Sunday, December 22, 2013

Joanna Wiebe - Interview & Giveaway

Welcome to the 19th day of Christmahanakwanzika. Today I have a fantastic interview with author of THE UNSEEMLY EDUCATION OF ANNE MARCHANT, Joanna Wiebe. Don't forget to check out the giveaway at the bottom.

The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant (The V Trilogy #1)
Young Adult
Publication Date: January, 14, 2014

So many secrets for such a small island. From the moment Anne Merchant arrives at Cania Christy, a boarding school for the world’s wealthiest teens, the hushed truths of this strange, unfamiliar land begin calling to her—sometimes as lulling drumbeats in the night, sometimes as piercing shrieks.

One by one, unanswered questions rise. No one will tell her why a line is painted across the island or why she is forbidden to cross it. Her every move—even her performance at the school dance—is graded as part of a competition to become valedictorian, a title that brings rewards no one will talk about. And Anne discovers that the parents of her peers surrender million-dollar possessions to enroll their kids in Cania Christy, leaving her to wonder what her lowly funeral director father could have paid to get her in… and why.

As a beautiful senior struggles to help Anne make sense of this cloak-and-dagger world without breaking the rules that bind him, she must summon the courage to face the impossible truth—and change it—before she and everyone she loves is destroyed by it.


First off, I would like to welcome you to Read it in Houston. It’s an honor having you here today. Congratulations on your upcoming release of THE UNSEEMLY EDUCATION OF ANNE MERCHANT.


If you don’t mind answering, what part of Christmahanakwanzika do you celebrate? & what are you most excited for?


I celebrate Christmas, and I'm super-stoked to decorate the house and watch Christmas movies, like National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and Elf. Wrapping gifts is also big on my list -- I totally dig fab wrapping, so I like to make a craft project out of each gift I wrap.

In the spirit of giving, if you had a million and one dollars to giveaway to any charity, who would get the check?


Oh, gosh! If it all had to go to one non-profit, I might choose It'd be so fun to complete the funding of a few thousand classroom projects. :)

If you could be any character from any book, who would you be and why?


Mr. Darcy. I know that that would require I become a boy, but who wouldn't like to try out life as the opposite sex for a bit? We've been inside the head of Elizabeth Bennett; I'd like to get inside Mr. Darcy's head to understand how he rationalizes the more cruel things he did and said, to be so consumed by love as to completely abandon himself, and to finally come through as the hero.

Do you have any favorite quotes from your novel, THE UNSEEMLY EDUCATION OF ANNE MERCHANT?


I borrow from Shakespeare at one point: 
"Hell is empty. All the devils are here." So that's a tweetable. :) Perhaps one of my favorite scenes in the book is when Anne is questioning changes in her body and she says something I thought throughout my teen years: "I've built an uncertain existence in the shadow of my most prominent flaws, which are the very qualities that make me different, which is only good on good days." Even the most proudly 'different' people have days where they just want to be exactly the same as everyone else.

Is there a message in the series that you want readers to pick-up on?


Who you were isn't who you have to be.

I went to high school in a small town where the whole school would comment if you got bangs. (!) You had to move out of town to reinvent yourself, and that was hugely stifling. There's a pressure for us not to change because when you change, you create friction for the people around you and, especially as girls, we're conditioned to care more about keeping others happy than about making ourselves happy. So throughout this series, Anne struggles with shaking her past, whether it be her upbringing as 'death chick' in a funeral home or, as we'll see in the second and third books, her soul's sordid history. 

Are you working on anything new at the moment? If so can you share any juicy details about the work?


Yes! I'm finishing up the second book in the V Trilogy, where Anne's 'education' continues. A few tidbits: Something terrible happens to Ben. We get a new headmaster, who is smokin' hot, to Anne's dismay. And Anne's whole world changes when Teddy tells her why she was accepted to the Cania Christy Preparatory Academy to begin with. Suffice it to say, the uncertain girl in the first book grows up swiftly in the second.

Happy Christmahanakwanzika! 

About the Author
Joanna Wiebe

Joanna "Jobo" Wiebe is the author of "The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant", which will be released Jan 14, 2014 - a fact she is super-stoked about. (Er, sorry: a fact about which she is super-stoked.) You should totally friend and/or fan her and add "The Unseemly Education..." to your Want to Read list. :) Like her on FB, too

Hailing from Vancouver Island, Canada, J-Dawg does her absolute best to avoid saying the words "eh" and "about", either of which cause Americans, Brits and Kiwis alike to arch an eyebrow, smirk a little, and say, "You're Canadian, eh?" #SlowClap

So why is she writing books for young adults? Well, she earned a BA in Honors English, during which time she studied creative writing and won a few awards. So she likes writing. Plus, she's big on escaping - which is probably 'cos she spent her teen years feeling absolutely trapped in an Alberta oil town. And the concept of transformation is a big one for her - and YA fiction is THE breeding ground for transformative stories. Dig it.

Obligatory Luv It List: espresso, chocolate, chocolate-covered coffee beans, chocolate martinis, espresso martinis, chocolate-espresso martinis, Savannah cats.


US/CAN only

The 23 Days of Christmahanakwanzika


  1. I love YA so YES this giveaway is right up my alley! My alley is located in Houston, and my holiday is Hanukkah but I tell everyone I celebrate Nondenominational Winter Solstice. :D Great blog!

  2. You have me intrigued - especially with the part about the line across the island.