Sunday, August 25, 2013

Author Interview – James R Johnson

What is your favorite color? Believe it or not… Orange.  Followed closely by Pinstripe.  I know, that’s not a real color but what’s a Yankees fan to do??

What is your favorite food? I love anything Oriental.  Chinese, Japanese, it doesn’t matter.  My father was stationed in Japan for a few years and the cuisine stuck with the whole family.

What’s your favorite place in the entire world? While there are many places I’d love to visit and see, there is nowhere on Earth quite like NYC!  New York City will always have a place in my heart as “home”.  Even now I hear New York State of Mind tripping in my mind’s ear.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing? My upbringing always fostered the creative spirit.  Between my father’s love of story and storytelling and my mother’s creative overdrive (crafts, writing, acting, painting, drawing, sculpting, cooking), there was not a deficiency in support.  I remember after I discovered acting in high school, I knew I had found my calling.  I told my parents that after I graduated I was going to fly out to Hollywood and make it big as a movie star.  I said I would give it two weeks and that should be plenty of time.  What did my parents do?  Encouraged me every step of the way.  I never did go to Hollywood, but the support never faded.  So when I decided to move from writing screenplays to novels, my parents were the first to read it and praise it.  But, of course, parents are supposed to stuff like that, right?

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? Writing, like most of my other creative outlets, started as just that, an outlet.  I hated the routine of life.  School, homework, dinner, chores, bed.  How can anyone live like that?  I needed to create something.  It all started with erector sets and legos as a kid.  Then I moved on drawing and painting and sculpting and performing.  But writing was something that could be done anywhere with nothing but a pencil, paper, and time.  I could do it in class during lectures (I probably shouldn’t admit that…) or waiting in the doctor’s office.

When and why did you begin writing? I seriously started writing after college.  My situation forced me to leave New York and move back to my hometown.  That destroyed me.  So I wrote.  It wasn’t anything structured, no story arcs, no character development.  It was slice of life and just described experiences.  Mainly it was about a man who sought redemption and restoration (hmm).  For years I thought of nothing but returning to NYC.  I found relief in writing narrative.

How long have you been writing? Technically you could say I’ve been writing for all of my adult life.  But I didn’t start paying attention to the fundamentals of writing until about 1997 when I wrote my first screenplay.  Man, what a piece of trash that was.  But, we all have to start somewhere.

When did you first know you could be a writer? Honestly, I didn’t think it was possible to be a “writer”.  That thought began to change after I was offered my publishing deal.  The idea that someone was willing to give me money for the words I wrote, shook me.  It wasn’t until that day.  Actually, I still struggle with it sometimes.

What inspires you to write and why? The human experience always gets the creative juices flowing.  So many times I’ve read something or watched a movie where the characters are experiencing a certain emotion and reacting in odd way that makes me stop and say, “I thought I was the only one who did that”.  Sharing experiences and feelings lets us know we aren’t alone in the world.  Somebody out there understands what’s in my head, right or wrong.  It always comforted me so I hope to do the same for someone else.

What genre are you most comfortable writing? I’m a researcher at heart.  I study like mad to make sure that whatever I’m creating is as authentic as possible.  So, there really isn’t a single genre that I have an affinity for.  However, with that said, I refuse to tackle comedy.  That is something you either have or you don’t.  You can’t research it, learn it, fake it, whatever.  Comedy is a talent that is built up.  And I ain’t got it.

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Genre – Urban Fantasy

Rating – PG13

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