Interview & Giveaway: Joelle Charbonneau, author of The Testing


Today Joelle Charbonneau, author of The Testing, is here at The Hiding Spot as part of the Fall Festival celebration! Joelle’s novel, The Testing, is one of my 2013 favorites! Don’t miss my review, here! Check out my interview with Joelle and enter win a finished copy of The Testing and a signed poster!

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The Interview


Did you have trouble writing any of your characters or specific scenes within the novel? Or, were any characters or scenes particularly easy to write?


I think the hardest scene for me to write was the one after the third test.  Cia has some very serious concerns about the choices that she and some of her teammates made during that test, but while the scene is filled with her thoughts and reactions, there are other things happening in that scene that are important to the overall story arc—things she doesn’t completely register as being important.  Finding a way to drop certain moments into the story without making them look pivotal or making Cia look silly for not being aware of those moments was perhaps the greatest challenge for me in this story. 

Has the title changed or stayed relatively the same as your novel journeyed towards publication?


The title for the book was submitted to editors as The Testing.  So most of the publishing world has only known it as that.  However, when I first opened the file and started typing, I titled the filed Higher Education.  My agent was the one who read the book and said – you know—The Testing is the big event in this book.  Maybe we should name it that.  She was right and we did!

What book or author has most influenced you as a writer or in general?


I guess my biggest influences have been Stephen King and Nora Robert.  As a young reader, I plowed through all of Stephen King’s books.  They really influenced the books that I enjoyed then and still continue to love.  Since what you read influences what you write, I would say he influences me without my knowing it every day. 
As a writer, I think Nora Roberts’s work ethic influences me greatly.  I heard her say once that she can fix a bad page, but she can’t fix a blank one.  On the days where I think I am the worst writer in the world, those words keep me at the keyboard pushing the story forward.

What jobs did you have on your way to becoming a writer/published author? Is there a certain work experience that has shaped your writing?


Ha!  Well, I tend to favor jobs that are filled with copious amounts of rejection.  I’ve been an opera singer, a music theater performer, a model as well as a voice instructor.  Oh – and there was a stint as a systems administrator (which involved report analysis and testing and developing software upgrades).  Don’t ask.  I’m still not sure how that happened.  The funny thing is that while I never intended to be a writer, my work as a professional performer shaped my ability to deal with submissions, reviews and rejection—some of the hardest things for an author to face.  So, I guess I was training to be an author all along. 🙂

 If you had to pick a favorite word, what would it be and why?


Outstanding…because as a teacher you work to make your students understand being good is fine – but taking it to the next level is WAY better.

My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Who, what, or where can be credited as your personal escape from reality?


Music.  I can’t write with music on because I escape into it in the same way books pull me in.  If I need a good cry or a laugh, there is always a musical or an opera that will fulfill that need and leave me feeling better about the world.  And if I get to sing it—well that’s even better.
Find out more about Joelle and her books here! 
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More about The Testing:
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one in the same?

The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.

Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies–trust no one.

But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust.

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