Exclusive Interview with

JB Yanni

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When did you start writing?

I started writing as a teenager in high school, and then off and on throughout my life. Short stories, poetry, and then framing several novels. All of this didn't come to fruition until later in life, and I am so excited to now be writing these novels!

JB Yanni
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What makes writing your passion?

I've always loved books that pulled me in, made me feel the places and characters and always wanted to tell stories that do that to others. I really love connecting with others with relatable characters and making them smile, laugh and cry at something I created with words.

JB Yanni
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How long have you been writing?

My writing career started four years ago when I finally made the leap to work on and finish my first novel. It was wonderful to see it come to life.

JB Yanni
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What was the feeling when you published your first book?

All I can say is it was amazing. To hold that book in my hands was like nothing I've ever felt. The knowledge that you created this story is thrilling!

JB Yanni
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What’s the story behind your choice of characters?

The characters in the Time Benders series are really a compiling of characteristics of myself and my siblings. They are sprinkled with people I've known, teachers, friends and family. However, as I've been writing these characters, they have taken on their own personalities and grown away from where I started them.

JB Yanni
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What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?

I'd have to say two things. First, I think there is still a stigma to making the choice to publish some other way than querying for years and finally, hopefully being selected by an agent and then hopefully getting a story sold to a publisher. I wish that wasn't the case, because with options and access to resources, there are so many other ways to publish work and it should be a personal choice for each writer about what they want to accomplish. Second, and this might make me like every other author, I tend to wallow in the editing process, resulting in doubt about the work I've done, and at some point I have to just stop and send to beta readers.

JB Yanni
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How do you get over the “writer’s block”?

I've heard so many great ideas about how to solve this inevitable problem for writers. I know that no one solution works for everyone, but for me, I have to just leave the project for a bit, and focus on something totally different. Get other work done, or finish a long todo list. If none of that refocusing of my energy doesn't do it, I actually get a new book and read until I'm done. That tends to loosen the block and allow me to get back to writing.

JB Yanni
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We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?

I would say to any new author not to give up. If you have doubts, or you question your work, be brave enough to put it out there, somewhere to see what others think. Also, I would say, from my experience, find yourself a good copy editor and always, always let them have the last look at your manuscript before you attempt to publish.

JB Yanni
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If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?

It's funny to get this question, since I write about time travel, but if I could go back in time, I think I would tell myself at a much younger age to write more and sooner and despite the career, children and life, take the time to launch this publishing effort sooner.

JB Yanni
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Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?

I do read my reviews. I think all feedback can be valuable if you can set your ego aside and remember that reviews are coming from readers. Reading a book is very subjective. And that's how I deal with bad reviews. Remember, they have a lifetime of reading that has colored how they approach every book. I once read a review that said they knew science fiction required the suspension of disbelief, but.... that says as much about the reviewer as it does about my work.

JB Yanni
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What is the feeling when you get a good review?

I love, love, love it when someone says they connected with my story and found something in it they like. Nothing is better than knowing you accomplished what you set out to accomplish.

JB Yanni
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Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?

Aside from the sprinkling of people I know in my characters in the Time Benders stories, and the fact that it is set in the 1970s when I was growing up, no. However, I am currently working on a memoir of sorts about my mother who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's several years ago. That is all real life stories.

JB Yanni
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Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?

I relate most with the character Deb Fitzgerald, one of the four siblings. She is sort of the middle child, which I am, and more comfortable at the library as a teen than anywhere else. She isn't specifically based on me, but we share a lot of characteristics.

JB Yanni
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What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?

I think the book cover sets the stage for a book. It's the window into the author's vision of some part of the story. The visual impact is there to draw a reader in so, yes I think it's as important as the story.

JB Yanni
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Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?

I love connecting with readers. I want to know what grabbed them from my story, what they think of the characters. I do a lot of radio and pod cast interviews and I love hearing what others think about time travel, history and the stories I tell.

