Beyond Books Exclusive Author Spotlight: Joanne Kershaw
Joanne Kershaw lives in Wakefield, England, with her husband, four young children. As a teacher of five to eleven year-olds, she spends her days playing at being a grownup, then goes home to delve into Young Adult dark romance and being sixteen again.Joanne lives and breathes books, whether reading, writing, or marking them. She wrote her first novel in six weeks. Encouraged to submit her work by a friend and fellow YA novel addict, Joanne now finds herself a signed author at Xchyler Publishing.
Beyond Books: Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Joanne Kershaw: I am a primary school teacher (of 9-10 years olds, mostly), with lots of other different responsibilities. That takes up a huge chunk of my life! I also have four children, who fill in most of the rest of the time. I also love to attend conventions for things I am really geeky about!
BB: What inspires you?
JK: Silence – because that’s when my brain can really sift through the chaos and actually achieve something!
BB: What are you working on at the moment and what can you tell us about it?
JK: Gah! Nothing! As I only really write in the summer holidays, and as I’ve done that for the last three years, I decided to take a year off last year. Depending on whatever else is going on in my life, my hope is to do something with the six week break this year. I have a lot of ideas churning, just very little time to sit down and type.
BB: What genres do you write and are there any genres you would like to write?
JK: I have written YA Fantasy. I wish I could write a really good crime thriller, but while I often see the ‘twist’ coming in those sorts of books, I find it really hard to write myself. I will probably continue to include some form of romance in what I write, but am looking at dystopian fiction as well as fantasy in the future.
BB: When did you first realise you wanted to become a writer?
JK: When I was a very small girl! I have my first short story published in the local paper when I was eight; I think that’s when it started.
BB: What is your favourite book?
JK: I can’t choose because there are just too many! I haven’t had much time for reading over the last year (see the earlier question about teaching and parenting!), but have read a lot of fanfiction for my favourite TV shows and have found some fantastic authors there. I love the Raven Boys series most at the moment – I love Maggie Steifvater’s use of language.
BB: What is your favourite movie?
JK: Labyrinth and Lilo and Stitch are in my favourite ‘kids’ category. Then I love The Hunger Games series as well as the Twilight films. I don’t have an all-time favourite though.
BB: What do you do when you’re not writing?
JK: Haha! See above! Seriously, when I’m not teaching, planning the teaching, evaluating the teaching, marking the teaching or collating all the background stuff I have from teaching, there really isn’t much time left. I do attend a couple of conventions every year to meet the stars of shows or films I love, but I usually just spend time with my children or with friends.
BB: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
JK: Keep writing. Practice your craft. And read voraciously in the genre you want to write so that you can get a feel for what’s expected. That way your pitch will be perfect and your work sellable. Most importantly, get an editor. Pay for one if you have to. You would be amazed at the the amount of things you need to consider in writing, right down to the correct placement of commas. Editors, the good ones, will do all of that for you.
BB: What book are you reading at the moment?
JK: I just finished Becca Fitzpatrick’s Black Ice, which has been on my shelf for ages! I really enjoyed it and it was great to see what she could do beyond the Hush, Hush series. I am not currently reading anything, other than a few fanfics here or there, as I have been writing reports this week!
BB: What do you think makes your books stand out from the crowd?
JK: Besides their awesome covers? I think the mix of characters is pretty unique, and how they interact with one another. I love the twists and turns in the relationships in the books. But mostly the covers 😉
BB: Describe your writing style in ten words or less.
JK: To the point, focused and chocolate fueled.
BB: Do you have a favourite character in your books?
JK: No – that would be like asking me to pick a favourite child!
BB: Tea or coffee? And how do you take it?
JK: Decaf coffee, milk and one sugar (milk first!). Mostly I drink fruit tea and gallons of it (anything red, not green or mint tea).
BB: Do you have any pets?
JK: Sadly, not anymore. Our beloved family cat had to be put to sleep at Christmas due to a serious illness. She is greatly missed.
BB: Awwww we’re so sorry to hear that. Who or what has made the biggest influence on your life?
JK: I’m not sure. Maybe my Nan, for lots of personal reasons, and then my children. They motivate me all the time. My whole family influences me in one way or another.
BB: If you were invited to the Oscars, who would you take with you?
JK: My mate Karen, because my husband hates noise and queues and I need a babysitter, and because Karen would totally appreciate being there.
BB: If you could be any animal what would it be?
JK: Cat. Definitely cat. But a vegetarian one, so not sure how that would work!
BB: A vegetarian cat, that could be interesting. Which is the best Chris – Pine, Pratt, Evans or Hemsworth?
JK: Probably Hemsworth.
BB: What are you most looking forward to in 2016?
JK: Just moving on and moving forward, seeing what the year has to offer personally and professionally. And maybe another book!
Where you can find Joanne online:
Vanguard Recruit Elora Walker doesn’t know who demands more of her: her mother, or herself. But more than she wants to make Nina proud of her, she wants to know the truths buried deep in their mutual past. Haunted by the memory of her long-dead father, tormented by a psychic link to a faceless stranger, Elora learns to rely upon her friends and her newfound warrior skills to protect not only the Ignari from Dark Seekers, but the world from an ancient family secret that can destroy it.
You can buy Foretold now from Amazon
An ugly family secret laid bare, a mortal wound inflicted by her twin sister, betrayed by the love of her life—her supposed “soul mate”. In the wake of the battle with her evil father and his Dark Seekers, Elora Walker fights to recover from them all. Together with her Vanguard, Magicae, and Vampire friends, Elora races to gather ingredients for the spell of spells, bury the curse, and defeat the prophecy which has tainted her life since birth. To save the world, can she deny the yearnings of her heart? Or, will she succumb to the temptation of love, and plunge them all into Eternal Darkness.
You can buy Reflected now from Amazon
Defeated but not vanquished, the foes of light have retreated. But victory came at a terrible cost to Elora Walker, with her friends lost and scattered. Eleven months later and just seventeen, she commands her own Vanguard quad but struggles with a past that won’t release her and a future she hesitates to embrace.
The barriers between worlds continues to weaken, Dark Seekers are emboldened, and David still plans to engulf humanity in eternal night. Elora means to end the threat once and for all but dreads the personal consequences. Will saving the world demand the ultimate sacrifice? And who must pay it?
You can buy Fated now from Amazon