Monday, May 11, 2015

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Chris Johns

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hi, Chris.  Welcome to The Gal.  It's a pleasure to have you here.  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Chris Johns:
With the caveat that any facts could just be "distractions" created by Rusty Connolly... I am from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, living in an interesting and diverse neighborhood.  I like to take walks through the neighborhood, finding a restaurant or little bar I've never been to, and meet people who hang out there.  I enjoy reading fiction and a wide range of non-fiction.  Love to travel and experience the many beautiful places and cultures of this world.  Definitely one of those "the journey is the reward" people.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are five things most people don't know about you?

Chris  Johns:
(1) Most of my relatives in "the old country" have their own stills at home.  (2) I enjoy the physical challenges and even difficulties of travel, especially in the wilderness.  (3) I sometimes buy "Men's Health" magazine, but, I swear, just for the workouts.  (4) Though I have eaten some interesting food around the world (sea cucumber, agouti paca), I could not eat the chicken feet.  (5) I have a tattoo.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is the first book you remember reading?

Chris Johns:
Actually reading it on my own: "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" - A cult classic if ever there was one.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are you reading now?

Chris Johns:
"One Nation Under God - How Corporate America Invented Christian America" by Kevin Kruse.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What made you decide you want to write?  When did you begin writing?

Chris Johns:
The intrigue of writing, the ability to communicate thought, emotion and experience... those drew me to literature and writing.  Started writing some in high school (I know, it sounds so typical), but began seriously in sophomore year of college working with my English Lit professor/advisor writing poetry and experimenting with various forms of styles, from sonnets to odes to free verse.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have a special place you like to write?

Chris Johns:
I enjoy writing at my office, overlooking a park.  I also enjoy writing at home, but my cat doesn't quite get the idea of staying off the keyboard.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

Chris Johns:
Quirks?  ...I usually re-read some of what precedes my starting point for the day, to get myself back into the feel of where I'm picking up the story.  For poems, I get an idea or feeling and then let it stew until my Muse punches me or wells up from the ground or knocks my head off... whatever the Muse feels is best to get my attention.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What books have most inspired you?

Chris Johns:
Tough question.  There are so many.  "The Sound and the Fury" by Faulkner.  "Les Miserables" by Hugo.  Keats' poems, especially the seas.  "Fahrenheit 451" by Bradbury.  Novels by Kundera and Camus.  Just to name a few.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Chris Johns:
Making sure the words don't get in the way.  It's easy to get caught up in your own "cleverness" and clutter a good story or poem with words, even metaphors, that detract or distract from what you really want to write.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think makes a good story?

Chris Johns:
Characters and action that feel real, even if it's utter fantasy or dystopian future.  Also a sense of suspense, that things could go different directions or take different turns.  Keeps it interesting.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which, of all your characters, do you think is most like you?

Chris Johns:
With only 4 main ones to choose from... still not sure.  People who have read FOUR and know me have ranged from some saying Tom is most like me, to others saying Damien is most like me.  Maybe I have multiple character disorder?

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Why did you pick your particular genre?

Chris Johns:
Honestly, I didn't pick a genre, didn't think at all about it.  I just had a story I wanted to write and explore.  Not even sure what genre I'd say FOUR is in, other than the very broad "literary fiction" genre.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Chris Johns:
A couple of months ago, as we were working to finalize the publication, I ran across a magazine (in a doctor's office, of all places) with an interview in which a writer was asked why no one really had written a novel involving climate change.  The writer responded that you couldn't do it, because there is no gun to kill the bad guy.  I laughed, because I figured I had found a gun to do that.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is in your "trunk"?  (Everyone has a book project, which doesn't necessarily have to be book related, that they have put aside for a 'rainy day' or for when they have extra time.  Do you have one?)

Chris Johns:
Straightening my closet.  I find your question particularly humorous because, instead of straightening the closet, I often just toss the stuff at issue into an old steamer trunk that belonged to my great grandfather.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Chris Johns:
Currently working on a new novel set in the Amazon rainforest.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Thanks for stopping by, Chris.  I had a lot of fun getting to know you.  Feel free to come back anytime :)


About the author:
Chris Johns is an anonymous pen name for a writer from Milwaukee, WI.

About the book:
What if you realized the world faced an apocalyptic future of devastation and destruction from pollution, overpopulation and global warming ... and you knew how to stop it ... 
            What would you do?  Tom Bianco is the senior biologist at Habitat Conservation Foundation, an environmental advocacy group.  Through his own experiences and research reports published by the world's environmental scientists, Tom has become convinced that humans are destroying the natural world and eventually destroy themselves.

2 comments:

Chris Johns 3434 said...

Thanks for hosting FOUR on your site. I enjoyed responding to your interview questions.

-- Chris

Meghan H said...

You're welcome, Chris. I enjoyed reading your answers - they were great :)