My guest this week on Writer Wednesday is author C S Johnson. Welcome to my blog!
Please tell us more about yourself, anything you like- interests, background…
I tend to be narcissistic, so that is a dangerous question!
Here are the basics about me: I love reading and writing, and I want my life to mean something (quite desperately, actually, for this one). I am a Christian writer, though I do make sure I tell people I am better at being bad and bad about being good, and I do write for a more fantasy/sci-fi fan base. I began writing a lot to find resolution, but I can tell you a lot of it has come back to be restoration. I also have a caffeine addiction, two crazy cats, and a loving family.
Please tell us more about the book or books you would like to feature today.
The Starlight Chronicles: Slumbering is the first in a series of books chronicling the adventures of Hamilton Dinger, a teenager who finds out through an exciting course of events that he is a fallen star, and he has to protect the world. He is not very excited about it, either, because it runs into his time with his friends, school, and would-be girlfriend.
Buy The Starlight Chronicles: Slumbering here http://amzn.to/1h2nAbz
What gave you the idea to write in this genre?
The Starlight Chronicles: Slumbering is a variety of genres. It follows the hero’s journey (so it is an epic, in the REAL meaning of the word), it’s allegorical and apologetic (on both ends), and of course fantasy. I am a daydreaming addict with a penchant for the supernatural and the absurd. But I also feel like a lot of people just don’t understand what it means to truly believe in something, despite wishes otherwise, and have to live with the consequences of faith. Blending the two (or three or more) of these elements seemed like a great way to connect people to literature, real life, and the universe around them.
Is there a theme or message in your work that you would like readers to connect with?
I tell people that my novel, The Starlight Chronicles: Slumbering is about belief. There are so many things out there that people have trouble believing or even wanting to believe something. It is hard to remain an ardent follower of your own beliefs, too, in today’s world.
What research did you do, and how? Or does it all come from your own imagination?
A lot of it was inspired by my experiences growing up; of course the lines between fantasy and reality have been a lot more blended, but the experience is a lot like a daydream. There was some research into some of the aspects of faith, science, and personality. I know the key to a good novel, no matter the genre, is having a cast of well-developed characters. A lot of my characters have taken the Keirsey Temperament Sorter II as a result.
What’s the funniest/weirdest thing you’ve done when doing research for your book?
I asked one of my guy friends what guys talk about when there are no girls around, since I wanted my male characters to be as real as possible. He told me masturbation.
Do you ever base your characters on people you know?
For the most part, the legal answer is NO. But if I do, it is usually by accident (“usually” being the key word there). For example, in this series, my protagonist actually grows up (in the VERY end) to resemble my husband. I’d started writing this well before I was married, before I’d even met my husband. That is one of those funny tricks of fate that leaves you floored. When I realized this, it was one of those moments where time squeezed my heart and I had to choke back the tears. There is comfort in coincidences like that.
When I do take people and use them in my stories, it is not usually person but some aspect of the person I feel strongly about. For example, in one of my next novels, I had planned out for a particular sequence of events, but after meeting a new inspirational person, I’ve added in a new character with the guy’s name and mad music skills.
Do you make a plan for your novels, or do you just start writing and see where it goes?
I generally have a plan, but a lot of times the characters come to life and like to try to take over. Depending on whether or not I like them, they can succeed or fail to an astonishing degree. I also occasionally add characters, when life comes into the text.
Which of your own books/ characters is your favourite and why?
In The Starlight Chronicles: Slumbering, it is Hamilton, my protagonist. He is always my favorite. His character transcends a lot of my novels, and when he pops up it is like running into an old crush. The same fire spurts from the text, and it is like he is there. Hamilton is my favorite because to me, he is my audience as much as my character. Every word I write, I write for him.
What has been the most helpful piece of advice you’ve received as a writer?
Mention Ryan Seacrest somehow and then send your work to him (I didn’t do this in my work, actually, but I’ve been told by two completely different people in my circles of friends he is a collector of art and media, and he will endorse the people he likes).
But the most helpful piece of advice in all seriousness is just to be willing to put yourself out there, and keep at it. I’m trying to get the whole world to pay attention to me, but I have A LOT of competition. There is little room to shy away from the cameras (if and when they are looking).
What books or other projects do you have coming up in future?
I would like for the series to be picked up be a mainstream publisher (Thomas Nelson gets first dibs, and the Scholastic) for the rest of the series. There will be about 7 or 8 books in the series, but it captures the essence of growing up, the glory of high school years, tragedy, true love, and destiny. There’s a lot to put into all of that!
Following that, I have my next series plan in the works, as well as a few suspense/crime novels. Since I now have a good friend who is a police officer, I am really looking forward to that!
I am also working on finishing up my Master’s degree at Southern New Hampshire University. I’ve been there for a couple months, and I just love the people there! When I went to school for my bachelor’s degree, I ended up hating it a lot because of all the people. But with this one, I am enjoying it so much it makes me giggle now thinking of all the greatness I’ve come in contact.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers?
In addition to writing, I’d like to start up a few charitable websites and the like, so please keep an eye out for my work. I meant it when I said I want my life to mean something, and I believe that helping people – both through entertaining them, allowing them to question their lives, and helping them with basic needs – can lead to a better, more honorable life. I am working for a heavenly weekend!
Please check in with me on Goodreads, Facebook http://facebook.com/thestarlightchroniclesslumbering Twitter @C_S_Johnson13 and my website http://csjohnsonetc.blogspot.com