Published: November 29, 2011
Publisher: Coleman & Stott
Series: The Nature of Grace #1
Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling iwth her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival. When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he's dead and fights to find him. Soon, she's enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception and murder.
When it comes to Untraceable, I am pretty split down the middle. There were many things I loved about the story and many things that I wish had been done differently. I always like to start off with the good - so here goes:
This novel has an awesome storyline - a girl searching for her father, who has been missing for nearly three months. Trained by her dad in a variety of wilderness skills - tracking, hunting, protection - she never gives up hope that her father is alive. I love that faith is one of Grace's strongest character traits. I find it authentic and totally believable. She knows in her heart that her father is not dead, and her passion never falters.
I also loved that each chapter title is connected to a wilderness survival tip. It was like a good commerical right before the show, and made each chapter all the more intriguing and fun. You almost felt like you were reading an actual wilderness handbook.
Now...some of the things I didn't like about this book:
1) The predictability. As much as the author tried to throw you off, it was pretty obvious who the good guys/bad guys would be.
2) The love triangle. Unfortunately, we are not as invested enough in the two male characters to really care who Grace ends up with. To be honest, I thought that Wynn (Grace's ex-boyfriend/best friend) should have stayed as her ex. Trying to see her fight between the two of them in her head just didn't seem real.
3) The sequel. As much as I loved this story, I wish it had just been one. I don't see the need to have any more after this one, and I think that S.R. Johannes could better spend her time planning the next great novel.
4 out of 5 stars!
Agree with me? Disagree with me? LET ME KNOW!!!
INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR, S.R. JOHANNES!
A few questions about Untraceable...
1)Where did you get the inspiration to write Untraceable?
I always wanted to write a thriller. And I wanted it to be contemporary. My husband came back from camping one weekend and said, "I was so deep in the woods that someone could do something bad and get away with it." That was the seed that started Untraceable.
2) Do you see yourself in the character of Grace? Would you make the same decisions that she does?
I don’t know how I would feel if someone I loved went missing. If one of my kids were missing. I would not stop until I found out what happened. So in that sense – yes I would make the same decisions. Not knowing seems worse than knowing. But would I feel that comfortable in the woods like that? Nope. I don’t like dark, spooky woods.
3) How long did it take you to write Untraceable? Did you ever get writer's block?
I wrote Untraceable in about a year. But it has gone through many revisions. I only got writers block after my agent and I parted. Until recently I hadn’t written in almost 6 months. I’ve just gotten back to writing.
4) Did you have a soundtrack playing while you wrote your book? Or is there one that you think would match perfectly for it?
I do write to music sometimes. I have a playlist for Untraceable. I listen to Muse, Pink, and Jack Johnson. I try to have a song for each chapter that gets me in the mood
About the Y.A. Market...
5) Why did you choose to make Untraceable a Y.A. novel, as opposed to an adult mystery/thriller?
I don’t think there are many thrillers in YA and I wanted to keep it as a contemporary. If there is a thriller – it is usually dystopic or paranormal. I saw this book as an opportunity to touch on some conservation topics that I think teens would want to know existed. In the real world.
6) With all of the Y.A. novels out there, what are some of your tips to fellow authors to differentiate yourself and stand out in the market?
Everyone says – write what you know. I say write what you love. It’s hard to write against trends. But in the end, it shows in your writing.
7) When I first met you, I LOVED the idea of showing the power of bloggers in publicizing your books!! How did you come up with this idea? And how do you think it is working so far?
I just believe in a grass roost effort to spread the word. I believe bloggers have a lot of power and I know it’s been debated. I’m a blogger and wanted to show how this community comes together. I think it has worked well. The buzz has been wonderful and the support has been overwhelming. I hope it doesn’t stop.
8) Do you see the trend of paranormal/supernatural characters in the Y.A. market declining? (Honestly...I love that your book has absolutely nothing to do with the supernatural!!)
I think books can always been done differently. But I do think those genres are saturated. Though I hope they keep going. But make room for newer genres to succeed.
All About You...
9) What is your favorite book of all time?
Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
10) Physical Book or E-Reader?
Physical book. It’s why I had to come out with a paperback even though it cost me money. I love the feel of a book in my hand. But I think ereaders have their place. I read on my iPad sometimes. I just don’t want to see the book go away.
10) What's next for you?
I have a special edition of Untraceable coming in Jan/Feb with a different ending. And book 2 is coming the beginning of summer 2012.