with the strongest hook. 

     What character was the hardest to create? 
   Chelsea may have been the hardest to create. She’s strong willed and competitive but we wanted her to show some compassion too. It was a balancing act. We found that we had to go back and soften her up a little to more easily win the readers' hearts. 

    What would you tell a young person who wants to be a writer?    Being a writer is a labor of love. You do it because you feel something is missing when you go too long without writing. Some of my best advice is to join writing groups. Networking with others takes some of the solitude out of it and you learn a lot from others, such as publishing information and critiquing skills. Developing a thick skin to rejection is important and you should always believe in yourself. Never give up your dreams.

        Which children's book authors are your favorites?
        Jon Sciezka, Alice McLerran, E.B. White, Peggy Deitz Shea, Anne Frank (which explains my poetry book based on her diary, Being Frank with Anne- which I plan to re-release as a new edition in the near future)

      Do you ever get writer's block?

      When I get writer’s block, I look at artwork or photography and listen to music.
     Anything creative jump starts my Muse.  Swinging in a hammock with notebook and pen helps too.

    If you could say anything to your readers, what would it be? 
    I hope you love Ronnie, Chelsea and Tiffany as much as we do.  
   And the next time you enter a lot of information over the internet about yourself... be careful. :.)~  

   Thank you for visiting with me, Phyllis and Nancy. I heart your novel.

  You want to visit this awesome writing team and their most exciting novel? I knew you did. Check out the linkage. You'll be glad you did. Support these lovely ladies. Go buy this novel. It's awesome. *wishing I'd had the idea first*
        Phyllis's place
        Nancy's house  
   I've never had  so much trouble with the formatting and uploading as I've had this week.   *shakes fist at blogger* 


  1. Hey y'all! *waving madly

    Just wanted to echo how awesome it was to work on inkBLOT with Phyllis.

    It's a story that held our hearts and minds for several years as it made it to the page and your shelf.

    We hope you love it as much as we do and that you'll help spread the word about it. (We even have a fun Street Team that you can get some swag to share with your friends)

    Hugs and happy Friday!

  2. Hey Nancy. I love your novel and wish you great success with it. Blogger stinks! I've had such trouble this week. *sob*

    I will check out the Team. :-)

  3. Hi Phyllis and Robyn..I love the book title and the idea is simply awesome.
    I am fascinated that you and Nancy co-authored the book. Was it difficult, were you able to agree on everything?

  4. Phyllis will answer that as soon as she has access to her computer, Rachna. Isn't it great? The book is super. I'll probably do a giveaway with my copy when I get time. (((hugs)))

  5. Robyn, so glad you introduced me to Phyllis. Thanks, amigo, this was a fun interview! I always learn something new when I stop by. :D

    Big hugs! Happy weekend!

  6. Hugs right back! Phyllis is awesome, Karen. Glad you enjoyed.

  7. Very interesting story! I'm intrigued! Thanks for the interview, Robyn, and Phyllis and Nancy, nice to meet you both!

  8. I love it how the strangest things spark ideas for a novel. :) Very cool!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  9. Isn't it great, Jc? They are two fantastic writers. :-)

  10. Me too, Angela. I had this great idea for a picture book from a picture of a giraffe I saw on someone's blog. It doesn't take too much to spark a writer's imagination.

  11. I love hearing about a writer's inspiration. Thinking about how an inkblot test could be used against us is a great seed.

    Nice to now I'm not the only one who has had to ditch a chapter 1 in favor of action.

  12. *raises hand* Me too, Theresa. The whole chapter. *boohoo* After I finished wallowing in self pity (a favorite thing I do), I made it so much better!

    inkBlot is such a great idea for a novel. They really made it work too. :-)

  13. inkBLOT sounds terrific! And what a great story about how you got the idea. Nancy's book Sweet Tea sounds really great, too - the description reminds me a little of Sarah Addison Allen's books which I love. And how cool that BEING FRANK WITH ANNE (which also sounds wonderful) is going to be archived in Amsterdam!

    One thing I'm curious about - what was it like writing together? How did you do it? Each write a chapter or something?

  14. I was wondering about Nancy's book too. It does sound very interesting, Susanna. I really would love to read Being Frank With Anne.

  15. What a cool idea. I love how Phyllis came up with it. The book sounds great!
    Thanks, Robyn. Hope you don't have any more problems with blogger.

  16. LynNerd, I'm glad you like the concept for our inkBLOT book too!

  17. Rachna, I’m glad you like the book title. Book titles are always fun to create. Now, as far as agreeing with Nancy while writing the book, for the most part, we agreed. There was this time when she wanted to put a poisonous snake in the story and I balked. The snake stuck but now I see that it really works, after all, this is a suspense novel.

    Susanna, when we wrote together, only one of us would have the manuscript at a time. That way we wouldn’t be undoing what the other one was doing. Thanks for your interest in Being Frank with Anne. I’ll be re-releasing that soon with a new cover and as an ebook. I’d like to have an interview with Robyn when that time comes so be looking for that.

    Theresa, coming up with the inkblot concept was a real Eureka moment. Then, removing a chapter to have more action up front can be painful but sometimes it has to be done.

    Angela, you’re right, strange things do spark a novel and I love the feeling I get when I think I’ve run across a great book idea.

    J.C., I’m glad you are intrigued by the idea of inkBLOT. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts once you’ve read it.

    Karen, thanks for stopping by the blog. Nice to meet you, too.

  18. Robyn, thanks so much for interviewing me today for your blog! It's been great fun!!

  19. hi robyn,
    Great blogpost :) Sparks the imagination doesn't it?!
    Yes i certainly did wear a corset all night. As I said GREAT for the figure and the posture, probably not so good for the lungs lol :) Yeah go for it your hubby/partner would appreiciate i'm sure ;)
    You are so welcome for the mention. you truly deserve it for your help. :)
    Much luv and hugs :)

  20. I know! Blogger can be a pain!

    I think that is SO cool how Phyllis came up with the idea for the book. You never know what can trigger a plot. :-)

  21. Eve, I'm not sure how oorset talk came up in this but it sure fogged up my monitor screen. LOL Nice to meet you! Would love to go to the UK one day. My roots are traced back that far to 1595.

    Jennifer, isn't getting a new idea the coolest feeling ever? It's like getting a rush.

    If anyone would like inkBLOT bookmarks and water soluble inkBLOT tattoos to put on notebooks or your skin (if you dare) Drop a line and I'll mail you some!


  22. Oops, obviously I meant to type corset and typed oorset. Where's my coffee?

  23. Inkblot is a great name for a novel and it sounds like a must read. What I always wonder though is how two people can jointly write a novel.

  24. Wow. How have I not heard of this book???? Must have copy!! Great interview, Robyn! :-)

  25. Oooh, this is a fun interview! I can't believe that I didn't hear of this book either. Well here I go putting it on my list of must reads! Thanks Robyn for the great interview.

  26. Hi Rosalind, I've written poetry and short stories with two guys before so this was my first co-authoring with a gal pal. It's great sharing an intense interest in a project with someone else.

    Shannon, we hope you love inkBLOT as much as we loved writing it!

    Kelly, I'm glad to hear you're putting it on your to-read list!

  27. Here's the link to inkBLOT

    You can write me at

  28. Sounds incredible! I'm adding it to my list. And I'm shaking my fists at blogger too! I've had all kinds of problems.


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