Jo Ho is a new author for myself, however if someone were to describe her book to me I would jump at the opportunity to purchase it at a bookstore. Which always goes to show, even though you may have a favorite author, sometimes it pays to get out of your comfort zone and try new (to you) authors.
Right from her very first e-mail, Jo was extremely easy to get along with. And her personality through e-mail made me extremely excited to read “Wanted”. And upon finishing “Wanted” I’m very anxious to read her upcoming works!
Jo graciously agreed to let me interview her. I hope you enjoy the answers as much as I did!
What inspired you to write “Wanted”?
Two things really. One, the idea of this girl, Chase came to me, then Bandit and Sully, all in the space of one afternoon. I could just see them in my mind and I couldn’t let them go. I sort of fell in love with them and had my heart broken by their pain, all at the same time. I didn’t have a plot, I just knew these three lost souls had to come together somehow. In so many of the things I’ve read or movies I’ve watched, the stories of what makes a family are quite similar, but I hadn’t read many stories about the people who aren’t so lucky as to have a loving family. What happens to those people? What do they go through? So, I came up with the idea for Wanted as I wanted to write about people who become a family because they choose to do so.
And two, I had gotten to the point where I was getting very frustrated with the film/TV world. I’ve come so close to getting projects greenlit so many times, only to have them stumble due to reasons way beyond my control. As a screenwriter, I can create the story and write it, but after that, it’s up to a whole team of other people to try to make it. It literally takes a village plus my ideas tend to be high concept (expensive, in other words) which is also a black mark against them. After waiting for so many years, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I will write my ideas as books, self-publish them, and hopefully, when they are successful, I’ll turn them into movies and TV series! Genius right? Don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier, lol.
Does your book contain personal experiences?
No personal experience, though I have felt like Chase and Bandit at times, having come from a tough childhood myself. I’ve also felt the despair and loss that Sully suffers from, albeit from different experiences. Also, I have never had a dog! But I do have three cats, and one in particular was obviously reincarnated from a dog, lol.
Out of all the characters in the book, who can you relate to the most?
That would be Chase. She has had to look after herself most of her life. Though her mother was there physically, she wasn’t able to provide the care and nurturing she needed. Despite how hard her life has been, she doesn’t wallow, but tries to get on with things. This doesn’t mean she doesn’t feel sad – of course she does, but she just has a naturally optimistic personality despite all the things she has gone through. I’m very much like that too. I’ve been broken a few times, but I heal up, put on a smile and keep moving forwards.
Could you tell readers the direction you’ll go in continuing the Chase Ryder series?
Gosh…. what can I say? The second book will take a more internal look at all the characters’ problems and really push them to the brink. They will each have to deal with their deepest insecurities and fears. I’ll be asking the question – what does family really mean to you? The third book will be all guns blazing as we power towards a thrilling ending for the series. I can’t really say any more than that for fear I’ll give it all away! I’m really terrible at secrets like this. Don’t make me say anything Angie!
Could you tell readers about your other upcoming book [series] “Twisted”?
Well, I’ve broken down the first “season” of books! At first, I thought there might be six but it looks like it’ll more likely be twelve now as there is so much story to cover! This was originally a TV series I created that I’ve been trying to get made for a few years now. At one point, I even had one of the producers of The Lord of the Rings on it! At the end of the day, it was a tough sell as I wanted to go to several dark places with this, and talk about some real hard-hitting issues that affect the youth of today whilst creating an exciting paranormal world filled with demons and magic. It wasn’t clean enough to be on CW, yet it’s not old or edgy enough to be on HBO. Think of it like a modern Buffy, but less of the cute. Tonally, Twisted is more grounded, more suited to the troubles of today, in our much darker world.
Which author(s) have been most influential to you? And why?
I was an avid reader when I was young – reading up to 14 books a week (true story!). I was infamous at my local library but as an adult, I’ve been very naughty. Since I’ve been working in film and TV for a while, I mostly read screenplays and tv pilots so my influences come from there. I’m obsessed with Joss Whedon, Frank Darabont, Aaron Sorkin. I also love Michael Arndt. In other words, Buffy, The Shawshank Redemption and The Walking Dead, The West Wing. And Little Miss Sunshine/Toy Story 3. I kept feeling that I wasn’t allowed to read books as then I wouldn’t be “working”. Saying that however, I did love The Hunger Games (that was so an idea I should’ve done first!). I also loved Gone Girl and Jim Butcher’s Dead Beat. And my favorite series from when I was a kid that I still love now, is The Belgariad by David and Leigh Eddings. The sad truth is, I don’t get to read very much, what with me starting up a self-publishing business AND my screenwriting career but I intend to change that, just as soon as I become super successful and can afford to take time off.
What is your best advice for budding authors?
Just sit your butt in that chair and start writing. Write every day. And when you can’t write, read or at least, think about your story. Try to plan it out, work on the characters. Just do something everyday. Often times, the writers who end up succeeding may not be better than you, but they sure as hell spent more time working on the craft. Success is 5% talent, 95% perseverance.
Since I sent these questions to the awesome Ms. Jo Ho, a few things have changed (mostly on my end!) I am now quite familiar, and dare I say, quite the fan of Jo’s writing. I had started with “Wanted
“, the book that kick started these questions, as well as our friendly e-mail chats. I was then sent two additional books: “Monkey Nut Tales
” and “The Boy Next Door
“. Each proving in their own way the diversity Jo is able to write in.
Not too long ago, “Wanted” received a brand new cover- which looks absolutely AMAZING! AND for a limited time, she has it for FREE on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited you can find it here
if you’d like to read it.
Also- I will stand up on my soap box right now: Please do all authors a favor. . .whether you like their books or not. . . whether it’s a simple “LOVED IT!” or a lengthy and drawn out “HATED IT!” please review their books. This helps SOOOO MUCH! You don’t have to be eloquent with words to do this 🙂
Thanks again Jo for taking time out of your exhausting schedule to answer my questions! This interview should have went up a LONG time ago, but life has gotten in the way.