JB Yanni
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How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?

I've recently received distinguished favorite awards for the first two books in the Time Benders series of books and I smiled for an entire day over that recognition! There might have been a happy dance in private too! As yet, I haven't been recognized in public or anything that dramatic. I'm not sure how I would react to that.

JB Yanni
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Who is your favorite author? Why?

This is probably the hardest question I'm asked. I have so many favorite authors throughout my life. As a child it would have to be C.S. Lewis, but lately I have really been focused on historical fiction and especially historical linked mysteries. My favorites now would have to be Steven Berry, and Dan Brown. All time favorite stories? Gone with the Wind, Grapes of Wrath, A Time Traveler's Wife, Beloved, and The Book Thief. All selected because I just love the stories, the message and the way the authors weaved their words.

JB Yanni
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What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?

For me, the dream isn't about fame and fortune, it's about longevity. I would like to be as big as C.S. Lewis or F. Scott Fitzgerald. I want to tell the story that has a resounding message and stands the test of time.

JB Yanni
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Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?

I've looked back at the story I am telling with the Time Benders series and wondered if some aspects of the characters and plot should be different now that I have arrived at book 3, but I'm not sure I would want to go back and rewrite. I guess it would depend on feedback from readers and perhaps a little distance of time.

JB Yanni
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If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?

Ok, I'll be honest here. I always wondered what it would be like to be J.K. Rowling. To write a story and be swept up with the tide of popularity that series of books has had. I'd also be worried. What if you could never write anything that popular again?

JB Yanni
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What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.

I've always wondered about these folks. The ones that pick what seems to be some nebulous aspect of others to take to task on the internet. I would like to ask them if they've ever worked very hard to produce something. Struggled with the courage to put it out in the public and then been torn apart over some small detail taken out of context of who they are and what they've done. I also think there are some people that can't just be kind. So I guess I would say to them that at some point we all answer for every word we uttered and every action we take. Are they prepared to explain why they do what they do?

JB Yanni
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What would you say to your readers?

I would like to tell readers that I believe every writer starts a story thinking it will be great, but it's really only when the book is opened and the reader finishes that last page that the book is truly finished. I hope readers find something in my stories to connect with, and possibly my books become for them an old favorite they take off the shelf years from now and smile, remembering how they liked my story.

JB Yanni
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Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?

I recently relocated to Florida after living my entire life in the Midwest. Finally I got my wish and live near the beach! I am married and we have three adult children and one grand daughter, who are the light of our lives. We happily have entered a time in our lives where we're the cheerleaders for all the great things our kids are doing and have more time to relax and simply be.

JB Yanni
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What is your day job if you have one?

I no longer have a day job. When I made the decision to turn my life-long desire to tell stories into a career, I left the day job and have been doing this for four years now. I am truly a starving author!

JB Yanni
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What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?

Besides writing, I am a voracious reader. I always have my Kindle handy and always have at least one other book ready to read. I like to paint, and about once a year I break out the sewing machine and quilt. Oh, and I love the beach. Any beach..

JB Yanni
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Did you have a happy childhood?

I hope this doesn't come off too terribly boastful, but I had a great childhood. I have a close family, three siblings and a fantastic extended family that has always been a big part of my life. The dedications of my books are all about my family. Sure, I might still be considered the troublemaker of the family, and I did spend the better part of junior year of high school grounded to my room, but I was happy and they are my rock.

JB Yanni
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Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?

There really isn't anything in particular in my past that triggered my writing. I read a lot, and spent quite a bit of my childhood at the library. I just always thought I had a story to tell, I guess.

JB Yanni
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Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?

I have two unpublished children's books inspired by my grand daughter and children. I hope to get them published soon, but can't quite get the illustrations done. Currently there are three works in progress that will likely be published in the next year or so. One is the final book of the Time Benders series. The others include the memoir of my mother and a historical fiction I'm trying to outline.

JB Yanni