- Did you have any choice in the beautiful cover?
Yes, I was lucky. I got Vania at VLC_Photo.net involved. I had a vision for the book and I knew she could bring it to life. I love the cover. She did awesome – more than I expected or imagined!
- What was your main inspiration for this book?
My hubby camps a lot. He came home one day after camping and said, “I was so deep in the woods, someone could do anything and get away with it.” That planted a seed. A couple years later, we visited Cherokee NC. When I saw the bear pits there, the horror of that plus my hubby’s words came together. Untraceable – once called Grace Under Fire – was born.
- Who was the hardest character to write about?
Have you ever gotten in a bear’s head? That was hard I should say the psycho dude’s or I look a little crazy. But honestly? Grace’s mom. I am a mom and I could not imagine treating my daughter that way even in a tragedy, so it was hard to make believable.
- Is Grace or any other character based off of a specific person or group of people?
I think Grace is ½ me as a teen and ½ the me I wanted to be as a teen. I was very impulsive and didn’t really realize I was mortal. Didn’t compromise. She believes in the same things I believe in but didn’t do anything about until now. She’s not revolved around guys and she’s not afraid to be alone. I love that she is honest about who she is and what she wants.
5) What was your favorite scene (without spoilers) to create?
When Grace does a roundhouse kick that takes Mo down - before she realizes it’s him of course. It was fun. I mean what girl hasn’t wanted to kick the crap out of a guy they’ve dated. At least once.
6) What is your favorite characteristic of Grace's?
6) What is your favorite characteristic of Grace's?
I love that she doesn’t let others influence her. I think that is hard – not only as a teen but as an adult. She sticks to her guns and I love that about her.
7) Which of your characters would you invite on an outing? Why?
I can’t say Mo because I’m married (snaps fingers). Definitely Grace, I think she would be awesome to hang with. I have a lot of questions to ask her. I think I would learn a lot from her – even though I am older.
8) What book was your favorite as a child?
Pippy Longstocking. I think Pippy is a lot like Grace. She is independent. Doesn’t care what people think. She gets joy out of simple things and wasn’t afraid to do her own thing. Yet she was kind of a loner. I love Pippy.
9) Do you consider any other author a sort of mentor to you?
Kimberly Derting is my critique partner, my friend, my biggest critic, and my biggest supporter. She believes in me and pushes me to write better. I would not be here without her.
10) When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I guess when I started writing. It’s the author part I can’t get used to. I still don’t see myself as an author and I’m not sure why.
Stay-at-home mom’s teen wilderness thriller proves girls can be tough and independent without living in a fantasy world or possessing special powers.
Untraceable, by author S.R. Johannes, gives teens a realistic heroine set in today’s world and - somehow - makes getting back to nature cool again.
ATLANTA, GA (November 29, 2011) – With the popularity of Twilight and Hunger Games, contemporary thrillers for teens have been practically nonexistent. Shelli Johannes-Wells hopes to change all that with the release of her debut young adult thriller, Untraceable, the first in The Nature of Grace series. The book will be available Nov 29th in ebook and paperback at all major bookstores.
Set in the Smoky Mountains, Shelli brings her love of nature back to teens. In a world where teens spend an average of thirty hours a week in front of some kind of screen, Untraceable makes it cool - yet thrilling– for kids to get outside again.
Grace has grown up in the woods. Her first swing was a forest vine and her first pet, a wounded bear cub. When Grace’s forest ranger father goes missing on a routine patrol, she heads off into the Smoky Mountains in search of him. Soon, she’s enmeshed in a web of deception and murder that challenges everything she knows about the wilderness, survival, and self defense. And, it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this heroine to emerge from town conspiracy that’s spreading like wild fire, threatening everything and everyone she’s ever loved.
“When people ask me what the book is about, I always say, a contemporary thriller with kickbutt teen heroine, an unsolved mystery, a rollercoaster adventure, and – of course - two hot boys. That usually gets girls interested.”
When Shelli started writing the book, there were a few things on her mind. “I wanted to create a tough character who didn’t need to turn to a computer for entertainment. Someone who was tough and feminine with an honest love of natural things in this world. I guess I wanted my character, Grace, to be the Katniss Everdeen of today’s real world in the unexplored setting of Gary Paulson’s Hatchett.”
"Grace is a spunky, independent, nature girl who doesn't need a boy to save her. With wilderness survival, a juicy love triangle, and more twists and turns than a roller coaster, this fast-paced novel had me holding my breath until the very last page—and still begging for more!" -Kimberly Derting, author of The Body Finder series
"This thrilling story is a dramatic entanglement of mystery, deception and teen romance. The action flows like a brisk mountain stream interspersed with rapids, holding suspense to last page." - Kirkus Reviews
About S.R. Johannes
S.R. Johannes lives in Atlanta Georgia with her dog, British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world. After earning an MBA and working in corporate america, S.R. Johannes traded in her high heels and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and a love of writing. You can find her hanging out online and visit her at srjohannes.com.
For interviews, ARCs, and publicity queries, please contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.