Author interview with Justin Ordoñez

Welcome to Justin Ordoñez author of a YA book aimed at more mature readers not the super young kids. It’s got some great reviews and is on my own TBR list be sure to add it to yours which should be super easy to do as it’s free today on Amazon.
Thanks to Justin and thanks for being on.

Please tell us about yourself

My name is Justin Ordoñez. I’m 6’4”, 230lbs. I frequently wear Adidas shirts and I have long, dark hair,
so people guess I’m a soccer player. In truth, I’m a goofy, uncoordinated athlete, but a passionate, obsessive writer. I’m the type of person who wins the “wouldn’t be the same without…” award in about everything I’ve ever done where people give awards. A few examples that come to mind are when I did Odyssey of the Mind as a child and for some reason, during eighth grade, everyone got together and issued awards.
Anyhow, my personality and my writing are, to use something cliché, like a fine wine, in the sense that they’re a little intoxicating at first, but your palette for both grows with some time. I just finished watching a television show called Freaks and Geeks. I loved it and I’ve got to include it in this interview.

What is your work space and routine like? –

I write seven days a week, about three hundred and sixty days a year; although, I recently took an extendedleave for the first time in longer than a decade. I try to write between 2,700 and 4,000 words per day. Idon’t write at any specific time in the day, I write throughout the day—forty five minutes here, an hour there,thirty minutes before bed. I work either at home on my couch with my laptop on my lap or I work at one oftwo restaurants in Seattle where I eat almost daily. Occasionally, I work at the library, but believe it or not, Ifind it to be a very distracting place. Everyone’s trying so hard not to inconvenience anyone that everyhuman interaction is painful and awkward. When you’re in a restaurant, people are loose, free, enjoying themselves. If you focus on tapping into that energy, I think it can change your writing.

What do you like to do when not writing? –

I like to karaoke, and I go religiously once per week. I’m also a fan of roller derby, a sport I got into when a female friend of mine started competing for a Seattle team. Otherwise, I’ve got a wide base of friends with different interests that I like tagging along for. Encountering people in the environments their most comfortable in, and seeing them doing what makes them most happy, is part of being a good writer, so I find I like almost anything that puts me in that position. I also have what some might classify as an unhealthyobsession with the iPad game Plants vs Zombies.

Favorite books and authors? –

In no particular order, the books that changed my life were Black Boy, Valley of the Dolls, It, The Sun Also Rises, and God Knows. For some reason, I don’t really have favorite authors, just favorite books. Authors—including myself—can be inconsistent, so I never think of an author, especially a novelist, as being “must read.” I do follow journalists, though. I’ll read any column by Bill Simmons, Katie Baker, Dear Prudence, Farhad Manjoo, and Jason Whitlock.

What are you reading now? –

I’m struggling mightily with Game of Thrones. They’re some points where it’s so fascinating and otherpoints it’s a dreadful bore. I think it depends on which characters you’re connecting with. I’m going to startskipping the chapters for the characters who’s plots are moving slowly (or not at all) and see if that helps.Otherwise, I’m in a bit of a fiction slump, I can’t get into anything that’s really out there, but I do still readnon-fiction, and did read (parts of) Martenson’s The Crash Course and Lessig’s Republic, Lost recently.

What do you enjoy most about the writing process? –

I enjoy the moment when it all comes together. I’m not a writer who uses outlines or character profiles orplans out arcs. I simply write. When it stops working, I change things. Then I rewrite it until I feel like it all works. This is a chaotic process where I spent 98% of the story with things being a total mess; nevertheless, consistently, I’ll find just one random day where I’ll sit down to work, often with no prior knowledge other than an inkling that I’m “close to figuring it out,” and it’ll explode out of me onto the page, perfectly puttogether, and like I didn’t fail miserably all the time leading up to that moment. It’s kinda magical and sort of makes you believe in God, or at least something bigger than yourself.

Why YA and do you plan to write other genre? –

I didn’t really choose YA, it sort of chose me. My character is a sixteen year old girl, and while some people have strong opinions that it isn’t YA but literature, it’s been hard to market it that way. Lots of book sites and bloggers have refused to feature it as literature because it’s about a sixteen year old girl, so I’m kind ofcaught in purgatory, I suppose. I almost did it to myself. When I started writing Sykosa, I wanted to write something literary and beautiful, but I didn’t want it to be disconnected, academic or un-human (something I think modern literature has [de]evolved into). I walked a line of being original and unique in a way that felt as comfortable as worn in jeans. It’s something you’ve not quite read before—so I’d recommend everyoneon your blog gives it a shot!

Please tell us about Sykosa –

Sykosa (that’s “sy”-as-in-“my” ko-sa) is a sixteen-year-old girl trying to reclaim her identity after an act ofviolence shatters her life and the life of her friends. This process is complicated by her best friend, Niko, a hyper-ambitious, type-A personality who has started to war with other girls for social supremacy of their school, a prestigious preparatory academy in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. To compensate, Sykosa has decided to fall in love with her new boyfriend, Tom, who was involved in the act of violence.Propelled by survivor guilt, an anxiety disorder, and her hunger for Tom and his charms, Sykosa attends a weekend-long, unchaperoned party at Niko’s posh vacation cottage, where she will finally confront Niko on their friendship, her indecision about her friends and their involvement in the act of violence, and she will make the biggest decision of her life—whether or not she wants to lose her virginity to Tom. Sykosa is a raw, sometimes dark, look at contemporary female life and it’s challenges—the feature challenge being the explosion of objectifying elements in a young woman’s life. Sykosa takes place in the late 90s, where the likes of Sarah MacLauchlan and Fiona Apple have been replaced by Britney Spears and misogynist rap music on the radio. Sykosa also attends school with boys who, a few years earlier, would have it considered it a rare privilege to find a dirty magazine to flip through, but now thanks to the Internet, they have constant access to pornography. With adults who can’t possibly comprehend the consequences of the changes that are happening, and kids who lack the foresight to say no to them, it’s a brave new world for Sykosa—will she survive it? You can get it on the Kindle for free on June, 6th and June, 7th.

Also, you can check out this infographic for information on if you’re a fan!

What is next for you? –

I’ll continue to write, primarily part II of Sykosa, and I’ll continue to live my life. Hopefully more good stuff will happen than bad, and the sun will shine a little more frequently in Seattle. If you want to get news on Sykosa, or any writings that I release, go ahead and connect with me at one of these spots.


Thanks for having me by!

  1. Great interview, Jess. Thanks for bringing Justin and his work to my attention. I agree wholeheartedly that the publishing industry has royally screwed the pooch on the YA genre. It seems that every effing story with a teenage protagonist is labled “YA” because that’s what is selling right now. But a lot of YA books either aren’t written on a teenage reading level (matter of fact, I read one of those just recently), or they deal with subject matter inappropriate for young readers. Yeah, YA pisses me off–not the books themselves, but the label the industry has foisted upon them

    And on a side note–Freaks and Geeks is awesome. They play D&D on that show, which makes it boss. And did you ever stop to think how many famous actors got their start on that show? It’s uncanny.
    Jomathan @ I Read a Book Once recently posted..What’s On Tap – June 2012My Profile

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