Exclusively Jon: About the Author
J.A. Yang has slummed it in the valley with the Wakefield twins; slumber partied with Huey, Dewey, and Louie; joined Krakow in stalking Angela; and climbed every mountain with the Von Trapps.
Originally from San Diego, he's lived and traveled the world (okay, not all of it) in pursuit of that most elusive of targets -- inspiration.
He's authored and published a book, written for online and offline publications, and maintained a variety of popular blogs on subjects ranging from movies and technology to personal stories and amateur musings. He's just wrapped up on his second book, a fiction novel for teens, and is hard at work on his third one.
Bookworm: Welcome, Jon! And congrats on the release. Speaking of which, how long did it take you to write Exclusively Chloe, from start to finish?
Jon: I actually wrote the first draft of Exclusively Chloe in two parts. It took me a few weeks to write the first three chapters. We submitted that and waited a few months. After it sold, it took another six months to finish the entire draft. Then it was revisions, which took another six months of back and forth. Overall, from outline and synopsis in March 2007 to release in May 2009, it took about two years.
Bookworm: Are any of the characters in the book based off of people you know or your friends and family?
Jon: I wouldn't say there's any characters entirely based off people I know in real life, but I definitely put Easter Eggs in there for my friends. Mainly, when I was writing, I'd look around for traits and characteristics to throw in and of course my friends were right there. For example, if someone had on a great outfit, I'd take a picture, write down a quick description, and then ask them to describe it too. Funny saying that have resonance and staying power with my friend made it in the book. I name dropped a few people, as homages, that kind of thing.
It's hard to say any one character represents someone I know in my life but little combinations of traits, personality, physical descriptions, and that kind of thing, were based off "true" events. And that was definitely part of the fun.
Bookworm: What qualities do you and the main character, Chloe, share?
Jon: Ha, well, that's a hard one to answer. I don't think I consciously out too much of myself into Chloe, because I saw her very clearly as a separate
character. The one thing we probably do share is that we're both decently down to earth. I mean, Chloe certainly cries and obsesses more than I ever did but she's got a pretty good head on her shoulders, which I hope I did too. Right Mom?
Bookworm: If you could be friends with any two celebrities, who would they be and why?
Jon: This is exactly the type of question I think to myself all the time. Hands down I'd pick Natalie Portman and Steve Buscemi. I've been a huge fan of Natalie since her earliest movies (and okay, have a crush on her, like the rest of the world) and Steve Buscemi is just the man! He's he man in a way that is so not "the man" but that's what makes him super cool. If ot an actor, I'd want to be friends with Kat Von D, reality star and tattooist extraordinaire from LA Ink.
Bookworm: Favorite TV show?
Jon: Right now it's definitely The Office, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Glee is going to take over my must-see TV spot as soon as regular episodes start up. I can't stop watching the Glee pilot online. I just want it to be fall so the series can start already! (Bookworm: Glee does look awesome!!)
Bookworm: What's your favorite book for young adults by other authors?
Jon: I think Speak is amazing. I didn't read it until after I saw the movie and at the time, I hadn't read much YA. However, after reading the book, I was just amazed at how great of a book it was. With such a heavy theme and concept, I was floored by how real and honest (and funny) Melinda was. Laurie Halse Anderson blew my mind open to what was possible with contemporary young adult fiction.
Bookworm: As for the future...Will you be writing a sequel to Exclusively Chloe or any other novels for young adults?
Jon: I am working on something right now, which is still in its beginning stages. We're not sure yet if it'll be a direct sequel, something set in the same universe, or another thing entirely. There are definitely more young adult novels in my future, though. I love the genre and the community.
Thanks so much, Jon!
Exclusively Chloe came out on May 26.
Check out my review here