Author Interview With Eric R. Johnston
Today I would like to welcome Eric R. Johnston, another great author from World Castle Publishing.
Can you tell us a little about you?
I graduated from University of Michigan with a degree in English and History with teaching certifications in social studies and english. When I’m not writing or editing, I am substitute teaching, a combination of long-term and short-term assignments. I have a daughter who was born this past December. She is so awesome.
I started writing at a young age, inspired by the success of my great aunt, Ruth White, who has written such classic children’s books as Belle Prater’s Boy and Memories of Summer. Having a successful writer in the family guaranteed a passion for writing would always be encouraged.
What quality do you most value in yourself?
I am patient and willing to stick to something no matter how long it takes. Sometimes this devotion borders on obsession, but that’s all right. To write a novel, you must be obsessive in some way.
Why do you write?
I write because it makes me happy.
What is your greatest strength as a writer?
Characters. I think good characters lead to a good novel. In my mind, the story itself is secondary. You could have the best plot in the world, but if your characters are dead on arrival, no one is going to follow them long enough to find out. On the other hand, in my view, people will read about your great characters in a lackluster story and enjoy it.
What book(s) / author(s) have influenced your life and writing?
Stephen King’s Dark Tower series has had the biggest influence on me as a writer. I love the feel of the novels, the characters, and how they tie all of King’s work together into one massive uber-novel.
What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine?
I try to follow a routine. I set a goal of writing at least 1,000 words a day. Sometimes I write less, sometimes much more. I also set time aside each day to read. I consider myself a creature of habit. I need routine or I grow anxious. I am most productive in the mornings, when I do most of my writing, and then I write a little throughout the day as inspiration hits.
I always have a notepad with me. When I have time to write, but no computer access, I will write by hand and type it out later. You never know when you’ll have some down time.
What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools are must-haves for writers?
Writers must have a good sense of the English language. I had a professor who always said, “There is nothing more beautiful than the English language used properly; and nothing more hideous than the English language used improperly.” This is true.
Writers must also be readers. Know how other people write. Familiar yourself with different styles, different ideas, different things going on in the literary world. If you aren’t a reader, you can’t be a writer—or you can’t be a writer anyone would want to read, anyway.
What motivates you to write?
I’ve always dreamed of being a bestselling author. I also want to be a writer that inspires other writers. I want to change the world.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Not usually. When I do, on those rare occasions, I may go for a walk, or I might write something else for a while.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Read and write—a lot. And don’t get discouraged. You need to read and write to hone your craft. Additionally, don’t be discouraged if you aren’t writing something as successful as Harry Potter. You’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
What are your current / future projects?
I am currently working on three novels and outlining a fourth. These are Harvester: Evolution, which is the sequel to Harvester: Ascension, a book that will be released by WCP later this year. I am working on a science fiction time travel novel called Temporal Winter, a fantasy novel dealing with death and the afterlife titled Orchard Hills, and outlining one that you could consider a romance-horror tentatively titled Separations.
About your book:
Can you tell us a bit about your book?
The Twins of Noremway Parish is a novel that takes place in the distant future. The world is run-down; the land is dry, parched, and dead, and there are only a few human settlements left in the world. There was a war with beings collectively known as the Darkness. They have one goal: bring chaos to the world.
There is one being from a group of god-like entities that had survived since the beginning of existence that attempts to restore order to this chaos. He is a Story Teller. These Story Tellers spin tales, making sense of all the disparate things around them, developing a cohesive narrative that has a certain elegance to it.
The Twins of Noremway Parish begins with the Story Teller narration, but he is soon captured by the Darkness who seek to use his powers to tell another story, one that will tear apart the fabric of the universe. The story changes, becoming dark, evil.
The Twins of Noremway Parish also deals a lot with tradition and injustice. These people have their own religion, one that I made up, but it is an off-shoot of Christianity and Catholicism. I have borrowed phrases, titles, roles, and religious edicts from a variety of places to create something unique, yet familiar.
The story itself really follows the parish Friar, Decon Mangler, often referred to as “Brother Decon” and the Parochial Vicar, Teret Finley, known as “Sister Teret.” They are the male and female religious leaders of the parish, and being such, must keep a certain innocence about them. When a pair of infant conjoined twins are found in the cathedral, they decide it would be best for the twins if they raised them as mother and father themselves. This leads to a social uproar as it becomes clear that, to some within the parish, tradition, even a tradition that makes no sense, is more important than thinking about the actual well-being of these children.
What is the message in your book? What are your readers’ reactions to it?
There are several messages. Decon and Teret love these twins, care for them, and are amazing parents, but the relationship they develop as they care for them tears the entire village apart. Why did this happen? The reader can ask himself or herself this, and can come to his or her own conclusion
So far, the reactions to this novel have been very positive.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned a lot about writing and character. I love everyone in this book as if they were my family. To me, the story itself is secondary. I love these characters, even the villains. Every novel I write from this point on will focus on character. I feel if you have characters you love, they can make any situation worthwhile.
What do you think readers will find most notable about this book?
The unique story telling device. A narrator, an omniscient being, is taken hostage at the beginning, completely changing the voice and the direction of the story. This was something I’d never seen before, and I suspect most readers haven’t either. This device is used throughout the novel to advance certain plot points that I will not discuss here.
What would you most like readers to tell others about this book?
Most readers would say it’s unique and has a heavy message.
How can readers help you promote this book?
Post on facebook, twitter, tell your friends, family, teachers, students, book club members. Just spread the word in whatever way is convenient for you.
Where can readers find you and more about your book(s)? Where can they purchase your book(s)?
Another big thank you to Eric for stoping by, and make sure you all check him out. Show some love to the authors of WCP (World Castle Publishing).