Yesterday, I reviewed "Witch Hunts on the Internet" by Yvonne Walus. Today, the author graciously agreed to talk with us about the review and the book, as well as other bits of her work and life. Here's a little get-to-know-you from the woman behind the story:
LK: Hi Yvonne, and welcome! I truly enjoyed your book and am glad to have this opportunity to dig deeper.
First things first: what made you decide to write Witch Hunts on the Internet?
YW: The story was inspired by several news-breaking stories about the dangers of online dating. In one of them, a family man was arrested when he went to a motel to meet an underage girl he chatted up online (only, the girl didn’t really exist, her alias was used by a covert police operation).
That was the starting point, and I decided to find out more about men who chat to underage girls and about people who hunt them, sometimes using unorthodox methods to secure an arrest. I did it as a mother, as well as a writer. I needed to find out how to protect my children from predators: both online and in real life.
I wrote Witch Hunts on the Internet to tell parents and teenagers about what took me months of research to discover: it's all too easy to trust somebody you've met online. The level of intimacy is high when you chat one-on-one with a stranger: because they don't know you, you tend to speak your mind and reveal secrets you wouldn't share with a school friend. Your online "friend" always seems to listen and always seems to understand. They save your previous chats and emails and can easily refer to something you said a week ago, making you think that they really care about you. Before you know it, you mistake the online relationship for "real friendship" or "real love".
LK: A very good point to remember for all of us! Do you have any comments about the review? Please feel free to elaborate on or contradict anything I said.
YW: The review is spot-on, thank you so much for taking the time to read the book and to think about it!
LK: From your website, I see that you write in a variety of genres. Do you find it hard to switch between them?
YW: In a nutshell, yes. You use a different language for different genres (I do anyway), so switching from a romance to a murder mystery to writing for young adults always takes a few days. I love all my genres, though, and I need the change to avoid writing to a formula.
LK: I'm always interested in multi-genre authors answering that question. My young adult novel has been stuck on a back burner until I can switch gears well enough, so I'm impressed with those who can jump back and forth. ;-)
Speaking of jumping, how bumpy was your publication road? Or did you breeze right in the door?
YW: It was bumpy all right: I have a thick folder full of rejection letters! I was lucky to find Echelon Press when they were starting out and wanted submissions from new authors.
LK: A good "keep trying" hint for beginning writers! Yvonne, your books are on the intense/dramatic side. Are you an intense person in reality or is this your balance or release?
YW: Objectively speaking, I have to say I'm intense: When I love, it's fiercely. When I fight, it's with gusto. And when I'm furious with my boss, I kill him on paper ("Murder @ Work", Echelon Press 2004).
LK: Ah! You have me laughing with that one! Being so intense, what do you most like to do to relax?
- Eat chocolate
- Play with my children
LK: Chocolate ... the elixir of many writers I know. ;-) If you could describe your life in one word, what would it be?
LK: Tell us what you're working on now.
YW: A novel for young adults, about a New Zealand tweenager and cell phone bullies. Internet chat rooms feature as well, LOL, and the working title is "Stranger Danger".
LK: Sounds interesting! Thanks so much for being here, Yvonne!
YW: Thank you for having me.
I think I'll have to check out Yvonne's Danger, Word Games! next, a bestseller at Red Rose Publishing. Find more about Yvonne's work on her website:
How far would you go to protect your child?