Tuesday, July 01, 2008

What You Don't Know: J. Scott Savage

My first contact with J. Scott Savage was when I was the chapter president of the Utah Valley Chapter of the League of Utah Writers. I found his contact information in the back of his first book and e-mailed, asking him to speak at the January meeting. He agreed.

A few weeks before the meeting, he came to our critique group's annual Christmas dinner as our newest member, and that's when I first met him. (At Brick Oven. How could I ever forget? Yum . . . .)

That was six and a half years ago, if I'm doing the math right. (I was expecting #4 then, and it was right before my first book was accepted. Yep.) He was a bit of a turkey when it came time for him to speak. I sent a confirmation e-mail to him, and he replied with something snarky like, "What? Was that THIS week? I totally forgot. . . . Just kidding."

I knew right then that he was a goofball, or, er, a riot to get to know.

It's been great having him in the same critique group (especially as the first male, someone to tell us when our male characters were acting, um, less than manly).

Today I get to have fun mentioning his latest publishing achievement, his upcoming book, Farworld: Water Keep, the first in a young adult fantasy series. The book will be on shelves in September, a mere two months away.

Since I agreed to be part of his cool blog tour before I hopped aboard the Whitney Committee and could no longer review 2008 books or publicly mention my opinion of them, I'll keep mum on what I think of the book itself.

Never fear; there are plenty of places you can learn about the book, as his blog tour is going for two months and is quite extensive. You'll be able to find great question-and-answer sessions, reviews of Farworld, and more all over the blogosphere.

However . . . since I can't review the book, I thought I'd have some fun. So . . . this may be the only place you get to find out about the real J. Scott. Here are six little-known facts I've learned about him in the six and a half years I've known him. I picked six because it's a fun number and not too big. I could have gone with twenty-six and had plenty to say. I've got a lot of dirt, but I decided not to mention the . . . oh, wait. :D

1) He enjoys being an anomaly.
For example, he finds it great fun to be the only bass in the room singing, "As Sisters in Zion" at Relief Society Literacy nights.

2) He's observant.
At last year's critique group Christmas dinner, he gave one member a miniature (toy) vacuum that actually sucked . . . that plugs into the computer. I think he knows we women ("The Ladies of Wednesday Night," as he so lovingly refers to us) do a balancing act between housewife and writer.

3) His biological clock is seriously messed up.
The poor man travels so much, my head spins. More than once as we're getting RSVP e-mails about meeting, he'll send a last-minute message along the lines of, "I was supposed to be flying in to SLC tonight, but there was an emergency in [Georgia, Las Vegas, LA, fill in the blank] so I'm headed there right now. Sorry; I won't make it tonight." Forget his biological clock; I bet that half the time even he doesn't know what time zone he's in.

4) Disneyland has played a part in his writing.
On a couple of counts. First, he once wrote a scene as an exercise of how to take a normal, happy situation and make it scary and creepy . . . using the "It's a Small World" ride. (Last time I rode it, my girls loved it, but I kept waiting for doll arms to reach up out of the water and kill me. Yeah. Thanks, dude.)

Second, since his sweet wife, Jen, adores the park, his family goes there a lot. On something like their third trip of the year, he once spent the day at Disneyland, writing, while his family played.

Talk about a writer's happiest place on Earth . . .

5) He feeds his friends.
Or maybe it's Jen who does it. Regardless, whenever he hosts critique group, there will be chips and salsa on the table. A good thing, too, because I often skip dinner as I race out the door. Therefore, most of the chips and salsa end up being eaten by me. Yeah, I know. Oink. (Oops. I think I just revealed more about me than I did about him.)

6) He gives the dreaded, "It's great . . . just two things," critiques.
Those two things are often something like, "I totally didn't buy the premise of the scene" or "The main character's motivation for doing any of this fell flat" or "It's just boring." Dang it all if he isn't right 95% of the time, but fixing his "two things" requires hours and hours.

(And he complains because I write all over his manuscripts. Sure I do, but adding commas and deleting adverbs doesn't take nearly as long as rewriting an entire scene . . .)

There you have it; six things I bet many people don't know about J. Scott Savage. But here's one more you may have figured out: He's a great friend who is willing to help out any way he can. That's something rare and valuable. I consider myself lucky to be one of the Ladies of Wednesday night.

Now for the (other) fun part: One of my blog readers will get an Advance Reader Copy of Farworld: Water!

To enter the drawing, simply make a comment on this post by midnight (MDT) on Sunday, July 6, 2008. I'll put all the names into a hat and have a small child draw the winner. I'll announce the winner here the next day, on Monday, July 7.

If the winner doesn't don't contact me with their mailing address within two days, we'll draw another name. Good luck!


J Scott Savage said...

Oh, wow. You just made my whole week. And what good timing. Tomorrow is critique and food night at my house. Thanks for all the nice words, Annette. It's been great being part of your group and one of your friends. I have learned a ton from you. And I don't just mean the proper use of lay and lie. You're awesome!

charrette said...

He sounds like a great guy. I look forward to his book....

Stephanie Black said...

Jeff is an awesome, awesome writer and I can't wait to read Farworld. And I'm not just saying that because I hope to win a free copy of his book . . .

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

Luckily I'm not bound the way you are and I have read the ARC.

Fabulous. Simply fabulous. If you weren't sure if you wanted to bother commenting...take it from me. It's more than worth the thirty seconds of time involved.

Great insights into the man behind the writing, Annette!

Tristi Pinkston said...

I just tagged you. Try not to hate me.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Oh, and one more thing . . .

How fun to learn more about Jeff! I agree, he is a great guy. The first time I really talked with him, he was helping me clean up a location for a writers conference. Since then, he's done lots of other nice things for me, and other people I know, as well. Plus he's dang smart.

I already have an ARC and don't need one, but just wanted to chime in on Jeff. :)

Janette Rallison said...

Farworld is on my list of books to read. And now I will think It's a Small World Ride is creepy too!

Danyelle Ferguson said...

I loved your tidbits about Jeff! How fun! He's definitely an awesome guy.

I already have an ARC of Farworld. So don't count me in on the contest. I really enjoyed your post though. Have a great day!

Heffalump said...

Oooh...I love YA fantasy...its one of my favorite genres.
I have to say, that as someone who has wanted to be published since I was in first grade, I always get a little bit wistful reading your posts about being a writer.
I think its awesome thought that you are getting to live your dream.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, I would love an ARC! Pick me, pick me!

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing that insight on Jeff, Annette. Or rather, should we say J. Scott Savage? Anyway, it was fun.

Anonymous said...

Pick Me! I have enjoyed your books and I love the blog. Keep up the good work!

Lyon Pride said...

It's fun to hear about different authors that you know. I know when I read your books, its fun when I recognize a family thing or one of your loves.

Jewel Allen said...

You're lucky to have Jeff in your critique group. He gives you the good, bad and ugly; definitely helpful stuff. I hope to get to read Farworld soon.


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