May 1, 2015

Interview: Jolene Buchheit, Author of BEST FOOT FORWARD #UtopYA

*What would you be doing right now if you were not an author?
I have a Social Work degree and have always worked with teenagers professionally.  Currently, I work at a high school as a one-on-one paraeducator with a student who has Cerebral Palsy. My job is to help him communicate, take his notes, and write the answers he gives me on his homework/tests as he is unable to do so for himself.  I also work as a substitute teacher within the high school. I always make sure to show the students the latest trailers for movies being adapted from Young Adult novels. When my student graduates next year, I will go back to substituting. I love being around teenagers and feel it gives my characters and their teenaged conversations a certain level of authenticity.

*5 years ago: what were you doing?
Five years ago, I was a stay at home mom with my then preschool-aged daughter and one year-old son. They are in Second grade and Kindergarten now. They are a lot of fun, but take a lot of energy. I don’t know what I would do without them running around.

*Do you have a certain writing ritual?
I am not very superstitious, nor a creature of habit.  I can write any time of day, in any chair, on any couch, use any computer, etc. I cannot write while listening to music, but I have to have some noise. It works well when I let my children watch a movie I have no interest in, while I write in a nearby room. I do have a habit of taking pictures of the scenes I write that make me laugh, and sending them to my writing buddies for approval.  Sometimes, I think I’m funnier than they do, and other times, it’s the other way around.

*What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
As my first novel will be released on May 1st, the only criticism I have received has been from friends and family. However, one of those beta readers called me out for avoiding writing a difficult confrontation. His feedback lead me to write what has become one of my favorite scenes.  I embrace any criticism that will make me a better author.

*Is there an author you'd like to meet?
I have had the privilege of meeting several of my favorite authors (Amy Bartol, Jennifer Armentrout, and Veronica Roth for example) at book conferences, book signings, and promotional mall tours for movies made from their books. I once traveled five hours to meet Cassie Clare, but she ended up with pneumonia and was unable to make it. I would love to get another chance to meet her.  I would also really like to meet John Green, who is an amazing, all-around human being and nerdfighter. My favorite series is The Hunger Games and I would probably raffle off one of my kidneys for the opportunity to meet Suzanne Collins and pick her brain.

*Biggest writing pet peeve?
My biggest pet peeve is when authors use the word “that” too many times. Another thing that bugs me is reading books in the third person when the narrator is omniscient.  It’s simply too hard to form my own predictions about what could happen when I am already being told everyone’s thoughts and motivations.

* Do you read other's reviews of your books?
If you like a book and would read more books by them, writing a review is one of the best ways you can help them. I hope I have the privilege of reading many reviews of my books. I am fairly thick-skinned and can let the personal attacks go, while using the helpful criticisms to improve my craft. 

Fav Color – Royal Blue

Fictional Character you'd like to spend the day with? Peeta Mellark

Fav food – Most anything Mexican, but especially enchiladas verde, rice and beans with chips & salsa. 

Fav song and/or singer – I’m totally into retro sounding music like Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass and Dear Future Husband. I also like songs with pop culture references like MKTO’s Classic.

Guilty pleasure – Butter flavored puffcorn and my special hot chocolate made with melted candy bars.

Jolene Buchheit is an advocate for teenagers, a substitute high school teacher, and an author of young adult books.  While attaining her Bachelor's Degree in Social Work, she volunteered to read and edit her fellow students' research papers because of her love of the written word.  Since then, she has written a contemporary novel entitled Best Foot Forward and the first book in the Greek-inspired Charmed Song Series called Charmed Harmony. When she is not reading, wrestling her two children, or dating her husband, she spends most of her time fangirling. She is always willing to chat about various TV shows, movies and especially books.  You can keep up with her adventures at in your free time, if you are blessed enough to have some of that.


After one bad experience, Iowa high school senior, triathlete, and fangirl Lucia “Luc” Guzman swore off relationships. Well, that was until Connor Kohlton and his southern accent moved to town. With the help of her childhood best friend, Jax Weber, she discovers her “college only” dating rule may be causing her to miss out on a great guy. Luc's parents have always taught her and her sister to put safety first and she applies that rule in all areas of her life; her training, her work, and her heart.  However, she must throw caution to the wind when she decides she can’t fight her feelings anymore… But what will it cost her?  When things start to fall apart, it’s hard to tell who’s to blame, because everyone is putting their Best Foot Forward.

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