I was so psyched to be paired with Joelle Charbonneau for the Authors Are Rockstars tour, because let’s be real, Joelle Charbonneau is most definitely a rock star and if you’ve read my blog or twitter feed before, you know I am a huge fan!
So why is Joelle Charbonneau a rockstar?
This list could go on and one. Literally.
Let’s go back one night 2 years ago. Here is me on Twitter. Random author replies to me on Twitter and I notice not only does she live near Chicago, but also is into music and theater. This to me is the coolest thing ever. Since books, writing, music, theater, and dance could essentially complete my life happily. Naturally, I follow her and we begin chatting.
Fast forward a little while. I found out this same author has a SHOW CHOIR SERIES. Like as in SHOW CHOIR MYSTERIES. Basically, the coolest thing ever.
Then she had this YA she told me about. I read it and it was BRILLIANT. I don’t even like dystopians and I liked it. So like a patient person, I waited for it to sell. And then it did. And I pretty much shouted to the universe. And now Joelle is a huge deal because her book is so fantastic.
SO yes. Joelle Charbonneau is a rockstar. Besides for the reaasons listed above of just being crazy mad talented. There also is…
- She taught me how to grill asparagus – let me tell you, it actually tastes good the way she cooks it, HA!
- She is CRAZY TALENTED. Not just at writing, but is also a fabulous singer and so many other things. I really have no idea how she does it
- She teaches voice lessons. Which is pretty rad.
- Her son is absolutely adorable
Want to check out my reviews of her books that I’ve loved?
Now that I’m done rambling, I have a super snazztastic interview with Joelle – because she is fancy.
Joelle Charbonneau is the author of the Rebecca Robbins Mystery series, The Glee Club series, and The Testing. She is a story teller at heart and has performed in a variety of operas, musical theatre and children’s theatre productions across the Chicagoland area. Find her on the web at her website, Twitter, and Facebook.
Given your background as a singer, what is your karaoke song of choice?
Yikes! Well, so much of the stuff I like to sing in lounge settings isn’t covered by karaoke machines. But I can do a mean rendition of Black Velvet – so I’m going with that!
If you were given the opportunity to add an “extra” that have become so popular in so many books (ie short story, glossary, RECIPES, etc), which would you chose for The Testing?
Should I be concerned that you want a recipe to go along with The Testing? Hmmm….well, since The Testing takes place in a time when so many popular spices are not available (cause no one is growing ginger when they need to figure out a way to make carrots thrive), the food they make isn’t going to be very elaborate. After the first round of Testing, Cia and her friends are served pizza for dinner. Since pizza is a personal favorite of mine (because who doesn’t like pizza) let’s try this recipe-
1 cup warm (treated so it is safe to drink) water
.25 ounces of dry active yeast – probably best obtained from the local biological engineer
1 teaspoon white sugar (if you can find it. If sugar isn’t available in your colony you can do without it.)
2 ½ cups flour
2 tablespoons oil (rendered animal fat will do if your colony doesn’t have means to produce vegetable oil or olive oil)
1 teaspoon salt (hopefully, salt is available…although salt options are limited. If salt is not available just ignore this step.)
3-4 large, genetically enhanced tomatoes
sliced, white cheese
basil and garlic
In a bowl, dissolve yeast, sugar and water in a bowl and let stand for about 10 minutes.
Stir flour, oil and salt (if you have it) until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll it into flat – whatever shape of pan you have would be the shape you want to roll it into.
Lightly grease the pan then dust it with cornmeal (if available. Madison colony has done great work with genetically resequencing corn and has been able to consistently provide good harvests.). Place dough on pan.
Pour a light coat of olive oil (or whatever oil you have) onto the pizza dough. Cut tomatoes into thin slices. Lay them on the pizza crust. Add thinly cut pieces of garlic and basic leaves across the of layer of tomatoes. Place slices of cheese on top. Bake in a 450 degree oven (or in a hot open wood oven depending on your colony’s power allotment) for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
I’ve heard you mention that your inspiration for The Testing started from teaching voice lessons and the stress of the college application process and the SAT. What part of the college application process would you dread most if you had to redo it today?
I think choosing a list of schools would be hard for me. The internet wasn’t really in use until I was in grad school and in the last 10 years has really become a great tool for students to learn what their options are for the future. It makes it really easy to learn about lots and lots of schools as opposed to the ones you either read about in a book, heard about from friends or learned about at a college fair. With so many options out there, it is easy to say that any of the schools that excel in the major of your choice would be good…but that’s not true. Not every school is a good fit for every student. For me, I think it would be hard to really look at so many choices and narrow it down to a small number. I think I’d worry that I was missing out by not visiting or auditioning at more than the schools on my list.
Which character from your Glee Club series would be friends with someone from The Testing?
Ha! Well, I think it is safe to say at a number of the kids in the Glee Club series could give The Testing candidates a run for their money in ego and snarky attitudes. However, I think that Eric (a high school student and suspect in Murder For Choir) would probably befriend the entire Five Lakes Colony group. Cia, Tomas, Zandri and Malachi would all be his kind of people and I think he might even look at Zandri as more than a friend. He tends to be attracted to confidence and artistic personalities.
Between your adult mysteries (which I adore) and The Testing, you end up with some pretty wacky things going on. Where have your found inspiration for one of the more out there things in your books?
Perhaps the wackiest character in my books is Elwood the ex-circus camel. Since he’s an animal he doesn’t talk, but he does provide a great amount of comic relief and warmth to the Rebecca Robbins books. The inspiration came from a conversation with one of my adult voice students. In addition to singing, that student also owned and competitively rode horses. Just before I started writing Skating Around The Law, this student came into my studio and informed me that she couldn’t make her next lesson because her horse had to go to the University of Illinois. I laughed and joked, “Wow, smart horse.” She laughed and informed me that the U of I has a great large animal vet clinic that draws it’s clients from all around the state. The last time she was down there she met a man who had brought a camel. The camel actually belonged to the farmer next door, but the camel didn’t like the farmer and caused trouble when he tried to bring him to the vet. In fact, one time when the farmer tried to bring the camel on his own, the camel broke out of the carrier and ended up running down I57…which for those unfamiliar with Illinois is a flat stretch of land mostly used to grow corn and soybeans.
The picture of the camel racing down the middle of Illinois stayed with me long after the student left her lessons and I couldn’t help wondering why anyone from central Illinois would own a camel. Suddenly, Elwood the hat-wearing camel was born.
Favorite song to sing?
Quando m’en vo from La Boheme
Passion by Stephen Sondheim
Favorite show you’ve been in?
Toss up between The King and I and The Desert Song
Paperback or Hardcover?
Favorite non YA read?
Absolute Power by David Baldacci (I think. It changes depending on the day.)
Last book you read?
The last non-reread book I read was The Maze Runner Trilogy. I read all three the week after I turned in the final revision of Graduation Day.
Thank you Joelle for stopping by. Because you TRULY are a rockstar :)
Now, I decided I’ll give away a readers choice of one of Joelle’s books – I figure I wasn’t sure which of you had read The Testing and maybe some of you may be interested in one of her adult mysteries (which are FABULOUS). Ends August 24. US only. OH and if you would like, I can totally get your book signed – I see Joelle often enough so YAY for signed books.